They're All Against It, Even If They Didn't Vote: Two of the three Democratic presidential candidates who serve in the Senate were among the 34 senators who voted against the late-term abortion ban Tuesday. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., left the campaign trail to return to the Capitol for the historic vote. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., however, spent the day in New York schmoozing with media types, skipping the vote and merely submitting a statement into the Congressional Record.
"While late-term abortions should occur only in rare circumstances, this bill bans them in all circumstances. That is not constitutional and it is not fair to the women who are in the rare circumstances where this procedure is required. For this reason, I cannot support this bill," said Edwards.
As for Kerry and Lieberman, they chimed in after the vote.
"This vote is a step backwards for women as George Bush's stealth agenda to roll back the right to choose is pushed forward. … It is time for a President who will have the courage to stand up to the right wing assault on the rights of women," said Kerry.
"This bill, which the Republican leadership is again railroading through Congress and which the president is sure to sign, is about politics, not sound policy," Lieberman said.
The House passed the bill earlier this month with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, voting against it, although he has a history of voting to impose restrictions on abortion. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., missed the vote but his campaign has said that as president he would not sign the bill because there's no provision to protect the health of the mother.
The only physician in the presidential race, former Gov. Howard Dean, offered his thoughts after the vote.
"As a physician, I am outraged that the Senate has decided it is qualified to practice medicine. ... Today the Senate took a step toward making it a crime for a doctor to perform such medically necessary procedures," Dean said in a statement.
You Have To Spend Money To Make Money: The Bush campaign bragged last week that it's only spent about 18 percent of the money it's raised so far. But when you look at a year-to-date total of $85.1 million raised, that leaves a healthy $14.7 million that's already been spent.
The New York Times took a close look at the latest Bush-Cheney '04 FEC filing and found that despite the relatively low "burn rate," the campaign still is spending money on multiple pollsters, media and Internet consultants, as well as spending a huge chunk of the $14.7 million on fundraising.
Matthew Dowd, the Bush campaign's chief pollster, is getting paid $9,000 a month, and there are other pollsters – Linda DiVall, Ed Goeas and Fred Steeper among them – receiving money, too.
The Austin, Texas-based direct-mail firm Olsen-Shuvalov has been a major beneficiary of Bush-Cheney funds, getting more than $4 million for sending fund-raising letters to potential contributors. Olsen-Shuvalov was formed in March of 1999 by several former employees of Rove & Co., the direct-mail firm that was owned by White House political czar Karl Rove. Heather Shuvalov, one of the firm's principals, tells CBS News that Rove has "absolutely no" financial connection to the firm.
Campaign officials tell the Times that 69 percent of the campaign's spending went to fund-raising costs, 21 percent to general operations (including setting up headquarters) and another 10 percent on contacting voters. The campaign has spent about $1.8 million on payroll expenses since starting up in May.
Despite denials from the campaign that it plans to put up ads anytime soon, the campaign's expenditures included $875,000 to media consultant Mark McKinnon, a sign that Bush-Cheney is actively preparing to blanket the airwaves early next year.
Democrats, on the other hand, are spending like crazy on ads already. The National Journal's Hotline took a look at the Democratic presidential candidates' filings and found that John Edwards has paid Axelrod & Associates $2.6 million; Howard Dean has paid Trippi, McMahon, Squier - which happens to be campaign manager Joe Trippi's firm - $2 million; John Kerry has spent $1.3 million on media so far, with $1.25 going to Riverfront Media and another $57,000 to GMMB; and Dick Gephardt has given $945,000 to Carrick and Morris.
Dean Divers: Leading the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, Howard Dean is the topic of conversation and intrigue among opposing candidates research teams and the press alike. Nicknamed "Dean Divers" by state officials, they have been known to camp out at the 19th Century mansion that houses the state archives, digging through public records and correspondences in search of a little juice, the AP reports.
The papers from Dean's tenure add up to 600,000 pages and fill 190 boxes, archivist Gregory Sanford said. And according to Vermont Secretary of State Deborah Markowitz, they've gotten requests for everything, including the 145 crates of records that she agreed to keep private for 10 years after the governor left office. The Gephardt campaign also combed TV archives of press conferences and debates at the Chittenden Community TV station and "came up with 230 tapes" for their efforts.
The socially liberal and fiscally conservative politician is in many ways a man who never made nice with either side of the political spectrum. He once compared Republicans to the Ayatollah Khomeini, Knight Ridder reports, and his triangulation method between extremes often upset conservatives and liberals alike.
But it is some of his other decisions as governor that now haunt him in his pursuit of the White House. Signing the civil unions bill, which almost cost him re-election in 2000 and which could hurt him in the conservative south and his decision to play politics with the state Medicaid program in order to force the legislature to raise cigarette taxes, to name a few.
Despite the opposition teams after him, Dean continues to keep his eye on the prize. By the end of the day, Dean will have visited all of Iowa's 99 counties. And the Dean campaign released a new ad in New Hampshire and Boston on Wednesday, which criticizes his opponents for asking questions about the Iraq war today rather than before it started. And, in released a new ad in Iowa on Tuesday about prescription drug prices and his opponents' inability to do more than reminisce about what was said eight years ago.
Meanwhile, Dan Rather's interview with Dean appears on CBS News' 60 Minutes II on Wednesday night. In the interview, Dean talks about his wife's reluctance to campaign for him because of her medical practice, the death of his younger brother in Laos thirty years ago, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, who keep popping up in a race in which neither of them is running.
Yes Virginia, There Are Elections This Year: Although most people are caught up in the presidential primary season, there is an election this year on Nov. 4. Over 450 cities will hold mayoral elections and two states, Kentucky and Mississippi, will hold gubernatorial elections.
In Philadelphia's mayoral race, a Tuesday night debate featured sharp exchanges over the ethical questions that have come to dominate the contest. Incumbent Mayor John Street underlined his belief that the current FBI investigation of his office is an attempt to manipulate the election's results, while Republican Steve Katz countered that the probe was an "exclamation point" on the city's history of corruption.
Katz also had to defend himself over his own ethical issues, including a lawsuit filed by former partners that charges him with embezzlement among other things. And both candidates accused the other of manipulating race to win votes. One of the few policy issues discussed was fiscal policy, which was essentially a debate over Katz' plan to cut the wage tax.
As the debate took place, many voters seemed to agree with the mayor that he is the victim of political manipulation. Far from hurting the mayor, the FBI investigation seems to be creating a "dramatic up-tick" in his support, according to Street campaign spokesman Dan Fee. And polls (Temple University, Keystone) show the mayor pulling decisively ahead. As Larry Sabato, a professor at The University of Virginia, told CBS News, "Should John Street win re-election, his first thank you should not go to his staff but to the FBI."
In Mississippi, it's third parties instead of the FBI ruffling political feathers. As the Biloxi Sun Herald reports, John Thomas Cripps of the Constitution Party and Sherman Lee Dillon of the Green Party are increasing chances that neither the incumbent, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, nor Republican challenger Haley Barbour will get a majority in either the popular or electoral (measured by House districts) votes. Cripps' support for the Confederate flag may take votes from Barbour, while Dillon's progressive stances appeal to potential Musgrove backers. If Cripps and Dillon do well enough to deny a major party candidate the majority, the Mississippi House of Representatives will pick the governor. In 1999, that process took almost two months.
In Kentucky, the election is going to the dogs. Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ernie Fletcher is yelling "copycat" over a new ad by his opponent, Democrat Ben Chandler. The ad features a dog with the nametag "Ernie" being told to "sit," "lay down," and "roll over" as a narrator tells viewers that "special interests have [Fletcher] very well-trained."
Fletcher's camp, which has used dogs in ads attacking Chandler, says, "The Chandler campaign and their advisors has once again demonstrated their inability to come up with an original idea."
What happened to imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
Quote of the Day: "They have the best hair in their respective fields." -- John Edwards' spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri to US Magazine, on similiarities between the North Carolina senator and actor Ashton Kutcher. (The Washington Post)