- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Campaign memo

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign site offers the following equation over a photo of the New York Democrat: “Strength + experience = change.”

“The reason for Hillary’s growing support is that voters want change, and they know that only Hillary has the record of fighting for the kind of change they want, and the experience to execute it,” Clinton strategist Mark Penn wrote in a campaign memo released yesterday. The memo, posted on The Washington Times‘ blog Fishwrap, outlines the former first lady’s strong position in nearly all polls conducted at the national and state levels.

Also making plans yesterday was former Sen. John Edwardsof North Carolina, who announced more details of his “Road to One America” tour reported here yesterday.

The tour will take Mr. Edwards through 12 cities in eight states next week, campaign manager David Boniortold reporters. He will start in New Orleans with a walking tour of neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and then will lead a town hall meeting.

Calling the three-day tour, which starts Monday, ambitious, Mr. Bonior noted that none of the states has an early primary.

He said Mr. Edwards wants to “highlight the new face of poverty” and show that poor people are “not just statistics.” Among the policy issues Mr. Edwards will discuss on the tour are proposals to raise the hourly minimum wage to $9.50 by 2012 and to improve education. The tour will go through some of the poorest counties in the country, including some in Mississippi, Arkansas and Virginia.

“We want to force this issue into the debate,” Mr. Bonior said. “Political leaders are not talking about this issue.”

Mayor surfaces

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa yesterday attended his first press conference since he confirmed an extramarital affair with a TV newscaster.

Mr. Villaraigosa maneuvered through reporters in the hallway before the event on school funding, flashing his trademark smile but ignoring shouted questions about Mirthala Salinas of Telemundo affiliate KVEA. When asked whether he was trying to burnish his image by focusing on city business, he replied: “Just doing my job.”

Mr. Villaraigosa, 54, effectively disappeared after confirming his relationship with Miss Salinas last Tuesday. He had no public appearances on the Fourth of July and skipped the official opening of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Los Angeles headquarters even though he is a national co-chairman of her presidential campaign.

No union label

Congressional Democrats yesterday dropped their demand for union bargaining rights for airport screeners, hoping to revive counterterrorism legislation that had stalled because of a presidential veto threat.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, made the announcement on the Senate floor as he called for House and Senate negotiators to begin reconciling bills implementing the July 2004 recommendations of the bipartisan September 11 commission.

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