ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News




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The Note's list of people who have incredible power in this election year to influence the entire free media cycle, listed in order of influence.

(Let's hope and pray they take the responsibility seriously and use it for good and not evil.)

1. Bill Keller and Jill Abramson of the New York Times

If you doubted for a minute before yesterday the capacity of the New York Times to dominate the media day with a front-page placement, wipe that doubt from your mind.

2. Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report

How incredible would an item floated by the Montgomery Blair alum have to be for newsroom staffs and executive producers not to demand the story be matched?

3. Everyone else is tied for third.

Today President Bush speaks at the National Training Conference on Human Trafficking at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina, Tampa, Fla. and speaks at the Raleigh County Armory Civic Center, Beckley, W.Va. Daughter Barbara travels with him to Florida, and we'll see if she is ready to speak to the crowd.

The President's weekend plans are to skip Camp David and hang around the D.C. area for a bit of his new favorite macho exercise of cycling.

Vice President Cheney and Sen. McCain attend a rally at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich., and attend a rally at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa. Cheney delivers remarks at a BC'04 rally in Minneapolis, Minn., on Saturday. On Monday, Cheney delivers remarks at a BC'04 event in Columbia, Mo.

Sen. Kerry addresses the 2004 America Federation of Teachers Convention at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. and attends a Kerry/Edwards Victory 2004 Reception at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, Va.

Kerry plans to spend the weekend secluded at the Heinz family's three-story, $9.1 million waterfront home in Nantucket, to finish writing his convention speech and to wrap convention plans before a multi-state pre-convention tour. Senator: we suggest you get some ice cream from the Juice Bar (and take the pool with you).

Sen. Edwards attends a Kerry/Edwards Victory 2004 Reception at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, Calif. and speaks at the Southwest Voters Registration, Education Project Latino Vote 2004 Dinner at the Universal City Hilton and Towers, Los Angeles, Calif. Edwards raises money in Newport Beach, Calif on Saturday and in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Sunday. On Monday, Edwards will be in Raleigh, N.C. and ends his day in Washington, DC.

Teresa Heinz Kerry attends an event with Washington State Democrats the and Governor's Association at the Trade and Convention Center, Seattle, Wash.

The National Governors Association holds its annual meeting in Seattle starting Saturday and running through July 20. Lots of battleground state governors all gathered in one place.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney v. Kerry-Edwards:

The Los Angeles Times' Chris Kraul reports from Mexico City, where Diana Kerry (yes relation — sister) was wooing expatriate voters. She has been to Canada, the UK, and Germany already to help voters abroad learn how to vote — for her brother. In an example of how both the campaigns are taking the every-vote-counts factor seriously, the Republicans have also sent former veep Dan Quayle out to places such as Berlin to do the same thing. LINK

But how significant are the numbers? Check out this paragraph: "Democrats Abroad, the party's international voter registration wing, is placing a particular emphasis on Mexico, believed to be home to the most U.S. expatriate retirees, workers and students, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom. Estimates of Americans living here vary wildly: the U.S. Embassy places the number at 385,000 and Democrats say it is 1 million."

The Los Angeles Times, in the second get-out-the-vote story of the day, looks at campaign volunteers in Missouri to show the effort by both campaigns to return to the old days of knocking doors and cold-calling voters. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04: :

Little news but lots of color in Jim VandeHei's take-out on Sen. Kerry's religious faith. The man is a thoroughgoing Roman Catholic, though reticent in the New England tradition, to talk about his faith or even allow that it plays a prominent role in his life. LINK

"Kerry has rebuffed pressure from Democrats inside and outside his campaign to talk more openly about religion, aides say, other than making the word 'faith' part of the values message he is offering to voters on the campaign trail. He has turned down numerous interview requests on the topic, including several for this article. Aides said Kerry's resistance to talking about faith and personal beliefs is a relatively common trait among Catholic and Protestant politicians reared in the reserved New England tradition."

"On the road, Kerry carries a rosary, a prayer book and a medal with the image of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers, which he wore during the Vietnam War, according to a longtime associate who demanded anonymity to discuss an issue the candidate did not want to discuss. Kerry prays, sometimes with friends, including in 1999 when he helped former Vietnam crewmate Del Sandusky through hard times, the associate said."

The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood and Jake Schlesinger sat down with Senator Kerry to talk about how he'd handle the situation in Iraq. Kerry laid out a three-part test for pulling troops out of Iraq, but declined to talk about specific benchmarks. Kerry said he would look at the country's stability, figure out the lay of the land to keep stability, and look at the ability of Iraqi security forces to ensure that stability. The Senator also said he wouldn't put it past the Bush Administration to withdraw troops before the November election. LINK

Some excerpts from the interview: LINK

Warming the hearts of Kerry-Edwards staffers everywhere, this little paragraph in Michael Finnegan's Los Angeles Times write-up of Sen. Kerry's visit to the NAACP folks yesterday, "The enthusiasm in the convention hall suggested at least some measure of success in Kerry's dual effort to bolster his support among blacks and to use Bush's absence to damage his already dismal standing among African Americans." LINK

See also: LINK and LINK and ">LINK and LINK

The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren fact checks the Kerry campaign's new television ad designed to appeal to African-American voters — only semi-well-timed, because the ad is being re-cut and refined thanks to the helpful advice of the Congressional Black Caucus. LINK

Sen. Kerry is heading to Nantucket this weekend in hopes that the smell of the saltwater ocean will inspire him in writing his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, reports the New York Times' David Halbfinger. LINK

Notes ABC News' Ed O'Keefe: "Kerry, who prefers to write longhand, insisted he was toiling away on his nomination acceptance speech and finalizing plans including late addition speakers to the impending convention."

"The Senator acknowledged that top aides such as Terry Edmunds, Miles Lackey, and David Wade would eventually be allowed to take their blue pen filled hands to his work but Kerry explained, 'It's pretty personal. I'm not sharing much of it right now.'"

"And, the Democratic nominee-to-be's process does not lend itself to modern day editing. Sans Blackberry, laptop or desktop, Kerry described, 'I cut and paste, the old scissors and paste, write it out, have somebody type it up, read it, sleep on it, see how sh-tty it is in the morning.'"

"Moments later, the cautious politician corrected, 'Sorry, wrong word, bad it is.'"

From ABC News' Gloria Riviera with Sen. Edwards: "Edwards seems to be closing in on making his own separate peace with his new role. By the end of day two the speech flowed a touch more easily, a tad more naturally and entirely structured along familiar lines right down to word for word phrases he's been preaching for the last year such as, 'The American people will reject the politics of hate' Could it be the Senator is benefiting from the works of wordsmithtress Wendy Button, newly minted Head Speechwriter for her old boss? And so, while the phrase, "Introducing the next VICE President" certainly has a different ring than it may have sans the vice, it seems just fah-hine to JRE."

Yin: The AP reports "Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Wednesday that conflicts of interest plague Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and make it difficult for him to take clear positions on health care, education and other issues." LINK

Yang: Raphael Lewis of the Boston Globe reports, "The Massachusetts Democratic Party will file an ethics complaint today against Gov. Mitt Romney, accusing the Republican of illegally spending taxpayer dollars on a trip to raise money for his party and to bash Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry." LINK

The Boston Globe's Brian C. Mooney Notes an apparent boost to Kerry since becoming Kerry-Edwards in the South, citing Zogby and Mason-Dixon polling. LINK

The Boston papers are reporting that U.S. Ambassador to Canada and former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci is planning on resigning his post to potentially run for Sen. Kerry's seat should the Democrat win the presidential election. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" has this:

"RUNNING SCARED: Republicans feel fretful at midcampaign."

"Some voice dismay about defensiveness on Iraq in Bush speeches and time spent courting conservative base. 'There hasn't been a lot of talk about the future yet,' gripes one insider. White House aide Dan Bartlett counsels patience: 'We will really focus on this once the public is listening, and when the Democrats' convention is over.'"

(Note Note: we can't wait for the second term agenda in all its particulars and to see if it makes it into any new TV ads!!)

"Republicans' business allies vow to match Democratic groups' turnout efforts. The Business-Industry Political Action Committee will help employers in key states reach employees on election issues at least seven times before November. Bipac's Darrel Shull laments, 'Debate on gay marriage is crowding out the opportunity to debate some other issues important to the business community.'"

The Washington Post's EJ Dionne invokes the legacy of Lee Atwater, noting "Atwater's spirit is hovering around this year's campaign, and the Democrats need to sleuth out the content of the 3-by-5 card on John Kerry." LINK

Karl Rove stopped by a Party for the president in Irvine, Calif. yesterday to thank volunteers and declare to party faithful: "Who wins this election will determine the course of history." ">LINK

And "The Sopranos"' Tony "Paulie Walnuts" Sirico attended another "Party for the president" last night in Queens. LINK

Bennett Roth of the Houston Chronicle does the "Cheney as a liability" story today and leads with the joint appearance by the Vice President and Sen. John McCain in Michigan. LINK

The New York Daily News' DeFrank writes about the reaction to the latest Cheney speculation, Noting "Bush administration officials said yesterday there is zero chance that Cheney will be replaced." LINK

Considering Cheney's low approval ratings and the suggestions that he might be dumped from the ticket, the president's "reliance on Cheney in Iowa so far could signal that the campaign considers the state less attainable than its neighbors in the critical Midwest battleground," the Des Moines Register posits. LINK

Bill Douglas of Knight Ridder looks at President Bush's populist message on the campaign trail, Noting that the president's own pedigree "hasn't stopped him from portraying Sen. John Kerry as an elitist Northeastern liberal sophisticate." LINK

Howard Kurtz's ad watch on the latest BC04 ads: "In both cases the votes cited are accurate and Kerry's explanations, however well argued, are complicated." LINK

The Washington Times' Sammon looks at the back and forth between the White House and the NAACP and Notes: "By speaking to the Urban League, which focuses more on economic opportunity than politics, Mr. Bush hopes to appeal to blacks by emphasizing pragmatism over ideology." LINK

The New York Times' Paul Krugman slams the President's health care policy, saying that proposed tax credit just won't do the job of substantially increasing the ranks of the insured. LINK

The conventions:

"More than half the Republicans in the House have signed a formal complaint to President Bush about the failure to give prominent conservative, pro-life party members even one prime-time speaking role at the Republican National Convention," reports the Washington Times' Z. Hallow. LINK

Signaling that the Democratic National Convention is going to be a headache for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino until the end, the Boston Globe reports that party chairman from some states are asking delegates not to cross the picket lines at delegate welcome parties in Boston, and "Some are also asking delegates to boycott Menino's speech on the convention floor Monday night." LINK

But maybe Gov. Mitt Romney has come to Mayor Menino's rescue, albeit at the last second. In hopes of settling the major labor dispute going on in Massachusetts, the Governor has appointed a new chairman of a state labor panel to help move things along before the Democratic National Convention. LINK

The hotels in Boston are taking the security threat very seriously, the Boston Globe reports. "Boston-area hotels are preparing significantly beefed-up security measures for convention week, sharply restricting access to their buildings, sweeping rooms for electronic bugs, checking ventilation systems, and employing new high-tech identification systems to guard against terrorists and unruly protesters." LINK

"In addition to the stepped-up police presence, some hotel personnel will be checking the room keys and, in some cases, the identification of guests at the elevators each night. Some hotels will issue their own credentials, in addition to room keys. Unregistered guests will have difficulty moving unaccompanied beyond the lobby. Security personnel will limit some hotels' public areas to delegates and officials who have credentials."

Boston 2004 is eyeing the University of Massachusetts for Sen. Kerry's big Boston Pops concert and fireworks since his first location, the Esplanade, was nixed by city officials. LINK

The New York Times' Raymond Hernandez reports that the short Democratic nightmare is over — and Sen. Hillary Clinton will speak at the Democratic National Convention later this month. She will introduce her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on the opening night of the event. LINK

The New York Post's Deb Orin calls the invitation to Sen. Clinton to speak at the convention an "about-face" on Kerry's part. LINK

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of Orin's piece for a not-so-subtle metaphor!)

The New York Times' Julia Preston reports that the anti-war group Project Billboard has come to an agreement with Clear Channel Communications over the billboard ad they wanted to place in Times Square during the Republican National Convention. The dispute centered around the image of a red, white, and blue bomb with a burning fuse that was in the original billboard. The compromise is the alternate image: a red, white, and blue dove. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Ad traffic highlights, July 12-15:

The Kerry campaign has more ads up than it can keep track of right now … the new ads targeting Hispanic and African American voters along with an ad featuring Edwards touting Kerry's credentials were the campaign's big ad news of the week.

The Bush campaign has a pair of ads out questioning Kerry's decision making and values.

After several ads this past week on gay marriage from groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and, there is no news yet on ads from outside groups on any topics for next week.

Here's what's on the air for now … 4 Bush-Cheney ads slamming Kerry's record and priorities 12 Kerry-Edwards ads touting the team's credentials 0 anti-Nader ads on television, but 1 radio ad still running 4 New Democrat Network ads still pushing for Hispanic unity behind the Democratic Party

ABC News Vote 2004: battleground states:

Reducing its ad buys in Arizona may have been a prescient move for the Kerry campaign: a new statewide Rocky Mountain Poll shows the president with a 10-point advantage over the Senator. The Arizona Republic speculates the reasons for the widening gap range from "an improving Arizona economy, to voters' growing faith in Bush's consistency of policy, to Kerry's announcement in Phoenix that he would make immigration reform an early priority of his administration." LINK

Another new Arizona poll, conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of KVOA-TV, comes to a similar conclusion, with the president up by 12 points. LINK

The Arizona unemployment rate dropped from 5.1 percent in May to 4.7 percent last month. But that's not the full story, as the state's economy actually lost 31,000 jobs over the course of the month. But even that's not the full story, since many of the lost jobs were seasonal ones expected to return in the fall. LINK

The Phoenix Business Journal adds that most of the new jobs in Arizona were in the construction business, which is still booming, while the manufacturing sector continued to shed workers. LINK

Pessimism? Or realism? The Reno Gazette-Journal takes an interesting look at falling gas prices and concludes that it isn't worth celebrating because "the downward trend probably won't last." LINK

The presumptive Democratic nominee's wife spent time yesterday in a Seattle cancer center and "mostly asked questions, softly and specifically." Oh, and Teresa Heinz Kerry also managed to get in a few digs at the Bush Administration — the "least scientific administration in history." LINK and LINK

After dining with James Connaughton, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly doesn't buy the Bush environmental plan, dismissing it as a "case not often heard in this green corner of the country: Americans can have their cake and eat it too." LINK

The Charleston Gazette writes up yesterday's visit by Sen. Kerry, Noting that "unlike last week's speech" in the state, yesterday "the crowd roared at Kerry's blistering attack on the president's war policies." The war is especially relevant, the Gazette adds, given the state's 200,000 veterans. LINK

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch estimates the crowd at yesterday's Charleston stop to be in the neighborhood of 7,200, a figure which includes two Marshall University students who "spoke as if they had just seen their favorite rock band." LINK

West Virginia's T-shirt saga is over: a judge dismissed charges against a couple who had been arrested and charged with trespassing for wearing anti-Bush shirts at the president's Fourth of July stop in Charleston. LINK

The Charleston Police Chief's reaction? "If we had it to do again, we would file [charges] in state court." LINK

Today's visit by the president to Beckley, W.Va. (the first presidential visit ever to the city!) is a sell-out. LINK

In spite of numerous rallies by the candidates themselves, many in West Virginia are verifying the "all politics is local" adage, with hundreds of people throughout the state hosting house parties for each major candidate this summer. LINK

The Toledo Blade confirms Vice President Cheney will return to Ohio on Monday to talk about health care costs at the Medical College of Ohio. LINK

Peter Frampton's concert/fundraiser in Cincinnati yesterday on behalf of the Kerry campaign demonstrates "the growing visibility of Democratic fund-raising efforts in Cincinnati, a town much better known as one of the most productive Republican money machines in the country." LINK

As if the importance of issues like outsourcing and free trade in Ohio wasn't already clear, yesterday's move by Ohio Sen. George Voinovich (who, it should be Noted, is up for re-election) must confirm it. Speaking on the Senate floor, the Republican took a "jab" at the President on trade, accusing him of failing to "take any significant action" to prevent Ohio from "bleeding jobs." LINK

Particularly at issue for Voinovich is the Administration's failure to "enforce existing trade laws and stop China from manipulating its currency" — positions which put Voinovich squarely in line with Sen. Kerry. LINK

With the average Arkansas teacher making only $37,536 during the 2002-2003 school year, teacher salaries in Arkansas are slowly growing, but remain low in comparison to those in most states. LINK Plus, Arkansas spends less money on education than almost any other state. LINK

New Mexico's teacher salaries rank as the 46th lowest in the nation for 2002-2003, a slight drop from its unimpressive 42nd finish the year before. LINK

New Hampshire delegates to the DNC will defend the state's early primary to any skeptics they meet in Boston. Their strategy? "More chitchat than hard-charging," the AP reports. LINK

"Fill 'er up" seems to be the sentiment of New Hampshire tourists who are not being deterred by the statewide average gas price of $1.91 per gallon, reports the Dover Foster's Democrat. LINK

Sen. John Kerry holds a slim lead over President Bush in Minnesota and Iowa though Bush is slightly ahead in Wisconsin, according to a poll of voters in the three states by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. LINK

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie went to Minnesota yesterday to attend one of 6,800 simultaneous nationwide house parties sponsored by grassroots activists in the campaign to reelect President George Bush. LINK

Mere months before a tight presidential election, Minnesota's Secretary of State is defending her hopes to install a new $4 million computer voter-registration system that was tested for the first time only two weeks ago with favorable results, the AP reports. LINK

The tobacco buyout is the front page news in the Raleigh News & Observer. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate::

Well, there goes another one perhaps. The Chicago Sun-Times' Scott Fornek reports on an investigation into the behavior of Dr. Andrea Grubb Barthwell, one of the possible replacements for the GOP Senate nomination, substantiating charges about "'lewd and abusive behavior' by joking about the sexual orientation of an underling at an office party." Fornek writes that members of the Republican State Central Committee "were split on whether the incident would hurt Barthwell's chances." LINK

Mark Couch and Karen Crummy of the Denver Post look at the campaign finance reports of the contenders for Colorado's open U.S. Senate seat, Noting that brewing executive Pete Coors and state Attorney General Ken Salazar have brought in the most money. Salazar raised $2 million in the last quarter, with $1.6 million on hand. Coors has raised $1.6 million since getting into the race in April, and has $787,000 on hand. LINK

The Rocky Mountain News' Gwen Florio and Jim Tankersley look a little closer at who gave. LINK Inez Tenenbaum has lots of money, but Jim DeMint (though he is broke) leads in the polls. LINK

On the Hill:

The New York Times' Carl Hulse reports that the Senate broke the resistance by lawmakers from tobacco-producing states and "overwhelmingly approved new federal regulation of tobacco products and advertising on Thursday as part of a deal to buy out the nation's tobacco growers and end price supports that date from the Depression." That buyout includes a 10-year, $12 billion program to help tobacco growers. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers reports that the vote of 78-15 allows the Food and Drug Administration to force cigarette makers to make their product less toxic by removing certain ingredients, and restrict tobacco advertising.

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King looks at the free-trade agreement with Australia that the Senate passed on Thursday, Noting that neither Sen. John Kerry nor Sen. John Edwards were present for the vote, though Kerry voted in favor of the measure in the Senate Finance Committee.

The politics of same-sex marriage::

USA Today shares some editorials from papers around the country. LINK

The defeat this week of the federal amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman has encouraged conservative groups to "redouble efforts in a dozen states where similar amendments to state constitutions are likely to be on the ballot this year," reports the New York Times' James Dao. And regardless of the subject matter, President Bush stands to benefit — particularly in the battleground states — from the mobilization of conservative voters. As one door closes, another opens. LINK

Carl Hulse of the New York Times examines the strategy at the federal level. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

The New York Times' Ford Fessenden reports that members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which cannot take action on its own, has asked the Justice Department to investigate Florida's efforts to purge felons from voter registration lists for possible voting-rights violations. LINK


The New York Post's Frederic Dicker reports that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is raising a whole bunch of money-about $2.5 million in just the last six months. LINK

The New York Post's Graves and Kranes report, "A childhood friend and top fund-raiser for New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey yesterday pleaded not guilty to extorting $40,000 from a farmer in return for a sweet land-preservation deal." LINK

Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal offers a very interesting profile of Mercatus, "the most important think tank you've never heard of" — a tiny group with many ex-White House staffers, who are wielding a big stick on regulations on business. LINK

A liberal group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service charging "that an organization run by the Rev. Jerry Falwell has violated the requirements of its tax-exempt status by endorsing Mr. Bush's re-election," reports the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick. LINK

The politics of national security:

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes reports that "Deputy Secretary of State Armitage tells associates he doesn't want to be considered for the Central Intelligence Agency, though he might be willing post election."

Money in politics

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein on Democratic 527s boffo quarter. LINK

We'd Note that the Progress for America Voter Fund, a GOP 527, took in more than $2 million.

"President Bush and his GOP allies have suffered another serious setback: Independent pro-Republican groups that recently vowed to challenge pro-Democratic organizations for supremacy in spending unregulated or "soft" money on campaign ads and voter mobilization are getting their clocks cleaned by their rivals," writes the Washington Post's Tom Edsall. LINK has all the filings fit to disclose.

The economy:

The Wall Street Journal's James Hagerty and Kemba Dunham report that according to statistics released Thursday, U.S. business activity slowed in June — including industrial production, utilities output and retail sales. July, however, seems to be picking up a bit.

The Wall Street Journal's John McKinnon and James Hagerty report that the Bush Administration has received an opinion from the Justice Department giving the Treasury the authority to limit debt issuance by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in the future.


"Defiant Nader Says He's Still Running," headlines Eric Slater's article in the Los Angeles Times. "Nader seemed at relative peace with his evolving role as a rabble-rouser who former supporters said had gone too far. He said it had come to a point where old friends had to be sadly written off, victims of the 'least-worst virus.'" LINK

The Michigan Republican Party may have handed in enough valid signatures to single-handidly put candidate Ralph Nader on the state ballot yesterday — but the Reform Party's spot on the ballot is still Nader's first choice. LINK

Nader's own campaign submitted 5,400 signatures. Nader spokesman Kein Zeese says the campaign stopped collecting signatures on its own a month ago when the national Reform Party endorsed Nader.

Much confusion remains over who has the right to authorize the Reform Party's ballot access in Michigan. LINK

The AP reports, "If Nader declines those signatures, he will have to withdraw his candidacy as an independent by next Monday, then continue his efforts to get on the Michigan ballot through the Reform Party." LINK

Michigan Democratic Party sent a letter to Nader demanding he refuse GOP assistance. LINK

The Nader campaign submitted signatures to get on the ballot in the non-battleground states of South Carolina and Delaware yesterday as well. LINK

A poll shows third-party presidential candidates Michael Badnarik, a Libertarian, and Ralph Nader will make a difference in highly contested states like Minnesota and Wisconsin, the AP reports. LINK

Primarily New Hampshire:

Meryl Levin and Will Kanteres have finally published their collection of photographs all taken during the lead-up to the New Hampshire primary and the people who worked their hearts out for their chosen candidates. We've seen some of them, and they're beautiful (We mean the photos, not necessarily the people, although some of them aren't half bad to look at either.).

The photos come with bursts of words compiled in real time from the campaign workers themselves, as well as some lovely writing from the authors.

Here's an excerpt from the introduction to their book:

"The 2004 New Hampshire primary turned out to be spectacular political theater. When we began this project, we couldn't have imagined the drama that lay in store. In hindsight, there were plenty of signs: the number and caliber of the staffers, the money, the technology, the poignancy of the issues, and the spectrum of the candidates' personalities and ideologies. Add to that the most intensive media presence and scrutiny in New Hampshire primary history, and you have the ideal conditions for the political show of a lifetime."

"Like the plot in a Broadway whodunit, this election was in a constant state of change -- the frontrunner became the long shot, the insurgent became the frontrunner, and everyone in the middle fought for a moment in the spotlight. When the curtain finally came down, all but two were still on the stage, and the long shot was, once again, the frontrunner. The campaign staffers are the producers, writers, directors, set designers, and stagehands in this political production. When they do their jobs well, the audience doesn't notice them. They may feel exhausted and depleted as they exit the theater on opening night, but in fact, they are leaving enriched. The official results of any election are a permanent record of the vote count, but not of the tremendous personal growth, the lifetime friendships, and the emotional roller coaster that the staffers experience. The best way to get a sense of the electoral process is to read the words of those who've lived it. Their voices also help us understand campaign culture and why so many young people are drawn to it."

"This book and accompanying exhibition were made possible by the generous support of the Office of the president, New School University and the New Hampshire Political Library. For information about individual and bulk book sales or the installation of the exhibition at your institution, please contact the authors at LINK

If you love presidential politics, you'll want to buy yourself at least one copy of this incredible work. LINK

Your special Friday entertainment section:

We are usually the last folks to trumpet any kind of unscientific opinion data. However, an interesting phenomenon is occurring at the Golden Theater on West 45th Street in Manhattan.

First a little "Avenue Q" scene setting:

The Tony Award winning best musical's final number is entitled, "For Now." The 20- and 30-somethings of Avenue Q sing of how if things are going wrong in life, not to worry, most things are only temporary in nature. The cast shouts out examples ranging from bad hair to heartbreak, each being followed by the musical refrain — "for now."

But the biggest audience reaction comes from the lyric, "George Bush … for now." The cast has to pause the song entirely for several moments to allow for the hoots, hollers, and applause to die down.

Granted, this is taking place on the West side of Manhattan. Nobody in their right mind would consider it a battleground or a bellwether of any sorts. However, when you compare (as we did) the difference in audience reaction between summer 2003 and summer 2004, it is quite astonishing.

In summer 2003, there was laughter at the obvious comedy in the line and a healthy smattering of applause. But now some members of the audience are actually rising to their feet mid-song to applaud and shout approval. The roar of the crowd is far more intense this summer. Whether that is because Americans are becoming more focused on the approaching election or if it is a harbinger of further declining approval ratings for the president is entirely unclear.

So, yes, we can understand why the New York host committee is not including "Avenue Q" in its Sunday night offerings to the delegations prior to the convention.

One other entertainment Note for you this Friday: A new documentary exploring the days and nights of Rep. Barney Frank during the impeachment saga has just been released theatrically for the first time in the United States. If you are in the neighborhood of the Film Forum in lower Manhattan, we urge you to take this stroll down memory lane when characters like Henry Hyde and Maxine Waters were driving the daily narrative.

It's called "Let's Get Frank," and no, we aren't recommending it simply because of Jim Jordan's brilliant cameo performance.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): — 8:30 am: Labor Department releases the Consumer Price Index for June. — 10:00 am: The Senate convenes for morning business — 10:00 am: Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller demonstrates a voter verifiable touch-screen system with paper records at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 10:30 am: First Lady Laura Bush meets with Mrs. Oyunbileg, wife of the President of Mongolia, Washington, D.C. — 10:45 am: President Bush speaks at the National Training Conference on Human Trafficking at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina, Tampa, Fla. — 11:00 am: Secretary of the Navy Gordon England holds a briefing on detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay, Arlington, Va. — 12:00 pm: Rev. Jesse Jackson holds a press conference to discuss what they say is the disenfranchisement of the African-American vote in Florida and other states across the nation at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 1:20 pm: Vice President Cheney joined by Sen. John McCain attends a rally at Lansing Center, Lansing, Mich. — 1:30 pm: Sen. John Kerry arrives at the Democratic National Committee to tape prepared greetings for convention events which he cannot attend, Washington, D.C. — 1:30 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry attends an event with Washington State Democrats the and Governor's Association at the Trade and Convention Center, Seattle, Wash. — 2:00 pm: Secretary of State Collin Powell holds a closed meeting with Natsagiin Bagabandi, the president of Mongolia. Washington, D.C. — 3:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry addresses the 2004 America Federation of Teachers Convention at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. — 4:05 pm: President Bush speaks at the Raleigh County Armory Civic Center, Beckley, W.Va. — 4:05 pm: Vice President Cheney attends a rally at Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, Waterloo, Iowa — 7:00 pm: Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader and Vice Presidential Candidate Peter Camejo to appear together at a rally, San Francisco, Calif. — 7:15 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a Kerry/Edwards Victory 2004 Reception at the Hilton Crystal City, Arlington, Va. — 10:00 pm: Sen. Edwards attends a Kerry/Edwards Victory 2004 Reception at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, Calif. — 11:55 pm Sen. Edwards speaks at the Southwest Voters Registration, Education Project Latino Vote 2004 Dinner at the Universal City Hilton and Towers, Los Angeles, Calif.