Gov. Bill Richardson (D) gives a major address on immigration reform at Georgetown today. As we wrote yesterday, he and his aides have been looking for a point of entry for him on this debate, which allows him to showcase his credentials as a border-state governor and as a Latino. Expect more speeches from Richardson between now and January, when he will decide and announce whether he's running for president or not.
Per a Richardson aide, in his speech, Richardson will call out the new Congress to act on immigration now instead of delaying; call for significant and specific increases in the legal immigration quota; call for specific increases in Border Patrol agents to seal the border; call for a verifiable ID system to track workers; specifically discuss how to engage Mexico in the process and say it can't happen without them; and call for enforcement of employer sanctions. He'll also rebut the argument that comprehensive immigration reform amounts to amnesty and will hurt American workers and the nation's economy.
Just in time for the holidays, the two presidential frontrunners are turning to the Internet to lay claims in the values debate. Yesterday, McCain introduced the "Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act." (Clearly, the Mark Foley scandal has dissipated enough that it's safe to talk about online sexual predators again.) And today, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) teams up with her colleague Joe Lieberman, a longtime foe of the entertainment industry, to announce the launch of a nationwide, televised PSA campaign about video game ratings.
Liberal columnist/blogger Arianna Huffington charges that "the profile that has emerged" of Clinton "is that of a politician more comfortable following than leading," calling her "the quintessential political weather vane." More: "David Geffen has already declared for Obama, and many other Hollywood power brokers, who are not ready to go public yet, are making it known in private that they are in the ABH (Anyone But Hillary) camp. And all because they don't trust her to stand up for what is right - or even to know anymore what is right."
Yesterday, when asked how he felt about running for president against nemesis Clinton, Rudy Giuliani said, "Déjà vu all over again?" and, "She's not running in the Republican primary, I don't think."
Brownback does MSNBC's Hardball today, the day before he spends a night in prison. It'll be his second night in prison, as an aide points out, after he spent a night in one in Ellsworth, KS. (Maybe he'll start calling for prisoners to have the right to vote?)
The Boston Globe says that while Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) lost the race for governor, she's been acting like one since election day. With Romney traveling the country, Healey has "amended bills, sworn in five judges, and presided over three meetings of the Governor's Council. Yesterday afternoon, she had three gubernatorial appearances."
The Washington Times says that a new conservative PAC in Virginia "mirrors a national movement that ascribes the Republicans' historic losses in Congress last month to the Bush administration and national Republicans' abandonment of conservative tenets such as limited spending, lower taxes and enforcement of immigration laws" -- and that Newt Gingrich recently appeared at a fundraiser for them.
Noting how some of these guys are getting off to an unprecedented early start, Roll Call consults history and finds that in announcing his candidacy last week, Democratic Gov. Tom "Vilsack became just the fifth candidate to file FEC paperwork and hold his formal announcement ceremony in the same year as the midterm elections in the modern presidential campaign era since 1968. And the comparison is not an auspicious one," since the only candidate to file and announce this early over the past 40 years and go on to win the nomination was Jimmy Carter.
The Des Moines Register writes that late night talk shows have been getting a lot of mileage out Vilsack. On "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart appeared to be struggling to remember the candidate's last name, until an animated duck came on screen and quacked: "Vilsack!" -- a parody of the infamous AFLAC commercials.
Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg writes that a good personal story certainly can help with a presidential bid, but "let's not go overboard... A candidate's "story" may get voters' attention, but a story is by its very nature backward-looking, while presidential contests are about the future."