Sunday, March 19, 2006


- The big story of the day (anticipated by Joe Gandelman at TMV yesterday) comes from USNews: Chitra Ragavan reports that soon after 9/11, the same group of White House and DoJ lawyers who came up with the Administration's "justification" for the NSA warrantless wiretappping program met with FBI officials "about using the same legal authority to conduct physical searches of homes and businesses of terrorism suspects - also without court approval, one current and one former government official," according to one former and one current government official. FBI Director Robert Mueller was "very alarmed" by the proposal, and "pushed back hard against it," the magazine reports. Not surprising, but yet another example of the willingness of some in this Administration to push the envelope over a cliff.

- Via PoliticalWire, USNews' "Washington Whispers" reports this week that while Rudy Giuliani "hasn't talked about running, there are hints he's ready. A key Republican senator tells us that Rudy's peeps are already at work in Florida. And we hear that he's making a trip to Iowa ... to help raise money for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Jim Nussle." Giuliani would of course make things interesting in the GOP primary race. As I have been for a long time though, I'm worried that there are too many skeletons in Rudy's closet, and I'm not sure he's going to be able to teach all of them to dance.

- Over in the New York Times "Week in Review," Anne Kornblut asks "But Will They Love Him Tomorrow?" about Illinois senator Barack Obama. She highlights a recent joke (at the Gridiron Club roast) from President Bush to the famously hyped wunderkind legislator: "Senator Obama, I want to do a joke on you. But doing a joke on you is like doing a joke on the pope. Give me something to work with. Mispronounce something." Kornblut asks "If Mr. Obama's popularity and reputation among Democrats grow, will it be possible, his advisers and other Democrats wonder, for Mr. Obama to maintain his smooth trajectory over time? How can he lower expectations, to reduce the impact of any future misstep?"

So far, Obama's taking the hype in stride and doing his best to turn it back on the press. Here's his own crescendo line from the Gridiron Club: "I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you've given me in anticipation of a successful career. When I actually do something, we'll let you know."

- Over at Centerfield, Mathew has a long and thoughtful post on the Feingold censure resolution.

- Joe Gandelman's got some excellent musings on John McCain's hiring of a top Bush-Cheney political director to run his PAC, and about McCain's dangerous balancing act of keeping his independent centrist base while trying also to appeal to those who support Bush.


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