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Friday, May 25, 2007
CNN Political Ticker AM
Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...

  • Congress sent a $120 billion war spending bill to the White House late Thursday, abandoning a call for most U.S. troops to leave Iraq after an earlier veto by President Bush.

    Full story on

    "War opponents dismissed the bill as a capitulation to Bush," but backers said the bill's provisions "represented an assertion of congressional authority over the war that was unthinkable a few months ago." (Washington Post)

    "[I]t postpones only until fall the next open battle between the Democratic-controlled Congress and Republican White House - a time when Bush's hand may be even weaker." (Chicago Tribune)

  • "Courting the anti-war constituency, Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both voted against legislation." (AP)

    Clinton told CNN after the vote that "Nobody believes" claims that she and other Democrats do not support U.S. troops.

    "I've been trying to get the administration to change course and engage in what I believe would be more effective actions in Iraq, and they haven't done it," she said. "You know, at some point, you don't want to keep going on with it." (

  • The latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds:

    "[T]here is broad support among Americans - Democrats, Republicans and independents alike - for the major provisions" in the immigration bill before Congress.

    "Americans now view the war in Iraq more negatively than at any time since the invasion more than four years ago."

    "President Bush's approval ratings remain near the lowest of his more than six years in office. Thirty percent approve of the job he is doing over all, while 63 percent disapprove."

    Full poll results: (pdf)

  • Will Al Gore run? "[T]he remaining Arctic and Antarctic ice could shrink to fill a cocktail shaker before even the most skilled forensic psychologist (or screenwriter) figures out exactly how Gore is leaning on this matter." (Los Angeles Times)

  • And as we head into the Memorial Day weekend, which presidential candidates would Americans prefer to picnic with? Find out the results of a new poll in Hot Topics below!

    President's Schedule:

  • The president travels to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, where at 10:50 am ET he'll visit with wounded military personnel.

    From there, Bush will fly directly to Camp David for the weekend.

    Also on the Political Radar:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Whip James Clyburn and DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen hold a 10 am ET presser on "Dem Accomplishments."

  • Bill Clinton gives the commencement address at Rochester Institute of Technology at 10 am ET.

  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates gives the commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis at 10:15 am ET.

  • Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) addresses the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists' International Convention at 1 pm ET in Chicago.

  • Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) holds a 1 pm ET Grand Opening for his Iowa campaign HQ in West Des Moines, IA.

  • First Lady Laura Bush participates in the Sandra Day O'Connor Awards Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, AZ, at 2:45 pm ET.

  • Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) travels to Iowa for a 2 pm ET "Conversation with Veterans and Iowans" at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, a 5 pm ET meeting "over pie and coffee" at Lincoln Elementary School in Charles City, and an 8:15 pm ET meet and greet at Premier Pizza in Algona.

  • John Edwards also spends a busy Friday in the Hawkeye State with community meetings in Fort Madison (9:15 am ET), Keosauqua (11:30 am ET), Fairfield (1:15 pm ET), Mount Pleasant (3 pm ET), and Washington, IA (6:45 pm ET).

  • The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

  • The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

    Political Hot Topics

    (Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)

    CLINTON, OBAMA VOTE "NO": Courting the anti-war constituency, Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both voted against legislation that pays for the Iraq war but lacks a timeline for troop withdrawal. "I fully support our troops" but the measure "fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq," said Clinton, a New York senator. "Enough is enough," Obama, an Illinois senator, declared, adding that President Bush should not get "a blank check to continue down this same, disastrous path." Their votes Thursday night continued a shift in position for the two presidential hopefuls, both of whom began the year shunning a deadline for a troop withdrawal. AP via Yahoo! News: Clinton, Obama vote 'no' on Iraq bill

    REMARKS "CLEAREST YET" ON BUSH VISION FOR U.S. ROLE IN IRAQ: President Bush said Thursday that once his troop buildup improved security in the Iraqi capital, he intended to follow the withdrawal plan proposed by a bipartisan study group, embracing recommendations previously spurned by the administration. Speaking at a White House news conference, Bush for the first time adopted the blueprint outlined in December by the Iraq Study Group, saying he envisioned U.S. troops gradually moving out of their combat role and into support and training functions. "You know, I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq," Bush said, referring to the study group by the names of its co-chairmen, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind). "The recommendations of Baker-Hamilton appealed to me." Bush's remarks were the clearest yet on his vision for the long-term U.S. role in Iraq. Los Angeles Times: Bush opens the door to a troop withdrawal

    NYT POLL FINDS BROAD SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRATION BILL: As opponents from the right and left challenge an immigration bill before Congress, there is broad support among Americans - Democrats, Republicans and independents alike - for the major provisions in the legislation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Taking a pragmatic view on a divisive issue, a large majority of Americans want to change the immigration laws to allow illegal immigrants to gain legal status and to create a new guest worker program to meet future labor demands, the poll found. At the same time, Americans have mixed feelings about whether the recent wave of immigration has been beneficial to the country, the survey found, and they are sharply divided over how open the United States should be to future immigrants. New York Times: Immigration Bill Provisions Gain Wide Support in Poll

    BUSH WILL SIGN MINIMUM WAGE HIKE: Congress handed a major victory to low-income workers on Thursday night by approving the first increase in the federal minimum wage rate in a decade. By a vote of 348 to 73, the House approved the measure as part of a deal on Iraq spending. Less than two hours later, the wage increase was approved in the Senate, where it was combined with a bill providing more money for the Iraq war. That vote was 80 to 14. The measure would raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour from $5.15 in three stages over two years. The bill includes $4.84 billion in tax breaks for small businesses. They have made a case, supported by Republicans and the White House, that the wage increase would be a burden for them. President Bush said he would sign the measure as part of the bigger spending package that had been negotiated between Democratic lawmakers and the administration. New York Times: Congress Backs Rise in the Minimum Wage

    HOUSE PASSES "BUNDLING" BILL: Under pressure to keep campaign promises to clean up Washington, House Democratic leaders pushed through major reform legislation that will require greater disclosure of the links between lawmakers and lobbyists. Chief among the reforms is a measure that requires lobbyists to disclose how much money they solicit from friends and business associates on behalf of a candidate. The so-called "bundling" bill was steeply resisted by pro-business Democrats and minority members who worried it would discourage lobbyists from helping to raise campaign cash. In the end, the bundling measure passed 382-37, as House Democratic leaders managed to hold their own ranks and draw plenty of support from Republicans anxious to burnish their own good-government credentials after a spate of scandals helped oust the GOP from power last year. The Politico: Lobbying reform measures pass House

    AG "NO CONFIDENCE" VOTE WILL GO FORWARD IN JUNE: The Senate will hold a vote of no-confidence on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in June, the sponsors of the measure announced Thursday. "Make no mistake about it: We are moving forward," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is leading the effort. "When a situation becomes so serious that there's a crisis in leadership of this magnitude, a Congress not only has the right to weigh in, we have a responsibility to take action. And we will." Schumer added that he and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) secured a promise from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that they would get a vote on their measure following Senate action on the immigration bill. The Hill: Senate to hold Gonzales no-confidence vote