In the Politico, Elizabeth Wilner writes that Republicans are "now searching for a candidate who embodies the principles for which they elected Bush, but not the policies of his presidency. "The May 3 debate – hosted by The Politico, MSNBC and the Reagan Library – will offer a very public and occasionally awkward glimpse of a party on the hunt for a new and different relationship. While the candidates rhetorically dodge being closely linked to the incumbent, for example, they'll be quick to embrace the president for whom the venue is named, particularly with hostess Nancy Reagan seated in the audience."
The aforementioned Sunday column by David Brooks: "The big question is, Why are the Republicans so immobile? There are several reasons… Conservatives have allowed a simplistic view of Ronald Reagan to define the sacred parameters of thought. Reagan himself was flexible, unorthodox and creative. But conservatives have created a mythical, rigid Reagan, and any deviation from that is considered unholy."
MCCAIN: Channeling First Read, the Sunday Washington Post looked at the ties between McCain and Bush. "At times, Bush had no stronger supporter than McCain; at others, no harsher critic. For McCain, the challenge of the next year will be figuring out how to reconcile those instincts."
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, McCain was asked about George Tenet's assertion that some of the enhanced interrogation techniques saved lives. McCain criticized these "enhanced" techniques as torture.
And McCain wrapped up his announcement tour over the weekend. Here's an odd thing one senior adviser said to the New York Daily News: "'The announcement went as well as could be expected given the fact that he's not the new, new thing anymore.'"
ROMNEY: The Boston Globe does the story the Romney campaign has been waiting for: that the ex-governor is not the only flip-flopper in the GOP field. The piece includes a "then and now" sidebar featuring Giuliani and McCain
THOMPSON: Those Tennessee Republicans behind the Draft Fred Thompson movement held a rally over the weekend in Cookeville, TN, which drew about 300 people.
Newsweek reports that as late as January, Fred Thompson was still making donor phone calls on behalf of McCain.