Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* "Senate Democratic leaders are planning a rare all-night session tonight, employing theatrics and scheduling votes that they hope will chip away at Republican resolve to back President Bush's Iraq war strategy." (Washington Post)
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "is using the old media-friendly standby of bringing in a mess of cots and scheduling Senators to talk into the wee hours tonight." (Roll Call)
"Republicans dismissed the Democratic tactic as a stunt and offered to speed up the clock to prevent lawmakers from having to spend the night in their Capitol offices if they did not want to miss votes." (New York Times)
* Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the Louisiana Republican who admitted last week to employing a D.C. escort service, indicated Monday he has no intentions of resigning his Senate post and said allegations that he visited other prostitutes in Louisiana are “not true.”
Full story on The Ticker
* A man "who was wearing a tuxedo" was "shot and killed by a Colorado state trooper Monday afternoon after he rushed Gov. Bill Ritter's first- floor office" in the state capitol "claiming to be 'the emperor' and saying he was 'here to take over the state.'" (Denver Post)
* "And the leading Republican presidential candidate is... none of the above." (AP lede)
The latest AP-Ipsos poll finds Rudy Giuliani leads the GOP field with 21 percent, but "a hefty 23 percent can't or won't say which candidate they would back."
On the Dem side, Hillary Clinton holds "a sizable lead over Barack Obama," 36 percent to 20 percent.
More poll results here.
* "The exodus of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign staff continued Monday with the exits of most of his top communications officials." (Arizona Republic)
More details on The Ticker.
* Meanwhile, Mitt Romney "was anything but fiscally conservative" in Q2, "spending money as fast as he raised it between April and June." (AP)
From $31.5K to rent Fenway to the hundreds of thousands he's pouring into his website every month, check out details of the camp's spending in Hot Topics below!
* President Bush heads to Capitol Hill this morning to participate in a 10 am ET Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring agricultural scientist Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Borlaug "will become one of only five people in history" to receive the "Triple Crown": the Congressional Gold Medal, Nobel Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Des Moines Register)
Back at the White House, the president meets with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the Oval Office at 1 pm ET.
Also on the Political Radar:
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) addresses the Planned Parenthood Public Affairs Retreat and Roundtable at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, DC, at 11:45 am ET.
Obama holds an afternoon presser with DC Mayor Adrian Fenty in SW DC, and later travels to Cincinnati, OH, for a 5:30 pm ET community event.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) addresses the National Association of Counties (NACo) 72nd Annual Conference and Exhibition at the Greater Richmond (VA) Convention Center at 11:30 am ET.
At 5:30 pm ET, Clinton speaks at the Planned Parenthood event.
* John Edwards continues his "Road to One America" tour with stops in Cleveland and Youngstown, OH; and Pittsburgh, PA.
* Ann Romney takes the "Women for Mitt" bus tour through South Carolina. She'll speak in Greensville at 12:30 pm ET and West Columbia at 5:30 pm ET.
* Rudy Giuliani meets supporters at Tropical Restaurant in Hialeah, FL, at 5 pm ET.
* Bill Richardson holds "job interview" events in Wolfeboro, Conway, and Ossipee, NH.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
ROLL OUT THE COTS: Senate Democratic leaders are planning a rare all-night session tonight, employing theatrics and scheduling votes that they hope will chip away at Republican resolve to back President Bush's Iraq war strategy. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had hoped to convince Republicans to allow a simple-majority vote on a Democratic proposal to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring. But GOP leaders held firm to a 60-vote threshold for passage - a routine maneuver in today's closely divided Senate but a number Democrats have been unable to meet all year. And Republicans decried Reid's decision for a marathon session as a stunt. Washington Post: Democrats Maneuver To Force Iraq Votes
SECRETARY GENERAL WEIGHS IN ON IRAQ: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged U.S. policy-makers yesterday to exercise "great caution" in considering any rapid withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. "It is not my place to inject myself into this discussion taking place between the American people, government and Congress," said Mr. Ban, who was expected to repeat the message during meetings on Capitol Hill today. "But I'd like to tell you that a great caution should be taken for the sake of the Iraqi people," he said at a U.N. press conference. "Any abrupt withdrawal or decision may lead to a further deterioration." Washington Times: Ban presses U.S. to use 'caution' in leaving Iraq
BUSH CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MIDDLE EAST: President Bush launched a diplomatic effort yesterday to revive the long-moribund Middle East peace process, announcing aid to the Palestinian government and calling for an international conference this fall aimed at paving the way for the creation of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel. Five years after becoming the first president to fully embrace a "two-state solution," Bush acknowledged that it remains distant after violent clashes that have politically sundered the Palestinian territories. But Bush called this a "moment of choice" for the region and renewed his commitment heading into his final 18 months in office. Washington Post: Bush Renews Mideast Efforts
GOP INCUMBENTS WORRY ABOUT IRAQ EFFECT AT THE POLLS: Election day is more than a year away, but Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is already facing a barrage of attack ads, protesters at her local offices and a strong Democratic challenger. It's a far different environment than in her last race for reelection, when her popularity was soaring and she won a commanding 58% of the vote. The one-word explanation for the change: Iraq. As Congress wrestles with Democratic proposals to withdraw U.S. troops and limit the war in Iraq, the home-state pressure on Collins and other Republicans helps explain why an increasing number of GOP lawmakers now seem ready to veer from the party line. The 2008 campaign season is starting to take shape for congressional candidates, and many Republicans see warning signs that the steepest price for the administration's Iraq policy may be paid not by President Bush, who will not be on the ballot, but by the GOP lawmakers who will be. Los Angeles Times: GOP candidates fear Iraq war fallout
STRONG Q2 FOR HOUSE DEMS: Adding to the widespread fundraising success of national Democrats so far this election cycle, the party’s House incumbents ended June in a strong financial position and with cash leads over their GOP rivals, newly filed quarterly money reports showed. Almost across the board, targeted House Democrats outraised their Republican counterparts in the three-month period, and all of the vulnerable or potentially vulnerable Democratic Members ended June with more money in the bank than their GOP challengers. Several Democratic challengers also outraised GOP incumbents in the quarter. Targeted GOP Reps. John Doolittle (Calif.), Sam Graves (Mo.), Ralph Regula (Ohio), Jean Schmidt (Ohio) and Christopher Shays (Conn.) were among those who collected less money than their Democratic opponents — and in some cases their primary challengers as well. Roll Call: Democrats Get Big Cash Haul
"I AM SO VERY, VERY SORRY," SAYS VITTER: After refusing for a week to answer questions about whether he'd ever hired prostitutes, U. S. Sen. David Vitter emerged from seclusion on Monday to apologize again for "actions from my past" without owning up to what those misdeeds entailed. "I want to again offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed with these actions from my past," Vitter said. "I am completely responsible. And I am so very, very sorry. No matter how long ago it was, I know this has hurt the relationship of trust I've enjoyed with so many of you, and that I have a lot of work to do to rebuild that. I will work every day to rebuild that trust." Even as he expressed regret, Vitter said he would not entertain "endless questions" about his alleged involvement with an escort service in Washington and an infamous brothel in New Orleans. Vitter made no specific reference to the allegations, but said only that "those New Orleans stories" are not true. New Orleans Times-Picayune: Vitter re-emerges and asks again for forgiveness
GUNMAN KILLED AT CO STATE CAPITOL: Marty Williams noticed the oddly dressed man kneeling on the Capitol's marble floor, praying. After he was out of her tour group's sight, she heard him yell: "You're gonna pay for this, you -holes!" Then gunfire. Williams grabbed her 16-year-old daughter and ran, then they sank to the floor along the wall and cried. The man, who was wearing a tuxedo, was shot and killed by a Colorado state trooper Monday afternoon after he rushed Gov. Bill Ritter's first- floor office claiming to be "the emperor" and saying he was "here to take over the state." The governor was in his office interviewing a candidate for a judgeship when he heard the shots. Police would not say whether the gunman fired a shot before being killed. Denver Post: Gunman: "You're gonna pay"
CLINTON, "NONE OF THE ABOVE" LEAD LATEST AP-IPSOS: And the leading Republican presidential candidate is... none of the above. The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans are unwilling to back top-tier hopefuls Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain or Mitt Romney, and no one candidate has emerged as the clear front-runner among Christian evangelicals. Such dissatisfaction underscores the volatility of the 2008 GOP nomination fight. In sharp contrast, the Democratic race remains static, with Hillary Rodham Clinton holding a sizable lead over Barack Obama. The New York senator, who is white, also outpaces her Illinois counterpart, who is black, among black and Hispanic Democrats, according to a combined sample of two months of polls. AP via Yahoo! News: AP Poll: GOP pick is 'none of the above'
CLINTON BACKERS HELP RETIRE VILSACK'S DEBT: Shortly after endorsing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack received nearly $90,000 in donations to his defunct presidential campaign from some of Clinton's major backers, campaign finance reports show. The donations, disclosed in Federal Election Commission filings over the weekend, came from Clinton fundraising bastions of New York, California, Texas, and Washington, D.C. None came from Iowa, where Vilsack served two terms as governor. Vilsack, unable to raise the tens of millions needed to wage a serious presidential campaign, withdrew from the Democratic race in February. In a finance report filed Sunday covering the first half of the year, Vilsack disclosed that he had $2,962 in cash and a leftover debt of $148,000. Los Angeles Times: He backs Clinton; her backers help him
DC MAYOR TO ENDORSE OBAMA: D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty plans to endorse Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination for president today, sources said yesterday. Fenty (D) had been noncommittal, though he has said he would endorse a Democrat. Some city officials had speculated that he might not endorse anyone until he knew whether New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) would run. Fenty has patterned key initiatives after Bloomberg's programs, including his takeover of public schools. But Fenty's support of Obama looked more probable recently when a Fenty adviser, Jim Hudson, organized a fundraiser for Obama that collected $600,000 and endorsements from three D.C. Council members. Washington Post: Fenty Plans to Endorse Obama
KEYCHAIN, T-SHIRT PURCHASERS INCLUDED IN OBAMA'S DONOR LIST: Since he got into the race, Mr. Obama has hopscotched from big-ticket to big-crowd events across the country, trying to turn the early excitement about his candidacy into campaign cash and a national political organization. Like other candidates, he has worked hard to cultivate a network of bundlers, who can solicit the checks from individual donors for the legal maximum of $2,300 that are the mainstay of any major campaign. But to capitalize on his celebrity, Mr. Obama’s campaign has also employed novel tactics — like counting sales of $5 speech tickets or $4.50 Obama key chains as individual contributions — to pump up his numbers and transform grass-roots enthusiasm into more useful forms of support. No other campaign is known to have listed paraphernalia sales as donations. New York Times: Obama’s Camp Cultivates Crop in Small Donors
WALL STREETERS HAVE ALSO "GIVEN GENEROUSLY": Democrat Barack Obama, who has decried Wall Street profits and CEO pay, has tapped a vein of donors among bankers and financiers who have given generously and helped drive his successful presidential campaign sprint for cash. Among the firms whose employees gave the most to Obama in the second quarter of the year were Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JP Morgan. Their money, much of it the maximum donation allowed by law, placed Obama in competition with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for high-finance dollars in her own backyard of New York. For Obama, the money represents one side of a fundraising and support-building equation. The other is the campaign's outreach to small donors — a concerted effort to build a broad network of contributors who give less than $200. AP via Yahoo! News: Obama taps Wall Street for dollars
TRYING TO AVOID BECOMING THE NEXT HOWARD DEAN: He raises tens of millions of dollars over a few months. His supporters are passionate, almost fanatical. And his grass-roots movement threatens a more established rival. A description of Howard Dean in 2003 or Sen. Barack Obama today? Obama campaign advisers - many of them campaign veterans who watched Dean's slow rise and rapid descent at close range - reject the comparison, arguing that their candidate and organization won't repeat the mistakes of the former Vermont governor. Washington Post: Obama Faces the Test Dean Failed: Broadening Support
MORE McCAIN STAFF DEPART: The exodus of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign staff continued Monday with the exits of most of his top communications officials. Some of the names are familiar to anyone who has followed coverage of the Arizona Republican's 2008 candidacy: Brian Jones, McCain's communications director; Danny Diaz, Jones' deputy director; and Matt David, the campaign's "rapid response" spokesman. Their resignations came less than a week after the departures of Terry Nelson, McCain's campaign manager; and John Weaver, his chief political strategist. Jones, Diaz and David are considered Nelson loyalists. Several other campaign staffers also have left in the shake-up triggered by Nelson's and Weaver's leaving. Arizona Republic: Staff members continue to exit McCain's camp
TOP IA STAFFER MAY RECONSIDER RESIGNATION: Turmoil continued to plague Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign Monday, as his top social conservative advocate in the leadoff caucus state weighed quitting and key national and Iowa communication staff joined the growing list of resignations. Marlys Popma said she was considering remaining McCain's coalitions director in Iowa, responsible for outreach among key voting blocs such as evangelical Christians, after McCain himself asked her to withdraw the resignation she submitted Monday morning. "Everybody kind of knows what's been happening with the campaign, and I obviously went through some rocky moments. But I've had some really good conversations with the campaign," including with McCain, Popma said. "And those conversations have given me pause and have encouraged me to sit back and reconsider." Des Moines Register: McCain drive facing more resignations
HEY, BIG SPENDER: Mitt Romney's campaign found 9,732 ways to spend its money last quarter. From a $15 service fee for its travel agent to $31,500 to rent the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park for a celebratory barbecue, the Republican presidential contender was anything but fiscally conservative in spending money as fast as he raised it between April and June. Based on the report Romney filed with the Federal Election Commission over the weekend, his spending was so prolific he had to lend his committee $6.5 million during the quarter, allowing him to cover the difference between $20.5 million he spent and the $14 million he raised. That loan also means that, for all intents and purposes, Romney has personally paid for every second of the $4.9 million in television ads his campaign has aired since he formally declared his candidacy in February. AP via Yahoo! News: Romney spends it faster than he gets it
$300 MAKEUP BILL CONSIDERED "COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTING": What kinds of things do you think of when you hear "communications consulting"? Speechwriting? Message strategy? Well, "communications consulting" is how presidential candidate Mitt Romney recorded $300 in payments to a California company that describes itself as "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services." Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the payments - actually two separate $150 charges - were for makeup, though he said the former Massachusetts governor had only one session with Hidden Beauty of West Hills, Calif. The Politico: Romney spent $300 on makeup 'consulting'
BLOOMBERG'S "LEFT-OF-CENTER" POSITIONS NOT A BIG HELP IN MIDDLE U.S.: He owns a house in Bermuda and can hop a private jet there whenever he wants. He thinks gays should be able to marry. He's banned smoking in bars and Crisco in restaurant piecrusts. If he's got religion, he rarely shows it. It seems safe to say Mayor Bloomberg isn't exactly your average American. Bloomberg's left-of-center positions on some crucial issues and his jet-setting life barely cause a ripple in New York. But if he runs for President, he'll have to explain a few things to Middle America, according to an exclusive Daily News poll. New York Daily News: Middle America no fan of Bloomberg's liberal stances