Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


May 5, 2006

"As we have seen in the recent peaceful immigration movements, Hispanics are clearly vested in our country and want to continue to contribute to the strength of our nation," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

"Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect," said Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkely and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University.

"I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police or being cited for three driving infractions."  -- Patrick Kennedy.


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


Kennedy crashes

Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car into a barricade near the Capitol early Thursday. A police official said he appeared intoxicated. Kennedy said he had taken sleep medication and a prescription anti-nausea drug that can cause drowsiness.

In a hastily held press conference Friday afternoon, Kennedy announced he was checking into a rehab clinic (Mayo Clinic, in Rochester), which is the same rehab he utilized during the holidays: [LINK to Reuters article]

"This afternoon I am traveling to Minnesota to seek treatment at the Mayo Clinic to insure that I can continue on my road to recovery," Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, told reporters.

Kennedy said he was a patient last winter at the clinic, receiving care for an addiction to prescription pain medicine.

His announcement came shortly after a U.S. Capitol Police report showed Kennedy, 38, was charged with three driving violations after he crashed his car into a Capitol Hill security barrier early Thursday.

In a chilling admission, Kennedy stated the following:

"I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police or being cited for three driving infractions."  


Rumsfield heckled

USA Today reports on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld being heckled while giving a speech:

Protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday and one man, a former CIA analyst, accused him of lying about Iraq prewar intelligence in an unusually vociferous display of anti-war sentiment.

"Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?" asked Ray McGovern, the former analyst, during a question-and-answer session.

"I did not lie," shot back Rumsfeld, who waved off security guards ready to remove McGovern from the hall at the Southern Center for International Studies.

With Iraq war support remaining low, it is not unusual for top Bush administration officials to encounter protests and hostile questions. But the outbursts Rumsfeld confronted on Thursday seemed beyond the usual.

Three protesters were escorted away by security as each interrupted Rumsfeld's speech by jumping up and shouting anti-war messages. Throughout the speech, a fourth protester stood in the middle of the room with his back to Rumsfeld in silent protest. Officials reported no arrests.

Frist slammed

The NY Times offers a damning story on Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and his recent $100 rebate gas relief proposal:

The rise and fall of the Republican $100 rebate offers a window on how Washington sometimes works in a slapdash way, featuring in this case Congressional aides who misread the political climate and lawmakers desperate to hang onto their jobs. It is a story, as well, of how concepts and plans can be reduced to sound bites that make them seem absurd.

And it is yet another example of how Senator Frist, who is contemplating a bid for the White House in 2008, has stumbled at the pinnacle of Senate power.

Guilani fundraising

The NY Times reports that Rudy Giuliani is gearing up his fundraising efforts:

Ramping up his political operation, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has hired a former director of President Bush's six-figure donation programs to raise money for his political action committee.

An adviser to Mr. Giuliani, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the fund-raiser, Anne Dickerson, is focused on helping Republican candidates in the 2006 election. Yet given her donor lists, Ms. Dickerson will also expand Mr. Giuliani's own fund-raising base if he chooses to run for president in 2008.

Mr. Giuliani confirmed Monday, during a trip to help candidates in Iowa, that he was weighing a presidential bid and wondering if he stands a chance of victory, given that his support for abortion rights, gay rights and gun control is considered detestable to many Republican voters. He said he would decide after the November elections.

U.N. slammed

The Washington Times "Inside the Beltway" reports on a book signing that takes aim at the failed United Nations:

The New York City gathering was in celebration of senior Fox News Channel correspondent Eric Shawn's blistering new book, "The U.N. Exposed: How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World."

But at Wednesday evening's book party at the Upper East Side restaurant Elaine's, John R. Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, actually took to signing several copies of Mr. Shawn's stab at the U.N. — obviously giving his seal of approval to the content.

Fox News Channel founder Roger Ailes and host Bill O'Reilly, and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, each made an appearance.

2008 race

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza’s "The Fix" offers a look at the 2008 handicapping of the presidential races:

Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and George Allen (Va.), along with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, are the three Republicans who are constructing the organization, raising the money and attracting the early buzz necessary to win the Republican nod. While it's impossible to predict what the field will look like a year or two from now, we are extremely surprised that there aren't more top-tier Republicans in the running -- especially since the nomination is wide open.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour would likely have earned a top-tier slot, but he removed himself from the 2008 race earlier this year. All-but-declared candidates like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Chuck Hagel, New York Gov. George Pataki and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford have potential, but for one reason or another haven't emerged yet as serious contenders for the nomination.

One potential entrant into the rarified air of frontrunners is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who of late has been acting a lot more like a candidate than many people -- The Fix included -- ever thought he would. Even with Giuliani in the race, however, room remains for a socially conservative candidate (we're looking at you Huckabee and Brownback) to step up….

For anyone wondering about the Democrats, it is Hillary followed by... everyone else.

Poll watching

Two headlines today tell different stories. One says that President Bush hits all time low and another says Bush improves slightly.

Fox News poll that was conducted for them states:

The new poll finds that President Bush has regained a bit of ground this week. Two weeks ago his approval rating hit a record low of 33 percent. His current 38 percent approval is almost identical to his 2006 average, which is 39 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on May 2 and May 3.

The poll also confirmed that currently Democrats are slightly more interested in the November elections than Republicans. About a third of Democrats (34 percent) say they are "extremely" interested compared to 27 percent of Republicans.

The Associated Press reports that Bush has sunk to new lows:

The AP-Ipsos poll also suggests that Democratic voters are far more motivated than Republicans. Elections in the middle of a president's term traditionally favor the party whose core supporters are the most energized.

This week's survey of 1,000 adults, including 865 registered voters, found:

• Just 33 percent of the public approves of Bush's job performance, the lowest of his presidency. That compares with 36 percent approval in early April. Forty-five percent of self-described conservatives now disapprove of the president.

Impeach Bush warning

Sen. Elizabeth Dole in a fundraising letter stated that a Democrat Congress would impeach President Bush. She also warned that a Democratic controlled Congress would "put the war on terrorism on the back-burner."

Hillary Now

Hillary Now is an organization dedicated to electing Sen. Hillary Clinton president. The have announced their national kickoff will be a May 23. The event will include a fund-raiser for at a Germantown, Tenn., coffee shop, Enchanted Gingerbread. About 200 of the state’s residents are expected to attend, the group's organizer Bob Kunst told Tennessee reporter Bonna de la Cruz. bills itself as the oldest and most active organization in support of electing Hillary to the presidency. Another group,, is based in Chester, Va.


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