Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* Alberto Gonzales' departure "marked the rapid trajectory, and ultimately the fall, of a man with a compelling life story who made history as the first Hispanic attorney general." (Chicago Tribune)
His resignation "removes one of the nation's most controversial attorneys general since the Watergate era." (Washington Post)
Gonzales "leaves an enduring legacy: a Justice Department mired in controversy over the firing of U.S. attorneys and a series of legal and moral challenges to his post-Sept. 11 policies on presidential power, torture and domestic spying." (Los Angeles Times)
Gonzales' move "gives congressional Democrats new power to expand investigations of White House scandals... Now, lawmakers say the price of winning confirmation for a new attorney general will be the Bush administration's surrendering internal documents and providing testimony from top officials." (Bloomberg)
* Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was fined earlier this month for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from his arrest in June at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to Minnesota criminal records.
While the criminal records did not provide details of why Craig was arrested, Roll Call newspaper reported Monday that he was apprehended by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd behavior in an airport men's room. Full story
Craig responded to the Roll Call story with a statement posted on his Senate web site: "At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct."
Idaho Statesman front page story: Men's room arrest reopens questions about Sen. Larry Craig
Also, Craig has stepped down from his role as a co-Senate liaison for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's White House bid, the campaign said Monday. Full story
* And Fred Thompson may have attracted "throngs of fairgoers" yesterday in St. Paul, but the almost-candidate isn't attracting bundles of cash. Is he worried about his "sluggish" summer fundraising? Find out in Hot Topics below!
* President Bush wakes up in Reno, NV. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, he's "the first sitting president to spend the night" in the Biggest Little City.
He keynotes the 89th Annual National Convention of The American Legion at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center at 1 pm ET.
This afternoon, the president travels to New Orleans where tonight he'll attend a dinner with Louisiana cultural and community leaders.
Also on the Political Radar:
* Mitt Romney speaks "on the Politics of Breast Cancer" at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure's 10th Annual Mission Conference at 8 am ET in Arlington, VA.
* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) participate in the Republican LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum at 11 am ET at US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, IA.
* As the Census Bureau releases a new report on poverty and family income for 2006, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a Brookings Institution event, "Poverty and Income in 2006: A Look at the New Census Data and What the Numbers Mean for Children and Families." National Press Club, 2 pm ET.
* Bill Richardson has a busy day of "job interview" events across IA: Elkader (10:30 am ET), Waukon (1 pm ET), Decorah (2:30 pm ET), New Hampton (5 pm ET), and Cedar Rapids (8:15 pm ET).
* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) speaks at a University of Northern Iowa Education Policy Forum at 5 pm ET in Cedar Falls, IA.
* Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) attends a 6 pm ET town hall meeting with State Rep. Phil Wise and Lee County Dems at Southeastern Community College in Keokuk, IA.
* John Edwards addresses the International Machinists Union Annual Convention at 7:30 pm ET at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, FL. At 8 pm ET, Edwards holds a "Small Change for Big Change" grassroots fundraiser at Friday's Front Row Grill in Orlando.
* Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
DEMS VOW TO CONTINUE INVESTIGATIONS: With political adviser Karl Rove and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales both out, Democrats lose two top targets in their investigation of the Bush administration, but a new attorney general nominee could hand them both a bigger stage and more leverage for pressing their case. Top Democrats yesterday said it remains full-speed ahead as they look into the relationship between Mr. Rove, the Justice Department and the Bush White House on political activities and the fired U.S. attorneys. They also said Mr. Bush's next nominee could be held up until his administration turns over documents that Democrats seek in myriad investigations. Washington Times: Democrats insist probes will continue
THE MAN STEPPING IN: Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, a stalwart conservative who has served in the administration since 2001, will replace Gonzales for now. The president did not say when or whether he would nominate a permanent replacement, which probably would set up a grueling confirmation process in the Senate. Clement has been the legal point man for the Bush administration, defending in the Supreme Court the White House's position on everything from terrorist detention policies to assisted suicide, limits on abortion, and corporate regulation. Boston Globe: Gonzales resigns; probes will continue
INTERESTING TIMING: It’s been a light month for Fishy Friday. The Bush administration seems to have discarded the decades-old media playbook that suggests bad news — say, the resignation of a truthiness-challenged attorney general — should be dropped on a Friday so that it gets the least attention. Instead, the White House has timed the last two bombshells to explode early Monday morning, ensuring that the shrapnel will fly on cable TV, radio, the blogosphere and other Internet-driven news outlets. The timing guarantees that the bad tidings will dominate the coming news cycle — no matter what trouble Owen Wilson manages to get into. The Politico: Fishy...Monday?
BACK FROM IRAQ, GRAHAM SEES PROGRESS AFTER "SURGE": After serving two weeks of reserve duty in Iraq, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) yesterday called for continuation of the "surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq and warned that any decision to mandate a withdrawal this year would undercut critical gains made in recent months. Graham's comments come at a time when some of his colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee, including Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) and Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), are calling for troop withdrawals. Graham, a colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a longtime supporter of military deployment in Iraq, is the only member of the Senate to serve in Iraq. Washington Post: After Tour of Duty in Iraq, Graham Backs 'Surge'
FIRST SITTING PRESIDENT TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN RENO: President Bush’s speech Tuesday in Reno will be his second attempt to shore up support for the Iraq war as the nation awaits a key progress report due to Congress next month. Bush is the keynote speaker at the American Legion’s National Convention in Reno... Air Force One landed at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport at 7:04 p.m. [Monday] and taxied to the Nevada Air National Guard base, where Bush and top advisor Karl Rove left the aircraft. A motorcade including two presidential limousines took Bush to the Grand Sierra Resort. Bush is the first sitting president to spend the night in Reno. Reno Gazette Journal: Bush honors local volunteer, tries to shore up war support before general's report
SEN. CRAIG PLEADS GUILTY AFTER AIRPORT ARREST, SAYS HE DID NOTHING WRONG: Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call on Monday afternoon. Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8. In a statement released Monday night, Craig denied any wrongdoing and said he regrets his guilty plea. Roll Call: Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom but Says He Did Nothing Wrong
INCIDENT "REOPENS QUESTIONS" ABOUT PREVIOUS ALLEGATIONS: Sen. Larry Craig, who in May told the Idaho Statesman he had never engaged in homosexual acts, was arrested less than a month later by an undercover police officer who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him in an airport men's room. The arrest at a Minnesota airport prompted Craig to plead guilty to disorderly conduct earlier this month. His June 11 encounter with the officer was similar to an incident in a men's room in a Washington, D.C., rail station described by a Washington-area man to the Idaho Statesman. In that case, the man said he and Craig had sexual contact. Idaho Statesman: Men's room arrest reopens questions about Sen. Larry Craig
CANDIDATES HEAD TO CRESCENT CITY: The presidential candidates returned to New Orleans yesterday to press for the rebuilding of the city, using the coming second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to attack the Bush administration while highlighting their own initiatives to aid the people there. Saying that New Orleans “occupies a central place in my campaign,” former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina offered a variety of proposals — including getting more police officers into the city and improving health care — at a forum there that also featured one of his main Democratic rivals, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. New York Times: Candidates Call Anew for Rebuilding of New Orleans
"WAR ON CANCER" DECLARED AT LIVESTRONG FORUM: Democratic presidential candidates vowed Monday to renew the "War on Cancer" that President Richard Nixon declared in 1971. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio headlined the first-of-its-kind forum, organized by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Armstrong, the cancer survivor and former bicycle racing superstar, helped question the candidates, who wore his group's yellow "Livestrong" bracelets. Des Moines Register: Candidates call for war on cancer
$25 IN ADS PER CAUCUS GOER: The good citizens of Iowa are getting an eyeful and an earful of political ads these days, far more than before, even for one of the epicenters of presidential politics. In the past week, four Democratic White House contenders and two Republicans have spread their message on radio or television in the state, more than four months before Iowa is scheduled to hold its first-in-the-nation caucuses and weeks before the traditional post-Labor Day launch of the fall campaign. So far, the presidential candidates have spent at least $5 million on ads in Iowa, about $25 for each expected caucus goer. AP via Yahoo! News: Iowa leads in presidential campaign ads
THOMPSON DRAWS CROWDS AT MN STATE FAIR: Fred Thompson, the all-but-declared Republican presidential candidate, visited the Minnesota State Fair on Monday, but it was Fred Thompson, the star of NBC's "Law & Order" television show, who attracted throngs of fairgoers during his hourlong stop at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The former U.S. senator from Tennessee shook hundreds of hands, posed for dozens of photos and autographed everything from T-shirts and Fair maps to bumper stickers and videotapes of his TV shows during his brief campaign stop at the Fair, the first one this year by a presidential candidate – announced or unannounced. The crowds for Thompson were bigger and more excited than a typical candidate attracts at the Fair. Attribute that to familiarity borne of playing Arthur Branch, the hard-nosed district attorney, on TV. Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Thompson takes a star turn to boost his presidential run
FRED FUNDRAISING MAY "FALL OFF" IN JULY, AUGUST: With his summer-long windup to a presidential campaign finally nearing an end, actor-politician Fred Thompson defended his late entry into the race and said the continued interest in him is a reflection of Republican dissatisfaction with the rest of the field. But, in a Politico interview, Thompson also served notice that at least one measure of political strength - fundraising - is likely to look a bit wan when the next disclosure reports are released, reflecting a sluggish summer. “I imagine we will fall off some in July and August and have a great September,” Thompson said, boasting he “would compare what we’ve been able to do in a few months with what others have done in their first few months, whenever that was.” The Politico: Thompson struggles as launch looms
BIDEN "CASHES IN" ON 30-YEAR RELATIONSHIP WITH CARTERS: Political families have long memories. They keep tabs on who was for 'em and who was agin 'em, especially at crucial moments. Thus it is that a decision Joe Biden made more than 30 years ago has paid off in a small dividend for the Delaware senator in his current bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Biden picked up the endorsement of Jack Carter, a son of former President Jimmy Carter and last year's Democratic nominee for the Senate in Nevada. Jack Carter got trounced by the incumbent Republican, John Ensign, but his backing certainly can't hurt Biden in a state with an early caucus. Los Angeles Times blog: Biden cashes in a long-ago IOU
HILLARY SUPPORTS NATIONAL SMOKING BAN: Hillary Clinton lavished praise on New York City's tough anti-smoking laws yesterday – and said she supports smoking bans in public places across the country. Asked at an Iowa forum on cancer whether banning smoking in public places would be good for America, Clinton replied, "Well, personally, I think so. And that's what a lot of local communities and states are starting to do." Clinton noted that when New York's smoking ban was being considered, critics claimed, "Oh, that's the end of, you know, the bars and restaurants in New York City." But she boasted, "We are now having more business than ever before, because a lot of people who stayed away from going out are now going out again, because they feel like they can enjoy their time outside." New York Post: HILL EYES NATIONAL CIG CURB
As a smoker hailing from NYC, I do not find the ban on smoking in public actually to be effective in aiding people to stop smoking. When I could no no longer smoke at work, I went outside...not only did I endure the elements of weather, but I wasted more of my employers time (now I just refuse cigarette breaks, I take internet breaks, though) ; now that I cannot smoke in restuarants or bars, I smoke more in my car to and from wherever I go and smoke more at home in front of my computer (I have seen some people get tipsy quicker in bars, because of the hand-to-mouth syndrome that occurs when smokers can't smoke...did NYC's DUI's increase because of this ban, I wonder?)...Bans on public smoking is not a deterrent or an aid to smoking cessation. I just find I smoke more where I am allowed to smoke. I do not think the government should have any say in what I inhale (cigarettes, I mean here) nor should the government have a say in what I ingest (transfats or whatever). I truly believe my freedoms are being impinged upon.