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« Strategy Memo: Memorial Day Style | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Is It Finito In A Week? »

Strategy Memo: Raising The Barr

Happy welcome-back-to-work day. Reid is still on hiatus, so if you'll bear with me as you recover from an always much-needed three-day weekend, here is what Washington is watching today:

--Both the House and Senate remain in recess. As Josh Kraushaar wrote Friday, a conservative advocacy group is running a robo-call campaign in the districts of vulnerable Democrats during the Memorial Day recess. The call's narrator says that Democrats left town for vacation without passing a bill funding the war. "Congress this week passed resolutions honoring a college basketball team, Arnold Palmer and Frank Sinatra...but went home for Memorial Day without funding our troops," the narrator states.

--The trend among major newspapers appears to be speculating about Clinton's future, assuming she loses the nomination. Yesterday the New York Times looked at a possibly awkward return to the Senate for Clinton. The Washington Post today also noted Clinton's relatively low seniority in the Senate, and therefore the unlikliness of a quick ascent in leadership. With Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well Richard Durbin and Charles Schumer clogging up Senate leadership, it appears there will not be openings at the top for quite a while. "Clinton faces few options for quick advancement should she give up her presidential bid, prompting some to speculate that she may look elsewhere for a prominent political post, possibly the governorship of New York," the Post's Murray and Kane write.

--Former Georgia congressman Bob Barr won the Libertarian Party endorsement Sunday at the party's convention in Denver. Barr, who served four terms in Congress before redistricting led to his ouster, won after six rounds of balloting, and endorsed Wayne Allyn Root as his running mate. Root had been eliminated from competition for the nomination after the fifth round of balloting.

--Will Barr be a spoiler? That question could certainly loom over the next few months and quite possibly until November, if Barr begins to build a large groundswell of conservative support. The states John McCain would probably worry about most are those that Pres. Bush won by small margins in 2004, especially in the Western portion of the country. States such as New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado (the three states Barack Obama just happens to be touring this week), as well as Barr's home state of Georgia, which voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 after supporting George H.W. Bush in 1988.

--Veepstakes Story of the Day: The New York Times' David Brooks looks at veepstakes, and notes the fallacy in much of the speculation so far of who McCain and Obama will pick as their running mates. As he notes, one shouldn't choose a running mate by what state or constituency they can help win, since recent running mates have not had any effect on the electoral math. While they won't likely help one get elected, a strong vice president could help one stay in office. "Therefore, a sensible presidential candidate shouldn't be selecting a mate on the basis of who can help him get elected," Brooks writes. "He should be thinking about who can help him govern successfully so he can get re-elected."

Today On The Trail: Obama heads to Las Vegas to discuss the housing crisis, as he continues his tour of Western states that should be in play in the general election. Clinton will attend events in Pablo and Billings, Montana. Bill Clinton remains in Puerto Rico. And McCain attends events in Denver and Phoenix. At the latter, he will appear at a fundraiser with Bush.

--Kyle Trygstad