At a press avail in Hanoi, President Bush referenced the lake "where John McCain got pulled out," calling it "one of the most poignant moments of the drive... And he's a friend of ours; he suffered a lot as a result of his imprisonment, and yet, we passed the place where he was, literally, saved, in one way, by the people pulling him out."
In his twin speeches yesterday, "McCain cited Reagan frequently as the guidepost for the future of the party. In contrast, he never mentioned Bush by name, although he was implicitly critical of the administration's conduct of the war in Iraq. By choosing two conservative audiences..., McCain demonstrated his desire to mend relations with the right."
McCain also told a group of conservative lawyers that he is "very proud" of his role in the Gang of 14. He "said he wanted to preserve the filibuster option for future times, but also said the deal struck by the 14 senators has helped to push through some of Mr. Bush's more contentious nominees."
The New York Times reports that Rudy Giuliani met with about "30 supporters from around the country who discussed how they would organize fund-raising for a presidential run, said Roy W. Bailey, the finance chairman of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee Inc… Among those who attended were Thomas O. Hicks, owner of the Texas Rangers; Mel M. Immergut, chairman of the New York law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; Patrick C. Oxford, managing partner at the Houston law firm Mr. Giuliani joined last year; William E. Simon Jr., an investor who ran for governor of California in 2002; and Barry D. Wynn, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party."
Gov. Mitt Romney (R) may be throwing his hat into the ring soon. The Boston Globe reports that Romney and close advisors and supporters are set to meet in a "powwow" this weekend at an "undisclosed location" to discuss his 2008 plans. Romney "is huddling with advisers and donors just as the field of GOP presidential hopefuls begins to come into sharper focus... Romney's meetings this weekend are certain to touch on his plans for 2008 and how and when to make them known."
Former Sen. John Edwards (D) does Letterman tonight. Per the Raleigh News & Observer, a "staffer for [Edwards] tried to buy a PlayStation 3 for the former U.S. senator's family at a Raleigh Wal-Mart on the same day Edwards was criticizing the giant retailer's treatment of its employees, the company said Thursday… Edwards said Thursday night that he and his family do not shop at Wal-Mart, but that a volunteer aide acted on his own initiative."
The Los Angeles Times reports that "lawmakers in California and Florida are eyeing earlier primary dates for the 2008 election that would force contenders to campaign in their states... Such a change would transform the nomination battles in both parties, forcing candidates to compete in some of the country's priciest media markets while diverting their attention from... small towns and cities where old-style retail politics is king... Well-funded front-runners on both sides... would likely benefit, while lesser-known contenders with slimmer bank accounts would find their tasks even more daunting."