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25 days until the Republican convention 89 days until election day

NEWS SUMMARY Every Aug. 5, for the last 17 years, The Note has handed out its annual "Best in Politics Awards."

So, without further ado, here are the 2004 Awards:

Best Mark McKinnon quote: "We think it's unfortunate these particular fine musicians have decided to affiliate with a hate-filled fringe group like MoveOn.''

Best capacity to stay on message: Steve Schmidt of the Bush campaign.

Best ability to hide seething anger: George W. Bush and John Kerry (tie).

Best ability to make a party salivate before winning a statewide race: Barack Obama.

Best ability to withstand political ads every 0.25 nanoseconds: the voters of Ohio and Pennsylvania (tie).

Best political reporter you (probably) aren't paying enough attention to: Jeff Zeleny of the Chicago Tribune.

Best case of not instantly referring another reporter to the PR department: Carl Cameron of Fox News Channel.

Best attempt to deflect annoyance away from a colleague: Cara Morris of the DSCC.

Best Bush advance person: Greg Jenkins.

Best Kerry advance person: Greg Hale.

Best capacity to collegially share a beat: Pat Healy and Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe .

Best examples of entertainers supporting BC04 that Mark McKinnon could come up with: Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, and Jessica Simpson.

Best list of states that will determine who wins the White House: Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

Best unwritten newspaper story: "Barack Obama's Very Liberal Voting Record."

Best congenial quotemeister of the cycle: Jano Cabrera of the DNC.

Best job staying off of TV: Karl Rove.

Best political reporter of the cycle: the one who first writes the definitive early voting story.

Best bet to piss off the Service: Vince Morris of the New York Post .

Best back-to-school gift for the young children of those busy with the 2004 campaign: the fantastic new Disney Dream Desk PC. LINK

Best ratio of quality stories to number of stories: Davie Maraniss and Blaine Harden (tie).

Best August headline on a Jennifer Steinhauer story: "Foreigners Shun New York, Keeping Hotel Rates Down."

Best headquarters security: Bush-Cheney '04.

Best professional synergy: David Lightman and Joe Lieberman.

Best leveraging of a Bush Cabinet job toward future White House ambitions: n/a.

Best bad job of vetting of the cycle: whoever hired Dr. Brenda Bartella Peterson, the DNCS' first-ever director of religious outreach, and one of the co-signers of an amicus brief filed to support Michael Newdow's plea to get "under God" removed from the pledge. (Note news: She resigned yesterday.)

Best on-message regional press shop: BC04, bar none.

Best job keeping his background quotes anonymous: Richard Armitage.

Best high-volume prolific ACT spammer: Minnesota's Meighan Stone.

Best luck of the Bush Administration: Henry Kissinger stepping down as head of the 9/11 commission.

Best manipulation of the adolescent sensibilities of some of America's leading political reporters: the deployment of Bruce Springsteen.

Best ability to hide quality Jonathan Weisman and Jeff Birnbaum stories from public view: the Washington Post business section.

Best badge of honor achieved in a Bob Novak column: Ginny Wolfe, who is today branded "supremely uncommunicative to this column"!!!

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