Rudy's Missing Dossier

Publication of Rudy Giuliani’s secret campaign plan has so embarrassed Florida’s new Gov. Charles Crist that supporters of Sen. John McCain fear it might backfire against their campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The 140-page dossier was found on a Crist aircraft during his campaign for governor when former New York City Mayor Giuliani was in Florida supporting him. With an early 2007 test scheduled for Florida, Crist’s support could be critical. McCain has been considered the early favorite to win his backing.

Some McCain supporters fear Crist might be offended by efforts of John Weaver, McCain’s political adviser, to take advantage of the misplaced Giuliani document. "I thought it was a security company," Weaver said of Giuliani’s consulting company. His comments prompted speculation that Weaver was responsible for making the dossier public.

Advice From Powell

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has gone public with criticism of President Bush’s Iraq policy, is caustic in private about the proposed "surge" of 30,000 additional U.S. troops.

Powell noted that the recent congressional delegation to Iraq headed by Sen. John McCain heard from combat officers that they wanted more troops. "The colonels will always say they need more troops," the retired general says. "That’s why we have generals."

A footnote: Senior Republican senators are trying to get word to the president that any troop surge would be DOA (dead on arrival) in Congress.

Romney on Texas

During his family vacation in Park City, Utah, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with former Bush administration officials who comprise his economic policy team to discuss a tax reform for Romney’s presidential campaign.

The meeting included Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) who is co-chairman of Romney’s economic policy council. Also on hand were former Bush economic policy officials Brian Reardon and Cesar Conda. Gregory Mankiw, another former CEA chairman, is Romney’s economic co-chairman but could not attend the Utah meeting because of a knee injury.

Romney, seeking to contrast himself with Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on taxes, has surrounded himself with architects of Bush’s tax plan. Vice President Dick Cheney had to cast a tie-breaking vote on the 2003 tax cuts because Sen. McCain had voted against them.

Independent Joe

Sen. Joseph Lieberman is making clear that, after losing the Democratic primary in Connecticut and being elected as an independent, he wants henceforth to be listed as an "Independent Democrat."

Lieberman has no intention of leaving the Senate Democratic caucus, with his membership there making him chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. But close associates of the senator say he never can feel the same about his Democratic Senate colleagues who abandoned him after he lost the primary.

These associates say Lieberman also recognizes that he owes retention of his Senate seat to Republicans, who abandoned their own candidate in order to support him. Lieberman may repay that debt in collaboration with Senate Republicans, short of actually leaving the Democratic caucus.

Nancy’s Dogs

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seeking as a liberal San Francisco Democrat to woo support from the moderate "Blue Dog" faction of House Democrats, named Rep. Steve Israel of New York to a coveted vacancy on the Appropriations Committee.

Israel is a northern Blue Dog who voted for President Bush’s tax cuts and the military intervention in Iraq. The vacancy on Appropriations was created when Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina was elected House majority whip and had to leave the committee.

A footnote: Pelosi’s hidden hand was seen in an unexpectedly strong bid by another northern Blue Dog, Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine, to be named chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Rep. Bob Filner, a California liberal who is not close to the new speaker, is the committee’s senior Democrat and won the chairmanship, but only after a vigorous competition with Michaud.