Former House speaker Newt Gingrich gave a PowerPoint presentation to an enthusiastic group of Republican staffers at the Capitol last week that he billed as a blueprint for turning the party's "present, temporary partisan majority" into a "21st century governing majority." Gingrich's handouts also provide an early peek at how he might pursue the Republican nomination for president.

Gingrich, whose current book is titled "Winning the Future," called for "cheerful persistence" and urged Republicans to be "cheerfully funny about our opponents." He said conservatives need to be "relentlessly repetitive, because we are educating those who agree with us against the hidden values of the left."

"Speed, cleverness and shallowness are advantages for the Left," Gingrich, who stayed around to field a flurry of admiring questions, asserted on page 58 of his presentation. "They dominate the elite news media so they will always be able to launch new attacks, have their allies in the bureaucracy create new leaks and focus on analysis that hides their values." He added, "Our core pattern should be 'there is a BIG difference and it is a fact. . . .' We must then take such key facts to immediately illustrate a large vision; we cannot remain in arguments at the detail level."

Last week, an American Research Group poll of likely voters in New Hampshire's Republican primary put Gingrich in second, with 14 percent, after Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who drew 39 percent.

Hoyer Tours Israel

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) is to arrive home this morning after leading a delegation on a week-long trip to Israel that included meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian officials and stops at the Golan Heights, Israel's border with Lebanon, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The 13 other Democrats on the trip included five freshmen.

In an interview before leaving, Hoyer said he wanted to "make a statement about our solidarity with Israel." Hoyer said he sees the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, as candid and as "someone who has credibility with the Israelis," although Hoyer said he is still not sure Abbas will be able to "eliminate the terrorist infrastructure."

Democrats are eager to show the importance they place on the strategic partnership between the United States and Israel, so the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent supporters an e-mail about the trip. The delegation was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, and Hoyer said he expected the trip to be helpful because it was occurring in the run-up to Israel's planned pullout from the Gaza Strip.

Iraq Veterans Running

Former Marine Paul Hackett came up short in a House race in Ohio this month. But the Hill could still get its first veteran of the war in Iraq. At least four other veterans of the conflict are running for Congress in next year's elections, according to the political parties, while several others are mulling over bids. Patrick Murphy, a Democratic lawyer who served in Baghdad, is challenging Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R) for his Philadelphia-area seat. In Virginia, David Ashe, another Democratic lawyer, is running against Rep. Thelma D. Drake (R) of Norfolk. On the Republican side, National Guardsman Hiram Lewis is vying to replace Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.). And in Texas, a veteran named Van Taylor (R) is challenging Rep. Chet Edwards (D).

Some of these would-be lawmakers said their experiences give them unique insights into the war, terrorism and homeland security that are in short supply on Capitol Hill. "We've been there and done it," said Murphy, 31, a paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne. "[We've] traveled down those roads and been in the boots of those soldiers who are facing those dangers every day."

Amy Walter, a political handicapper and senior editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said the candidates' experience will help distinguish them from their opponents. And for the Democrats, whose party has had long-standing problems proving its toughness, their Iraq tours will give them credibility on national security issues. But she attributed Hackett's showing to a number of factors that had little to do with his service -- and said other veterans will need more than just the Iraq issue to come out on top.


"Science is science. There's no factual evidence for intelligent design. There's an enormous amount of factual evidence for evolution. Those are the facts. If you don't like the facts, then you can fight against them. The Catholic Church fought against Galileo for a great many, many centuries."

-- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation."