Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho may reconsider his resignation if he is cleared of a disorderly conduct charge to which he pleaded guilty last month, his spokesman told CNN on Tuesday.
Dan Whiting said it was still the GOP senator's intention to resign effective September 30, "however, he is fighting these charges and should he be cleared before then, he may - I emphasize may - not resign. Full story
Craig "opened the possibility of reversing his stated intention to resign from the Senate on Sept. 30 in a voice mail message obtained by Roll Call that the Idaho conservative inadvertently left at a wrong number." (Roll Call)
"Craig's hedging may play poorly even among Idaho supporters who believe Craig was railroaded, observers said." (Idaho Statesman)
* All the major GOP presidential candidates – "with the glaring exception of Fred Thompson" (Boston Globe's Political Intelligence) – head to the University of New Hampshire tonight for a 9 pm ET debate sponsored by the New Hampshire Republican Party and Fox News.
Facing criticism for skipping tonight's debate, Thompson will reach out to potential voters during the debate's commercial breaks with his first campaign ad, his campaign announced Tuesday. Full story
Still, Thompson's decision "could cost him dearly with the state's voters." (The Hill)
Thompson also appears this evening on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," where he'll try to "pull a Schwarzenegger," according to the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. His political playbook "contains pages that look eerily familiar to California voters."
* The Massachusetts Democratic Party is launching romneyfacts.com today, "a first-of-its-kind website that it says contains an unparalleled repository of information about Mitt Romney's record that could be used against the former governor in his White House run." (Boston Globe)
* And in other voice mail news today, freshman Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) "is apologizing to a couple in his district" who complained that he left them two "threatening" messages. What did he say and why? Find out in Hot Topics below!
* President Bush is in Australia for APEC 2007.
Also on the Political Radar:
* Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) returns to his office at 10:30 am ET.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) participates in a Club 44 "Women Win With Hillary" panel and event at 3 pm ET in Philadelphia.
* Former President Bill Clinton appears on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 9 pm ET.
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) holds meet-the-candidate events in Storm Lake (1:45 pm ET) and Spencer, IA (4:15 pm ET).
* Bill Richardson meets local Democrats in Myrtle Beach and Florence, SC. He'll attend the SC AFL-CIO annual meeting at 3 pm ET in McCormick, SC, and the Aiken (SC) Democratic Party Dinner at 7 pm ET.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
CRAIG VOICEMAIL LEFT AT WRONG NUMBER: Sen. Larry Craig (R) opened the possibility of reversing his stated intention to resign from the Senate on Sept. 30 in a voice mail message obtained by Roll Call that the Idaho conservative inadvertently left at a wrong number. Craig left the digitally recorded message on the recipient's mobile phone voice mail Saturday morning, about a half-hour before he announced his intention to resign his Senate seat at month's end. The message was provided to Roll Call by the phone's owner, who is a Washington, D.C., resident not involved in politics and is not the person the Senator was trying to reach. Craig discussed his forthcoming announcement more as a strategy to rehabilitate his political fortunes than a statement about his looming departure. Roll Call: Craig Voices Doubts on Exit
"TIME TO MAKE A DECISION" ON IRAQ, SAYS REID: As Congress reopened for business on Tuesday, the Democratic leadership promised to force a change in President Bush's war strategy, and lawmakers maneuvered to frame the debate over Iraq ahead of reports next week by Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. "Many of my Republican friends have long held September as the month for the policy change in Iraq," Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, said in his opening speech on the Senate floor. "It's September." "The calendar hasn't changed," he said. "It's time to make a decision. We can't continue the way we are." New York Times: Democrats Aim to Reframe Iraq Debate
CHENEY'S LAWYER "PUSHED RELENTLESSLY" TO EXPAND POWERS, SAYS BOOK: Vice President Cheney's top lawyer pushed relentlessly to expand the powers of the executive branch and repeatedly derailed efforts to obtain congressional approval for aggressive anti-terrorism policies for fear that even a Republican majority might say no, according to a new book written by a former senior Justice Department official. David S. Addington, who is now Cheney's chief of staff, viewed both U.S. lawmakers and overseas allies with "hostility" and repeatedly opposed efforts by other administration lawyers to soften counterterrorism policies or seek outside support, according to Jack L. Goldsmith, who frequently clashed with Addington while serving as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 and 2004. Washington Post: New Book Details Cheney Lawyer's Efforts to Expand Executive Power
BUSH #2 BEHIND AL GORE ON HARVARD ALUMNI MAG'S "INFLUENTIAL" LIST: What does a guy have to do to be named the most influential Harvard grad? Apparently, being president — as in commander in chief, leader of the free world, the guy with a seal of his very own, etc. — isn't enough. The editors of the glossy, Tiffany-ad-stuffed magazine for Harvard alums, 02138, have once again passed over President Bush for the top spot on its annual list of heavyweights. Poor Bush is in the No. 2 slot, this year taking a backseat to former Vice President Al Gore. Last year, he played a Pip to millionaire-philanthropist-business-guy Bill Gates' Gladys Knight. Roll Call: Always the Bridesmaid
WILL DEBATE ABSENCE HURT HIM IN NH? Former Sen. Fred Thompson's (R-Tenn.) decision to run his first ad during the broadcast of Wednesday night's presidential debate in New Hampshire instead of participating in it could cost him dearly with the state's voters. Thompson will appear on air later in the evening, as a guest on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Thompson's rivals, as well as state officials and analysts, said the senator might be in hot water with primary voters, particularly if they interpret the campaign's decision as part of an overall strategy that overlooks the first-in-the-nation primary state. The Hill: Thompson joins debate for 30 secs.
AN "EERILY FAMILIAR" POLITICAL PLAYBOOK: Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson's political playbook – a high-profile visit to "The Tonight Show," a splashy bus tour, the efforts to take a familiar actor and reintroduce him in a new political role – contains pages that look eerily familiar to California voters. Maybe that's because the former Tennessee senator has at his side some of the same key aides who, in nine short weeks, helped transform Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger from "The Terminator" into the chief executive of the Democratic-leaning state that is the most populous in the nation. San Francisco Chronicle: In run for presidency, Thompson tries to pull a Schwarzenegger
THOMPSON'S VOTING RECORD SHOWS "WILLINGNESS TO TAKE QUIXOTIC STANDS": Fred Thompson set a mark for obstinateness during his eight years in the Senate, ending up the lone dissenter on more votes on bills and amendments than any other Republican during that time. As Mr. Thompson prepares to announce tomorrow that he will officially seek the Republican nomination for president and voters begin to take a closer look at him, his maverick streak and his voting record will be front and center. Some votes are likely to draw scrutiny, particularly a series of votes in the 1990s against cracking down on illegal aliens. Washington Times: Thompson soft on illegals in Senate votes
HOW 1968 CHANGED HILLARY: As the nation boiled over Vietnam, civil rights and the slayings of two charismatic leaders, [Hillary] Rodham was completing a sweeping intellectual, political and stylistic shift. She came to Wellesley as an 18-year-old Republican, a copy of Barry Goldwater's right-wing treatise, "The Conscience of a Conservative," on the shelf of her freshman dorm room. She would leave as an antiwar Democrat whose public rebuke of a Republican senator in a graduation speech won her notice in Life magazine as a voice for her generation. Hillary Rodham Clinton's course was set, in large part, during the supercharged year of 1968. "There was a sense of tremendous change, internationally and here at home which impacted greatly how I thought about things," Mrs. Clinton said in a telephone interview about that period, which encompassed the second half of her junior and first half of her senior years. New York Times: In Turmoil of '68, Clinton Found a New Voice
"THANKS FOR THE QUESTION, YOU LITTLE JERK": Sen. John McCain's visit Tuesday to Concord High School proved to be more than the average guest speaker appearance, with the Republican presidential candidate giving and getting a dose of the campaign's trademark "straight talk." During the question-and-answer session, one student rose and asked a pointed question about McCain's age, 71: "If elected, you'd be older than Ronald Reagan, making you the oldest president. Do you ever worry that, like, you might die in office or get Alzheimer's or some other disease that might affect your judgment?" The Arizona senator chuckled slightly as comments of "Oh my God" filled the room. In a self-deprecating reference to his memory, McCain said his children have joked about their father "hiding his own Easter eggs," but quickly added that he is a "24-7" worker and will out-campaign any of his rivals. McCain ended the exchange in his quintessential style: "Thanks for the question, you little jerk. ... You're drafted." CNN.com: High schoolers pitch hardballs at McCain
MA DEMS UNVEIL ROMNEYFACTS.COM: The Massachusetts Democratic Party is launching today a first-of-its-kind website that it says contains an unparalleled repository of information about Mitt Romney's record that could be used against the former governor in his White House run. RomneyFacts.com lays out a wealth of documents: personal financial disclosure statements he filed as governor; policy proposals he put forward in his 2002 campaign; several old campaign ads; and a unique searchable database of campaign contributions from his entire political career. The party says it will add information to the site in the coming weeks and months. Party officials and political specialists say they know of no other effort to consolidate such a wide range of detailed information about a single candidate. But they said it is not likely to be the last. Boston Globe: Democrats unveil a file on Romney
GIULIANI AIMS TO CUT DC RED TAPE IN DISASTER RESPONSE: Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday he wants to boost communities' power in the aftermath of disasters and shrink red tape slowing recovery. The former New York mayor wants to restructure the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, into regional hubs and improve emergency training. "Everything shouldn't have to flow through Washington," Giuliani said after speaking to almost 200 supporters and firefighting trainers at Hinds Community College. Giuliani is the latest 2008 presidential candidate to sweep through Jackson and gather donations along the way. He attended a luncheon and dinner before heading to a GOP debate in New Hampshire today. Jackson Clarion Ledger: Giuliani: Local power, not D.C. red tape
"UNINTENDED REMINDER" OF RUDY'S PAST: Rudy Giuliani unveiled a revamped campaign Web site yesterday with a handy new "Call Talk Radio" button for supporters – and an unintended reminder of his past. The cybertool, designed to help Giuliani boosters phone local talk show hosts anywhere in the U.S., included contact information for "The WOR Morning Show," co-hosted by Giuliani's ex-wife, Donna Hanover. It's one of 173 New York radio shows the Web site urges Rudy fans to call to "voice your support." Hanover remained mum when told of the odd campaign link, but co-host Joe Bartlett was happy to sound off. "I appreciate it," Bartlett told the Daily News. "We could use the help." New York Daily News: Giuliani's Web site posts link to Donna Hanover's radio show
CLINTONS ALL OVER TV: Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton don't have to scramble for national publicity; it flows to them. On Tuesday and again today, the couple demonstrates the raw power of celebrity, with scheduled appearances on five national television shows just as the Democratic presidential primary race enters its most competitive stage. In a post-Labor Day blitz, the former president made appearances Tuesday on Oprah Winfrey's talk show and the "Late Show with David Letterman," while the New York senator got the warmest of receptions on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show. Los Angeles Times: Clintons make the talk show rounds
OPRAH MAY LEND "HER BRANDING MAGIC" TO OBAMA BID: The Oprah-Obama '08 bumper sticker was meant to be only a lark, hawked on the Internet for $3.99 under the catchphrase "Just when you thought there was no hope for the Democratic Party..." Turns out the sentiment, at least, may not be entirely fanciful. Oprah Winfrey, the nation's wealthiest African American and host of an afternoon television program, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in May. Now, she is in discussions with his advisers about playing a broader role in the campaign - possibly as a surrogate on the stump or an outspoken advocate - or simply bringing her branding magic to benefit his White House bid. Washington Post: The Magic Touch?
DODD PUSHES HELP FOR FAMILIES HIT BY MORTGAGE CRISIS: Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd called Tuesday for more efforts to help people lured into risky mortgages to keep their homes. Dodd, a U.S. senator from Connecticut, is chairman of the Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs. He is pushing the issue of relief for those hit by the mortgage crisis while on the campaign trail in Iowa. He had planned to hold a meeting on the issue of home mortgages in Dubuque today, but the event was canceled because of a scheduling conflict. Dodd said in a phone interview Tuesday that he might support direct assistance to people who signed up for risky mortgages and didn't have the incomes to afford the homes they bought. Des Moines Register: Dodd calls for more aid to struggling homeowners
LAMBORN APOLOGIZES FOR VOICE MAILS TO CO COUPLE: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is apologizing to a couple in his district who complained that he left them two threatening voice mails after they wrote a critical letter to the editor about the freshman member. In a letter sent Tuesday, Lamborn said he has been working diligently on issues of national importance affecting Colorado's 5th district, including the war in Iraq, the safety and security of our troops, the war on terrorism, immigration and a bloated federal budget. "Therefore, when my record is not accurately portrayed, I am quick and passionate in attempting to set the record straight," he wrote. "Unfortunately, recent events have risen to a level that was unintended." The Hill: Rep. Lamborn apologizes