From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Carly Zakin
*** Abortion Battle: Romney, Brownback, and Paul address the National Right to Life convention today in Kansas City -- with a little conflict and drama built in. On Wednesday, the McCain camp issued a press release drawing attention to a YouTube video in which Romney said (in 2005) that he was committed to upholding pro-choice laws in Massachusetts, even though he had already undergone his pro-life conversion. Team Romney fired back at McCain, saying his campaign "is faltering and failing." And then Brownback's camp got into the act yesterday by also blasting Romney. Now, the New York Times alleges that Romney has flip-flopped on stem-cell research. Quite a way to set up today's speech at the convention, huh?
*** Guess Who's Also Speaking (Via Video):
A day after a rival campaign gave CBN's David Brody a copy of a 1996 (or thereabouts) questionnaire, in which Fred Thompson seemed to state some pro-choice views, Thompson's friends give Brody a copy of the video the former Tennessee senator will use to address the National Right to Life convention. Early on, the video features Thompson's wife and their young children, and then Thompson says: "In 1994, I made my first run for the U.S. Senate. I was proud to receive the National Right to Life endorsement. I've been with you ever since. You've been with me ever since." Given that all of the GOP front-runners now seem to have problematic records for some social conservatives, does it come down to whom they find least threatening?
*** Let's Make A Deal: NBC's Ken Strickland says that Senate leaders struck a deal yesterday that would bring the immigration bill back to the Senate floor, although whether it passes remains uncertain. Today, several key leaders -- including President Bush, Hillary Clinton, DNC chairman Howard Dean, and RNC chairman Mel Martinez -- are attending the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, where the immigration debate (and yesterday's deal) will definitely be mentioned.
*** But…: The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal has plenty of numbers suggesting that getting the immigration bill through the Senate -- and then the House -- won't be easy. In it, 46% believe immigration helps more than it hurts, while almost the same amount (44%) think the opposite. In addition, majorities oppose some of the Senate immigration bill's legalization provisions: 64% are against allowing illegal workers to receive an automatic work visa if they pay a fine, and 55% oppose allowing illegal workers apply for permanent residency if they return home to their counties and pay additional fines.
*** Too Much Debate?
Speaking of the new poll, NBC/WSJ pollster Neil Newhouse (R) believes that one reason why Congress' approval rating has sunk to 23% in our latest survey is the frustration among voters that nothing is happening in Washington and Congress -- except debating. They've debated the Iraq supplemental, immigration, and Alberto Gonzales' fate. But nothing is getting done, Newhouse says. "It's almost as if voters sense the government is paralyzed by over-analysis on these issues."
*** On The Trail: In addition to attending the prayer breakfast, Clinton discusses stem-cell research in New Hampshire; Edwards talks health care in Iowa, while wife Elizabeth makes three stops in New Hampshire; Giuliani is in Oregon; Huckabee appears on a Christian TV talk show and then raises money in Texas; McCain also raises money in Texas and Atlanta, then headlines the Alabama state GOP's summer fund-raising dinner; Obama holds events in South Carolina; Richardson raises money in Minneapolis; Romney, in Iowa, meets with voters, holds a town hall meeting, and helps a county GOP committee raise money; and Tommy Thompson is also in Iowa.
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