Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* Just a week after an immigration reform bill appeared to stall on the Senate floor, Senate leaders reached a bipartisan deal Thursday evening to bring it back for consideration as early as the end of next week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a joint statement announcing debate on the measure will resume after the Senate finishes work on an energy bill expected to take up most of next week.
"The breakthrough was a clear victory for Bush..." (Washington Post)
"Despite the agreement to move forward, a fierce battle is expected from GOP hard-line opponents..." (The Hill)
* The WY GOP "released a final list of 31 individuals who had submitted applications to replace the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R) by [yesterday's] 5 p.m. Mountain Time deadline — and Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Cheney, was not among them." (Roll Call)
* "True, the woman in the music video is clearly declaring Obama 'the best candidate,' arguably a message they'd like to see going viral on the Web. Trouble is, she's half-naked while lip-syncing Obama's praises..."
– Chicago Tribune on this
* And Rudy Giuliani issued a "backhanded slap" at President Bush in DE yesterday. What was his "bombshell remark?" Find out in Hot Topics below!
* The president speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast at the J.W. Marriott at 8:10 am ET.
This afternoon, President Bush travels to Wichita for a 1:15 pm ET visit with the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas, and a 2:45 pm ET Roberts Victory Committee Luncheon at a private residence.
Also on the Political Radar:
* Mitt Romney addresses the National Right to Life Convention in Kansas City, MO, at 10:30 am ET. Tonight, Romney keynotes a Bremer County GOP Fundraiser in Waverly, IA (6:20 pm ET), and holds an "Ask Mitt Anything" town hall in Waterloo, IA (7:15 pm ET).
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks about "Strengthening Families in a new Economy" at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Spartanburg, SC. Doors 10 am ET. Obama later holds a 2 pm ET rally in McAlister Square in Greenville, SC.
* John Edwards holds community meetings in Marshalltown, IA (1 pm ET), and Tama, IA (2:30 pm ET). He'll also appear in the Situation Room this afternoon.
* Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) holds a 1:30 pm ET "Conversation on Stem Cell Research" at Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, NH.
* Rudy Giuliani holds a meet and greet with supporters at Flying Elephants at the Fox Tower in Portland, OR, at 1:45 pm ET.
* Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) fundraises in College Station and Atlanta, then keynotes the Alabama Republican Party Dinner in Birmingham at 8 pm ET.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
SENATE COULD RESUME IMMIGRATION DEBATE NEXT WEEK: Senate leaders reached a deal Thursday night to revive stalled immigration legislation after days of intense talks and a rare presidential salvage mission to the Capitol. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a brief joint statement, saying they had met with key lawmakers and the bill would return to the Senate floor. The Senate could resume debate next week, as soon as it finishes an energy bill, and would aim to complete it before the end of the month. The bill kicked up fierce objections among conservatives across the country who derided it as amnesty for illegal immigrants, emboldening Senate opponents who thwarted attempts to debate the bill. Los Angeles Times: Senate strikes deal to revive immigration bill
DOJ EXAMINING GONZALES-GOODLING MEETING: The Justice Department is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sought to improperly influence the testimony of a departing senior aide, two of its senior officials said yesterday, adding a new dimension to the troubles already besetting the nation's chief law enforcement official. The Justice Department officials, in a letter released yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, said their inquiry into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys includes an examination of a meeting Gonzales held in mid-March with his then-aide Monica M. Goodling, who testified last month that the attorney general's comments during the session made her feel "a little uncomfortable." Washington Post: Gonzales Meeting With Aide Scrutinized
LIBBY WILL HAVE TO BEGIN SERVING SENTENCE SOON: I. Lewis Libby Jr., once one of the most powerful men in government, was escorted by federal marshals out a side door in a federal courtroom here Thursday for processing after a judge issued a final ruling that he would have to begin serving his 30-month prison sentence shortly, even before his appeals were exhausted. Mr. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was temporarily released after surrendering his passport and completing forms. He will have to report to a federal prison sometime in the next several weeks to begin serving his sentence after his conviction in March on four felony counts for lying in a C.I.A. leak investigation that became part of an intense debate over the war in Iraq. New York Times: Delay Denied, Libby Is Seen as Weeks From Prison
SCOTUS RULES ON UNION FEES DISPUTE: The Supreme Court yesterday ruled unanimously that states may require public-sector labor unions to get permission from workers before using their union fees for political activities. The 9-0 decision applies to government workers who have chosen not to be members of the union. About 21 states, including Washington, allow unions and government employers to enter into "agency-shop" agreements under which the union can collect fees from the nonmember workers whom it represents in labor negotiations. At the time the case was brought, however, Washington also required the union to get explicit prior consent from those nonmembers before using their fees for lobbying or other political purposes. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that this requirement violated the First Amendment and infringed on the union's "expressive associational rights," but the Supreme Court disagreed. Washington Times: States can put rules on use of union fees
FEMA TRYING TO RECLAIM $485 MILLION IN "IMPROPER AID PAYMENTS": The Federal Emergency Management Agency overpaid victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes by at least $485 million and is struggling to reclaim the money from tens of thousands of people it says shouldn't have been given aid, a USA TODAY analysis shows. Agencies such as FEMA routinely seek repayments after disasters, though never before has the government done so on such a massive scale. Disaster aid records show that FEMA has so far recovered $15.6 million — about 3 cents for every dollar its auditors have identified as being improperly paid. A federal judge in New Orleans ordered FEMA late Wednesday to stop trying to collect any money until it gives aid recipients better explanations of what they owe. FEMA was reviewing the case Thursday, spokesman Aaron Walker said. The order follows sharp protests from lawyers, lawmakers and residents still struggling to rebuild nearly two years after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma obliterated much of the coast. USA Today: $485M overpaid to storm victims
LYNNE CHENEY NOT ON FINAL LIST OF POTENTIAL WY SENATE REPLACEMENTS: The Wyoming Republican Party Thursday evening released a final list of 31 individuals who had submitted applications to replace the late Sen. Craig Thomas (R) by the 5 p.m. Mountain Time deadline — and Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Cheney, was not among them. The list appeared to offer few surprises, and is headed by known interested parties like Colin Simpson, the Majority Floor Leader of the Wyoming House of Representatives and the son of former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.); just-resigned U.S. Attorney Matt Mead, the grandson of a former governor and Senator; and state Sen. John Barrasso. "It's got breadth and depth, there are insiders and outsiders," state GOP Chairman Fred Parady said of the list, in a brief telephone interview. "It's a great day for democracy. Now we have to go to work." Roll Call: Lynne Cheney Does Not Apply for Wyoming Senate Vacancy
"90 IS THE NEW 80": Age is finally catching up with West Virginia Sen. Robert C. Byrd in the winter of his 54-year career in Congress. At 89, the longest-serving senator in history and third person in the line of presidential succession has ceded major duties — such as handling appropriations bills on the Senate floor — to younger colleagues and aides. Byrd continues to steer pork projects to his home state, rail against President Bush and the Iraq war and quote Cicero and the King James Bible now and then on the Senate floor. But as he walks haltingly with two canes and an ever-present assistant, he increasingly seems an anachronism in an Internet-age Congress where some members are young enough to be his grandchildren. "I'm told that 90 is the new 80," Byrd, a Democrat, said in a statement issued by his office. "I am proud of my white mane, but I still long for the black hair of my youth." AP via Yahoo! News: Slowed by age, Byrd relies on colleagues
MA "UNEQUIVOCALLY" PROTECTS RIGHTS OF GAYS AND LESBIANS TO WED: The Legislature, in a vote as swift as it was historic, reaffirmed the state's first-in-the-nation same-sex marriage ruling yesterday, unequivocally protecting the rights of gays and lesbians to wed in Massachusetts until at least 2012. The vote followed 3 1/2 years of fierce arguments, emotional testimonies, and controversial legal decisions. It came on a day filled with cheering and jeering in the streets of Beacon Hill. But when the hour arrived, there was neither debate nor delay. In a packed chamber, first senators and then House members cast their votes to reject a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage in Massachusetts as only a union between a man and a woman. In the end, the proposed ban garnered only 45 votes, five short of what it needed to qualify for the 2008 statewide ballot and 17 fewer than it won during its first trip through the Legislature less than six months ago. Boston Globe: Right of gays to marry set for years to come
CLINTONS CONVERT STOCK TO CASH "TO AVOID FINANCIAL CONFLICTS": Bill and Hillary Clinton have dissolved the blind trust that has managed their investments since they entered the White House in 1993, converting all stocks to cash to avoid financial conflicts as she runs for president, according to documents to be filed today with federal ethics officials. The documents reviewed by The Washington Post provide the most complete accounting of how the Clintons accrued the $5 million to $25 million in the trust - nearly all since leaving the White House - through investments in foreign companies, oil giants and drugmakers without their input or knowledge and without public disclosure. Washington Post: Clintons Dissolve Blind Financial Trust
BILL MADE $10 MILLION ON SPEECH CIRCUIT LAST YEAR: Former President Clinton, who might someday be the first spouse, traveled the globe last year, making more than $10 million giving speeches at corporate retreats, trade group gatherings and motivational venues. The speaking engagements and their top-dollar fees were detailed in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate financial disclosure report, made public Thursday. The report showed that the former president and his presidency-seeking wife had assets of at least $10 million and might have as much as $50 million with no liabilities. AP via Yahoo! News: Bill Clinton: $10 million haul for talks
CLINTON, OBAMA "DIVIDING FAMILIES" IN BATTLE FOR IL CASH: Hillary Rodham Clinton — New York senator, Yankees fan and resident of Chappaqua, N.Y. — has a message for presidential rival Barack Obama: Chicago is still my kind of town. In the frenetic chase for campaign cash, Clinton isn't ceding her one-time home turf to the Illinois senator. The 59-year-old woman, born and raised in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, is relying on the help of the state's wealthy and connected. High-profile attorneys, a philanthropist, longtime Clinton family friends and business leaders, including a son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, are among the prominent Illinois residents invited to a June 25 fundraiser. While Obama and another top rival, John Edwards, have encroached on Clinton's new home turf of New York to raise money, Clinton has tapped her Illinois ties and political alliances dating to her years as first lady. It hasn't been easy in the state she once called home. AP via Yahoo! News: Clinton, Obama fight for Illinois cash
"CRUSH" CLIP PUTS OBAMA CAMP IN "ODD POSITION": Young people can make a difference in politics, Sen. Barack Obama says in a new campaign video, by speaking up about "the things that are making you passionate." Elsewhere on YouTube, a very scantily clad young woman is doing exactly that — in an unauthorized music video about her "Crush on Obama" that features her pole-dancing in a subway car and wearing a pair of "Obama" shorts that barely contain her enthusiasm for politics. Word of the new music video was spreading swiftly on the Internet Thursday, and, with more than 55,000 views after less than a day, it was on its way to becoming one of the site's most popular clips. The music video, the launch gimmick of a new Web site, barelypolitical.com, put the Obama camp in an odd position. True, the woman in the music video is clearly declaring Obama "the best candidate," arguably a message they'd like to see going viral on the Web. Chicago Tribune: Music video bares revealing 'Crush on Obama' theme
F. THOMPSON'S CA SUPPORTERS "HAVE NOT BEEN HOLDING THEIR BREATH": California donors to Fred Thompson's Senate campaigns have not been holding their breath to see if the movie and television celebrity will jump into the presidential race, instead contributing to the war chests of both Democratic and Republican hopefuls. In the 1990s, the Tennessee legislator was one of those rare Republicans who showed he can raise a lot of money in Hollywood, as many saw the actor as one of their own. But in those campaigns there wasn't a Democrat on the other side named Clinton or Obama. While a few of Thompson's California donors have gone with Democrats, those Republicans who have stayed with the GOP have been backing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). The Hill: 2008 and counting: Thompson's Calif. donors back his rivals in '08 race
EDWARDS TALKS HEALTH CARE IN DETROIT: Insurance companies would have to put more money into direct patient care and drug companies would get cash - not patents - for breakthrough drugs under a health care plan detailed Thursday in Detroit by Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. "Here in Detroit, the cost of health care is particularly crippling for business," Edwards said, adding that the U.S. auto industry spends $16 billion annually on such costs. "These businesses and their unions made a promise to workers, and now it's time for the government to hold up its end of the bargain and lower health care costs," he said after a tour of the East Riverside Health Center in Detroit. Under his plan, insurance companies would be required to put 85% of the premiums they collect into patient health care, rather than administration and profits, which account for about 30% of premiums, said the former U.S. senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice presidential candidate. Detroit Free Press: Edwards details health care fix
BROWNBACK WILL HIT 27 IA TOWNS IN FOUR DAYS: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback's presidential campaign plans to target small towns across Iowa next week in a four-day, 27-stop tour intended to build support for the GOP straw poll Aug. 11 in Ames. The Kansas Republican, who campaigns frequently on his rural roots, will start Monday in Oskaloosa and stump through parts of central Iowa near Ames with his wife, Mary, and their two youngest children. The campaign has not released a detailed schedule. "I'm fully committed to Iowa and the Ames straw poll," Brownback said Thursday in a conference call. "My Midwestern values will guide me as president, and I think I'm the candidate most in touch with Iowa voters." Des Moines Register: Conservative Brownback plans campaign tour of small towns
GIULIANI ISSUES "BACKHANDED SLAP" TO W.: Rudy Giuliani took a slap at President Bush yesterday, claiming the country lacks the "strong, aggressive, bold leadership" of Republican icon Ronald Reagan. Giuliani's bombshell remark – during a Flag Day rally in Delaware – was a surprise after weeks of his staunch defense of Bush over the Iraq war and other issues. During his speech near Wilmington, Del., Giuliani said he was concerned that polls show that three-quarters of Americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction, which he said was partly the result of a lack of leadership in Washington. The former mayor didn't mention Bush by name but said, "What we're lacking is strong, aggressive, bold leadership like we had with Ronald Reagan." New York Post: RUDY SUGGESTS BUSH IS NO RONALD REAGAN