Compiled by Lauren Kornreich, Lindsey Pope and Mark Preston
CNN Washington Bureau
Making News Today…
* Most of the Democratic candidates travel to Davenport, Iowa, tonight to participate in yet another presidential forum – this one hosted by AARP and Iowa Public Television. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will all take the stage. Notably absent will be Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is cutting back his appearances at these types of events. Also missing will be Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has no real campaign infrastructure in the state. The questions in this forum will focus on “health care and financial security,” according to organizers.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani returns home from a quick trip “across the pond” and will hold a media availability in Reston, Virginia. CNN National Correspondent John King interviewed Giuliani in London – read/watch the interview
* After weeks of bad news: the arrest of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig in a men’s restroom sex sting operation, Virginia Sen. John Warner’s decision to retire, former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen’s decision to challenge New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu and Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel’s announcement that he, too, would be retiring, Senate Republicans will finally get some welcome news. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will announce today he is stepping down to run for Hagel’s seat. Johanns is a popular former governor and it is unclear if his entry into the race might discourage former Sen. Bob Kerrey from making a political comeback. Kerrey is president of The New School in New York City. A Nebraska Democratic operative tells CNN Political Editor Mark Preston that Johanns entry into the race will not influence Kerrey’s decision. "Bob Kerry marches to the beat of his own drummer,” said the operative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Nobody influences Bob, but Bob."
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
CONTRACTORS IN IRAQ "VIRTUALLY" IMMUNE FROM AMERICAN, IRAQI LAW: The shooting incident involving private security guards in Baghdad on Sunday that left at least eight Iraqis dead has revealed large gaps in the laws applying to such armed contractors. New York Times: Armed Guards in Iraq Occupy a Legal Limbo
GATES NO NEOCON: It's probably too much to say that the foreign-policy realists are running the Bush Administration, but there's definitely one running the Defense Department. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: Defense Secretary Gates's Non Rosy Scenarios
LESSONS FROM TERRORIST TRIAL TO AID AG PICK: On Jan. 17, 1996, after a nine-month terrorism trial and a rambling 100-minute lecture from a blind sheik found guilty of conspiring to wage war against the United States, Judge Michael B. Mukasey had had enough. NY Times: Big Terror Trial Shaped Views of Justice Pick
LEAHY: "CASTING ASIDE THE TIME-HONORED PROTECTION OF HABEAS CORPUS MAKES US MORE VULNERABLE AS A NATION": Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an effort to give terrorism detainees the right to appeal their detention to federal courts, rejecting complaints that a new law denying that option ran against the nation’s principles. NY Times: Senate Blocks Detainees’ Rights Bill
ASTRONAUT DIAPERS AS SWAG: Groups lobbying Congress often hand out swag, be it a personalized coffee mug or T-shirt, supporting their cause. But the Coalition for Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights has topped HOH’s list of the most creative souvenirs to get its point across — astronaut diapers, which the coalition cleverly labeled, so as not to be confused with something else. Roll Call's heard on the Hill: Also a Flotation Device?
VOTING MACHINE DISPUTES WILL DELAY SF RESULTS: San Francisco's election night will end early on Nov. 6, but thanks to a new ruling by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, it could be weeks before voters know who won. San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Election Outcome Won't Be Won for Weeks
IMMIGRATION REFORM TOPS DEMS '08 AGENDA: Leading Democratic presidential candidates are signaling that they will return to the thorny issue of immigration reform faster than their party colleagues on Capitol Hill would like. The Hill: '08 Dems Push Immigration
WAVE OF GOP RETIREES CONTINUES: As Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) announced his retirement from the House on Monday, his candid acknowledgement that he is among a “dying breed” of GOP moderates in the chamber surely reverberated throughout the ranks of his party leaders and fellow centrists. Roll Call: More GOP Moderates Looking for Exit
DEMS BREAK THE BANK WITH 'O8 INITITIVES: The 2008 Democratic presidential candidates are promising voters billions of dollars in new government spending, paid for in part by "rolling back" the Bush tax cuts. Washington Times: Democrats Can't Afford '08 Promises
THOMPSON TAKES AIM AT CLINTON'S HEALTH CARE PLAN: Fred Thompson lashed out at Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposed government-mandated health-care plan yesterday, calling it "scary enough to make you sick." New York Post: Fred Hits "Scary" Hillcare
CHENEY'S STAR WARS CHARICATURE: "Vice President Cheney came up to see the Republicans yesterday. You can always tell when the Republicans are getting restless, because the Vice President’s motorcade pulls into the Capitol, and Darth Vader emerges," Hillary Clinton said just now at a $100-a-head fundraiser at Town Hall near New York's Times Square, referring to Cheney's efforts shore up Republican congressional support for the Iraq war. Politico: Darth Cheney
CLINTON NOT ALONE IN RECEIVING CASH FROM SHADY SOURCES: A list of the donors who have "bundled" large sums from dozens of individuals to give to Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign includes several figures who were involved in the 1990s Democratic Party fundraising scandal that tarnished her husband's record. Washington Post: Past Clouds Candidates' Donor List
CBC "DIVISIVE" OVER '08 ENDORSEMENT: Black members of Congress supporting Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential bid are grumbling that leaders of the officially neutral Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are trying to help Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). The Hill: CBC'S Event for Clinton Prompts Grumbles
SOME SAY CALIFORNIA'S BLACK LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS MADE A "HASTY" DECISION IN OBAMA: Just a week after the Legislature's black caucus announced – with fanfare – its endorsement of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president as "the only candidate that can unite people to get things done," two high-profile African American legislators have split publicly with their colleagues to back Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential contest. San Francisco Chronicle: Obama Endorsement Splits California Black Legislative Caucus
OBAMA "DREAMING" IN IOWA: The room covered with gorgeous woodwork that serves as the setting for Sen. Barack Obama's new 60-second television commercial debuting in Iowa today…The ad, called "Believe," is the first where the Illinois Democrat speaks directly to the camera as he tries to sell himself as a Washington outsider. Chicago Tribune's The Swamp: New Obama Ad Debutes in Iowa
OBAMA'S JENA OPPORTUNITY: Senator Obama's presidential ambitions may rest on how he responds to the trials in Jena, La., of six schoolboys accused of attempted murder in a case that has become a test of whether racialism still stalks the Southern states. New York Sun: Obama Hopes Could Rest on Jena Case
JACKSON SAYS OBAMA REMARKS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT: Jesse Jackson was quoted as saying Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was "acting like he's white" for not speaking out more forcefully about a racially charged schoolyard beating in Louisiana… Jackson later told the newspaper he did not remember making the "acting like he's white" comment about Obama, who is black. AP via DC Examiner: Jackson Disputes Report on Obama Comment
"I'M PROBABLY ONE OF THE FOUR OR FIVE BEST KNOWN AMERICANS IN THE WORLD": Rudy Giuliani went on the trans-Atlantic campaign trail Wednesday, schmoozing with conservative idol Margaret Thatcher and bragging about his international credentials. USA Today: Guiliani: I'm One of the "Best Known Americans"
GIULIANI WANTS SUPPORT FROM GROUP HE ONCE FOUGHT: Rudolph W. Giuliani will go before the rank and file of the National Rifle Association on Friday, seeking support for his Republican presidential campaign from a group he once likened to "extremists" for its efforts to repeal the ban on assault weapons. Washington Post: Giuliani Seeking Support from NRA
GIULIANI GOES INTERNATIONAL: Rudy Giuliani scored a coup in his White House campaign yesterday by meeting Gordon Brown at No 10, conferring with Tony Blair, receiving an award from Baroness Thatcher and wrapping himself in the legacy of Winston Churchill. The Daily Telegraph: Rudy Giuliani campaigns With Brown and Blair
CONGRESSMAN SAYS THERE ARE "TOO MANY MOSQUES IN THIS COUNTRY": New York Rep. Peter King, a prominent House Republican, said there are “too many mosques in this country” in a recent interview with Politico. “There are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam,” King said. Politico: rep. Peter King: There are "too many mosques in this country"
“I DON’T THINK MY FOREIGN POLICY HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY FAITH”: The next president of the United States could be a Mormon whose faith requires him to believe that Jesus visited America after the Resurrection and will return one day to rule the world from Jackson County, Missouri. However, Mitt Romney insists that, in the meantime, that would not affect how he leads the free world. The Times of London: Mitt Romney- The Mormon Challenger Who Hopes "to do a JFK" in Quest for Presidency
ROMNEY POINTS OUT GOP FLAWS IN NEW AD: Recognizing political change as the hot new commodity, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is launching a television ad this week in New Hampshire and Iowa casting himself as the Republican best able to reclaim a wayward party and lead it in a new direction. AP via CNN.com: Republican Romney Ad Criticizes His Party and Calls for Change
EDUCATION SECRETARY ROCKS IN CLEVELAND: Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings earned major cool points Wednesday when she showed up at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of her ongoing Midwest bus tour. And she even sang. Spellings sang the chorus to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed. Sealed. Delivered. I’m Yours,” and a group of students analyzed the voice vibrations as a science lesson. DC Examiner's Yeas and Nays: Spellings Is Rocking
On the Political Radar:
* Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards and Bill Richardson participate in a "Divided We Fail" forum sponsored by AARP and Iowa Public Television in Davenport, Iowa.
* Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson talks about Iran at a press availability at Love Field in Dallas, Texas.
* Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani holds a press availability at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia.
* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a media availability at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford, Michigan.
* Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee campaigns in South Carolina, with morning stops at a pancake house in Lexington and an editorial board meeting with The State newspaper in Columbia. In the afternoon, he gives speeches to Greenville County Republican Women and the Palmetto Family Council.
* Sen. Sam Brownback tours the South Carolina Citizens for Life Headquarters and participates in the Palmetto Family Council Stump Meeting and Straw Poll in Columbia, South Carolina.
* Former President Bill Clinton is a guest on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He also is honored at the "VH1 Save The Music Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala Presented By LG Mobile Phones" in New York City.
* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook
Fred Thompson is the best!