July 19th, 2007
09:02 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Political Ticker AM

Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau

Making news today...

* "Senators from both parties appeared angry and frustrated after their all-night session culminated at 11 a.m. [Wednesday] in a 52-47 vote, well short of the 60 votes needed to end debate on an amendment to start bringing troops home in the next 120 days." (Chicago Tribune)

"In protest, Reid yanked a bill authorizing Pentagon programs for the next fiscal year from the Senate floor and predicted his side would pick up more votes by waiting. 'Time and the American people are on our side,' said Reid, D-Nev." (USA Today)

"Reid's move was hailed by antiwar groups, which have urged Democrats not to compromise." (Washington Post)

However, the Democrats' decision "meant that President Bush had essentially won the added time he said he needed to demonstrate that his troop buildup was succeeding." (New York Times)

* "This week's Senate debate on the Iraq War has pushed the chamber to a new level of partisan acrimony, where even the most seasoned and collegial of Senate elders have abandoned traditional acts of decorum." (Roll Call)

* Aides to Fred Thompson say the former TN senator "plans to enter the race with a national announcement tour just after Labor Day." (New York Times)

* In announcing "a broad agenda to combat urban poverty" in DC yesterday, Barack Obama "not only gave voters some of his first detailed policy objectives, but he also effectively stole the thunder from former Sen. John Edwards." (Washington Times)

* And what is Michelle Obama saying about her husband's interest in Harry Potter? Find out in Hot Topics below!

President's Schedule:

* The president travels to Nashville, TN, where he'll take an 11:55 am ET tour of the Nashville Bun Company

At 12:40 pm ET, Bush makes remarks on the budget at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.

He returns to the White House at 4:05 pm ET.

Also on the Political Radar:

* CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports the Pentagon has invited approximately 200 congressional members to one of two classified briefings with General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in and Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq.

The briefings are taking place this morning at 8 am and 9:15 am ET, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

* Crocker will also testify via video conference at a 10:30 am ET Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, "IRAQ: An Update from the Field."

* Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies at a 9:30 am ET Senate Banking Committee hearing on the semiannual monetary report to Congress.

* Rudy Giuliani takes a 10 am ET tour of Hawkeye Renewables in Fairbank, IA, meets with voters at two IA restaurants, and takes a 5 pm ET tour of Clipper Windpower, Inc., in Cedar Rapids. He appears at an 8 pm ET town hall in Davenport, IA.

* Bill Richardson appears at a 12 pm ET international relations forum at the Des Moines Embassy Club, and holds "job interview" events in Newton (3:15 pm ET), Tama (5:30 pm ET), and Marshalltown, IA (7:15 pm ET).

* Mitt Romney hosts a 12:30 pm ET "Ask Mitt Anything" event at the Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg, SC. He later attends a 5:45 BBQ in Saluda Shoals Park in West Columbia, SC.

* John Edwards holds a 1 pm ET community meeting at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, IA. He later addresses the Iowa AFSCME Convention in Des Moines at 3:25 pm ET.

* Mike Huckabee attends a 1 pm ET "Meet Mike Huckabee" lunch at the Pizza Ranch in Marshalltown, IA. At 4 pm ET, Huckabee participates in a roundtable with educators in Nevada, IA.

* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) attends a 4:45 pm ET ice cream social at BenMere Bandstand at Sunapee Harbor in Sunapee, NH.

* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) throws out the first pitch at the Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines (8 pm ET).

* The Senate Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

* The House Radio-Television Correspondents' Gallery Daybook

Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)

SENATE DEMS PULL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL: Senate Democrats pulled a major defense bill from the floor yesterday over bitter Republican protests, prompting a meltdown of relations and further clouding prospects for bipartisan accord on Iraq. Signaling a growing rift between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the two could not agree which measure to consider next after Democrats' abrupt decision to set aside the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill. Republicans first blocked proceeding to a $38 billion homeland-security spending bill, forcing Reid to file the 44th cloture motion of this Congress to move on to the bill early next week. Democrats then were barely able to bring up a popular student loan bill, approving by a one-vote margin a motion to proceed to the measure. The Senate was only able to move to that bill because of budget rules prohibiting filibusters on the measure. The Hill: Reid pulls the DoD bill 

"ALL MODICUM OF COURTESY HAS GONE OUT THE WINDOW": Though tensions between Democrats and Republicans have been festering since the beginning of the 110th Congress, this week's Senate debate on the Iraq War has pushed the chamber to a new level of partisan acrimony, where even the most seasoned and collegial of Senate elders have abandoned traditional acts of decorum. "The Senate is spiraling into the ground to a degree that I have never seen before, and I've been here a long time," Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) said. "All modicum of courtesy has gone out the window." That statement came after a highly charged, all-night debate on a Democratic amendment to refocus the U.S. mission in Iraq and complete a troop drawdown by April 30, 2008. The amendment failed, 52-47, to get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cited the Republicans' "obstructionist" tactics in his decision to scrap the entire debate on the Defense Department authorization bill. Roll Call: Senate Comity Slips Away 

GOP SENATORS TO SEE MEDIA BARRAGE: After a Senate all-nighter, Republicans blocked a bill yesterday that would have begun to withdraw troops from Iraq, but they now face a media barrage aimed at booting GOP lawmakers who voted against the measure. "There are a good number of Republicans, many ... up for reelection in 2008, who back home say they want a change of course in Iraq, but in Washington do nothing to change it," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) "This puts the spotlight on those senators."... "We're mainly going after the Republicans in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Hampshire and New Mexico," said a party operative, who noted GOP senators were still smarting from recent Democratic TV ads attacking them over the war. New York Daily News: Dem ads will slam GOPers who thwarted Iraq exit 

WH REACHES OUT TO HILL STAFFERS: Republican communications directors on Capitol Hill typically hear from the White House by conference call, so they were happy to be going downtown on Monday for one of their occasional conclaves in the splendor of the Roosevelt Room. White House counselor Ed Gillespie, who joined the administration in June after a career that included serving as a top aide to the then-GOP House majority, was asking his guests for ideas about improving the back-and-forth between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue when the door opened and a familiar voice said, "Hey!" It was President Bush. The Hill aides, a bit flustered, all immediately stood up. The president will occasionally "do a drop-by," in White House parlance, when the staff wants to impress a visitor. Usually these stops last only a few minutes. But this time, the president stayed, taking Gillespie's seat at the center of the massive table and talking about the importance of giving the "surge" in Iraq a chance, and of fighting for conservative judges and a balanced budget. The Politico: Bush courts columnists, Hill 

LOCAL LEADERS SAY COUNTERTERRORISM MONEY FOR DC DOES NOT REFLECT SCALE OF THREAT: The Department of Homeland Security increased counterterrorism funding for Washington and New York City yesterday but warned that doling out more federal cash to the nation's largest urban areas would require the virtual elimination of aid to mid-size cities. Funding for the District and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs climbed to nearly $62 million, a $15 million increase and the biggest boost among seven urban areas deemed at highest risk of attack. The money is to be used in the next three years to upgrade bomb squads, improve interagency intelligence "fusion centers" and link police databases in a network dubbed "Google for cops," among other projects, officials said. Local leaders welcomed the addition but said it still does not reflect the scale of the threat to the nation's capital. The amount is still 20 percent less than the region received in 2005. Washington Post: D.C., New York Get Biggest Increases in Counterterrorism Aid 

THOMPSON WOULD SHAKE UP ALREADY SHIFTING GOP FIELD: The decline of John McCain's presidential campaign, and the rising profile of Fred D. Thompson as a prospective contender, are forcing candidates to rewrite their strategies as they adjust to a playing field vastly different from just one month ago. Seeing an opening created by Mr. McCain's problems, Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York headed for Iowa on Wednesday, the start of a two-day trip that reflects the campaign's confidence that he now has a shot to win in the state, after Mr. McCain cut his Iowa staff by half. And Mitt Romney of Massachusetts released a television advertisement Monday emphasizing faith and family values in what aides said was an effort to stir unease about Mr. Giuliani among conservative voters who have gravitated toward him. But it is the impending entry of Mr. Thompson — the former Tennessee senator who, aides said Wednesday, plans to enter the race with a national announcement tour just after Labor Day — that has injected the most uncertainty into the contest. New York Times: Candidates Shift as G.O.P. Field Alters 

DEMS SAY NIE "BOLSTERS ARGUMENTS" IRAQ IS "COSTLY DISTRACTION": The leading Democratic presidential candidates yesterday seized on a newly released intelligence report that found the United States was losing ground on several fronts in the fight against Al Qaeda, saying it bolstered their arguments that the war in Iraq had been a costly distraction from broader efforts to keep the nation safe. The leading Republican candidates for president offered far more muted responses when asked about the report. The report, a declassified summary of the central findings of the July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism, found that Al Qaeda had "protected or regenerated key elements of its homeland attack capability." New York Times: To Democrats, Report Proves War in Iraq Is Misguided 

SENATORS STEP OFF TRAIL TO TALK IRAQ: It was 4:12 a.m. Wednesday when Hillary Rodham Clinton finally got her chance to address the Senate in support of a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. Barack Obama snagged less time to speak, but at least his slot around 10 a.m. was in the daylight hours. After that, the usually loquacious Joseph R. Biden Jr. had just a minute to speak. The senators who are also trying to win the Democratic presidential nomination took a detour from the campaign trail to join the Senate's all-night debate on Iraq, voting in support of the unsuccessful proposal to force President Bush to remove combat troops by April 30, 2008. But what looked like unity on the Senate floor masked a scramble on the campaign trail, where the candidates are trying to harness anger among the party's base over the war. Los Angeles Times: Iraq differences blur among Democratic candidates 

OBAMA STEALS EDWARDS' THUNDER WITH HIS OWN POVERTY ANNOUNCEMENT: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama yesterday introduced a broad agenda to combat urban poverty, which he said would cost "billions of dollars a year" but be funded by savings from ending the Iraq war. The Illinois senator said he would spend about $6 billion annually, with his first task being to replicate in 20 cities such successful child and youth development programs as the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City and the Town Hall Education, Arts and Recreation Campus in the District, where he outlined his plan... Mr. Obama not only gave voters some of his first detailed policy objectives, but he also effectively stole the thunder from former Sen. John Edwards, who yesterday concluded a trip mimicking Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 poverty tour in Prestonsburg, Ky., where the Kennedy tour ended. Washington Times: Obama's $6 billion poverty platform 

BARACK THE "HARRY POTTER PARENT": Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is the "Harry Potter parent" who has read all six books about the boy wizard's adventures with his older daughter, his wife said Wednesday. In an interview with The Associated Press, Michelle Obama said her husband has read the books aloud with 9-year-old Malia and saw the latest movie, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," with her last Sunday. Both are awaiting the release of J.K. Rowling's seventh and final book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," this weekend, but finding time to read won't be easy, she said. "The challenge will be scheduling Harry Potter reading time in between Iowa and New Hampshire and fundraising, but I guarantee you they will figure out a way to do it," Michelle Obama told the AP. "Harry Potter is huge in our house." AP via Yahoo! News: AP Interview: Barack Obama is Potter fan 

SUIT AGAINST CLINTON POLLSTER DROPPED: A lawsuit accusing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist of illegally intercepting e-mails has been withdrawn and the legal battle between him and former associates has been resolved, the parties said Wednesday. Penn, Schoen & Berland said former vice president Mitchell E. Markel dropped his suit against the firm and its founder, Mark Penn, who is strategist and pollster to the Democratic presidential candidate. A separate suit that the firm had filed a week earlier against Markel and Michael J. Berland, another associate who once polled for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was also dismissed and a settlement was reached. Markel had claimed in his e-mail wiretapping suit that the firm was illegally monitoring messages sent from his personal Blackberry after he left and started a rival company. AP via Yahoo! News: Suit against Clinton pollster dropped 

RICHARDSON MAY HAVE "THE PERFECT RESUME," BUT IS "SHORT ON SUPPORT": After a bumpy descent on a six-seat plane into the Elko Regional Airport in rural Nevada, Bill Richardson immediately begins shaking hands. It's what he does best. After all, the New Mexico governor and Democratic presidential hopeful is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most handshakes by a politician: 13,392 in eight hours. It'll take more than stamina and a firm grip to wrest the nomination from better-known, better-financed opponents. If Richardson is to do it, the road runs through Nevada, which for the first time is likely to hold the second contest on the Democrats' calendar, between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. "I'm running for president even though some might say I'm an underdog; some might say I don't have the money some other candidates do; some might say I'm not a rock star like the other candidates," Richardson tells the crowd of about 170 people inside a hot airport hangar on a Friday afternoon. "I will win this nomination by going grassroots." He would seem to have the perfect resume to pull it off. Bloomberg: Democrat Richardson Long on Resume, Short on Support for 2008 

McCAIN ASKS HILL SUPPORTERS TO STICK WITH HIM: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his senior advisers met congressional supporters yesterday to persuade them not to desert him for rivals who are trying to cash in on strife and gloom within his ailing presidential campaign. Surrogates for former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) have approached lawmakers who back McCain in recent days to gauge their willingness to switch camps as McCain runs out of money. Yesterday's meetings were among dozens that McCain and his inner circle have held in the past two weeks with supporters to persuade them that the senator can still win the nomination, said Charlie Black, a lobbyist and veteran of several presidential campaigns, who attended the sessions with lawmakers. The Hill: McCain tries to shore up support on the Hill 

MITT HAS SPENT $1.7 MILLION ON VOTER LISTS: With an increasingly fragmented media market and new consumer niches emerging all the time, campaign specialists say, 2008 presidential contenders are devoting more resources than ever to identifying, categorizing, and making customized appeals to voters. A Globe analysis of federal campaign finance reports filed by the candidates this year shows that Democrats and Republicans combined have spent at least $4.8 million through June on voter lists, consumer databases, and companies that analyze personal data for political ends. Republicans outspent Democrats 4 to 1 on such efforts, but candidates from both parties, as they sought to expand their donor networks, spent far more in this area during the second quarter of 2007 than they did in the first quarter. Among Republicans, Romney has spent the most on collecting names, $1.7 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. Boston Globe: Candidates spend heavily on voter lists 

ANN ROMNEY STEPS OUT, "WINS ADMIRERS": Ann Romney had met Elizabeth Edwards only once and in passing, but the day after Edwards announced in March that her cancer had recurred in an incurable form, Romney called her. "I expressed my gratitude for her for continuing to fight on" in the presidential campaign and for the "courage she's giving to other people that are struggling," Romney says. "And I said, 'I totally understand why you're still fighting. I totally get it.'" When she hung up the phone, Elizabeth Edwards told adviser Jennifer Palmieri she felt a "special kinship" with Romney. While the two women don't have much in common politically — Romney's husband is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Edwards' husband the Democratic one — each is all too familiar with the competing emotions and demands that come with balancing a serious disease and a spouse's political ambitions. USA Today: Ann Romney wins admirers as she fights two battles 

RUDY TALKS JUDGES IN IA: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday used his first campaign trip to western Iowa to peddle an issue that supporters hope will help him make inroads among social conservatives who are at odds with his support for abortion rights. Giuliani, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, sought to demonstrate common ground with conservatives by promising at a campaign stop here to appoint "strict constructionists" to federal judgeships if he is elected president. The presumption among conservatives is that justices who narrowly interpret the Constitution would be open to reversing Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. However, Giuliani said he would not use abortion or any other issue as a litmus test for prospective judges. Des Moines Register: Giuliani's pitch hints at anti-abortion judges 

... AND CALLS FOR MORE ETHANOL PLANTS, NEW NUCLEAR REACTORS: Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani argued he can lead the country away from reliance on foreign oil with increases in ethanol production and nuclear power. On a visit to Iowa, the leading ethanol-producing state, Giuliani called for more ethanol plants and new nuclear reactors, oil refineries and transmission lines. Presidents going back to Richard Nixon have promised energy independence, "and we haven't made much of a real dent in getting there," Giuliani told a gathering Wednesday at restaurant in Le Mars. "But we've got Brazil way ahead of us on ethanol," the former New York mayor said. "It doesn't make sense that Brazil, per capita, would be ahead of us on ethanol. We have a country like France that's 85 percent nuclear power. We haven't built a new nuclear plant in 30 years." AP via Yahoo! News: Giuliani: More ethanol, nuclear power 

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