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BLOG ARCHIVE: MAY 16-31, 2007.

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

VACATION NEWS; ARG SAYS HILLARY, McCAIN LEAD IN KEY STATES; FBI LOOKS AT STEVENS.
VACATION NEWS: I'm heading back to France again today to visit Dana for the next two weeks. However, I'll promise to publish updates sporadically (maybe once every 2-3 days) during that time. I'm bringing my laptop with me, so you'll get some updates ... with the next update likely to be Friday or Saturday. But, as Dana and I are going to be spending some of our time on vacation relaxing -- i.e., NOT working -- in the French Riviera and celebrating our 20th anniversary, don't expect daily updates again until I return on June 14. Until then, À bientôt.
IOWA: New American Research Group polls show Hillary Clinton (D) and John McCain (R) holding narrow leads in Iowa. The Dem numbers: Clinton - 31%, John Edwards - 25%; Barack Obama - 11%; Bill Richardson - 8%; Dennis Kucinich - 4%, Joe Biden - 3%; Chris Dodd - 2%; and Mike Gravel - 1%. The GOP results: McCain - 25%, Rudy Giuliani - 23%, Mitt Romney - 16%, Newt Gingrich - 8%, Fred Thompson - 6%, Sam Brownback - 3%, and all others with 2% or less apiece.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The latest ARG tracking poll numbers in the Granite State also place Clinton and McCain at the head of the pack. The Dem results: Clinton - 34%, Edwards - 18%, Obama - 15%, Richardson - 9%, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden had 2% each, and all others had 1% or less. On the GOP side, McCain had 30%, Romney had 23%, Giuliani - 21%, Gingrich - 4%, Fred Thompson - 3%, and no other candidate broke the 1% mark.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Yup, more ARG polls ... and again with the same Clinton/McCain leads. The Dems: Clinton - 34%, Edwards - 30%, Obama - 18%, and all others at 2% each or less. On the GOP side, McCain had 32%, Giuliani - 23%, Fred Thompson - 13%, Romney - 10%, Gingrich - 6%, and all others tied with 1% apiece.
ALASKA: State Senator Ben Stevens (R) has been the open target of an FBI corruption probe for months, but now the Anchorage Daily News reports his father is also being investigated by the FBI. The newspaper reported that the FBI and a federal grand jury are investigating an "extensive remodeling project" on the Alaska home of US Senator Ted Stevens (R). The feds are checking to see if Stevens paid for the work or whether an oil-field services company secretly picked up the tab. Stevens is the longest serving Republican in US Senate history.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.
Also, a note to thanks to George Phillies, Libertarian candidate for President, for sending me a bunch of campaign buttons and other items he's picked up as he's been campaigning around the nation.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.31.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

BESHEAR LEADS; HULSHOF WANTS BACK TO SCHOOL; BLAGO PROBE GROWS; COACH PONDERS RETIREMENT.
KENTUCKY: A new
WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA poll confirms a sharp rift in the GOP and shows the gubernatorial general election contest isn't very competitive. The numbers: former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear (D) - 62%, Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) - 34%. SurveyUSA pretty accurately predicted the primary outcome in their tracking poll, so they have some credibility on this predicting race. Also, as half of all Republican primary voters cast ballots against Fletcher in the divisive GOP primary, the embattled incumbent will have serious problems uniting his base. Let's move this race to the Leans Dem category -- and if another poll comes out like this one, we'll move it to the Dem Favored category.
MISSOURI: Congressman Kenny Hulshof (R) confirmed he is interviewing for the open post of University of Missouri President. "My professional career has been dedicated to public service. I consider this position a rare opportunity to extend this service in a unique way. It is one of the very few jobs for which I would consider leaving Congress," said Hulshof, in a written statement. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the school hopes to have a new President installed by the start of the fall semester. If Hulshof is picked, a special election would take place this fall. The district favors the Republicans, but a strong Dem could make a special election competitive.
ILLINOIS #1: Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from Governor Rod Blagojevich's (D) 2006 campaign, according to the Chicago Tribune. The subpoenas are the latest in an ongoing corruption investigation focusing on people involved in Blagojevich's campaign fundraising and his hiring practices. The investigation has been active for over a year. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing. The Feds are investigators are scrutinizing how the Governor's campaign raised a record-breaking $20 million last year. "Anyone who did not obey the law has to bear the consequences," said Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn (D), who is not politically close to Blagojevich. Campaign fundraiser Tony Rezko was indicted a few months ago for allegedly trying to extorting millions of dollars in kickbacks from investment firms that wanted state business. Blagojevich, to date, has not been directly tied to any of the corruption allegations.
ILLINOIS #2: Congressman Denny Hastert (R-IL) -- the former House Speaker -- is contemplating retiring from Congress, according to several published news reports. His office confirms Hastert is at least thinking of retirement and promises to announce his intentions within the next few weeks. If Hastert retires in 2008, he wants to announce his plans early enough to allow for a healthy and competitive GOP primary for his seat. For a bit a trivia, the last Speaker to preside over his party losing majority status -- but while retaining his own seat -- was Joe Martin (R-MA). After House Republicans fell back to minority status in the 1948 elections, Martin remained Republicans Leader for the next six years before being returned to the Speaker's chair in 1952. After the GOP again fell back to minority status in 1954, Martin served six more terms in the House (including two more terms as Minority Leader) before losing his renomination primary in 1966.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.29.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.29.07 | Permalink |

MEMORIAL DAY OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Enjoy the holiday.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.28.07 | Permalink |

WEEKEND OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
I'm spending the weekend at the beach and skating ... and encourage all of you to step away from the Internet for a few hours and get outdoors this holiday weekend!

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.26.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Yup, I'm taking a day off from regular posting.
Have at it with this open thread.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.25.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

HILLARY WON'T QUIT IOWA FIGHT; NEWT'S CLOCK IS TICKING; BOEHNER ON IMMIGRATION REFORM.
CLINTON: An internal strategy memo written by a US Senator Hillary Clinton's Deputy Campaign Manager suggested that she skip the Iowa caucuses in favor of concentrating on New Hampshire and the following primary states. The memo was leaked to the media through a rival campaign. Within hours, Clinton distanced herself from the memo. "I have to make the decisions and I’ve made the decision [to compete in Iowa]. I haven’t revisited it. I’m not agonizing over it. I never saw the memo. I’ve never had it read to me," she said to the Des Moines Register. Recent polls place Clinton third in the state behind John Edwards and Barack Obama among likely Dem caucus participants.
GINGRICH: Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is edging closer toward entering the 2008 White House race. First he announces Wednesday he plans to attend the important Ames Straw Poll this summer in Iowa -- but not as a candidate. Instead, he said he plans to attend to help spread his message about the issues he thinks the party must discuss. He'll be having a booth at the event promoting his American Solutions PAC. Then, on a Dallas radio show later in the day, Gingrich said he is looking "to see if there is a requirement for a citizen candidate [for President] who is committed to bold language and clearer solutions ... and if there is, I'll probably end up running." He says he'll announce his decision in September. Hint: Gingrich will announce his candidacy on September 27, 2007, the 13th anniversary of when he first unveiled the Contract with America campaign in 1994. His website even has a prominent countdown clock running towards that date.
IMMIGRATION: The Hotline reported on some unexpected remarks by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). Speaking before a crowd of GOP activists in DC on Tuesday evening, Boehner discussed the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill compromise backed by the White House. "I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about ... this piece of shit bill," he said. Here was Wednesday's follow-up spin on the comments by Boehner's spokesman: "Mr. Boehner’s comment was nothing but an off-the-cuff wisecrack made jokingly during a private gathering. While he has serious concerns about the Senate bill, it’s unfortunate that this comment in particular found its way into print."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.
Suggestion: If you want to discuss American Idol, your favorite soda, etc., those kind of items probably belong in this thread instead of the political news one above.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.24.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FLETCHER, BESHEAR WIN BIG IN KY; ROMNEY, EDWARDS LEADING IN IOWA.
KENTUCKY: Embattled Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) overcame opposition from many state GOP leaders and a blistering attack ad campaign from former Congresswoman Anne Northup to win a surprisingly wide renomination victory. Fletcher won with 50%, followed by Northup at 37%, and wealthy businessman Billy Harper third with 13%. Fletcher's victory is a major defeat for US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who solidly aligned his forces and influence behind Northup. The Fletcher faction of the Kentucky GOP is already looking to find a tough primary challenger to oppose McConnell next year. Despite the feisty nature of the campaigns, turnout was very light. On the Democratic side, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear appears to have won a big enough vote -- finishing over the 40% mark -- to avoid a run-off. Like Fletcher, Beshear scored a win that was larger than anticipated. The numbers: Beshear - 41%, wealthy health care executive Bruce Lunsford - 21%, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry - 17%, State House Speaker Jody Richards - 13%, attorney Gatewood Galbraith - 6%, and businessman Otis Hensley at 1%. Northup and Lunsford both conceded defeat shortly after polls closed. The major losing candidates on both sides were quick to endorse the respective primary winners in their various concession speeches. For now, place the hot Fletcher-Beshear race in the toss-up category.
IOWA: A new Startegic Vision-R poll shows Mitt Romney (R) and John Edwards (D) now leading in the state's Presidential contest. Further, this poll shows a further slide by the two candidates -- John McCain (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) -- who started the race as the early frontrunners. On the GOP side, these were the results: Romney - 20%; Rudy Giuliani - 18%; McCain - 16%; Fred Thompson - 10%; Tommy Thompson - 7%; Newt Gingrich - 5%; Mike Huckabee - 3%; Sam Brownback, Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo tied with 2% each; and all others at 1% or less. On the Democratic side, these were the numbers: Edwards holds a five-point lead. The numbers: Edwards - 29%; Barack Obama - 24%; Clinton - 16%; Bill Richardson - 9%; Joe Biden - 3%; Chris Dodd - 2%; and Dennis Kucinich - 1%. Now, here are a few new wrinkles to throw into the mix. When asked if they supported "a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months," Republicans answered yes by a 54%-37% margin (and Dems agreed by an 81%-5% vote). Also, by a lopsided 5%-79% margin, Republicans said President Bush is not "a conservative Republican in the mode of Ronald Reagan."

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.07 | Permalink |

EDITORIAL: CONGRESSIONAL DEM LEADERSHIP BETRAYING 2006 VOTER MANDATE.
"There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action," said US Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) about the Democratic Congressional Leadership's capitulation on Tuesday to the Bush White House on Iraq War funding. Pelosi, Hoyer and company can try to pretty-up this bad deal as much as they want, wrap it in thick rhetorical trimming, and spin, spin away -- but they shamefully lost their nerve this week on the single most important political issue facing our nation today.
Democratic leaders seemed to have forgotten they recaptured majority status largely on angry voter backlash to Bush's bloody, failed and seemingly never-ending military occupation of Iraq. The Leadership actions this week are a betrayal of the voters. Yes, the Dems lack the votes to override the President's vetoes. Likewise, President Bush cannot force Congress to send him an Iraq War funding bill without timelines. That's the nature of a checks-and-balances stalemate that should force a meaningful compromise. But, instead, the Dem Leadership simply caved and gave a virtual greenlight to White House plans to double the number of US troops in Iraq to over 200,000 by the end of the year. Congressional Dems should continue sending Bush identical Iraq funding bills -- week after week -- that contain timelines. Dems should be repeatedly asking the American people why the President won't sign any of the Iraq funding bills they keep sending him if he truly wants to fund the war. "Is he against our troops? Does the President want to leave them vulnerable to the terrorists," Dems should be asking the public. It's time for backbone. It's time for Congressional leaders to support our troops and vote -- again and again and again -- to fund an interim war effort while starting to bring our troops home now. We already know Republican leadership adamantly oppose ending this terrible war. But, if our current Democratic leaders don't have the guts to be real leaders, maybe we need to find stronger Democratic leadership after the next elections.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.23.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

KY GOV POLL; McCONNELL & KUCINICH MAY GET PRIMARIED; REID'S PLAN; McCONNELL FOR HAGEL.
KENTUCKY #1: A final WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA primary tracking poll shows Governor Ernie Fletcher appears heading to a large enough win in Tuesday's primary so as to avoid the need for a June 26 run-off. A candidate must win at least 40% to avoid a run-off. The numbers: Fletcher - 44%, former Congresswoman Anne Northup - 34%, businessman Billy Harper - 17%. The Fletcher-Northup numbers are unchanged since the last poll. In fact, Northup has been stuck at the 34% mark for the past four tracking polls. On the Democratic side, the leader numbers also remain unchanged: former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear - 32% and has moved ahead of the pack. Wealthy health care executive Bruce Lunsford is second with 23%, followed by former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry at 17%, State House Speaker Jody Richards - 12%, attorney Gatewood Galbraith - 7%, and businessman Otis Hensley at 1%. Short of Henry closing the gap with Lunsford for second place on election day, it appears Beshear and Lunsford will advance to the run-off.
KENTUCKY #2: Call it Ernie Fletcher's revenge. US Senate Mitch McConnell (R-KY), portrayed in state newspapers as the godfather of the Kentucky GOP, has his faction of the party heavily backing Anne Northup in Tuesday's gubernatorial primary. That appears to be why a growing movement in the party -- led by the pro-Fletcher faction -- is looking for payback in the form of giving McConnell a tough primary challenge in 2008. Check out the DraftForgy.com website, urging wealthy attorney Larry Forgy (R) to oppose McConnell. Forgy was the GOP nominee for Governor in 1995 and is a Fletcher ally. The Draft Forgy website is filled with pro-Fletcher and ani-McConnell sentiments, and lots of Forgy quotes that make him sound interested in the race.
CONGRESS: Annoyed with President Bush's recent recess appointments of controversial nominees, US News reports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a procedural maneuver to thwart the White House. "Reid will call the Senate into session [during the summer recess] just long enough to force the Prez to send his nominees who need confirmation to the chamber. The talk is he will hold a quickie 'pro forma' session every 10 days, tapping a local senator to run the hall. Senate workers and Republicans are miffed, but Reid is proving that he's the new sheriff in town," reported the magazine. The move would legally deny Bush the ability to make any recess appointments.
FLORIDA: Despite threats from both major parties, Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) signed into law the bill that moves the state's Presidential primary
forward to January 29, 2008. The law also ends the use of touchscreen voting machines that don't produce voter verifiable paper receipts, and ended the state's "resign to run" law for candidates seeking federal office. That last part was purportedly added to allow Crist to be in contention for VP nomination -- although it will allow lots of state senators and local officials to make congressional runs without risking their current seats.
HAGEL: Maverick anti-war US Senator Chuck Hagel (R) and Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) -- Hagel's announced conservative primary challenger -- were both present at the Nebraska Republican Party fundraising dinner this past weekend. Also present in town was US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who was a featured guest at Hagel's fundraiser the evening before. According to the Omaha World-Journal, McConnell "praised Hagel as a conservative who voted with his party more than 95 percent of the time." McConnell said Hagel's criticism about Iraq were proving true. "Many of the predictions that Chuck made about how the war might go have come true. A lot of us still believe that some of his early predictions -- that this was going to be a very tough project -- have proven to be accurate," said McConnell.
KUCINICH: Parma Mayor and former State House Minority Leader Dean DePiero (D) told the Columbus Dispatch he is considering making a primary challenge next year to Congressman Dennis Kucinich. DePiero says he isn't sure Kucinich is vulnerable in a primary, but the newspaper wrote "many residents of the 10th District are fed up with Kucinich's quixotic quests for the presidency and grouse that he does not pay sufficient attention to the district." If he runs, DePiero could present Kucinich with a tough primary contest.
ENVIRONMENT: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell (R) co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post blasting the EPA's failure to enact tailpipe emission standards. They described current EPA policies as "more of the same inaction and denial." The two continued: "We are far from convinced that the agency intends to follow the law and grant us our waiver. If it fails to do so, we have an obligation to take legal action and settle this issue once and for all." The EPA was quick to respond: "EPA initiated the statutory process for reviewing California's waiver request used for all waivers, and the agency must complete that process before making a decision. By the end of this month, the agency will hold two public hearings...."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.22.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

IOWA POLL; GONE-ZO SAGA CONTINUES; CARTER-BUSH INSULTS FLY.
IOWA: A new Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus participants shows Mitt Romney's weeks of TV advertising in the state have produced results. The results: Romney - 30%, John McCain - 18%, Rudy Giuliani - 17%, Tommy Thompson - 7%, Sam Brownback - 5%, Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo tied with 4% each, and all others at 1% or less. On the Democratic side, John Edwards holds a six-point lead. The numbers: Edwards - 29%, Barack Obama - 23%, Hillary Clinton - 21%, Bill Richardson - 10%, Joe Biden - 3%, Dennis Kucinich - 2%, and all others at 1% or less.

GONZALES: The US Senate's "no confidence" resolution on on Attorney General Al Gonzales is looming, with a likely vote sometime this week. US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) predicted on CBS's Face the Nation that Gonzales will resign before the vote is taken. "Votes of no confidence are very rare. Historically, that is something which Attorney General Gonzales would like to avoid. I think that if and when he sees that coming, he would prefer to avoid that kind of a historical black mark," said Specter. Appearing on ABC's This Week, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signalled further problems when he declined opportunities to defend Gonzales. Instead, McConnell said it would be up to the President to decide if Gonzales could continue to be effective in his job.
"I KNOW YOU ARE, BUT WHAT AM I?": After former President Jimmy Carter lobbed yet another round of sharp criticism at President George W. Bush this weekend,
the White House responded in kind. "He is proving to be increasingly irrelevant," said a White House spokesman.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.21.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.21.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NH POLL; IMMIGRATION COMPROMISE; DOBSON HATES RUDY; GONE-ZO; GORE'S LOST LOVE.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: A new Zogby telephone poll of New Hampshire voters shows Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton leading for their respective primaries. On the GOP side, Romney led with 35%, followed by Rudy Giuliani and John McCain tied with 19% apiece, Fred Thompson at 6%, Ron Paul at 3%, and all others each scoring 1% or less. The numbers indicate Romney's recent TV buys in the state are working, as he jumped up 10 points since last month's poll. McCain is down 6 points, while Giuliani's numbers are unchanged. On the Dem side, Clinton narrowly led Barack Obama by a 28% to 26% vote, with John Edwards third with 15%, Bill Richardson is at 10%, Dennis Kucinich had 4%, and nobody else scored above 1%. Obama has shrunk Clinton's lead by four points since the last NH poll.
IMMIGRATION: US Senate leaders and the Bush Administration reached a compromise on last year's immigration reform bill -- a deal that will likely guarantee the bill's passage. Under the compromise, the revised Kennedy-McCain bill would allow undocumented workers who arrived in the US before January 1, 2007, to be given immediate work authorization to remain in the US, be granted a "Z" visa and placed on a path to permanent residence. Heads of household would have to return to their home country within eight years but would be guaranteed the right to return, in exchange to paying a $5,000 fine. In a trade-off for immigration opponents, the bill would double the number of Border Patrol agents, strengthen the border fence with Mexico, and employers who hire undocumented workers would be fined. "The agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have to secure our borders [and] bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America," said Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA). "This is the first step, but important step, in moving forward with comprehensive, overall immigration reform ... This is what bipartisanship is about. When there is a requirement for this nation and its security that transcends party lines, I'm proud to have been a small part of it," said Senator John McCain (R-AZ). "This bill secures our borders, has tough enforcement of our immigration laws on the border and in the interior, brings the 12 million undocumented workers in our nation out of the shadows and creates a real immigration system for the future," said US Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO). US Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) were all staunch opponents of the Kennedy-McCain bill last year, but announced they are satifsfied with this compromise version. "From my perspective, it's not perfect. But it represents the best opportunity that we have in a bipartisan way to do something about this problem ... So, to my constituents who said do something about this problem, I can say I have tried my best to craft a bill that won't repeat the mistakes of the past and will deal with the problems of today," said Kyl. "This bill is a two-step process. And the first step is cure the problem: Stop the insecurity on the border ... And [second] let's return to respect America's dream of a legal immigration system that works," said Isakson. Other appearing at the press conference to endorse the compromise plan included US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Bush Cabinet members Carlos Gutierrez and Michael Chertoff. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), by contrast, told Fox News he strongly opposes this compromise deal as "instant amnesty." Tancredo blamed President Bush for bringing about the compromise: "The President is so desperate for a legacy and a domestic policy win that he is willing to sell out the American people and our national security." Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) also denounced the compromise, saying it "will make a bad situation worse."
GIULIANI: Religious right leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family really, really hates Rudy Giuliani (R-NY). Here is an excerpt from a column Dobson drafted for the conservative WorldNetDaily website: "Speaking as a private citizen ... I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision. If given a Hobson's – Dobson's? – choice between him and Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran – or if worse comes to worst – not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else."
GONZALES: The US Senate appears likely to schedule a "no confidence" vote next week on Attorney General Al Gonzales. US Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) on Thursday became the fifth Republican Senator to call on Gonzales to resign. US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is leading the drive for a no confidence vote, said he is confident at least 60 Senators will vote for the resolution.
GORE: Former Vice President Al Gore told Time magazine he has "fallen out of love with politics."
Time reports Gore has played no part in encouraging his former aides and draft movement activists. "I can’t say [what it would take for me to run for President] because I’m not looking for it. But I guess I would know it if I saw it. I haven’t ruled it out. But I don’t think it’s likely to happen," said Gore.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.18.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily free speech zone.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.18.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

SO, WOULD THIS MAKE THEM "CUT-AND-RUN REPUBLICANS"?
How badly do some vocal Republican supporters of the Iraq War want to find an excuse that will allow them to call for an quick withdrawal of US forces? Just check out all of these comments, as reported by The Politico. The comments were offered in response to AP's report that a bill proposed in the Iraqi Parliament -- which reportedly has the support of 144 of 275 members -- would call for the US military to leave Iraq. The bill is backed by supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sad and others. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opposes the bill, and it it is not clear if or when it will come up for a formal vote. The vote may be postponed until after the two-month parliamentary recess. However, if the bill is approved, many prominent, pro-war GOP Members of Congress say it would change their position. Congressman Adam Putnam (R-FL), the third-highest member of the GOP House leadership,
said "I suspect we would respect their wishes." Said US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "I want to assure you, if they vote to ask us to leave, we'll be glad to comply with their request." US Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-MS) said the Iraqi Parliament "should heed McConnell's words" or they will likely get what they wish for. "If the government of Iraq decided by a vote of the majority, obviously it would have a tremendous effect ... I don't think we'd throw our hands up and say adios, but it would have a major effect," said US Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that "Iraq is a sovereign nation. If they were to do that, we'd be happy to allow them" to get what they say they want. "I do respect democracy with all my heart, and I think that will change the equation," said Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ). "That's what the White House has been saying it wants. They stand up, we stand down," said Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Yup, short posting today. After a full day of work, I did an 8-mile skate at the beach ... then went for an ocean swim at sunset (and got to surf a few waves) ... home for dinner and some nice wine ... and now I just don't feel like spending that much time writing
tonight.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.17.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FOX GOP DEBATE; KY POLL; BLOOMBERG'S BILLION; MN SEN POLL; FALWELL; PHILLY RESULTS.
GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE #2: First, the questions asked in the Fox News debate from South Carolina were certainly much better, tougher, and more direct than those poised in the previous debates this year. The candidates were actually called on the carpet and forced to give real answers. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney all took early hits for jettisoning their previously moderate social views to gain conservative points in this race. Whatever points Ron Paul scored in the first debate as the lone anti-war GOP candidate were probably lost in this debate when he essentially said that US foreign policy provoked the 9/11 attacks. Plus, he gave Giuliani a moment to really shine on stage. Doctor Paul has clearly forgotten the key adage of the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm. True or not, Paul's comments will relegate him to a fringe GOP following or a third party run. Tom Tancredo was feistier tonight in his controversial immigration views. Jim Gilmore got in a few shots at the frontrunners, but he's still a non-entity in the race. Mike Huckabee took a hit for his record on taxes, but briefly won points for his John Edwards "beauty shop" line. Tommy Thompson and Duncan Hunter largely registered drab performances. Was Sam Brownback even there, because I cannot recall any memorable moments from him. The entire group -- except for McCain, Gilmore and Paul -- expressed support for using torture on suspected terrorists. Romney had the biggest pandering line, promising to not close the controversial military prison but instead said he would "double Guantanamo." My overall take, Giuliani and McCain tied for the win in this debate. Tancredo and Huckabee also had a pretty good night. Romney did okay, but some of the tougher questions seemed to inflict damage. Paul definitely inflicted the most damage on his own campaign.
KENTUCKY: A new WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA poll gives us a good snapshot of next week's gubernatorial primaries. On the GOP side, Governor Ernie Fletcher leads former Congresswoman Anne Northup by a vote of 44% to 34%, with wealthy businessman Billy Harper third with 14%. Fletcher has held the lead in all of the SurveyUSA tracking polls over the past two months. On the Democratic side, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear scored 32% and has moved ahead of the pack. Wealthy health care executive Bruce Lunsford is second with 23%, followed by former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry at 18%, State House Speaker Jody Richard at 12%, attorney Gatewood Galbraith at 5%, and businessman Otis Hensley at 1%. These numbers indicate a Beshear surge of 10-points and a Lunsford drop of 10-points since the last poll two weeks ago. A candidate must win at least 40% to avoid a June 26 run-off.
BLOOMBERG: According to a Washington Times report Tuesday, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg
"has told close associates he will make a third-party run if he thinks he can influence the national debate and has said he will spend up to $1 billion." According to the newspaper, both major parties are very worried about his looming candidacy. "Senior Republican officials -- including those supporting declared Republican presidential nomination contenders -- and several top Democrats told The Times they take the possibility of a Bloomberg candidacy as a serious threat in November 2008," reported the Times. To give you an idea of how a campaign budget of $1 billion would be the political equivalent of "shock and awe," Bush and Kerry spent a COMBINED total of $695.7 million in 2004. Think of how many TV spots you saw last time for Bush and Kerry. Now think about $1 billion spent on Independent ballot petition drives and mega-doses of advertising. Every channel for months will be MTV -- MikeTV, that is -- if Bloomberg really plans to spend $1 billion.
MINNESOTA: Independent polling on the US Senate race shows US Senator Norm Coleman (R) is still well positioned to win re-election. The latest Minnesota Public Radio/Mason-Dixon poll shows Coleman leads humorist Al Franken (DFL) by a 54% to 32% vote. Coleman leads wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi (DFL) by a 52% to 29% vote. Coleman's approval rating has dropped to 48%, which may be a warning flag for an incumbent that some electoral problems could be looming down the road.
JERRY FALWELL: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" ... and I've got absolutely nothing positive to say about him ... so, on to the next story.
PHILADELPHIA: As predicted in the closing polls, City Councilman Michael Nutter swept to a comfortable victory in the crowded Democratic primary for Philadelphia Mayor. Nutter, a political reform candidate who used a solid TV blitz in the final ten days, was viewed as a hopeless "also-ran" with little support just a month ago. Incumbent John Street (D) is term-limited. Nutter, interestingly, is a longtime foe of Mayor Street. Nutter won with 36%, followed by wealthy former Deputy Mayor Tom Knox at 25%, Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady tied with 15% apiece, and State Representative Dwight Evans was fifth with 8%. Knox spent nearly $10 million of his own money on the contest, but saw Nutter's reformist message eclipse him in the final days. The city is reliably Democratic, so Nutter is now a safe bet to win in November.
Chamber of Commerce executive and two-time failed congressional candidate Al Taubenberger is the GOP nominee.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FOX GOP DEBATE; KY POLL; BLOOMBERG'S BILLION; MN SEN POLL; FALWELL; PHILLY RESULTS.
GOP PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE #2: First, the questions asked in the Fox News debate from South Carolina were certainly much better, tougher, and more direct than those poised in the previous debates this year. The candidates were actually called on the carpet and forced to give real answers. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney all took early hits for jettisoning their previously moderate social views to gain conservative points in this race. Whatever points Ron Paul scored in the first debate as the lone anti-war GOP candidate were probably lost in this debate when he essentially said that US foreign policy provoked the 9/11 attacks. Plus, he gave Giuliani a moment to really shine on stage. Doctor Paul has clearly forgotten the key adage of the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm. True or not, Paul's comments will relegate him to a fringe GOP following or a third party run. Tom Tancredo was feistier tonight in his controversial immigration views. Jim Gilmore got in a few shots at the frontrunners, but he's still a non-entity in the race. Mike Huckabee took a hit for his record on taxes, but briefly won points for his John Edwards "beauty shop" line. Tommy Thompson and Duncan Hunter largely registered drab performances. Was Sam Brownback even there, because I cannot recall any memorable moments from him. The entire group -- except for McCain, Gilmore and Paul -- expressed support for using torture on suspected terrorists. Romney had the biggest pandering line, promising to not close the controversial military prison but instead said he would "double Guantanamo." My overall take, Giuliani and McCain tied for the win in this debate. Tancredo and Huckabee also had a pretty good night. Romney did okay, but some of the tougher questions seemed to inflict damage. Paul definitely inflicted the most damage on his own campaign.
KENTUCKY: A new WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA poll gives us a good snapshot of next week's gubernatorial primaries. On the GOP side, Governor Ernie Fletcher leads former Congresswoman Anne Northup by a vote of 44% to 34%, with wealthy businessman Billy Harper third with 14%. Fletcher has held the lead in all of the SurveyUSA tracking polls over the past two months. On the Democratic side, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Beshear scored 32% and has moved ahead of the pack. Wealthy health care executive Bruce Lunsford is second with 23%, followed by former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry at 18%, State House Speaker Jody Richard at 12%, attorney Gatewood Galbraith at 5%, and businessman Otis Hensley at 1%. These numbers indicate a Beshear surge of 10-points and a Lunsford drop of 10-points since the last poll two weeks ago. A candidate must win at least 40% to avoid a June 26 run-off.
BLOOMBERG: According to a Washington Times report Tuesday, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg
"has told close associates he will make a third-party run if he thinks he can influence the national debate and has said he will spend up to $1 billion." According to the newspaper, both major parties are very worried about his looming candidacy. "Senior Republican officials -- including those supporting declared Republican presidential nomination contenders -- and several top Democrats told The Times they take the possibility of a Bloomberg candidacy as a serious threat in November 2008," reported the Times. To give you an idea of how a campaign budget of $1 billion would be the political equivalent of "shock and awe," Bush and Kerry spent a COMBINED total of $695.7 million in 2004. Think of how many TV spots you saw last time for Bush and Kerry. Now think about $1 billion spent on Independent ballot petition drives and mega-doses of advertising. Every channel for months will be MTV -- MikeTV, that is -- if Bloomberg really plans to spend $1 billion.
MINNESOTA: Independent polling on the US Senate race shows US Senator Norm Coleman (R) is still well positioned to win re-election. The latest Minnesota Public Radio/Mason-Dixon poll shows Coleman leads humorist Al Franken (DFL) by a 54% to 32% vote. Coleman leads wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi (DFL) by a 52% to 29% vote. Coleman's approval rating has dropped to 48%, which may be a warning flag for an incumbent that some electoral problems could be looming down the road.
JERRY FALWELL: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" ... and I've got absolutely nothing positive to say about him ... so, on to the next story.
PHILADELPHIA: As predicted in the closing polls, City Councilman Michael Nutter swept to a comfortable victory in the crowded Democratic primary for Philadelphia Mayor. Nutter, a political reform candidate who used a solid TV blitz in the final ten days, was viewed as a hopeless "also-ran" with little support just a month ago. Incumbent John Street (D) is term-limited. Nutter, interestingly, is a longtime foe of Mayor Street. Nutter won with 36%, followed by wealthy former Deputy Mayor Tom Knox at 25%, Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady tied with 15% apiece, and State Representative Dwight Evans was fifth with 8%. Knox spent nearly $10 million of his own money on the contest, but saw Nutter's reformist message eclipse him in the final days. The city is reliably Democratic, so Nutter is now a safe bet to win in November.
Chamber of Commerce executive and two-time failed congressional candidate Al Taubenberger is the GOP nominee.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.07 | Permalink |

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Your daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 05.16.07 | Permalink |

WANNA TRADE?
I'm interested in building up my collection of Canadian campaign buttons. If you've got Canadian political buttons to trade (both federal and provincial), I'm interesting in swapping with you (and will also trade your Canadian buttons for some of my great US pins). Please drop me a note! Also interested in buying Canadian pins, if you're not interested in trading.

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