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Given his giant lead in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, it seems virtually impossible that John Kerry can lose the election.
When The Note starts out with a lead that tongue in cheek, you have to be on the lookout.
So from the list below, identify the five items about which we are serious, and the five that are jokey:
WAYS JOHN KERRY CAN STILL BLOW THE ELECTION (leaving out things beyond his control):
1. Failure to read and understand David Brooks' if-you-read-only-one-article-today-let-it-be-this-must-read op-ed piece in the New York Times about the Kerry and Democratic failure to understand the importance of faith in public life. (John Podesta and Bill Clinton excepted . . . ) LINK
2. Leaves room for Bush-Cheney spokesguy Steve Schmidt to go door-to-door to convince each and every American that every single utterance, act, or historical move by John Kerry illustrates to a fare thee well that the Massachusetts Senator tries to take both sides of every issue and is a man of no convictions who will say anything to get elected.
3. Not enough endorsements from Nobel laureates.
4. Failure to pick as his running mate any of the candidates supported by David Ginsberg, Steve Elmendorf, and/or Bob Shrum.
5. Failure to get the country to see him as Vanessa and Alex see him.
6. Can't get a certain communications staffer to give up one of her three jobs.
7. Comes off in the debates as arrogant, sighing, and truth hedging.
8. Is overshadowed by Bill Clinton.
9. Loses his home state.
10. Utters this magic phrase in his acceptance speech: "Who among us doesn't love NASCAR?"
OK, maybe only four of the 10 were serious, but you (we hope) get our point.
Sen. Kerry canceled a New Mexico campaign stop today and returned to Washington early Tuesday morning to co-sponsor Sen. Daschle's veterans health care amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. Kerry has been criticized recently by Massachusetts Republicans for missing more than 75 percent of this current congressional session's votes. It's not clear at this writing how he will spend his day, or why, exactly, he decided this was a vote he needed to make.
At 12:15 pm ET, his campaign strategists will do a conference call briefing for the media on their sense of the state of the race.
Majority Leader Frist is determined to see the veterans bill finished by Tuesday night, and he warned Senators today to prepare for a long Tuesday night in anticipation of a series of votes to finish the bill. Some in the Senate believe Wednesday is a little more realistic. With the bill then concluded, there's been some talk of having the Senate take up the Defense Appropriations Bill on Wednesday.
President Bush meets with the Prime Minister of Hungary and speaks at the White House's Black Music Month Reception. Meanwhile the Bush campaign continues to paint John Kerry as a "pessimist" with a Sen. Zell Miller conference call on the subject in addition to releasing a new radio ad in battleground states.
First Lady Laura Bush hosts an online chat at http://www.georgewbush.com/Chat
Teresa Heinz Kerry hosts a discussion about women and the economy and also holds a press conference at Miami-Dade Community College in Florida.
Former President Clinton attends book signings in New York City and appears on tape on "Oprah." (check local listings)
State primaries will also be held in Utah and South Carolina, prominently featuring the Republican gubernatorial battle between Jim Huntsman Jr. and Nolan Karras in Utah and the Republican Senate runoff between former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley and Rep. Jim DeMint. The Palmetto State polls are open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm ET. Beehive State voters can vote from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm ET.
Last night's Clinton book party at the Met was exactly what one might expect -- lots of people breaking off conversations (about Kerry, Michiko, Dan) to crane their necks in the direction of the 42nd President who, as always, moved seemingly with a spectral spotlight overhead.
Amidst the classic Clinton-NYC-usual-suspect-crowd milled Administration bigs Roger Altman, Dan Glickman, Bob Rubin, and Bruce Reed; HBO honcho Craig Minassian; Lauren Bacall; Bob Barnett (duh); Mark Green; Toni Morrison; Ken Burns; Viewer and Clinton fan Star Jones with groom Al Reynolds; Note neighbors Robert and Ina Caro; genial first-tier FOB Tommy Caplan; a sizable number of Times people including the almighty trio Gail Collins, Arthur Sulzberger and Bill Keller (with Emma Gilbey) -- no doubt the invites went out before the Sunday review hit the web and the streets; and WCBS' deft and dashing Andrew Kirtzman, who was juggling a downtown budget deal with the uptown soiree, all the while chatting with his weekend neighbor Andrew Tobias and legendary pop master Robert Rauschenberg.
The dress was balmy-summer-night-by-way-of -D.C. -- a little frumpier than usual overall, despite a splash of Prada tie-dye here, a dash of Dries Van Noten there-with only the film stars, television personalities, and fashion execs (including ultimately fashionable Anna Wintour) looking truly glamorous.
Over to the side, near the Greek wing, was the intriguing huddle of book tour guide Jim Kennedy, supremely lean Howard Wolfson (Someone send the lad a dozen vanilla cupcakes from Magnolia!), and cheery Karen Dunn (on loan from Yale), briefly interrupted by a nattily dressed Ian Klaus, who roamed the museum like a diligent host, clearly already a member of the Clinton clan.
Then on to the program -- Sonny Mehta made some opening remarks, followed by a glowing Senator Clinton (in pale pink jacket), who joked about the travails of producing the various Clinton tomes and introduced her husband (a revolving embrace, no overt groping).
Sleek South Beach devotee Bill Clinton (in pale blue tie) took center podium, waxing literary about life, history, legacy, great teachers, and those who helped get the manuscript on the page. Indeed, both Clintons appeared quite cozy and chipper in the Great Hall, which was filled, for the most part, with their people.
Kit Seelye (doing her best E! Entertainment Television red carpet report) of the New York Times provides you with a list of boldface names at the party. LINK
Richard Johnson and colleagues at the New York Post give the party its very own Page Six treatment. LINK
The publisher needs to sell 1.5 million copies of the book to break even, reports the New York Post. LINK
An estimated 15.4 million people tuned in to Clinton's "60 Minutes" interview, reports Lisa deMoraes. LINK
The Washington Post's John Harris and Linton Weeks write that in the book, Clinton departs from his grand jury testimony and corroborates the story told by former White House intern Monica Lewinsky about the genesis and timing of their relationship. The duo Note that aides could not explain the discrepancy, and Clinton's attorney, David Kendall did not return a call. LINK
USA Today's Bill Nichols and Bob Minzesheimer write-up their 45-minute interview with 42 yesterday following his appearance on "Oprah." LINK
"'It was dark down there,' Clinton writes of his inner turmoil. As a junior in high school, Clinton wrote that 'I sometimes question the sanity of my existence.'"
More highlights from the Q and A: LINK
Donna Brazile adds her prose in Roll Call to the Clinton book brouhaha, saying she has "no doubt Americans will rush to devour all 957 pages of Clinton's tome," and that it will remind America what it wants in a leader.
The Boston Globe's Canellos skillfully compares President George W. Bush to former President Bill Clinton and how they both have the ability to polarize politics. LINK
"Clinton and Bush are the two poles (one shaky, one brittle) in the political pathology that has gripped the country over the last decade. The differences between the two go well beyond personality or morality, extending all the way to their visions for the United States and its relationship to the world."
"While many readers await today's release of Clinton's memoirs to see how the big guy tries to weasel his way out of personal scandals, others feel a pang imagining how different the world would be had Clinton not been barred from a third term."
And look at this little tidbit: "Two weeks ago, Clinton reportedly advised Kerry to campaign as though Iraq was stable, the economy was going great guns, and bin Laden was dead -- in other words, avoiding all possible flash points and concentrating on selling himself. Kerry, to all appearances, doesn't have the political dexterity (or shamelessness) to pull that off, and may remember that Clinton's overly strategic approach was what drove some voters away from the Democrats in the first place."
The Associated Press' Will Lester writes up an AP-Ipsos poll proving out Howard Kurtz's theory -- that Ronald Reagan will be remembered as a better president than Bill Clinton. About 83 percent surveyed said they view Reagan favorably, Lester Notes, while 41 percent said the same of Clinton. Fifty-three percent said they view Clinton unfavorably. LINK
The AP's Ron Fournier looks at how Sen. Kerry is embracing former President Clinton's "economic record and taking action to capitalize on his popularity among minorities." LINK
Fournier Notes that the poll "is a mirror image of Clinton's ratings just before the 2000 election, when slightly more than half of likely voters said they approved of the president."
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll brings some tough news for President Bush, showing that 52 percent of Americans say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, and approval of the way he is handling the war on terror has fallen to 50 percent -- the lowest yet, and an 8-point drop since last month. For the first time, Notes ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer, Sen. Kerry has pulled even with the President as someone Americans trust to handle terrorism. LINK
Langer also reports, however, that the President holds the confidence of the American people by a 14-percent margin over Kerry to keep the United States safer and more secure. He also scores better than Kerry on having a "clear plan" to deal with terrorism; just four in 10 say they think Kerry has one.
Bush's overall approval rating stands at 47 percent in this survey, and 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he's doing. In the head-to-head matchup among registered voters, Kerry leads by 4 points -- just outside the margin of error -- when Ralph Nader is in the mix. Kerry leads by 8 points -- 53 percent to 45 percent - without Nader.
Washington Post Polling Director Rich Morin joins Dan Balz in laying out the poll's results. LINK
"The shift is potentially significant because Bush has consistently received higher marks on fighting terrorism than on Iraq, and if the decline signals a permanent loss of confidence in his handling of the fight against terrorism, that could undermine a central part of his reelection campaign message."
A little perspective: The latest Harris poll, conducted June 8-15, showed President Bush leading Sen. Kerry, 48 percent to 42 percent. The latest poll by Investor's Business Daily and the Christian Science Monitor showed Bush and Kerry basically even, 44 percent to 43 percent, respectively, and Bush gained a little ground with Nader in the mix: 43 percent to 40 percent, with Nader taking 5 percent.
The Los Angeles Times' Rainey examines the dispute between pollsters and political consultants over the stability (or lack thereof) of party identification. Recall that early June L.A. Times survey showing a 13-point gap in the number of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats versus the number who identified themselves as Republicans. LINK
"At its root, the dispute over The Times poll exemplifies differences between how independent polling organizations and politicians view survey results and party preferences."
"Independent pollsters think many voters have relatively unsettled political party allegiances. When asked to name the party they favor, they might be swayed by recent news events or even by questions asked earlier in a survey, the pollsters say."
"Political operatives, in contrast, tend to believe that party identification is more static. They say they can predict at any given time, with some precision, the party breakdown among the nation's voters."
Interesting lesson: partisan pollsters often adjust for party membership, while news pollsters usually do not.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times doesn't seem all that taken with the "staged" event on "healthy marriages" in Cincinnati yesterday. LINK
"But neither the Groveses nor Mr. Bush directly addressed the subject for the day, strengthening marriage, or whether ACT had helped keep the Groveses together. Nor did the Groveses address whether the Bush "healthy marriage" initiative would help people like themselves."
We're pretty sure it played better on Ohio TV than it did this morning's New York Times.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank Notes "President Bush and Vice President Cheney Monday took fresh news of an improving employment outlook to Ohio and Nevada, states that are considered crucial for the two if they are to continue their own employment for another four years." LINK
Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times writes that in Ohio, President Bush "talked up his social agenda, focusing on his proposals to promote marriage and his efforts to channel federal funds to religious organizations that provide social services."LINK
Chen also Notes that First Lady Laura Bush raised $500,000 for the Republican Party at a Greenwich, Conn., fundraiser on Monday.
The President shied away from the economy yesterday, instead turning to "his 2000 campaign theme of 'compassionate conservatism'" in an official to Cincinnati. During the stop, Bush discussed welfare, prayer (his favorite hymn is "Amazing Grace"), and parenting classes, although he did not mention same-sex marriage. LINK and LINK
That message plays well among Ohio's social conservatives, says Malia Rulon of the Associated Press. LINK
President Bush's trip to Ohio yesterday was his 18th visit during his Administration, the AP reports. LINK
The Springfield News Leader wraps the Vice President's visit yesterday, Noting that Cheney used the visit "to criticize Sen. John Kerry as 'pessimistic' about the economy and wishy-washy on national defense." LINK
Vice President Cheney's stop in Nevada yesterday focused on the economy and did not address the key local issue of "Bush's unpopular support" for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, reports the Associated Press. LINK
Bill Sammon of the Washington Times picks up on Cheney's references to ex-presidents in his speech in Nevada yesterday -- connecting Bush to Reagan as an optimist and Kerry to Carter's economic policies as a pessimist. LINK
USA Today's Richard Benedetto writes that Cheney "filled the traditional vice-presidential role of attacking the opposition" in his speech and rally on the campaign trail yesterday. LINK
Protestors in Las Vegas focused on the Yucca Mountain issue in their demonstrations, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. They also said that "President Bush is too scared to face the voters of southern Nevada, and that's why he's sending his vice president," according to KVBC-TV. LINK and LINK
The AP's Liz Sidoti reports on the carefully placed radio ads in Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and Missouri. LINK
President Bush may find a permanent replacement for George Tenet at the CIA sooner rather than later, so reports the New York Times. Names being floated are Republican Reps. Porter Goss of Florida and Christopher Cox of California, as well as former CIA Director Robert Gates. LINK
"Mr. McLaughlin is highly regarded, but White House officials have said a central motivation for keeping him on is to avoid a confirmation battle in the Senate this summer. Now, however, people involved in the discussion say that plan is being revisited out of concern that a failure to select a permanent successor may be both a practical and political mistake."
"One hypothetical situation reportedly being discussed within the White House is how Mr. Bush would be perceived by the public if there is another terrorist attack against an American target before the election and an acting intelligence chief is still in place."
ABC News' Karen Travers' Cheney campaign report:
SPRINGFIELD, MO., June 21, 2004 -- In a television interview last week, Vice President Cheney was asked about the perception that he is the "enforcer" in the Bush Administration. He dismissed the term and said, "Am I warm and fuzzy or am I perceived as a tough guy? I really don't worry about that."
Cheney took one small step closer to warm and fuzzy today on a campaign swing that took him from Henderson, Nev., to Springfield, Mo., for a speech: a stop at a large outdoor sporting goods store and a campaign rally -- complete with posed pictures with supporters and holding babies.
The Vice President's motorcade pulled right up to the door at the Bass Pro Shops in Springfield as customers in the parking lot looked with confusion and interest at the spectacle of Suburbans and vans containing staff and reporters who quickly unloaded to catch up with a brisk-paced Vice President.
Cheney, an avid outdoorsman who counts fishing and hunting among his top hobbies, took his time looking over the equipment in the store, pausing to feel a few pairs of waders and check out the matching jacket.
Cheney's wife, Lynne, accompanied him on the trip, separating from her husband to shop around for gifts for her grandchildren and even pick up something for the newest grandchild, who is on the way in a couple of weeks.
Mrs. Cheney found a camouflage baby outfit, asking her husband, "Are they cute or what?" before he left the main section of the store to try on his waders in privacy, away from the gathering crowd and traveling press that followed him through the store.
Cheney perused much of the store and made a point of stopping by the hunting section. He contributed to the local economy, paying with a credit card for a pair of waders and a cleaner for his 12-gauge shotgun.
The Vice President finished the day with a Bush-Cheney '04 rally at the Springfield Expo Center before 1,200 loud and enthusiastic supporters.
At the rally, originally planned for June 11 but rescheduled because of President Reagan's funeral, Cheney largely stuck to prepared remarks and spoke from a podium.
He did do a turn as candidate at the end of the speech, coming off the stage to work the ropeline for about 10 minutes. Cheney shook hands, waved to the crowd and even held a couple of babies, including one decked out in a one-piece outfit adorned with "Bush-Cheney" -- but no camouflage baby outfits in sight.
Cheney is back on the campaign trail later this week with a rally planned for Friday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa.
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:
In his recap of Sen. John Kerry's Monday, the Boston Globe's Patrick Healy Notes, "With the Bush campaign aggressively labeling Kerry a "pessimist" -- including in a new Colorado radio ad that was timed to his visit to the state -- Kerry used the word "dream" seven times at an outdoor rally in Denver to try to distinguish himself from Bush by setting lofty goals of spending billions more on biomedical, scientific, and alternative-energy research. LINK
The Denver Post's David Olinger and Karen Crummy report that about 1,000 "umbrella-toting Kerry supporters waited for hours in a chilly afternoon rain at Denver's Civic Center to hear him speak" on Monday. LINK
The AP's Nedra Pickler reports on Kerry's decision to cancel his trip to New Mexico today. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman writes about the letter released yesterday by 48 Nobel laureates criticizing President Bush for his approach to scientific research and the environment, saying that Sen. Kerry would bring science back to its place in government -- referring, of course, to stem cell research among other things. LINK
Jodi Wilgoren of the New York Times writes up Kerry's 48 Nobel laureate endorsement and his critique on the Bush Administration for "letting ideology trump science." LINK
BC04 response with fortuitous timing: "'Only John Kerry would declare the country to be in scientific decline on a day when the country's first privately funded space trip is successfully completed,' Mr. Schmidt said in a statement, referring to the rocket plane SpaceShipOne's journey 62 miles from earth and back."
The "Facts, not Fear" memo made it into the Los Angeles Times' coverage of Kerry's day, too. LINK
Dick Morris opines about Kerry's dark horse status and how it just may prove effective. LINK
"If this is his strategy, Kerry's being wise. Modern politics is a lot like modern warfare, where precision-guided munitions never miss. The best way to avoid being killed is to avoid being seen."
Robert Worth of the New York Times does some follow up from the Associated Press' weekend story about a South Korean Kerry campaign donor "who has been arrested and charged with tax evasion." LINK
There still seem to be a lot of loose ends here.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:
The Chicago Tribune's John McCormick compares the spending of the Kerry and Bush campaigns in May -- $32 million for Kerry, and $22 million for Bush. About half of the total $272.5 million spent by both so far has gone to ads. LINK
Vince Morris of the New York Post provides his readers with the latest fundraising numbers and radio ads. LINK
A new Raleigh News & Observer poll shows the gap between President Bush and Sen. Kerry narrows in North Carolina to less than 5 percentage points if Sen. John Edwards is selected as Kerry's running mate -- which may throw out the conventional wisdom that picking Edwards does nothing to the situation in North Carolina. LINK
"Kerry doesn't have to win North Carolina to win the presidency. Everybody knows that. Bush knows that. But by taking Edwards on the ticket, it really does force Bush to spend time in an area that, frankly, he can't afford to spend time in," says the pollster who conducted the survey.
Friends of Rep. Dick Gephardt are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to get him on the ticket with Sen. Kerry, reports The Hill. Last week, Democratic Reps. Gene Green and Sherrod Brown wrote separate letters to the Kerry campaign, urging the Senator to put the Missouri Democrat on the ticket. Green admitted the letters, which together have more than 25 signatures, were mostly an attempt to counter Sen. Edwards' supporters in the House, who wrote a similar letter last week. LINK
Tom Oliphant looks at presidential nominee veep choices from a historical standpoint and discussed the choices Sen. John Kerry has in front of him. "I'm told Kerry is fond of the cliche that veeps ultimately don't matter the way the top guy does. It's a cliche because it's true, but it is a sign of hubris to belabor the point." LINK
David Keene writes in The Hill that Kerry's flirtation with Sen. John McCain for his No. 2 will "come back and bite" him, since now whoever Kerry "ultimately selects is likely to be seen by the media as wanting in comparison to what might have been." LINK
Here's where some of the hopefuls will be this week:
Vilsack -- Des Moines, Iowa through Tuesday, then a tour of the state through Thursday. Friday: Iowa Dem Party convo in Des Moines. Iowa First Lady Christine Vilsack will be a special guest at an AFSCME satellite rally for Sen. Kerry during his Thursday speech.
Bayh -- staff has not yet released his public schedule. He'll be in Washington through at least Thursday.
Biden -- Biden is in town each day this week, traveling back and forth to Wilmington per usual...possibly overnighting once in D.C. this week.
Clark -- No public events this week. He travels to New York next Monday for a fundraiser with Erskine Bowles.
Edwards -- D.C. this morning; at an Alabama fundraiser this evening, votes permitted. D.C. Wednesday and Thursday. Des Moines for Iowa State Dem Party convo on Friday and Saturday. Back in D.C. Saturday night into Sunday.
Graham -- D.C. all week. Senate business tomorrow. The DSCC has a reception at Union Station honoring retiring Senators on Thursday night. He's an honoree.
Cohen -- no public events.
Nunn -- N/A
Gephardt -- his staff says he has no public events and plans to be in Washington.
Warner -- In Washington today for a DLC event, Richmond the rest of the week.
Yesterday, The Note excerpted information from a Newsweek Periscope item that ran last week. The item we intended to excerpt, which appears on page six of the June 28, 2004 issue, runs as follows:
Veepstakes: "Kerry sources say the choice is narrowing to Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt, and that the candidate remains personally uncomfortable with Sen. John Edwards. Some say Kerry could still choose a wild card like Bill Cohen, the GOP senator who became Clinton's Defense secretary."
Ralph Nader anointed Peter Camejo, a longtime activist and well-know leader in the Green Party as his running mate yesterday in Washington.
The New York Times' Glassman on Ralph Nader's choice of Camejo as his running mate: LINK
"The selection rekindled his association with the Greens and raised the outside possibility that they might endorse him and thereby put him on the ballot in 22 states and here in Washington."
Tricia Enright believes Camejo's selection sends a wake-up call to Democrats that Nader's ability to harm Kerry's chances is growing. LINK
We may never know how Camejo would do in a VP debate against Dick Cheney. But we do know how he would fare against Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Camejo won 242,000 votes, or about 2.8 percent of the vote in California's recall elections -- and notoriety for his dexterity on the debate floor.
Camejo has campaigned on the national stage before too. In the '70s he collected 90,000 votes in his bid for president on the Socialist Workers Party. And did we mention he received a perfect score on the Math SAT test? LINK
But he is little-known outside California and the Green Party. LINK
In just one day the Green Party national convention gets underway in Milwaukee and a candidate for president will be named this Saturday. LINK
As it happens, the two leading candidates for that slot are David Cobb, a formidable candidate and former Nader organizer in Texas who has campaigned hard to win his party's support -- and Nader's new number two, Peter Camejo.
The Green nod could deliver coveted ballot access in 22 states and the District of Columbia -- but even if the majority of Greens do throw their support behind NC'04, it will be but one step in a tricky process to get their names on the ballot in each of those states which include in seven battlegrounds: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin.
Graeme Zielinski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talked to David Cobb, Nader's rival for the Green Party nomination, who said it's unclear whether the choice of Camejo will be enough to persuade delegates to this week's convention in Milwaukee who want to grow the Green movement to vote for Nader. LINK
The Los Angeles Times Notes Democrats fear the NC'04 campaign will politicize the war. LINK
The Los Angeles Times reports Camejo, a first-generation Venezuelan-American who is fluent in Spanish, plans to campaign vigorously for Latino votes Republicans which could make battlegrounds like Nevada and New Mexico more battlegroundy. LINK
Nader's announcement makes his campaign realer and scarier to Democrats who are afraid he will eat into their base. LINK
Will it increase sales of Stop Nader gear? LINK
Meanwhile the independent effort to place Nader on the ballot continues. Nader-Camejo '04 spokesman Kevin Zeese tells ABC News the campaign submitted 35,581 signatures to the secretary of state's office in Springfield, Ill., today, just before 5:00 p.m. deadline. The group collected about 10,000 signatures of pad, just in case.
This afternoon Ralph Nader will hold a tete-a-tete with members of the Congressional Black Caucus where he hopes to discuss economic issues like predatory lending practices and unfairness in the criminal justice system.
ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:
Despite the protests and the project's unpopularity, the nuclear dump in Yucca Mountain continues to move forward, with Sen. Pete Domenici introducing new ideas yesterday about ways to fund the project -- all much to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid's chagrin. LINK
The story coming out of Iowa right now is the economic-development bill compromise and potential VPer Gov. Tom Vilsack's backup plan should it fail. LINK
Will Vilsack unite the legislature and save the plan? Will it help or hurt either party in the state? And will Vilsack ever get over this "embarrassing" setback? The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen sheds some light on these questions and more. LINK
The Denver Post's Susan Greene reports on the arrival of Colorado Kerry campaign Communications Director Steve Haro, the first official Kerry campaign staffer in the state. LINK
On the heels of recent visits by the President and Vice President to Nevada, Terry McAuliffe said yesterday that Sen. Kerry plans to "visit the state many times" as part of what the Associated Press predicts will be a post-convention "Nevada campaign blitz." LINK
The New Jersey legislature approved Gov. McGreevey's "millionaire tax," reports the New York Times. LINK
And today's just-released Quinnipiac poll numbers indicate they did so with 60 percent of New Jerseyans in agreement. So, in a state where the Democratic governor may be on a bit of a rebound (today's poll numbers show a net positive approval rating for the first time in 20 months) and where residents believe in taxing the rich, what are the chances it will appear red on network television maps on Nov. 2?
The AP's Frederic Frommer reports, "A longtime Minnesota Republican and former state Supreme Court justice, Ed Stringer, is backing Democrat John Kerry in this year's presidential election." LINK
"An Associated Press review of campaign finance reports found that Stringer, who also worked for President George H.W. Bush, has contributed $2,000 to Kerry."
The Kerry camp named Arkansas Democratic operative Rodney Shelton as its selection to run its statewide campaign on Monday, writes the AP's David Hammer. LINK
Women are playing an increasingly large role in West Virginia politics, including in the state's Kerry and Bush campaigns, says Tom Diana of the Wheeling News-Register. LINK
In Toledo, they are hoping for a clean election, but doing so will cost taxpayers an additional $350,000, with Lucas County being forced to rent voting machines for the Nov. 2 election. LINK
In West Virginia, it is the high cost of a gallon of milk -- not gas -- that is hurting the state's economic growth, reports the Herald-Dispatch. LINK
Though New Hampshire lost more manufacturing jobs per capita, at least one economist is now projecting that the state will lead all of New England in job growth for the next five years, according to the Union Leader's Michael Cousineau. LINK
Prominent state Republicans and Democrats have come together in New Hampshire to form a bi-partisan group opposed to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, says the Nashua Telegraph. LINK
People in Maine were surprised to learn yesterday that the tax bill that passed the House last week has a tobacco buyout that will send nearly $300,000 to the battleground state -- never mind that they don't actually grow tobacco in Maine. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:
Republicans will select a challenger for Democrat Inez Tenenbaum in the South Carolina Senate race.
Polls open at 7:00 am ET and close at 7:00 pm ET.
The State has a handy guide to DeMint and Beasley: LINK
More money and endorsements by former rivals give Rep. Jim DeMint a "critical edge" over former Gov. David Beasley in today's runoff election for the Republican Senate nomination in South Carolina. LINK
And in Chicago, divorce records released last night reveal that Jeri Lynn Ryan, the former wife of Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan, accused the businessman of pressuring her to have sex with other men while he and other men watched.
Jack Ryan denies the allegations.
Anticipating last night's release, senior Republicans tell ABC News said they expect fellow Republicans to put pressure on Ryan to withdraw from the Senate race, although Ryan has vowed to stay on and fight.
And one Illinois GOP source told ABC News' Karen Travers Monday night: "This is the type of behavior won't play in Peoria. His behavior, compounded by the lies, make him an unelectable candidate."
This source, who is in contact with top Republicans in the state, said that Ryan had not been forthcoming about the contents of the files.
This account is confirmed by Republicans in Washington who have a stake in the race.
But as of this morning, the NRSC was still behind Ryan.
From the Chicago Sun Times:
"A former investment banker, Jack Ryan declined to revisit the allegations Monday, saying he stands by his earlier court response. And Ryan insisted he did not mislead anyone by arguing he was only trying to protect the couple's 9-year-old son and suggesting the documents contained nothing embarrassing." LINK
"But at least three GOP leaders are fuming over the disclosures, saying they do not square with what Ryan told them to expect. State Republican chairman Judy Baar Topinka believes Ryan lied to her by suggesting the papers contained nothing embarrassing, a source close to Topinka said."
"Former Gov. Jim Edgar was stunned to hear about Jeri Ryan's allegations after Jack Ryan called Edgar over the weekend to describe the files, but made no mention of the sex clubs. Based on that characterization, Edgar told reporters earlier in the day the files would not likely sink Ryan's campaign."
The Chicago Tribune reports that Ray LaHood called on Ryan to withdraw from the race immediately. LINK
Gov. Rowland's resignation:
The Hartford Courant's Edmund Mahony writes, "While Gov. John G. Rowland's announced resignation on Monday effectively removed the threat of impending impeachment, a far more serious problem -- the continuing federal corruption investigation -- still hangs over his head." LINK
The Courant's Jon Lender and Dave Altimari describe the hours leading up to the announcement of his Rowland's decision. LINK
The Courant's Elizabeth Hamilton writes about what the potential impact of Gov. Rowland's resignation could be on the minds of Connecticut voters when they vote this fall. LINK
Gov. Rowland's political obit as written by the New York Times. LINK and LINK
The Washington Post's Michael Powell calls Rowland's downfall "breathtaking in its speed." LINK
The New York Times on the Governor-to-be: LINK
The Washington Times' Amy Fagan Notes that officials from both parties said that the resignation makes things politically easier for them in the state. Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell will serve out the rest of his term, which ends in 2006. LINK
ABC News' Brooke Brower Notes that Rell, first elected to her office in 1994, is currently in her third term and is the state's first Republican female lieutenant governor. She will be the state's first Republican female governor, and the second female governor in state history. Democrat Ella Grasso served as Connecticut's governor from 1975 to 1980. Grasso was the first female governor in the nation elected to office in her own right.
To put a little more perspective on it, Rell would be the ninth female governor currently in office. Republican female governors are currently serving in Montana, Hawaii, and Utah. Democratic female governors are currently serving in Delaware, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and Louisiana.
Brower also Notes that Connecticut would become just the fifth state in the nation to have had two female governors in its history. The others are Texas, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Arizona, which currently has its third female governor.
ABC News Vote 2004: the gubernatorial races:
The Salt Lake Tribune previews today's GOP runoff between Nolan Karras and Jon Huntsman to see who will face Scott Matheson Jr. this fall. The polls are open from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm ET. LINK
The House of Labor:
We know you'll be reading about Andy Stern's efforts to reshape the labor movement, so we've provided a bit of his address yesterday to SEIU faithful in San Francisco.
"John Sweeney, a good man who devoted his life to our union tried to breathe new life into the AFL-CIO. But John Sweeney has proven that the problem is not who captains the ship but that the ship was not built to navigate the storms of the modern world."
"The unions of the AFL-CIO contain thousands of hardworking, dedicated unionists. But the AFL-CIO is a loose trade association of 65 separate and autonomous unions instead of a strong, united organization."
"It has no enforceable standards to stop a union from conspiring with employers to keep another stronger union out or from negotiating contracts with lower pay and standards that members of another union have spent a lifetime establishing, and as it is set up today, I believe, it has no hope of uniting the 90 percent of workers who have no union at all."
"And, sisters and brothers, it is time and it is so long overdue that we join with our union allies and either transform the AFL-CIO or build something stronger that can really change workers' lives . . . "
The Washington Post's Tom Edsall reports on the Stern speech. LINK
The politics of same-sex marriage:
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be the first speaker at this morning's same-sex marriage hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. How's this for a title: ''Preserving Traditional Marriage: A View from the States"? Gov. Romney is expected to call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to avoid confusing things nationally. LINK
The Note just likes the headline of the Boston Herald story on Gov. Romney's appearance in Washington today: "Mitt's message to the nation on gay marriage: Don't Mass. it up." LINK
The politics of the 9/11 commission:
The Washington Post's Christopher Lee Notes three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, doubts still linger about how the government will continue to operate during an emergency situation. LINK
"Although much of the legislative debate since Sept. 11 has been about how to quickly replace dead or incapacitated lawmakers, less noticed have been such matters as whether Americans would continue to get their Social Security checks, veterans hospitals would stay open, the banking system would function and mail would be delivered. Maintaining such government services, important in and of themselves, would assure Americans that the country remains unbowed, experts say."
The Union Leader's editorial board writes that everyone, including themselves, jumped the gun with headlines proclaiming there were no connections between bin Laden and Iraq. At best, they say, "the jury is still out." LINK
The AP previews Sen. Ted Kennedy's speech this morning, "America is at greater risk of a nuclear attack from terrorists because of the Bush administration's 'single-minded focus on Iraq.'" LINK
The politics of Iraq:
The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran finishes up a must-read three-day look at the rebuilding of Iraq by examining the fledgling government institutions. LINK
"New political institutions to replace Saddam Hussein's Baath Party dictatorship are among the chief legacies of the U.S. occupation. Every city and province has a local council. New mayors, provincial governors and national cabinet ministers have been chosen. The Shiite Muslim majority, shut out of power in Hussein's government, is widely represented, as are religious minorities and women. Hundreds of political parties have formed, and thousands of people have participated in seminars on democracy."
The Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Dan Eggen report that "An allegation that a high-ranking al Qaeda member was an officer in Saddam Hussein's private militia may have resulted from confusion over Iraqi names, a senior administration official said yesterday." LINK
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne thinks "the Bush administration should give us the proof (about a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein on 9/11) or stop making claims it can't support. Put up or shut up." LINK
The Washington Times' Betsy Pisik reports that U.S. authorities are planning a low-key transfer of power in Iraq next week. New U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte will not attend, expected to arrive at his new job around July 2, and finalized plans for the handover are being kept secret. LINK
Should the issue of non-photographed flag draped coffins come up again on the campaign trail, President Bush will be able to point to yesterday's defeat of a Lautenberg amendment for some political cover. LINK
Prison abuse scandal:
The New York Times reports top commanders such as Generals Sanchez and Abizaid will have to submit to questioning in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. LINK
The New York Times' investigation into prisoner abuse has not led to the top of the chain of command. LINK
"A close review of recently disclosed documents and interviews with soldiers, officers and government officials find a broader pattern of misconduct and knowledge about it stretching into the middle chain of command. But there is no clear evidence to date that the highest military or civilian leaders ordered or authorized the mistreatment of prisoners at American-run prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba."
The politics of HMOs:
The Washington Times' Tom Ramstack looks at yesterday's unanimous Supreme Court decision not to allow patients to sue their HMOs for malpractice when they are unable to receive treatment prescribed by their doctors. The ruling could affect 72 million patients who belong to managed care plans. LINK
The Supreme Court's decision to strike down a provision of the Texas Health Care Liability Act also weakens the ability of voters to sue HMOs in the key battleground states of Arizona, Maine, Washington state, and West Virginia. LINK
Sen. Kerry has already promised to turn the Supreme Court's decision into a campaign issue. LINK
Sen. Tom Harkin is threatening HUD with legislation if they don't keep college kids out of low-income housing. HUD would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling kids! LINK
"Seeking to unify Republicans behind a single candidate in Louisiana's open 7th district, three influential Members of the state delegation hosted a fundraiser for heart surgeon Charles Boustany (R) on Monday night," writes Roll Call's Chris Cillizza.
The Boston Herald reports, "city taxi drivers and Democratic National Convention hosts struck a deal last night that will give all 5,000-plus delegates vouchers for discounted, $12 rides to and from Logan International Airport, with a three-person-per-cab minimum." LINK
Anyone who thought the Boston Patrolmen's Association would stop picketing after delaying the Democratic Convention construction for days was sorely mistaken. The Boston Globe reports that the union sent letters yesterday to more than 200 mayors asking them to boycott the US Conference of Mayors four-day meeting this week in an effort to embarrass Mayor Thomas Menino on a national stage. LINK
The Republican Party will announce today that they have selected Virco Manufacturing, of the battleground state of Arkansas, to produce the 3,000 official delegate chairs for the national convention. After the convention, the chairs are to be donated to kids' programs in New York City. The contract is worth approximately $170,000.
Morning show wrap:
Bob Ney and Tom Reynolds are reportedly not welcome at Mayor Bloomberg's house after Rep. Ney voted against an amendment that would have provided New York City with additional homeland security funding. LINK
"The feud between the Republican mayor and congressional Republicans couldn't come at a more sensitive time with the GOP presidential convention coming to town in two months," writes the New York Post's David Seifman. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Christina Brinkley reports "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed gambling-expansion compacts guaranteeing five Indian tribes exclusive rights to operate Las Vegas-style casinos in return for a $1 billion upfront payment, more cash in the future and wider state controls."
The Note offers belated congratulations to The New Republic's Ryan Lizza and his new bride, Christina Gillespie. LINK
TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —7:00 am: Polls open for the South Carolina state primary —8:00 am: Construction crews assemble portions of the bridge spanning 8th Avenue that will connect Madison Square Garden and the James A. Farley Post Office Building during the Republican National Convention —8:30 am: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz speaks at the Department of Defense's National Language Conference on the need for language skills in government, Adelphi, Md. —9:00 am: The House meets for morning hour and for legislative business —9:00 am: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before the House Armed Services Committee to discuss progress in Iraq, Washington, D.C. —9:00 am: Polls open for Utah's state primary including the Republican gubernatorial primary between Jim Huntsman Jr. and Nolan Karras —9:30 am: The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on aviation security —9:45 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —9:45 am: The Senate resumes consideration of S. 2400, the DOD Authorization Bill —10:00 am: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears before the Senate Judiciary to discuss "Preserving Traditional Marriage: A View from the States," Washington, D.C. —10:15 am: Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) hold a news conference to discuss their recent trip to Iraq, Washington, D.C. —10:45 am: The Senate Appropriations Committee meets to markup the FY2005 Defense Department Authorization bill —11:00 am: Republican National Convention officials hold a press conference to announce the selection of Arkansas based Virco Manufacturing Corporation as the producer of 3,000 delegate chairs, Conway, Ark. —11:00 am: The Senate holds roll call votes on the Levin Missile Defense Amendment followed by a vote on the Brownback Amendment regarding broadcast decency —11:30 am: Teresa Heinz Kerry hosts a discussion about women and the economy and holds a press conference at Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Fla. —11:45 am: Gov. Mark Warner (D-Va.) addresses a Democratic Leadership Council luncheon with remarks titled "Governing in Tough Times in Tough Places," D.C. —11:45 am: Secretary of State Powell hosts working lunch for the prime minister of Hungary, Washington, D.C. —12:15 pm: Asa Hutchinson, Homeland Security Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, speaks to the Aero Club about "Aviation Security & The Summer Travel Season and Beyond," Washington, D.C. —12:30 pm: On-camera briefing by Secretary McClellan —12:30 pm: Senate Democratic Caucus meets for party luncheon —12:30 pm: Senate Republican Caucus meets for party luncheon —12:30 pm: FBI Director Robert Mueller addresses the Council on Foreign Relations on the topic "Tomorrow's FBI: A Vision for Meeting Future Challenges," Washington, D.C. —12:30 pm: Former President Clinton attends book signing at Rockefeller Center's Barnes & Noble, New York, N.Y. —1:00 pm: Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) delivers a keynote address at the "2004 Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference," Washington, D.C. —1:20 pm: President Bush meets with the Prime Minister of Hungary at the White House —2:00 pm: Democrat National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe holds a teleconference on "Congressional oversight of Halliburton," Washington, D.C. —2:00 pm: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a business meeting to consider and vote on ambassadorships —2:30 pm: First Lady Laura Bush hosts an online chat to discuss her involvement in the campaign and why she believes President Bush is the right leader to move our nation forward at http://www.GeorgeWBush.com/Chat —2:30 pm: Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) hold an event to satisfy a bet made between to who would win the National Basketball Association championship, Washington, D.C. —2:30 pm: The Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security Subcommittee holds a hearing on "Tools To Fight Terrorism: Subpoena Authority and Pretrial Detention of Terrorists" —2:45 pm: The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee holds a hearing on several bills including S.50, the Veterans Health Care Funding Guarantee Act —4:00 pm: President Bush makes remarks at the White House Black Music Month Reception —5:00 pm: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus meet with presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Washington, D.C. —6:00 pm: Republican National Convention CEO Bill Harris delivers brief remarks at the New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce reception, New York, N.Y. —6:30 pm: Former President Clinton attends book signing at the Hue-Man Bookstore, Harlem, N.Y. —7:00 pm: Polls close for the South Carolina state primary —8:00 pm: Chris Heinz encourages voters to get involved in the campaign and discuss John Kerry's plan for a stronger America at house meeting, Allentown, Pa. —10:00 pm: Polls close for Utah's state primary