December 11, 2005
BUSH AND IMMIGRATION
D.C. -- President Bush surprised well-heeled supporters Monday
at an unannounced fund-raiser at a rented house in the Georgetown
section of Washington by spending more than a third of his 45-minute
speech on immigration.
Bush met for lunch with the "Regents," major contributors
and fund-raisers for the president. They were less interested
than ordinary Americans in the immigration issue and consequently
were surprised by Bush's emphasis.
his beleaguered guest worker program, Bush described immigration
as a difficult problem with no easy solution. He criticized multiple
appeals for alleged illegal immigrants ordered by the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals and current procedures for border offenders.
session Wednesday of the House Democratic Caucus, described officially
by leaders as harmonious, included angry disagreements over the
party's correct approach to Iraq.
two House Democrats -- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority
Whip Steny Hoyer -- typified the disagreement. Several members,
unhappy about Pelosi's advocacy of immediate troop withdrawal,
joined Hoyer in taking a more moderate position.
Nearly all House Democrats could unify in opposition to the stance
taken by Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean. They feel Dean
weakened the party's position by publicly asserting that the United
States could not win in Iraq.
insiders believe Rep. Katherine Harris, with her fund raising
in the dumps and her staff constantly in flux, may drop out of
the U.S. Senate race in Florida against first-term Democratic
Sen. Bill Nelson.
a national personality as Florida secretary of state, supporting
George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential recount. With her
campaign repeatedly turning over its senior staffers, Harris may
not even raise $500,000 this quarter. A recent poll shows her
trailing Nelson by 16 percentage points, leading some Republican
members of Congress and state legislators in Florida to worry
about their own re-election in 2006.
Some GOP fund-raisers believe Rep. Mark Foley may jump into the
Senate race to replace Harris. Foley has $2.35 million cash on
hand, compared to Harris' $470,000. Nelson had $6.5 million cash
on hand as of Sept. 30.
Gov. Haley Barbour, who once was a big-time Washington lobbyist,
prowled Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday, seeking Republican
support for additional funding of Hurricane Katrina damage relief
on Mississippi's Gulf Coast.
pitch coincided with an unexpected move by his fellow Mississippian
and close political ally, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman
Thad Cochran, who proposed doubling President Bush's $17.1 billion
request for Katrina aid. Because the money is offset by reducing
Bush's spending requests, the Barbour-Cochran position is widely
interpreted as a challenge to the White House.
Barbour so far has not pointed fingers at either the president
or the congressional leadership, friends said he may get specific
if no money is forthcoming within a week. The governor might also
take issue with Louisiana officials for poisoning the Washington
atmosphere by calling for $250 billion in aid.
Emanuel, in only his second term as a congressman from Chicago,
gets high praise from Democratic activists outside Congress for
his performance as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign
success in recruiting candidates and management of the '06 campaign
earns him higher grades than the performance of his immediate
predecessors: Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, Nita Lowey of New
York and the late Robert Matsui of California. A former Clinton
White House political aide, Emanuel at age 46 is considered a
rising star in House Democratic ranks.
One outside Democratic campaign operation, eyeing a good chance
to pick up the 16 seats in 2006 needed to win control of the House
for the first time since the 1992 elections, calculates that over
50 seats out of 435 are now in play. That's twice as many competitive
seats as were estimated in 2004.
2005 Creators Syndicate