Compiled by Stephen Bach, CNN Washington Bureau
Fred Thompson is officially in. Check out his announcement video here.
Thompson heads straight to the Hawkeye State today, speaking at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines at 3 pm ET. He later holds a "Meet Fred Thompson" event at 8 pm ET in Council Bluffs, IA.
Political Hot Topics
(Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
DEMS SHOWING "NEW OPENNESS TO COMPROMISE" ON WAR: With a mixed picture emerging about progress in Iraq, Senate Democratic leaders are showing a new openness to compromise as they try to attract Republican support for forcing at least modest troop withdrawals in the coming months. New York Times: Democrats Newly Willing to Compromise on Iraq
"PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE" ON PETRAEUS REPORT: Congressional Democrats are trying to undermine U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' credibility before he delivers a report on the Iraq war next week, saying the general is a mouthpiece for President Bush and his findings can't be trusted. Washington Times: Dems already dismissing Iraq war report
WH CHIEF OF STAFF PREDICTS TROOP PRESENCE INTO '09: President Bush will address the nation next week about Iraq and U.S. efforts to get that country "well on the path" to stability by the end of his term, White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten said Wednesday. Bolten, who predicted a sizable presence of U.S. troops would remain in Iraq after Bush leaves office, spoke days before the administration delivers a crucial progress report. USA Today: Bolten: Iraq mission will continue after Bush term
NEW REPORT FINDS IRAQI ARMY UNABLE TO TAKE OVER IN NEXT 12-18 MONTHS: Iraq's army, despite measurable progress, will be unable to take over internal security from U.S. forces in the next 12 to 18 months and "cannot yet meaningfully contribute to denying terrorists safe haven," according to a report on the Iraqi security forces published today. Washington Post: Iraqi Army Unable To Take Over Within A Year, Report Says
WHITE HOUSE "QUIETLY CIRCULATING" SHORT LIST FOR AG REPLACEMENT: According to senior Republican and Democratic leadership aides, the White House has floated six potential replacements — former Solicitor General Ted Olson; former Attorney General Bill Barr; former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger; D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence Silberman; former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson; and Michael Mukasey, a former judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Roll Call: White House Floats Names for AG Pick
TIM JOHNSON WELCOMED BACK TO SENATE... LARRY CRAIG, UH, WELL...: Nine months after a brain hemorrhage brought him close to death, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) returned yesterday to the Senate floor, where he basked in the tributes and standing ovations of his colleagues. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), who attempted his own return yesterday, didn't fare quite so well. Washington Post: Senate Family Welcomes Cousin Tim... Not So Much Uncle Larry
"A SMALL DOOR HAS BEEN LEFT AJAR," SAYS CRAIG SPOKESMAN: Embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) said Wednesday that his stated intent to resign later this month is conditional and that he will only proceed if he fails to have his guilty plea in a Minnesota court rescinded. Although it is a long shot, Craig has hired a high-powered legal team to try to reverse his plea before the end of the month. Roll Call: Craig Says Exit Is Conditional
"SPIRITED" CLOSED-DOOR DISCUSSION ON CRAIG: Republican senators held what one participant called a "passionate" and "spirited" closed-door discussion Wednesday afternoon about how their leaders responded to the sex scandal involving their colleague Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, CNN has learned. The Ticker: GOP senators hold 'spirited' discussion on Craig
10-TERM OH CONGRESSMEN GILLMOR DIES: As he flew from Columbus to Washington on Tuesday afternoon with three House Republican colleagues, Rep. Paul Gillmor was his typically cheery self, telling them how much he enjoyed boating with his family during the August recess. Less than 24 hours later, Gillmor, 68, was dead in his Washington-area apartment, stunning both political allies and rivals of the 10-term Republican congressman and onetime Ohio gubernatorial candidate. Columbus Dispatch: Rep. Paul Gillmor dies at 68
EX-REP. DUNN LEAVES LEGACY IN MODERN WA GOP: When former Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn died this week, she left behind a long line of protégés and Republican Party leaders who think her way may be the best way back to power. Rep. Dunn's mild-mannered, suburban brand of Republicanism inspired many of the people who today are the face of the state GOP. Seattle Times: Jennifer Dunn, who inspired face of today's state GOP, dies at 66
SENATE PANEL LOOKS INTO UTAH MINE ACCIDENT: The government should never have approved plans for the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah, experts told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday... The hearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education marked the first of what is expected to be several congressional hearings into the Aug. 6 Crandall Canyon accident, in which six miners were trapped and are presumed dead, and three rescuers died trying to reach them. Deseret Morning News: Approval of mine plans flayed
NH'S MR. FIRST-IN-THE-NATION "AS INSCRUTABLE AS HE IS STUBBORN": From a cramped office on the second floor of the State Capitol, William M. Gardner has spent 31 years vigorously defending New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. But never before has Mr. Gardner, the secretary of state, been so challenged, or so influential, on the course of a campaign. New York Times: Defender of New Hampshire’s Primary Stays Firm
DEMS SLAM PLAN TO SPLIT CA ELECTORAL VOTES: A GOP-backed initiative to toss out California's winner-take-all system of assigning electoral votes was approved for circulation Wednesday, and Democrats immediately slammed it as a backdoor attempt to hand Republicans the 2008 presidential election. San Francisco Chronicle: WINNER-TAKE-ALL? NOT NECESSARILY
HUCKABEE INVOKES POTTERY BARN RULE AT DEBATE: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made a dramatic statement regarding Iraq at Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate, declaring, "We bought it because we broke it." The comment came in perhaps the most compelling moment of the Republican debate so far, when the Arkansas Republican directly confronted Texas Rep. Ron Paul on his position for an immediate withdrawal from the country. The Ticker: Huckabee and Paul tussle on Iraq
"IT STARTS RIGHT NOW," THOMPSON TELLS LENO: On Wednesday, Thompson bracketed a televised debate in New Hampshire among the other Republican candidates for president with his own national television ad and an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Tennessean: Thompson to Leno: I'm in
CANDIDATES TAKE SHOTS AT LATEST COMPETITOR: The candidates who have been toiling away on the stump for months had plenty of jabs about Mr. Thompson’s late entry and his decision to skip the debate. Mr. Romney teased him for waiting so long to enter the race. “Why the hurry?” he asked. Then he suggested that Mr. Thompson should have postponed his entry until after the major primaries. “Why not take some more time off?” New York Times: Republican Candidates Make Thompson a Target
NOW THOMPSON MUST "CONVERT CURIOSITY" INTO "REAL SUPPORT": GOP leaders and rank-and-file caucus-goers will be watching closely to rate his reception as he plows into Republican-heavy western Iowa today and Friday. They want to see for themselves whether the candidate measures up to the anticipation, said Ann Trimble Ray, Sac County GOP chairwoman. Des Moines Register: Iowans get to see how Thompson stacks up
A "CLOUD" OVER "PLANET FRED?" Has his niche been filled? Some activists complain that he’s the cute girl who rebuffs you so long that you lose interest. So what looked promising now looks merely possible. But Thompson advisers say they remain optimistic. And most of all, they say their candidate is raring to go. The Politico: Thompson campaign remains optimistic
OFFICIALLY, IT'S "FREDDIE" THOMPSON. NO KIDDING: [T]he newest candidate's name in the Republican race for president is, in fact, not Fred D. Thompson. It's been a family secret for many, many years, uncovered only by the most diligent reporting. Few people know this. But Fred Thompson's actual first name isn't Fred. It's really Freddie. No, seriously. Official marriage, birth and divorce records in Alabama and Tennessee show that the newest Republican presidential contender was born Freddie Dalton Thompson. LA Times' Top of the Ticket
ROMNEY $CORES BIG IN SILICON VALLEY THANKS TO EBAY TIES: Romney has raised $608,798 from the Silicon Valley region through June 30 compared to $233,735 for McCain and $206,076 for Giuliani... Silicon Valley officials credit Romney’s good showing in the region’s fundraising race to eBay President and Chief Executive Meg Whitman. The Hill: Romney benefits from ties to eBay president
ROBERT DUVALL BACKS RUDY: Rudy Giuliani received a boost Wednesday when Robert Duvall declared he would back the former New York City mayor's presidential bid... "Rudy has consistently proven he's ready to confront tough challenges," Duvall said in a statement released by Giuliani's presidential campaign. "I don't normally get involved in politics, but I think the stakes are too high this election." The Ticker: Hollywood star backs Giuliani
HSU "ONCE AGAIN A FUGITIVE": Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu is once again a fugitive after failing to appear Wednesday in San Mateo County Superior Court to surrender his passport as promised in connection with a 15-year-old felony grand theft conviction. San Francisco Chronicle: Fugitive Dem fundraiser on the lam again
HILLARY GOES ON THE AIR IN NH: Continuing her fall campaign push, Hillary Clinton will air her first TV ad in New Hampshire starting today. The 30-second spot uses footage from Sunday rallies in Concord and Portsmouth to reinforce Clinton's argument that she has the experience and record to bring the change that Democratic voters want on healthcare, the war in Iraq, and other issues. Boston Globe: Change is in the airwaves for Clinton and Obama
OBAMA ISSUES "STUNNING PUTDOWN" OF HILLARY'S HEALTH CARE RX: Sen. Barack Obama said yesterday he's found the right prescription for health-care reform – don't do it the Hillary way. In a stunning putdown of the front-running Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama vowed to have an "open process" for crafting a universal health-care plan and rapped the former first lady's failed 1993 effort as a secretive attempt that shut out the American public. New York Post: OBAMA: CLINTON HEALTH PLAN WAS POISON
Also on the Political Radar:
* Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) is in Iraq today on his eighth visit to the country since 2002.
* Rudy Giuliani visits with local residents at the Parkview Café in St. Paul, MN, at 12:15 pm ET. He later tours Mauro Sewer in Des Plaines, IL, at 4:45 pm ET.
* Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) holds a town hall meeting at Doolittle Community Center in Las Vegas, NV. Doors 4 pm ET.
* Mike Huckabee tours the Dover Adult Learning Center at 2 pm ET in Dover, NH. He'll later visits Turbocam in Barrington, NH, at 3:15 pm ET, and attends a private fundraising reception at 6 pm ET in Dover.