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Senate Recruiting Under the Microscope

The Hill newspaper yesterday declared that the National Republican Senatorial Committee is adrift -- trailing its Democratic counterpart in cash raised and unable to convince any top-tier candidates to run next year.

While we agree on the fundraising front -- and wrote as much recently -- The Fix believes that expecting the NRSC to have a full stable of candidates four months into the 2008 cycle is more than a bit premature. That's not to say that Senate Republicans are landing highly regarded candidates; rather, it's simply to note that Democrats are still knee-deep in the recruiting process as well, with few "A" candidates to brag about on their side of the ledger.

Moreover, the history of the past two election cycles shows that the field of Senate candidates is usually not settled until late in the off-year, if not well into the actual election year.

At this time in the 2006 cycle, just three of Democrats' top-tier candidates -- Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) -- were declared candidates. Two others -- Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) -- had declared by the end of May 2005. But other candidates who went on to win in '06, including Jim Webb (Va.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), waited until late 2005 or even early 2006 before making clear that they would run.

Jump back an additional cycle to 2004, when Republicans had arguably their best recruiting class in decades. Three top-teir candidates had declared by May 2003 -- Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.). But Mel Martinez (Fla.) and John Thune (S.D.) didn't declare until January 2004, and Tom Coburn wasn't in the race until March 2004.

With that history in mind, let's take a look at the targets or potential targets for each party and where each side stands in the recruiting process:

COLORADO: Democrats are behind Rep. Mark Udall. We'll count that as a recruiting success for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, but Udall made clear two years ago he was running for the Senate in 2008 and probably didn't need much convincing after the 2006 election results. Republicans have no one at the moment, but we hear former Rep. Bob Schaffer is all-but-announced. Opinions differ on Schaffer's strength as a candidate, but he is a former member of Congress who has run statewide in the recent past. That said, Republicans' alleged first choice -- former Rep. Scott McInnis -- got in and quickly out of this race.

LOUISIANA: This is one of the states where we think Republicans probably deserve more time before we can deem their recruiting failed. No, Rep. Charles Boustany isn't going to run, and national Republicans' first choice -- Rep. Richard Baker -- seems like a lost cause too. But remember that all of the focus in Louisiana at the moment is on the governor's race. If GOP Rep. Bobby Jindal wins the governor's mansion this fall -- as he is favored to do -- it could well kick start the party and encourage candidates on the fence to get in. If by the end of 2007 Republicans have no top-tier candidate ready to challenge Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), then they have truly failed.

MAINE: Democrats got their preferred candidate in Rep. Tom Allen (D). While Republicans argue that Allen is something short of a stellar candidate, he is still a member of Congress who is already in the race and raising money. A recruiting success for Democrats in a part of the country where Republicans are definitely in retreat.

MINNESOTA: Comedian Al Franken and wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi are in the race to challenge incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). Franken has the name identification and fundraising prowess to make a serious run against Coleman, but there are concerns about how some of his past statements will play in Minnesota. Ciresi funded his own race in 2000 but lost the primary to another self-funder -- former Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.). Not a perfect situation but a good one for Democrats.

MONTANA: Republicans insist Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) remains in the mix to challenge Sen. Max Baucus (D). Rehberg raised a pittance in the first three months of 2007, but if he decided to run this would be a top target. For some reason, this race has the feeling of the 2006 North Dakota race, where after much consideration Gov. John Hoeven (R) decided not to challenge Sen. Kent Conrad (D). After Hoeven, there was no one else. Until Rehberg makes a final decision, this remains a key recruiting opportunity for Republicans.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The jury remains out on this one. The current crop of Democratic candidates -- former congressional candidate Katrina Swett and Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand -- isn't overwhelming. But former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen is considering the race seriously. Landing her would be a big win for the DSCC. Failing to convince Shaheen would be a major missed opportunity for the party.

OREGON: Rep. Peter DeFazio's "out-maybe-in-then-out" act over the last month handed Democrats their first major recruiting setback of the '08 cycle. Democrats are convinced either Rep. Earl Blumenauer or state Treasurer Randall Edwards will run and give Smith a serious race. Neither is their first choice, but in 2006 Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse became the preferred nominee only after Reps. Jim Langevin and Patrick Kennedy passed on the race.

SOUTH DAKOTA: It's tough to blame Republicans for their lack of a candidate at the moment. Sen. Tim Johnson has just left the hospital after months of recovery following brain surgery late last year. The race has been in a holding pattern ever since. Gov. Mike Rounds (R) remains interested IF the seat is open. But Johnson won't likely make a final decision about a reelection bid until the fall. And if he runs again, even the best Republican recruiters will struggle to find a serious challenge to him.

Upon review, Republicans so far don't have a single major success on their recruitment tote board. Democrats, however, can claim solid candidates in Colorado, Maine and Minnesota (although the national party had little hand in landing Udall and Franken/Ciresi).

The real test of who will win in the battle for top recruits will come when a few more of the Republican senators up for reelection in 2008 make final decision on whether to seek another term.

If Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) retires and Democrats lure former Gov. Mark Warner into the race, that would be a major recruiting victory. Same goes for Nebraska, where if Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) passes on a third term and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey (D) jumps in. And what about the candidate recruitment in New Mexico if Sen. Pete Domenici (R) passes on another term?

We won't get decisions from many of these incumbents until the summer or fall. It's only then that we can legitimately scan the full Senate playing field and make strong predictions about which party is in better shape.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 3, 2007; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Whether it be Denny Rehberg, Marc Racicot or Ronald Reagan, Montana Republicans have no more chance of beating Max Baucus then the Washington Nationals have of winning the pennant and world series.

And Governor Schweitzer and his dog are still running at 80% and over on the Big Sky popularity meter. And it is Scweitzer who sets the pace out here. He's the big event, not Rehberg, not Max and not Jon Tester while the one-time Republican star Marc Raciot is either forgotten or cursed for the deregulation calamity he staked his reputation on.

Which means - as of the moment - Rehberg is more worried about keeping his house seat then he is in challenging Max.
For if Schweitzer could run his pooch against Denny, the pooch would win and Denny knows it..

Image- wise and as future polling will show, the current legislative session has been a great triumph for
Brian and the faithful Jag over the inept and hapless GOP and will certainly lead to serious losses for the Republicans in legislative seats next year.

The dilemma for the Republicans here now is that in any serious race they will have to come to grips with a very popular
energetic and cunning governor, the likes of which has never been seen in Montana and I am 69 years old and a former longtime Republican county comittman in the state.

The problem with the new Republicans, many from out of state, is their bad manners, as just observed in the recent legislative session. Coupled with that tiresome Christian righteousness, they simply overplayed their hand and still don't have a clue. You can only milk the moral values cow for so long.

A good example of this change occurred in Butte early this week where Senator Baucus staged what he called a economic summit conference for Butte.

And it was Schweitzer's good fortune to follow the bearded robotic federal reserve chairman Ben Bernanke who had quickly put the audience to sleep.

But Schweitzer comes on stage and Immediately the audience was alert, sensing a real presense that not even Harold McGraw or Robert Rubin would come close to matching. After Schweiter finished speaking the packed audience was standing and clapping, the only time that occurred during the two day event.

Admittedly the governor is paddling downstream now and that could change. But if it doesn't, Montana Republicans will be facing hard times next year.

Otto Mueller, Wise River

Posted by: Otto Mueller | May 5, 2007 2:04 AM | Report abuse

I rarely see Colorado Chris...only seems to bring his boilerplate Schaffer comments when Cillizza blogs Senate chances.

To re-repeat, no knowledgable Colorado political observer gives Schaffer a chance. As Colorado moves ever further from red to blue (purple actually--move is actually independents choosing moderate Democrats over the decidedly non-moderates like Schaffer the Republicans keep nominating), the narrow 2006 lead is becoming a much larger 2008 lead.

Republicans can't recruit a candidate because none believe they can really win. Situation is similar to, but worse than 2006 cycle when the power structure reluctantly started to accept Schaffer, then immediately bolted when Pete Coors finally succumbed to their begging (Govenor had finally formally endorsed Schaffer, then changed his endorsement to Coors the next day!). That's, of course, how we got Sen. Salazar.

Adds up to a simple formula: Republican nomination of Schaffer = White Flag!

Posted by: malis | May 3, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe if your newly elected officials can get off their butts and get something accomplished in the way of actual legislation, it wouldn't be so easy to characterize their activities." - proud

proud - Even when they do something positive, you'll fail to recognize it, because your seeing them only with Party Labels on.

If you do recognize it, will you acknowledge it?

Your comments today sound more like Zouk, than you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Minnesota - could it be the Easternmost state with that revered indepedent "Western mentality"?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"bsimpleton - You'll note that nowhere ion my post did I attribute Ellison's win to his chosen faith. You have graciously chosen to illustrate the state's loony slogan by your comments."

First, did you come up with that clever modification of my name all by yourself? I can see why not only are you proud to be the GOP, but I'm sure the GOP is proud to have you.

On the subject of Rep Ellison, you said "Minnosetans seem to be fixated on grabbing the national spotlight due to political quirkiness or 'firsts'; e.g. Keith "The Muslim" Ellison."

It sure looks to me like you're saying Rep Ellison's faith has everything to do with his election. What other 'first' or 'national spotlight' could you have been referring to?

Posted by: bsimon | May 3, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Terje, above for noting Larry LaRocco's presence in the race in Idaho.

I worked for Larry Grant in the ID-01 last year, and I have signed on to help LaRocco. He knows how to win: In 1990, he was the first Dem to win in his district since 1960, and he was reelected in 1992 by 50,000 votes.

Here's more:

Posted by: Julie Fanselow | May 3, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

2008 will be a bad year for the GOP. We'll probably lose a Senate seat or two and will be lucky to hack away at the Democratic majority in the House.

But if the Dems win any seats next year it won't be in Colorado. Schaffer, despite the Beltway gloom, is a solid candidate, popular in Colorado, experienced, and he fits pretty well within Colorado's center-right mainstream. It won't be easy but I think he's the early favorite once he announces.

Posted by: Chris | May 3, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Likewise, Rep Ellison's Muslimness has nothing to do with his victory"

bsimpleton - You'll note that nowhere ion my post did I attribute Ellison's win to his chosen faith. You have graciously chosen to illustrate the state's loony slogan by your comments.

anon/coward writes: "--too bad your mind is capable only of reducing people to stereotypes."

You like that? Well here's a couple more..

Harry "The Loser" Reid
Diane "Under-the-table" Feinstein

Maybe if your newly elected officials can get off their butts and get something accomplished in the way of actual legislation, it wouldn't be so easy to characterize their activities.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 3, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I think you made a major oversight by not including veteran, former astronaught, and current Dartmouth professor Jay Buckey in your list of Democratic canidates for senate in New Hampshire. While a political newcomer, Buckey's resume and enviromental focus have the potential to be a big hit in the granite state, and I would rank him the second most viable Democrat, behind Shaheen and ahead of Marchand and Swett. You can check out for details.

Posted by: Massachusetts Liberal | May 3, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"Minnosetans seem to be fixated on grabbing the national spotlight due to political quirkiness or 'firsts'; e.g. Keith "The Muslim" Ellison."

What an ignorant thing to say. Jesse wasn't elected because MN wanted the first former pro-wrestler as gov, he won election because the traditional major parties nominated two milquetoast candidates (one of whom was Norm Coleman, by the way), opening the door for a third party victory. Likewise, Rep Ellison's Muslimness has nothing to do with his victory - he was the liberal candidate in the most liberal district in the state. In the primary, he was the candidate who talked about peace and flat-out ending the Iraq war. He won the nomination for his position on the war and social policy, not on the name of his god.

My earlier point was that if the two major parties in MN continue to nominate uninspiring, egotistical candidates who's primary selling points are that they have money, perhaps the electorate will once again return to an independant candidate.

Posted by: bsimon | May 3, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

CC points out that the NRSC is "adrift," but he doesn't remind us of the captain who allowed the ship to flounder until the end of 2006... Sen. Libby Dole of NC.

One wonders why there wasn't a GOP NRSC mutiny before the 2006 midterm....

Posted by: Truth Hunter | May 3, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

In terms of recruitment, I'd look at a couple of other states in the coming months to assess both parties strength:

Democratic opportunities/challenges:

New Mexico -- CC seems to think this is only in play if Domenici opts not to run. But given the controversies around the Iglesias issue, I'd think the DSCC would be looking at finding a strong candidate to run even if Domenici opts for re-election (especially if there is any chance Richardson could be VP or even Prez on a national ticket.. some coattail potential there). If Domenici opts out, not sure if Heather Wilson is as strong a choice as she was once viewed.

NC -- Democrats say they think Dole is vulnerable, but you can't beat someone with no one. Easley doesn't seem interested -- is Brad Miller a serious statewide threat?

GA -- Saxby Chambliss is probably safe, but given the shameless bin Laden number he did on Max Cleland last time, you'd think there would be some Democratic hunger for revenge... besides, a viable Senate candidate probably would help Dems defend their 2 vulnerable house seats.

Democrats should also look at their recruitment efforts with some other possible Republican retirements:

Ted Stevens in Alaska -- the state is pretty Republican, and since Tony Knowles has lost two statewide races, the Dems would probably need another candidate if they wanted to contest an open seat.

Larry Craig in Idaho -- hard to imagine a Democratic win here, but Larry LaRocco is probably about the strongest candidate the Democrats could hope for. The Republicans have tons of officeholders who could compete -- will they clear the field or have a messy primary?

Thad Cochran in Mississippi -- Mike Moore has been playing the "I might run" game for years, but he'll only do it if there is an open seat, same with Ronnie Musgrave. Chip Pickering seems to be the likeliest republican if Cochran doesn't run.

For the Republicans, there are far fewer targets -- only 12 Democratic seats up next cycle. In addition to the three CC mentioned (LA, Montana and SD), it remains to be seen if they can find serious challengers in other states they should be competitive in -- Mark Pryor is strong in Arkansas (and Mike Huckabee would be the strongest challenger, but he's busy), Tom Harkin in Iowa (who always wins, but not by much), Frank Lautenberg in NJ (who is running, is popular, but lets face it, he is old enough health might be an unexpected problem..).

I agree with CC that it is too early to yet assess the party's recruitment -- but with the seats up already reflecting a 21-12 R/D balance and a possible political climate favouring the Dems, it is clear that the Democrats will be the ones with the most opportunities to score recruitment gains. For the Rs, it will be about preventing incumbent retirements, finding strong candidates where they have retirements, and looking for a few Democratic incumbents who might be taken down. The DSCC definitely has a better hand to play this time than the RNSC.

Posted by: terje | May 3, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

CC, why not a word about tonight's R debate? Will you be covering it?

Now Mitt does a McCain and endorses the war. I do hope there will be lots of questions about when we will be getting out of Iraq, because clearly, that's the big question for most people:

'Jonathan Martin reports that Mitt Romney called President Bush yesterday to thank him for vetoing for the Iraq funding bill, and to praise his leadership. "On the eve of this debate, it says we're not running from this guy at all," said a Romney adviser.'

He thanked him for vetoing the funding bill for our troops? He thanked him for vetoing the 'Iraq Accountability Act'? I sure hope there's a photo op of Mitt hugging Bush, or giving him a big kiss like Lieberman...

Posted by: drindl | May 3, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

proudtobe--too bad your mind is capable only of reducing people to stereotypes.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

'Check this out -- the offices of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are denying a Washington Post story today saying that Congressional Democrats have backed down to the White House by offering to remove Iraq withdrawal language from the now-vetoed Iraq bill.

Pelosi just went before the Democratic caucus and informed them that the story's false, a Pelosi aide tells me. WaPo is standing by the story, and the lead writer of the Post piece, Jonathan Weisman, told me that leadership aides told him that the withdrawal language had to go. But the WaPo story goes further than that, saying explicitly that Dems have already "backed down" and offered the concession of removing the withdrawal language. Those aren't the same thing.

Why the eagerness to report that Dems have already caved if they haven't yet?'

I have no problem believing that these aides said this, or that the withdrawal language is likely to be taken out in the end--. But the question remains: If this offer hasn't actually been made yet, why is WaPo saying it has been? It's one thing for the aides to be saying that the language will have to go; it's another to say even before the negotiations have started that the concession has already been offered to the White House. If what the Pelosi and Reid aides are telling me is true, isn't WaPo jumping the gun in saying Dems have already caved in advance of the negotiations?

This all gives rise to a bigger question: Why is much of the media's coverage of this focussed on the Democratic dilemma the veto creates, while so little of it is focussed on the fact that Republicans, too, are in a bind, are trapped between public opinion and their unyielding President, and are going to have to make concessions towards a compromise?

Posted by: question | May 3, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"What is it that you, and so many other reporters have against lawyers?" I don't know, how bout we start with the 67 Million dollar lawsuit against the drycleaners that lost a pair of pants. Or the 2.9 million dollar McD hot coffee suit. Or the Idaho college student who fell out of his third-floor window while "mooning" his friends, then sued the college for not providing warnings about the perils of upper-story windows. Or the wonderfully precise legalese with which lawyers answer questions (...depends on what the meaning of "is" is...).

Or there is John Edwards famous closing where he recited the facts of the case in this manner:
"'I have to tell you right now -- I didn't plan to talk about this -- right now I feel her (Jennifer), I feel her presence,' Edwards told the jury according to court records. "[Jennifer's] inside me and she's talking to you ... And this is what she says to you. She says, 'I don't ask for your pity. What I ask for is your strength. And I don't ask for your sympathy, but I do ask for your courage.'""

Posted by: Dave! | May 3, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Jesse "The Body" Ventura's legacy could easily be replaced in Minnesota lore by Al "The Loudmouth" Franken.

Minnosetans seem to be fixated on grabbing the national spotlight due to political quirkiness or 'firsts'; e.g. Keith "The Muslim" Ellison.

Anybody to the right of Amy Klobuchar has no chance anymore in a state whose slogan is "Come fall in love with a loon".

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | May 3, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Not a good start for the GOPers in their quest to get back Congress. Their Novemeber defeat may not have been a fluke.

Posted by: cfl | May 3, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Bsimon: If you think Franken and Ceresi are "minor league," remember this is the state that elected Jesse Ventura as governor! Or was it Hulk Hogan?

Chris: Keep watching Louisiana for us. I think it could turn out to be a pivotal race as Dems try to build a veto-proof majority.

Posted by: pacman | May 3, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of mucking up the WaPo blog -- where's koz today? i expect he'll be by in about an hour or so.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I assume the KOSsacks have been ordered to muck up the Washington Post blogs. He isn't much for journalistic procedure or integrity and the plan is to wear everyone down, which is easy when you only have a few moments to look through blogs. That's how you get idiots asking why President Bush wasn't in the command center on the morning of 9/11 (he was in Florida, remember?)

Nice post as usual Chris. I think you may underrate Tom Allen as a candidate a bit; he'll be a tough test for Collins.

Posted by: Silent Cal | May 3, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

While, on the one hand, I somewhat agree with Jane's observation, above, about the practice of preceding Mike Ciresi's name with 'wealthy attorney,' on the other, don't much care, as neither Ciresi nor Franken are compelling candidates to replace Norm Coleman. If this is the best Minnesota can come up, why bother voting?

Posted by: bsimon | May 3, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The much-vaunted draft of the national oil law has hit a wall with the news that Kurdish and Sunni officials now have deep reservations about it because of what appears to be Shiite chicanery:

A provision quietly slipped into the bill by the Shiite-controlled Oil Ministry that would cede control of nearly all of Iraq's vast oil fields to a state-run (which is to say Shiite) oil company.

The draft law, which establishes a framework for the distribution of oil revenues, was already deeply flawed because it would mortage the future of the state-owned oil industry to U.S. companies, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell, through Production Sharing Agreements. Under these PSAs, the companies would control all oil production from new Iraqi fields and reap a huge share of the profits for years to come.

Posted by: what a surprise! | May 3, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

If you're so sick of hearing about the haircut, maybe you could stop pasting in articles about it for everyone else. And also stop mocking Mitt Romney's supposed obsession with his hair, which is exactly the same thing you're whining about the Politico doing.

Posted by: Blarg | May 3, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

'This is bad: When you go to Google and enter "Edwards haircut," the first item that comes up is a story by Bill Wundram in The Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa. . . .

The article got 324 comments from readers. When people inside the Beltway are talking about your haircut, it doesn't matter much. When people in Iowa are talking about your haircut, you may have a problem.'

So Simon uses the excuse that the item in the Iowa paper received 324 comments as proof that this is a huge story outside the Beltway, that there is this spontaneous groundswell of interest among salt-of-the-earth ordinary Iowans in John Edwards' hair. Therefore, he simply has to write about it.

But what Simon omits is that the reason the item in the Iowa paper received so many comments is because Matt Drudge linked to it, just as he linked to The Politico's story on this "issue." That fact was something that countless commenters to the Iowa item mentioned, including the sixth comment, followed by many others.

The Politico's Senior Political Columnist tries to claim that there is some sort of groundswell of interest in the Edwards/haircut story compelling him to write about it, when in reality, it is nothing more -- as usual -- than the fact that he and his colleague Matt Drudge and other similar types are chattering about it, and they mistake that chatter, which is all they know and understand, for what the "ordinary people" find important.

And that, in turn, makes them chatter about it more and more, feeding that self-affirming, self-important, self-centered Beltway journalist cycle endlessly.

Posted by: in a nutshell | May 3, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

'This is at least the eighth time that The Politico -- which gloriously "broke" the story -- has referenced Edwards' haircut. The featured article yesterday is the second on this topic from Simon, The Politico's "senior political columnist."

Even The Politico -- for which no story is too petty or Drudge-following -- seems embarrassed by its obsession. Thus, Simon claims in his article that he "was willing never to write about the haircuts again," and The Politico's front page headline claims: "Roger reluctantly takes another look at the haircut that will not die."

This is the official attack line on Edwards that the corporate media [aided by Rove, no doubt] has settled on. They can't come up with anything to seriously attack him on, so they will undermine him with ridicule, as they did Gore, Dean, Dukakis, Kerry -- every single Dem canddiate going far back in time. This is what you will hear hammered on constantly -- by koz, JD, and razorback and all the other trolls, by the winger blogs, by the papers and TV pundit shows. One big echo chamber, folks.

Obama, of course, they don't even have to try very hard. Just saying his name makes them laugh. And then whisper the terrifying word, 'madrassa'.

Hillary is more complicated... harder to make fun of, as they have themselves established her as 'dangerous' and strong. So they will have to keep harping the term that they have taught their base to fear most -- the dreaded 'L' word -- even though they know the Dem base doesn't like her because she's actually a hawk.

But ridicule of dems is the name of the game, isn't it CC? Doesn't it make you feel dirty sometimes?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey, whoever is putting in these non-political election stories, please stop. Go to another blog. Its annoying.

Posted by: Political Junkie | May 3, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

can anybody actually comment on the post

memo to nutcases nobody cares get off the blog unless you are responding to the post

Posted by: For crying out loud | May 3, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

This week, the Bush administration sought vastly increased powers to spy on the telephone conversations of Americans, and then threatened to begin spying again illegally and without warrants. It was revealed that Condoleezza Rice would meet with Syrian officials, a significant shift in Middle East policy.

Yesterday, it was disclosed that Iraq's government is actually purging itself of anyone who seeks to impede lawless Shiite militias. And one of the right-wing's most influential academicians published an article on The Wall St. Journal Op-Ed page explicitly advocating "one-man rule" in America whereby the President can ignore the "rule of law" in order to fight The Terrorists.

None of that -- or virtually anything else of even marginal significance -- was reported by The Politico, an online political magazine founded by some of the nation's most prestigious and admired (in Beltway terms) political journalists. But yesterday, The Politico's so-called "chief political columnist," Roger Simon, published a 674-word article -- prominently touted on The Politico's front page -- exclusively about John Edwards' haircuts, cleverly headlined "Hair today, gone tomorrow."

To begin his article, Simon pronounces:
It is the haircut that will not die.
He can spin it, he can gel it, he can mousse it. But it is not going away.
Simon marvels at how enduring the story is -- as though there is some phenomenon keeping the story alive independent of the fact that the gossipy, tiny-minded, substance-free "political journalists" plaguing our nation -- from Roger Simon and Maureen Down to Adam Nagourney and Mickey Kaus and Matt Drudge -- have not stopped talking about "the story."

It's tantamount to someone who keeps chewing their food and spitting it across the room and then marvelling at how filthy things are and bewilderingly wondering aloud about why there might be crusted food everywhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

you forgot about 10 states.

Posted by: will c | May 3, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

May 03,2007 | SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet Syria's foreign minister in the first high-level talks between the countries in years, a U.S. official said Thursday, and the chief American military spokesman in Iraq said Syria had moved to reduce "the flow of foreign fighters" across its border.

Posted by: TREASON | May 3, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

With 10 candidates answering a wide range of questions in such a limited amount of time, Republican operatives say Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, McCain, a four-term Arizona senator, and Romney, an ex-Massachusetts governor, probably won't have much of a chance to make significant impressions that could help them break out of the leaders' pack and shake up the race.

"It's going to be very short," Romney told Jay Leno on Wednesday on "The Tonight Show." "Get on, get off, keep your hair from getting messed up."

"It's mostly a matter of sticking to the talking points that you've been saying," Galen said. "The good news for any of the top three is not to make any news'

Funny how all Mitt the Hair Boy can think of is keeping his hair from getting 'messed up.' And I love how Galen is saying, whatever you do,' stick to your script and don't say actually say anything.' Sounds like a regular roborama.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The discovery of heavy concentrations of lead in the fabric of a brand of baby bibs sold only at Wal-Mart Stores has resulted in a recall of the items, the company said.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

'Senior Bush administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that they could not pledge that the administration would continue to seek warrants from a secret court for a domestic wiretapping program, as it agreed to do in January.

Rather, they argued that the president had the constitutional authority to decide for himself whether to conduct surveillance without warrants.'

What's a pledge after all? Just words.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh my god, not the Greens. Not evil enviionmentalists, with their secret agenda of keeping the air and water clean enough to ingest. Oh my god, not that! The horrort!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.

The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who ORDER IT, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.

18 U.S.C. § 2441 has no statute of limitations, which means that a war crimes complaint can be filed at any time.

The penalty may be life imprisonment or -- if a single prisoner dies due to torture -- death.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

You omitted Rhode Island where the "other" Senator Reed has such good constituent relations/service, and home town connectedness, that the Reps can't even gin up a token opponent as of this date. With the Whitehouse victory in '06, and the northeast/moderate-lib Rep establishment dwindling, it won't be long before the Greens take over what's left of it.

Posted by: LSterling | May 3, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As horrified Americans watched the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, unfold on their television sets, Vice President Dick Cheney directed the U.S. government's response from an emergency bunker.

The actions included moving key members of Congress to a secure location and having the Secret Service bring his wife, Lynn, to the bunker.

"My [Secret Service] agent all of a sudden materialized right beside me and said, 'Sir, we have to leave now.' He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall, and into the underground shelter in the White House," Cheney said.

In White House terminology, it is the PEOC, short for the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.'

Did you ever wonder why it was cheney who was directing the 'response'? It is called the 'Presidential' operations center. Normally, it would have been the president. If we had a president of normal intelligence and abilities, that is.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

'President Bush May 8 directed Vice President Dick Cheney to coordinate development of U.S. government initiatives to combat terrorist attacks on the United States.

Bush also directed the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish an Office of National Preparedness that will coordinate an integrated and comprehensive federal response to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) -- biological, chemical or nuclear -- used in an attack on the United States.

The Office of National Preparedness will work with state and local governments "to ensure their planning, training, and equipment needs are addressed," Bush said in a brief White House announcement.

"Prudence dictates that the United States be fully prepared to deal effectively with the consequences of such a weapon being used here on our soil," Bush said.

Cheney will lead a new task force to address terrorist threats and will report to Congress by September 1, after a review by the National Security Council.'

Cheney's task force never met.

Posted by: May 1 2001 | May 3, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

On the very morning of 9/11/01, five war games and terror drills were being conducted by several U.S. defense agencies, including one "live fly" exercise using REAL planes. Then-Acting Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers, admitted to 4 of the war games in congressional testimony -- see transcript here or video here (6 minutes and 12 seconds into the video).

Norad had run drills for several years of planes being used as weapons against the World Trade Center and other U.S. high-profile buildings, and "numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft". In other words, drills using REAL AIRCRAFT simulating terrorist attacks crashing jets into buildings, including the twin towers, were run. See also official military website showing 2000 military drill, using miniatures, involving a plane crashing into the Pentagon.

Indeed, a former Los Angeles police department investigator, whose newsletter is read by 45 members of congress, both the house and senate intelligence committees, and professors at more than 40 universities around the world, claims that he obtained an on-the-record confirmation from NORAD that ON 9/11, NORAD and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were conducting a joint, live-fly, hijack exercise which involved government-operated aircraft POSING AS HIJACKED AIRLINERS.

On September 11th, the government also happened to be running a simulation of a plane crashing into a building.

In addition, a December 9, 2001 Toronto Star article (pay-per-view; reprinted here), stated that "Operation Northern Vigilance is called off. Any simulated information, what's known as an 'inject,' is purged from the screens". This indicates that there were false radar blips inserted onto air traffic controllers' screens as part of the war game exercises.

Moreover, there are indications that some of the major war games previously scheduled for October 2001 were MOVED UP to September 11th by persons unknown.

Interestingly, Vice President Cheney was apparently in charge of ALL of the war games and coordinated the government's "response" to the attacks. See this Department of State announcement; this CNN article; and this previously-cited essay.

Posted by: check the links | May 3, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Where's the "Wag the Blog: What's Next for Democrats on Iraq" from earlier this week? Seems like it would be timely given the on-going negotiations.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 3, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

This says everything about the neocon-corporate takeover of the natiion's newsrooms. the fact that a whacked-out neonazi like Beck is even allowed to speak on TV is bad enough, but then to allow him to broadcast this blasphemey, is disgusting attack on Al Gore and science, is beyond nauseating. It also shows you where the winger trolls that come on here get theri material to parrot:

'On the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom, while previewing his May 2 special, "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck told host Don Lemon that he is doing the special because "the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea," adding: "I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics." Those comments recall remarks Beck made on the April 30 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, in which he likened former Vice President Al Gore's fight against global warming to Adolf Hitler's use of eugenics as justification for exterminating 6 million European Jews. On that program, Beck stated: "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government."

God save this country from the demagogues and anti-science fascists who are trying to destroy It.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 3, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

'wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi' -- is all that part of his name, CC? Because you never say the words mike ceresi without saying 'wealthy attorney'. It's kinda like an obssession with you. I don't recall you ever saying, 'wealthy surgeon Bill Frist' -- although Bill Frist is certainly wealthier than Mike Ceresi, because he owns an entire medical corporation.

What is it that you, and so many other reporters have against lawyers? Are we a nation of laws, as so many republicans like to parrot, or do you, like most of the republican establilshment, thumb your nose at the concept? Like, laws are for the 'little people?

And you certainly get your knickers in quite a twist, quite a bit of umbrage, if anyone suggests your beloved republicans are doing less than stellar. But let's face it -- traditional R big donors are flocking to dems. Only one-third of the public supports the R's main issue --the Iraq occupation, which is hung around their necks like a dead skunk. A big majority favors dems over r's right now.

And W and Cheney will never ever leave Iraq--their plan is to micromanage the entire middle east. Face it -- you people have problems.

Posted by: Jane | May 3, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

A rocket attack on Iraq's heavily fortified Green Zone killed four Filipino contractors working for the U.S. government, the American embassy said Thursday. It was the third straight day that insurgents used rockets or mortars to hit the area where Iraq's parliament meets.

Posted by: is this progress? | May 3, 2007 7:48 AM | Report abuse

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