The Note

ABC News' Blake Rasmussen reports that New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rush Holt led a rally Tuesday on Capitol Hill to call for passage of H.R. 2239, which would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified paper record of the vote. Holt was joined by Democratic colleagues Reps. Marcie Kaptur of Ohio, Robert Wexler of Florida, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and Jay Inslee of Washington, as well as folks from Rock the Vote, Common Cause, Democracy for America, True Majority, and Verifiedvoting.org.

Holt told the crowd, "To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: Trust is not a substitute for verification," warning that states like Ohio and Florida have laws mandating manual recounts in close elections and that those recounts are not possible if a paper copy is not printed.

Kaptur specifically mentioned Republican Rep. Robert Ney, her Ohio colleague, as a man who had the power to move the bill to a vote, but refused to. The mention of his name was met with boos and hissing from the crowd of about 60.

Kaptur also had harsh remarks for Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, chiding him for saying "he'd deliver Ohio to Bush in November."

Wexler spent much of his time attacking Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. "You would have thought like . . . that after 2000 that Governor Jeb Bush would have been leading the fight to ensure fairness and reliability and confidence in our election system, but just the opposite has occurred," Wexler said.

The economy:

Consumer confidence is up this week after a month-long decline, according to a new ABC News/Money magazine poll. The ABC/Money Consumer Comfort Index jumped 5 points. ABC News' Dalia Sussman Notes that the index has "risen that steeply in a single week only 15 times in 18 years of weekly polling, the last just after the fall of Baghdad." Positive jobs data have pulled the index in a positive direction, and gas and food prices has pulled it in a negative direction in recent weeks, but Sussman estimates that the jobs numbers may be winning the tug of war.

An ABC News poll earlier this week found that Americans think that $1.42 per gallon is a reasonable price to be paying for gas. In May 2003, Americans said they thought $1.24 per gallon sounded about right.

The politics of same-sex marriage:

"Though a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage stands little chance of passing this year, the issue is nonetheless heating up on Capitol Hill, pushed by Republican leaders who are determined to force Democrats into an uncomfortable debate in the weeks before the Democratic convention at the end of next month," reports the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Anastasia Ustinova reports that Senate Republicans are pushing hard for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and debate and a vote are scheduled for the week of July 12. For those keeping score, Ustinova Notes, that's just two weeks before the Democratic National Convention in Boston. She also throws in comments from former Rep. Bob Barr and ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Anders, who agree that the amendment is a bad idea -- though for different reasons, of course. LINK

The Washington Times reports on Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee that a federal marriage amendment is needed because his state is forcing same-sex "marriage" on everyone else. LINK

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