The Hotline's Saturday Brunch

Staffer backs up Palmer/Foley meeting....New Foley ads in OH and IN.....WH doesn't know what to do with John Warner......HIllary Clinton gives $2.1M to DSCC...... DSCC plans VA ads......

The Brunch is an exclusive Saturday political news digest and tip sheet from the editors of The Hotline.




  • First, read Adam Nagourney's scene-setter. Key line: "More immediately — and more alarmingly for Republican strategists who have looked to the party’s powerful voter turnout operation to save the party this year — there are signs that the furor is sapping the enthusiasm of a group essential to Republican victories in 2002 and 2004: religious conservatives."


  • A current Congressional staffer backs up Kirk Fordham's claims that Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, was notified about Foley concerns in '03:
    House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff confronted then-Rep. Mark Foley about his inappropriate social contact with male pages well before the speaker said aides in his office took any action, a current congressional staff member with personal knowledge of Foley and his behavior with pages said yesterday.
    On Wednesday night, Palmer was described as highly emotional while aides sifted through e-mails and files to determine whether he had ever spoken to Fordham. Several people who spoke with Palmer said the chief of staff was emphatic in denying that he knew anything about Foley's questionable contacts with young male pages.
    Trandahl's departure came within days of his confrontation with Foley over e-mails that the congressman had sent a former page. House aides say the circumstances of Trandahl's exit were oddly quiet. The departure of a staff member of long standing, especially one as important as the House clerk, is usually marked with considerable fanfare, said Scott Lilly, a former Democratic staff director of the House Appropriations Committee. Debate is suspended in mid-afternoon to accommodate a stream of testimonials from lawmakers.


  • Another Democrat uses Mark Foley in a TV ad. Baron Hill criticizes Rep. Mike Sodrel for refusing to return Foley's campaign contributions. "Millionaire Mike, he says nothing and refuses to return the money."


  • Check out this ad run by Dem Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio's 15th CD against Rep. Deborah Pryce. The spot is airing on Christian radio stations only. Sample line: "Deborah Pryce's friend Mark Foley is caught using his position to take advantage of 16 year old pages."


  • Foley's Sister Speaks..... the local diocese wants Foley to reveal the name of his molester.....Foley was a quiet champion for gay rights. All from Justin Sayfie's Safiereview.


  • Virginia's Senate race -- and the White House -- reacted to Sen. John Warner's "drifting sideways" comment.


  • Susan Ralston, who functioned as a sort of a chief of staff to Karl Rove, resigned late Friday after her contacts with Jack Abramoff were scrutinized by the White House. From the Post: "A senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the counsel's office reached no conclusion about whether Ralston violated gift limits because her resignation made the point moot. But the official said there were "mitigating circumstances" in her case because she had a preexisting relationship with Abramoff, for whom she worked before joining the White House. The official said the White House made no criminal referral in her case. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment."


  • An interpretation of VP Cheney's travel schedule: "The fact that Cheney is even in places such as Sarasota and Texas, defending seats held by Republicans such as Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Longboat Key, and former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, probably shows just how much trouble Republicans are in, said Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political science professor."


  • Sen. Hillary Clinton transferred $2.1 million from her Senate re-election account to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on 10/5. She also gave $250K to the DCCC and $150K to the New York State Democratic Party. (Hotline sources)


  • Whoops: "Rep. Dave Heaton of Mount Pleasant was identified in a statement by McCain’s political action committee Thursday as one of 13 legislators to have endorsed the Arizona senator, who is taking steps toward a second bid for president." He now says he hasn't endorsed McCain. (But maybe he did agree to sign on to McCain's PAC?)


  • Meanwhile, in South Carolina, McCain attended a moving rally with veterans.


  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) seems a little pessimistic, doesn't he? "''It's happened in the past that we've had divided government in terms of the House and Senate. I'm sure we'll do our best to work together to try to address the nation's problems.''


  • "Is it possible that the Senate vote last week to build that 700-mile fence on the border was really nothing more than a sham? A cruel joke on the American people?" That's the beginning of an e-mail from the American Conservative Union.


  • Meet hosts Bob Woodward and the MO SEN debate; Face has Tom Davis and Ray Lahood. This Week has Tom Reynolds and Rahm Emanuel. Fox News Sunday has Jack Kingston. Late Edition has Joe Biden.


  • Don't worry about midterm turnout. 10 of the top 15 books on the NYT's bestseller list are about politics.



  • Highlights of the TX GOV debate: "During the debate, Strayhorn focused her attention on Perry, trying to portray the campaign as a two-person race. Bell attacked Strayhorn and Perry, urging Democrats to rally behind him. Perry tried to diminish Strayhorn's candidacy by putting Bell in the cross hairs of his closing remarks. Friedman painted all three as professional politicians, saying he would bring people in from outside the political arena to address the state's problems."
    But the biggest beating of the night came from the panel of Belo journalists who played a fast-paced game of political Jeopardy with the candidates. Perry gave plausibly correct answers about the electric bill for the Governor's Mansion and the current home mortgage interest rate. Bell also knew that the battle of the Alamo occurred in 1836. But Strayhorn drew a blank when asked to name the new president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon.


  • Sen. Barack Obama brought his star power to FL to campaign for Jim Davis.




  • CT: Wes Clark campaigned for Ned Lamont.


  • MI: Bouchard (R) wants an independent investigation: "To assure that this grievous behavior does not occur again in the halls of Congress, an independent investigation is necessary. The investigation must be taken out of the hands of politicians and put into the hands of trained investigators."


  • TN: This might have legs. Bob Corker's campaign brags: "Shortly after CNN began reporting that Washington Congressman Harold Ford has been untruthful about his status as a lawyer, the blogosphere lit up with stories slamming Ford for among the most common self inflicted gaffes: embellishing one’s resume."


  • PA: Why did Sen. Rick Santorum "decline" an offer for Sen. Sam Brownback to campaign with him?


  • VA: Sen. George Allen nabbed two important endorsements. One of them came with a caveat. "Sen. George Allen accepted endorsements Friday from the mayor of Portsmouth, James Holley, and a prominent African-American minister whose church is in Richmond. But Bishop Gerald O. Glenn said his support was being delivered with a warning. Glenn, who grew up in Portsmouth as a self-described juvenile delinquent before becoming a police officer and eventually taking up the cloth, said Friday that he was supporting Allen after a long meeting with him. But in a letter to Allen, Glenn also said that the endorsement could be affected if the senator continues to run attack ads against his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb."




  • Congressional Quarterly reports that the NRCC dumped more than $7 million Friday alone in 30 House districts.


  • NY 25: From our friends at Congress Daily PM: "Fallout from the resignation of former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., and the House Republican leadership's handling of complaints over inappropriate e-mails he sent to pages is reverberating on campaign trails around the country. In the suburban Buffalo district of National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Thomas Reynolds, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' PAC Thursday bought $110,000 worth of television advertising. "It's an ad that asks some very pointed questions about his role in this current Mark Foley business," said Paul Booth, a top aide to AFSCME President Gerald McEntee. Reynolds faces a rematch with Democratic nominee Jack Davis, whom Reynolds defeated 56-44 percent two years ago. Davis has attacked Reynolds before on labor issues, but this is the first time AFSCME has put significant money into the district."


  • UT 03: "Egging on?" Rep. Chris Cannon tries to walk back his comments about teens, e-mails, a prank and Mark Foley.


    We hear.... The DSCC has secured ad time in Virginia and may begin to air spots as early as next week.