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6 days until the Democratic convention 41 days until the Republican convention 105 days until election day
At this writing, neither of the two presidential campaigns has responded to the news that Clinton national security adviser (and Kerry campaign adviser) Sandy Berger is the focus of a criminal probe regarding the removal of documents related to terrorism from the National Archives.
Since this appears to otherwise be another day of quiet-before-the-Democratic-convention-storm, the collected energies and passions of the Gang of 500 will be devoted to speculating about the answers to some questions about the Berger matter.
Some of these questions are non-partisan and shared throughout the Gang.
But others are hyper-partisan, and remind us all — as if any reminder were needed — that in 50-50, Red/Blue America, political elites feel they must be braced at all times for some external event to come crashing into the news cycle and, through some Rube Goldberg contraption LINK of democracy, affect the real votes of real voters.
The Associated Press broke the story after the Monday evening network newscasts, and/but a slow overnight news cycle was dominated in all media by the repetition of the same basic facts over and over.
Of the major dailies, only USA Today saw fit to scrap the afternoon planning meeting plan and rip up the front page.
But rest assured, distrustful Republicans: Tuesday evening newscasts and Wednesday papers are going to be all over this.
GOPers are all about accountability; Democrats are all about fanning the flames of "suspicious" timing.
The question for Justice Department reporters is how much they can advance the narrative.
The question for political reporters is how, if at all, does this enter the campaign dialogue.
We came in this morning and asked the Googling monkeys for the answers to those questions, and they shrugged the shrug they shrug when they don't know.
And neither do we . . .
Real voters go to the polls today in Georgia and North Carolina for senatorial and gubernatorial primaries. Polls in Georgia close at 7:00 pm ET; polls in North Carolina close at 7:30 pm ET.
President Bush meets privately with his economic advisers this morning before traveling to the Midwest for two appearances: a 1:40 pm ET "Ask the president" event in Cedar Rapids followed by a 6:30 pm ET campaign rally in St. Charles, Mo. Both Barbara and Jenna Bush are out on the trail with their father.
The expected Democratic ticket is down today: Sen. John Kerry is in Nantucket and Senator John Edwards is in Washington, D.C.
New state employment numbers are expected at 10:00 am ET today from the Labor Department.
The Senate considers the nomination of William Meyers of Idaho to be a circuit judge in Ninth Circuit Court.
The politics of Sandy Berger:
The New York Times' Mark Glassman reports that "Mr. Berger removed at least two versions of a memorandum assessing how the government handled intelligence and security issues before the millennium celebrations in 1999, his lawyer, Lanny A. Breuer, said. He also removed notes he took about classified documents, the lawyer said." LINK
USA Today's Kevin Johnson and Susan Page report that two officials from the National Archives "said Berger was reportedly seen stuffing some of the material into his clothing." LINK