McCain "has decided not to address House Republican conservatives when they convene at their annual retreat this week," Roll Call reports. "Republican sources said that McCain's campaign never responded to the invitation." Rudy Giuliani has declined, but former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Speaker Newt Gingrich will attend and speak.
The Los Angeles Times leads its front-page look at the proliferation of both promotional and damaging web videos with a professional film producer's effort to cast McCain as a flip-flopper. "The explosion of video-sharing on the Web poses major risks for presidential candidates: Gaffes and inconsistent statements witnessed by dozens can be e-mailed instantly to millions." More: "Obama... is just starting to draw the sort of negative attention that the Clintons have long attracted. Last week, Chicago-area political consultant Joe Novak posted several Web videos taking aim at the Illinois senator's wife, Michelle, for her healthcare business dealings."
In New Hampshire this past weekend, Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Tom Tancredo and Jim Gilmore all addressed the Republican State Committee's annual meeting.
The Financial Times says of Giuliani's stop, "The contradictions of his will-he-won't-he campaign were evident this weekend in New Hampshire, typically the first primary state. Not everyone is convinced - including the man himself - that he really aspires to be president. Mr Giuliani's stump speech... seemed a work in progress. He appeared awkward, looking down at his notes, as he paid the necessary homage to the problems faced by local Republicans... The audience was attentive but not avid."
Asked about Hagel's split from the White House over the war and a troop increase, Cheney told Newsweek, "Let's say I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. But it's very hard sometimes to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved."
As expected, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is joining the GOP pack. He told NBC's Tim Russert that he expects to file an exploratory committee today, and he'll travel to Iowa tomorrow.
Another Republican former governor who may join the field, George Pataki of New York, gave a speech on Iraq in Washington last Friday in which he staked out his position on a troop increase, saying the Administration should not commit more troops to Iraq until the Maliki government fulfills four conditions, including the disarming of Al Sadr's army. Despite his tough talk, Pataki declined to give a timeline for the Maliki government to achieve these goals.