MORNING READ

As another week of Iraq hearings on the Hill draws to a close, bloggers are again analyzing the presidential horse race and attacking the candidates they oppose. Conservative bloggers take note of the new AP-Ipsos poll showing a tie race between John McCain and Barack Obama. Vice President Dick Cheney revisited the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy. And both conservatives and liberals are skeptical of McCain's housing proposal and the likelihood that he will choose Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.

The new poll shows both Obama and McCain at 45 percent. California Yankee at RedState finds more bad news for Obama in the poll's crosstabs, which show the Democrat losing ground among several key voting blocs, including women, independents and people without a college education. Cheney, in an interview with Sean Hannity, brought up one of the reasons why Obama's lead over McCain may have dissipated, The Caucus's Sarah Wheaton reports. Cheney said that Wright, Obama's pastor, made comments that were "absolutely appalling." But the vice president, a very distant cousin of Obama's, did not weigh in on how Obama handled criticism for his ties to Wright.


Both The Corner's Stephen Spruiell and YA at TalkingPointsMemo knock McCain's proposal for an expanded government effort to help homeowners hurt by the subprime mortgage crisis. Spruiell notes that taxpayers will be on the hook if a borrower defaults on the government-backed mortgages McCain has proposed. Spruiell agrees with Hillary Clinton's criticism of McCain for first opposing any government intervention and then embracing a "half-hearted" version of the Democrat's housing plans. YA reminds TPM readers that McCain had suggested two weeks ago that borrowers could have avoided trouble if they had just better managed their budgets and scuttled vacation plans.


The Corner's Rich Lowry and Open Left's Chris Bowers find more cross-blog agreement over Rice as a vice presidential candidate. Lowry writes that Rice isn't likely to join McCain on the ticket because she would remind voters of the Bush administration's failed strategy in Iraq. Bowers argues that it's impossible for Rice to become a veep candidate, since she's an essential participant in the Israel-Palestinian peace process that the Bush administration hopes to restart.


Discussion over the Iraq war in Congress lingers on a couple of blogs. John Mirengoff at Power Line notes that Gen. David Petraeus, in a news conference after this week's congressional hearings, didn't rule out cooperation between radical Sunnis and radical Shiites, something that war critics have assumed doesn't happen. And MyDD's Todd Beeton praises newly installed Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who demanded that the United States start withdrawing troops from Iraq in her first speech on the House floor.

FROM THE BLOGS:
McCain Catches Obama -- California Yankee, RedState
Pa. Primary: Philly Cash Flash? -- Allahpundit, Hot Air
Dean: Glad We Get McCain, Not Romney -- Allahpundit, Hot Air
The Obama Campaign Is Listening -- Todd Beeton, MyDD
McCain's Housing Muddle -- Stephen Spruiell, The Corner
McCain's 'Refined' Housing Plan -- YA, TalkingPointsMemo
Cheney Resurrects Wright -- Sarah Wheaton, The Caucus
The Rice VP Talk -- Rich Lowry, The Corner
Nothing To Fear From McCain's VP -- Chris Bowers, Open Left
Sunni-Shia Cooperation: Jury is Still Out -- J. Mirengoff, Power Line
On Rep. Speier: What I Call An Entrance -- Todd Beeton, MyDD
Begich and Stevens Deadlocked -- brownsox, Daily Kos
Did Dick Blumenthal Lie to Me? -- Connecticut Bob

OTHER NEWS SOURCES:
Gates and Petraeus Differ Over Iraq Troop Levels -- LA Times
Outside Groups Spend Heavily on Races -- USA Today
Big Donors Among Obama's Grass Roots -- Washington Post
Obama Closing Superdelegates Gap
-- Reuters