ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Bob Novak urges Republicans to rally around President Bush's tax cuts as an engine that's reviving the economy, and not to be so easily thrown by middling economic numbers that economists he's talked to say reflect "less the real state of the economy than faults of methodology in the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics." Now is the time, Novak writes, for the president to hammer home his plans for taxes and Social Security in his acceptance speech in New York. LINK Rick Klein of the Boston Globe picks up on that theme as the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign released another ad focusing on security: "The ad underscores Bush's continued use of national security as a campaign issue, even as polls show voters have gained trust in Kerry on the issue of protecting the nation from terrorism. "LINK

(Note Note: fabulous inaugural pool report, Herr Klein!!!)

The Washington Post 's Nell Henderson Notes "The Bush campaign found good economic news yesterday in an unusual source — the Federal Reserve's avowed determination to keep raising interest rates." LINK As First Lady Laura Bush starts to ramp up her campaign activity, the New York Times ' Randy Kennedy looks at her style on the stump, Noting that "she has skillfully turned her lack of political polish to her advantage." LINK Kennedy writes that the First Lady "is becoming an increasingly visible and effective part of White House strategy, largely because she is seen as someone above the rough-and-tumble of the political fray."

The New York Times ' very, very busy Jennifer Steinhauer reports that in his convention speech, Rudy Giuliani, who "has emerged as a potent political symbol who evokes the nation's initial response to the 9/11 attack," will speak "almost exclusively" about that day. LINK Steinhauer also looks at the former mayor's role in the Bush-Cheney '04 re-election campaign, Noting that he is "racing around the country campaigning and directly leveraging the events of Sept. 11 in ways that President Bush and many of his closest allies have not dared." And Giuliani tells the New York Daily News's Saltonstall that while he is not ruling out a Cabinet position in a second Bush term, that is not why he is so active on the campaign trail for the president. LINK "'He's the best character witness Bush could have on the war on terrorism,' one senior Bush campaign strategist said yesterday."

Keep your eye out for Gov. Schwarzenegger on the campaign trail for BC04, the Los Angeles Times' Peter Nicholas reports. LINK

Nicholas reports that Schwarzenegger's chief of staff "has been talking with Bush's top political aide, Karl Rove, and Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman about a time and place where Schwarzenegger would campaign on the president's behalf" and the Governor himself said ""If there's a place, one place where they want to pop me in, this makes sense for me."

"Schwarzenegger's value as a campaigner is twofold: His celebrity ensures large crowds and his moderate credentials could work to broaden Bush's appeal."

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