Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Making news today...
* Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani raked in $17 million in campaign funds in the past three months, topping his two leading GOP rivals in fund-raising for the quarter, the Giuliani campaign announced Monday.
The figures came out shortly after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced he had raised $14 million in the second quarter and had lent his campaign an additional $6.5 million.
Full story on The Ticker.
* '08 campaign contributors "heavily favored Democrats" in Q2, "giving three dollars to the party's leading contenders for every two dollars they gave to the top Republican candidates." (Washington Post)
"That disparity signals an energized Democratic base compared with Republicans, who are dispirited after losing control of Congress and watching President Bush's job approval ratings plummet under the weight of the Iraq war." (Chicago Tribune)
* "Iowa overrun by presidential candidates" (AP headline)
Check out the Radar below for a list of candidates and the Hawkeye State parades and events they'll be attending today.
Meanwhile, Bill Richardson has basically "had New Hampshire to himself." (AP)
* "Like twin Jacques Cousteaus of the political world, President Bush and Congress are probing the depths of public opinion polling..." (Great AP lede)
* Yesterday Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "officially confirmed what had long been whispered around City Hall": that he has "a relationship" with Telemundo television anchor Mirthala Salinas. (Los Angeles Times)
"The mayor defended Salinas as a 'consummate journalistic professional' and said she'd asked about a year ago 'to be removed' from her role in the station's political coverage." (Los Angeles Daily News)
* And why is one former investigator knocking Fred Thompson's work on the Senate Watergate Committee, saying he was "a mole for the White House?" Find out in Hot Topics below!
* The president makes remarks to the West Virginia Air National Guard – 167th Airlift Wing and families – in Martinsburg, WV, at 9:30 am ET.
Also on the Political Radar:
* The House and Senate are not in session this week.
* Hillary and Bill Clinton – and Mitt and Ann Romney – march in the Clear Lake, IA, 4th of July Parade, starting at 11 am ET.
For more on the Clear Lake event, click here.
* The Clintons also attend a July 4 celebration at 3 pm ET in Waterloo and a 7:30 pm ET Rally for Change in Cedar Rapids, IA.
* Romney also marches in the Ames (12:30 pm ET) and Waukee (3 pm ET) July 4 parades.
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attends Independence Day celebrations in Oskaloosa (9:45 am ET), Pella (12:30 pm ET), and Beaverdale, IA (5:45 pm ET).
* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) marches in the Urbandale (11 am ET), Ames (12:30 pm ET), and Pella, IA (3:30 pm ET), July 4 parades.
* Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) also marches in the Urbandale parade, and attends events in Marshalltown (1:15 pm ET), Des Moines (3 pm ET), and Sioux City, IA (6:30 pm ET).
* Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) marches in the Norwalk, IA, parade (11 am ET), and attends July 4 celebrations in Pleasantville (12:45 pm ET), Wellman (4:15 pm ET), Coralville (6 pm ET) and Cedar Rapids (7:30 pm ET).
* Bill Richardson marches in July 4 parades in Amherst (10 am ET) and Merrimack, NH (1 pm ET). He also has events in Bow, Goffstown, and Nashua, where he'll watch the fireworks at 7 pm ET.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
BUSH ON FUTURE LIBBY PARDON: "I RULE NOTHING IN OR NOTHING OUT": President Bush held out the possibility yesterday that he eventually may pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby as the White House sought to fend off Democratic outrage and conservative disappointment over the president's decision to commute the 30-month prison term of the vice president's former chief of staff. A day after he intervened to keep Libby out of prison, Bush refused to reject the idea of issuing a full pardon, which some conservatives have been urging him to grant. A pardon would erase the four felony convictions Libby received for lying to federal investigators about his role in a White House leak of a covert CIA officer's identity. "As to the future," the president told reporters, "I rule nothing in or nothing out." Washington Post: Bush Says He's Not Ruling Out Pardon for Libby
SMALL CIRCLE OF ADVISERS "DELVED DEEPLY" INTO LIBBY EVIDENCE: Before commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr., President Bush and a small circle of advisers delved deeply into the evidence in the case, debating Mr. Libby’s guilt or innocence and whether he had in fact lied to investigators, people familiar with the deliberations said. That process, in weeks of closely held White House discussions, led to the decision to spare Mr. Libby from a 30-month sentence rather than grant a pardon. But Mr. Bush, defending the move Tuesday, left the door open to a pardon in the future. New York Times: Bush Is Said to Have Held Long Debate on Decision
HILLARY DEFENDS BILL'S PARDONS: Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton drew a distinction between President Bush's decision to commute the sentence of White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby — which she has harshly criticized — and her husband's 140 pardons in his closing hours in office. "I believe that presidential pardon authority is available to any president, and almost all presidents have exercised it," Clinton said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "This (the Libby decision) was clearly an effort to protect the White House... There isn't any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent." AP via Yahoo! News: Clinton slams Bush over Libby maneuver
..."PROBING THE DEPTHS OF PUBLIC OPINION POLLING": Like twin Jacques Cousteaus of the political world, President Bush and Congress are probing the depths of public opinion polling as voters exasperated over Iraq, immigration and other issues give them strikingly low grades. In a remarkable span, the approval that people voice for the job Bush is doing has sunk to record lows for his presidency in the AP-Ipsos and other polls in recent weeks, dipping within sight of President Nixon's levels during Watergate. Ominously for Republicans hoping to hold the White House and recapture Congress next year, Bush's support has plunged among core GOP groups like evangelicals, and pivotal independent swing voters. Congress is doing about the same. Like Bush, lawmakers are winning approval by roughly three in 10. Such levels are significantly low for a president, and poor but less unusual for Congress. AP via Yahoo! News: Ratings for Bush, Congress sink lower
W. AND TED KENNEDY... UNLIKELY ALLIES: Edward M. Kennedy had met George W. Bush only briefly, at a funeral for a Georgia senator, before Mr. Bush became president. On Inauguration Day 2001, over lunch of beef tenderloin and lobster pie in the Capitol, Alan K. Simpson, the Republican former senator from Wyoming, decided to fix that. “I just grabbed Ted by the hand and took him over and said, ‘George, you’ve got to know Ted Kennedy,’ ” Mr. Simpson recalled... In the more than six years since, Mr. Bush has turned to Mr. Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts senator who is his most ardent liberal Democratic critic, time and again to push the biggest items on his domestic agenda: education, prescription drugs and the immigration bill that failed last week. Even as the senator excoriated the president on tax cuts, Hurricane Katrina and Iraq — in language so barbed Mr. Bush’s father complained publicly and his chief of staff asked Mr. Kennedy privately to tone it down — Mr. Bush continued to come back. New York Times: Bush and Kennedy Nurture Common Ground on Legislative Goals
SPECTER INTROS MEASURE TO CHALLENGE PRESIDENTIAL "SIGNING STATEMENTS": Frustrated by the Bush administration’s continued use of presidential signing statements to challenge or ignore provisions of Congressionally approved legislation, Senate Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has reintroduced legislation to rein in President Bush’s ability to use the tactic. Specter, who has long been a critic of Bush’s use of signing statements, quietly introduced his Presidential Signing Statements Act of 2007 on Friday. “The president cannot use a signing statement to rewrite the words of a statute nor can he use a signing statement to selectively nullify those provisions he does not like,” Specter said in a floor statement. Roll Call: Specter Pushes Bill to Rein In Presidential Signing Statements
EVERYBODY IN IA: Democrat Barack Obama promised better days to disenchanted voters, Bill Clinton debuted as Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign sidekick, and Mitt Romney reminded people about the laundry list of Clinton pardons — all of them crowding critical Iowa on Tuesday. Nearly every corner of Iowa received campaign attention this holiday week as Democrats Obama, Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, and Republicans Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback mingled with voters, held town-hall meetings and addressed large crowds. It was a family affair for some. Romney campaigned with his wife, Ann; Clinton brought her husband, the former president; and Dodd traveled with his wife and young children. Obama's wife and two daughters were joining his bus tour on the Fourth of July. AP via Yahoo! News: Iowa overrun by presidential candidates
OBAMA HAS MORE DONORS THAN JOHN, RUDY, AND MITT COMBINED: Campaign contributors to the 2008 presidential candidates heavily favored Democrats in the three-month period that ended Saturday, giving three dollars to the party's leading contenders for every two dollars they gave to the top Republican candidates. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's 258,000 contributors since January exceed the combined number of donors of former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), according to estimates provided by the campaigns... Political observers said the Democratic enthusiasm is being fueled by anger over the Iraq war, while dissatisfaction among conservative Republicans with their choices has dampened the mood of traditional GOP givers. Washington Post: A Stark Edge in Race for '08 Cash
KEEPS "BRAGGING TO A MINIMUM": Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama almost always talks about the size of the crowds he attracts to his campaign rallies, but he was significantly more shy Tuesday when talking about his dollars. Although he raised $32.5 million during the second quarter, easily surpassing other candidates and setting a record for the Democratic Party, Obama kept his bragging to a minimum. "The reason people are coming out in record numbers, the reason that this week we announced that we have 250,000 contributors to our campaign, more than any other campaign in history at this stage, is because people are hungry for change," he said. "They are desperate for something new." Chicago Tribune: Obama downplaying record campaign cash
WITH PUBLIC FUNDS, McCAIN WOULD BE "HANDCUFFED" WITH LOW CAPS IN NH, IA: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would not be allowed to spend more than a few million dollars in crucial Republican primary states if he accepted public funding to supplement his disappointing fundraising. McCain campaign officials said this week that they are considering accepting public funds for the primary campaign. McCain has raised $24 million for his presidential bid and has only $2 million in the bank. McCain could accept up to $250 in federal matching funds for every contribution he collected, but the public assistance would be capped at around $21 million, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) spokesman. More arduous for McCain, however, would be the spending limits that public funds would trigger in key primary states. If the presidential primaries were held this year, McCain could spend only $818,000 in New Hampshire — a limit that includes funds his campaign has already spent in the Granite State. In Iowa, if McCain accepted public funds, he could spend only around $1.5 million between the start of his campaign and Caucus Day, according to a list of state expenditure limits made available by the FEC. The Hill: Public funds would handcuff McCain in primary states
HRC TOP STRATEGIST ACCUSED OF MONITORING FORMER EMPLOYEE'S EMAILS: Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist is being accused of illegal eavesdropping in a civil lawsuit that alleges he and his polling firm monitored the personal e-mails of a former associate who started a rival company. Mitchell E. Markel, a former vice president at polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland, claims in the suit that the firm began monitoring all messages sent from his personal Blackberry device nearly a month after he had resigned and become president of his new business. The suit claims that the founder of the firm, Mark Penn, who is Clinton's strategist and pollster, knew about and approved of the monitoring, which the suit says violates federal wiretapping laws. Penn, Schoen & Berland, a world-renowned firm that has helped elect clients like former President Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is accused of hacking into Markel's Blackberry and rigging his e-mail accounts to send blind carbon copies of his e-mails to another account that it had set up. AP via Yahoo! News: Clinton pollster sued over e-mails
THOMPSON CALLED A "MOLE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE" DURING WATERGATE HEARINGS: The day before Senate Watergate Committee minority counsel Fred Thompson made the inquiry that launched him into the national spotlight - asking an aide to President Nixon whether there was a White House taping system - he telephoned Nixon's lawyer. Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions. "Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. Boston Globe: Not all would put a heroic sheen on Thompson's Watergate role
VILLARAIGOSA DATING TELEMUNDO REPORTER: At 4 p.m. on June 8, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a terse statement announcing that he and his wife, Corina, were separating after 20 years of marriage. Two hours later, Telemundo television anchor Mirthala Salinas delivered the story to her Spanish-language viewers on the Friday evening news. "The rumors were true," she declared of the split after an introduction that described the story as a "political scandal" that had left "many people with their mouth open." What Salinas, 35, did not say in the newscast was that she was the other woman. She and Villaraigosa, 54, had been in a relationship even though she had previously been the political reporter assigned to cover local politics and the mayor. Los Angeles Times: Mayor reveals romantic link with TV newscaster