The Note




Morning Show Wrap

Evening Newscasts Wrap


Ten political questions to which you should want the answers:

1. What will the first post-Reagan ABC News/Washington Post numbers say tonight at 6:30 pm ET on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings?

2. Will the Bill Clinton and Michael Moore PR machines dovetail or clash?

3. Will any swing voters enter their polling places in November with the words "Halliburton," "Guantanamo," "Wilson," or "Dukakis" on their minds?

4. Will John Kerry choose from the Edwards/Gephardt/Vilsack list, or someone NOT from that list?

5. Which article more caught Karl Rove's eye: the USA Today story on how Clinton could impact the race for Arkansas electoral votes, or the Washington Post story about the mobilization of union foot soldiers in Pennsylvania?

6. Are the people in charge of compliance for the fundraising of Kerry campaign and the DNC re-looking at their procedures this Monday morning?

7. How much obsessing will NSC spokesguy (and People magazine "hot" bachelor) Jim Wilkinson do about the kicker quote in Al Kamen's column? ("'The guy is a PR genius. The fact that he could convince anyone that he is remotely hot is an impressive achievement,' said one Bush adviser.")

8. Just exactly when, FPPO, is that 9/11 report coming out, and, as Bill Safire points out, whatup with the commissioners acting like their staff is footloose and fancy free?

9. What does Jim Dyke think of the pure comedy of John Kerry going from Nantucket to Aspen?

10. Which gold medal-bound Olympic athletes are from swing states and who do they support for president?

Today, President Bush travels to Cincinnati for a 4:00 pm ET conversation on compassion and marriage in poor communities and a 6:10 pm ET fundraiser.

Sen. Kerry launches a week focusing on the economy and scientific research with a 5:00 pm ET Denver speech sandwiched between Aspen and Denver fundraisers.

Earlier, Vice President Cheney speaks about the economy in Henderson, Nev., at noon ET and then travels to Springfield, Mo., for a 5:50 pm ET campaign rally.

Ralph Nader announces his running mate at 1:00 pm ET at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Along with Matthew Dowd and Susan Pinkus, we eagerly anticipate the release today of the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll on Iraq and politics.

This afternoon the Senate debates the defense budget bill -- the final vote is expected tomorrow.

We'll watch and wait to see if John Rowland is Connecticut's governor by day's end. LINK

The rest of this week . . .

On Tuesday former President Bill Clinton's book, "My Life," is released, and he appears on "Oprah" and signs books in New York. President Bush is at the White House and Sen. Kerry is in Albuquerque and San Francisco. Prison guard Lynndie England has an Article 32 hearing in Fort Bragg, N.C. for allegedly abusing Iraqi detainees. Teresa Heinz Kerry campaigns in Miami, and Laura Bush holds an online chat.

On Wednesday President Bush speaks about compassion and AIDS in Philadelphia and awards the Medals of Freedom at the White House. Among the recipients: journalist Robert Bartley, actress Doris Day, church leader Gordon Hinckley, make-up magnate Estée Lauder, and golfer Arnold Palmer. Pope John Paul II also received his medal in a previous ceremony. Sen. Kerry addresses the SEUI convention and holds a fundraiser in San Francisco, and Teresa Heinz Kerry campaigns in Orlando and New Orleans. In Washington, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and from New York, former President Clinton appears on "Good Morning America" and "Today Show." The Green Party's national convention begins in Milwaukee, Wis., and lasts until Monday, June 28. The Greens will nominate their presidential candidate on Saturday night. And in Washington on Wednesday, the liberal and press elite get a screening of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

On Thursday President Bush is down, Sen. Kerry speaks at the AFSCME convention in Anaheim and attends a fundraiser in Los Angeles, and prison guard Sabrina Harman has her Article 32 hearing in Baghdad for allegedly abusing Iraqi detainees.

On Friday President Bush travels to Ireland for the US-EU summit, Sen. Kerry is in Ohio and attends a fundraiser in New York, "Fahrenheit 9/11" opens nationally, and Sen. Edwards and Gov. Vilsack speak at the Iowa state convention Friday night and Saturday morning.

"My Life":

The Washington Post's John Harris looks at the two-books-in-one approach of "My Life," and Notes that Clinton's almost obsessive look at the demons and triumphs of his personal life may not exactly be the stuff of history. LINK

"The memoir and promotional campaign have revived an issue that Clinton and his aides often confronted while he was president: How much should Clinton give vent to his personal grievances and feed the insatiable public curiosity about his private life? As president, Clinton usually -- though not always -- decided that doing so was against his political interest. As author, he and his publisher have decided that their interests lie in revelations about adultery, marital crisis and coping with the adult consequences of childhood dysfunction."

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz Notes that Clinton "is in no danger of getting the Ronald Reagan treatment." LINK

Particularly from book critics. On Sunday, Michiko Kakutani said of "My Life": "The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull -- the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history." LINK

Time magazine's Joe Klein and Michael Duffy talk to former President Clinton about "My Life": the lessons he learned, the accomplishments of his presidency, his feelings about Ken Starr, plans for his funeral, his "60 Minutes" interview, and succeeding in politics. Clinton: "I think the great trick to a successful run in politics is to have both what you've called the wussy-mommy qualities and the macho-tough qualities. If you're only one or the other, you're going to get into trouble." LINK

USA Today's Kathy Kiely looks at how the Clinton book blitz can help Sen. John Kerry's presidential run - in former Gov. Clinton's home state of Arkansas, a battleground state this year. "Many political observers here think the only way Kerry can beat Bush in Arkansas is to recruit Clinton as his surrogate-in-chief." LINK

The New York Times' Kirkpatrick comes to no conclusions about the book's impact on campaign 2004, but explores how Clinton detractors are prepared to remind readers, listeners, and viewers what they didn't like about Bill Clinton. LINK

This graf doesn't seem to have made it into the print edition but does appear in the online version of the story:

"A spokesman for Mr. Clinton's publisher, Knopf, declined to comment. The spokesman, Paul Bogaards, has acknowledged in the past that he and Mr. Clinton's advisers convened for daily conference calls to plan the promotional campaign to defend against potential attacks by his enemies as well as to try to reach his fans. But Mr. Bogaards declined to discuss specifics."

The Boston Globe's Stockman acknowledges that whatever anyone thinks about the former President's memoir, "the interviews and excerpts from the book also offer a psychological profile of a complicated man who has had years to reflect on the mistakes and successes of his presidency." LINK

The Boston Herald ed board Notes that the Clinton publicity blitz is "just the antidote liberals need to the weeklong remembrances that honored conservative icon Ronald Reagan." LINK

USA Today prints a mini cheat sheet to presidential memoirs: LINK

The New York Daily News plays up Clinton's comments regarding Chelsea in its recap of the "60 Minutes" interview. LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's John Harris previewed President Clinton's book and "60 Minutes" interview, focusing on Clinton's somewhat confusing views on the war in Iraq, siding with President Bush for confronting the dangers there while questioning his motivations and timing. LINK

The New York Post's Clinton coverage today includes a look at Clinton's would-be career as a doorman at the Plaza Hotel, LINK his missing the signs of his brother's cocaine addiction, and a preview to an allegedly heated moment in an upcoming BBC interview LINK.

Iowa politicos chime in on what they hope to read. LINK

In more important Clinton news, plans for his Little Rock Presidential Park have been unveiled, including "statues of Harriet Tubman, a fisherman, and an eagle soaring from under a rock" according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt notes the favorable job numbers in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Watch for economic gains to be a theme in Bush-Cheney '04 campaign ads in six battleground states where President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Sen. Kerry are traveling this week, reports The AP's Nedra Pickler.

Howard Dean may be known for savvy use of the Internet, but the first family is not far behind: First Lady Laura Bush is popping up on more than 50 Web sites in a short video on education. LINK

The USA Today op ed page -- determined to maintain its reputation for silliness -- runs a piece by James Gannon, who covered Dick Cheney for the Wall Street Journal when Cheney was President Ford's chief of staff, offers a letter to Vice President Cheney asking him to step down, writing, "You must ask yourself now if your continued presence by his side will offer strength or weakness to the Republican ticket in November, and what it will mean for GOP prospects in the future." LINK

Elisabeth Bumiller's White House Letter in the New York Times will be equally derided by 41 and 43 as she attempts to put President Bush on the couch and explore his attachment to Saddam Hussein's pistol. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

The AP's Nedra Pickler previews Sen. Kerry's visit to Colorado today. "The Massachusetts senator also hopes to have special appeal because he was born at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital near Denver and can relate with his military background to the many veterans who live there." LINK

Pickler, with just a touch of irony, also writes about Kerry's vacation. The headline: "Campaigning for the poor paused to vacation with rich." LINK

Jodi Wilgoren's weekend travelogue of Sen. Kerry's Nantucket (non)adventure almost makes you feel like you were there too. LINK

Here are our favorite back-to-back sentences.

"Several members of Mr. Kerry's traveling staff flew their wives or girlfriends in to join them at a downtown inn."

"But with the wind coming from the north and then luffing, Mr. Kerry could not get airborne."

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Finnegan gets a scooplet: a relaxing, vacationing Kerry got a flat on his bike . . . and fixed it himself. LINK

The Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves wraps the AFL-CIO's mobilization effort to tout Sen. Kerry's message door to door. LINK

Accused of accepting a questionable $2,000 check "from the recently arrested son of South Korea's disgraced former president," who apparently wanted to involve himself in American politics, Sen. Kerry's presidential campaign is reportedly returning the funds "after learning the donor was charged with tax evasion," according to The AP's Solomon and Theimer. LINK

We wonder if the AP scribes were handed this one . . . and by whom.

The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold chews over Sen. Kerry's deliberational style, which very much favors chewing over ideas and lots of late-night phone calls to advisers (and thrice weekly chats with Sen. Kennedy). LINK

"Those close to the senator say his decision-making is one of his greatest strengths, demonstrating thoughtfulness, intellectual prowess and an ability to broker dissent. But because of his thoroughness, Kerry can also come across as overly cautious, some acknowledge."

Rush & Molloy report that only James Taylor and Bette Midler were unable to rearrange their schedules for the rescheduled Kerry/DNC fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall now set to take place on July 8. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:

The Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein is wary of interlocuters who use Sept. 11 to justify permitting civil rights intrusions and harsh interrogations and wonders if Sen. Kerry's approach to homeland security will be seen by voters as a better alternative. LINK

"What if, Kerry seems to be arguing, Bush's answers to the toughest 'what if' questions have actually made America less secure? It's too early to say how America will answer that question, but already a safe bet that nothing else will shape the result in November more."

The AP's Sharon Theimer reports that "Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry outspent President Bush by about $10 million in May and started this month with less than half as much campaign cash left as his GOP rival." LINK

On Saturday, Glen Justice of the New York Times wrote about the cutbacks in spending by the Bush campaign in May -- just $22 million, compared to the $50 million spent in March and the $31 million in April. LINK

He also throws in a quote from Gina Glantz on Kerry's fundraising success story: "'The first burst had to be about people not liking Bush, because people didn't know Kerry,' said Gina Glantz, a Democratic strategist who managed Bill Bradley's presidential campaign in 2000. 'But for the sustained fund-raising, you have to give Kerry credit.'"

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

Stemming from the Media Fund's radio ad in Ohio today for the President's visit, the Associated Press reports, "Interest groups are taking a more precise approach to political advertising than in the past, as they count on local media outlets to help spread their message to voters already inundated by campaign commercials." LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Rob Hotakainen reports, "With polls showing most Ohio voters opposed to same-sex unions, many Democrats fear a high-profile fight over gay marriage will do nothing but damage Kerry's chances in a hotly contested swing state." LINK

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Mark Naymik writes of special interest groups that come from a "relatively new but well-organized web of groups with deep pockets and, they say, 20 million members, mobilizing liberals and like-minded voters to -- they hope -- oust Bush." LINK

The Denver Post's John Aloysius Farrell writes, "Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada have landed on the list of crucial battleground states for the 2004 election. If lumped together, their 29 electoral votes rival such traditional prizes as Ohio (20) and Florida (27)." LINK

More from Farrell: "The West's rapid population growth, and the demographic changes brought on by migration from California and other states along with immigration from Mexico, has opened the region's booming southern flank to furious competition between the two major parties."

David Ammons of the AP wonders whether Bush's trip to Olympia, Wash., will actually help his battle in the Democratic-leaning state, for his trip "didn't show him shopping for the elusive swing voter," but rather "Bush was preaching to the choir," speaking to Republican-heavy crowds. LINK

The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen recounts how "hundreds of people" in Iowa may be disfranchised by the counting method, an issue in what could be a very close election. LINK

On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune's James Rosen offered what the paper called the "first story in an occasional series on key national issues from one of the swing states in the presidential election." This one focused on Michigan, of which Rosen wrote, "The displeasure that some Michigan Republicans are expressing over U.S. involvement in Iraq has GOP strategists in the state on edge. Michigan is a battleground state that hasn't gone for a Republican presidential candidate since it backed Bush's father in 1988." LINK

The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Tom Webb reports that Minnesota's Sen. Norm Coleman "has embraced an unusual niche in this year's presidential race. It is focused, in part, on encouraging Jewish voters to switch tickets and vote for President Bush." LINK

The Arizona Republic reports that "A massive voter registration drive is under way throughout the Valley and some strategic corners of Arizona aimed at reaching more than 200,000 Latinos and other minority groups before the Nov. 2 election. To accomplish that goal, two nonpartisan groups plan to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire workers to register new voters in Arizona." LINK

On Sunday, the Arizona Republic's Jon Kamman wrote about the paper's new poll of 600 likely Arizona voters that showed, "Arizona voters, narrowly split between candidates, see President Bush as more capable of handling war and combating terrorism but Sen. John Kerry as the better choice for dealing with most domestic issues." LINK

The AP's Peter Jackson compares the two presidential campaign managers for Pennsylvania, the Bush campaign's Guy Ciarrocchi and the Kerry campaign's Tony Podesta. LINK

The Kansas City Star's Steve Kraske reports, "Sounding like he was still running for president, Howard Dean ripped President Bush on Sunday for the Iraq war and for damaging America's worldwide reputation" as made a stop in Kansas City on Sunday for a fundraiser for Missouri senate candidate Nancy Farmer. LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jo Mannies also writes up Dean's Missouri visit, Noting that he is "trying to rebuild the Democratic Party -- one local contest at a time." LINK

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that democrats in Washoe County had better make sure Kerry makes it out to Nevada if they are to beat President Bush, whom spoke to a crowd of almost 10,000 people in Reno Friday and was "garnering unfettered media attention and rallying supporters." LINK

While Nevada Democrats criticized the President for refusing to address the Yucca Mountain issue during his Friday visit to Nevada, Republicans countered saying that the economy and the war on terrorism are more important to Nevada voters. LINK

Soon after Bush and the Clintons surprised the country with their chumminess during the portrait unveiling, Bush has mended fences again, this time with once biter rival, John McCain whom he has started campaigning with. A Seattle Times editorial examines this relationship. LINK

This summer, a university student and Bangor, Maine native will kick-off Bike the Vote, a bicycle trek across the state designed to raise awareness and recruit voters for the November elections. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

The Boston Globe's Brian Mooney takes an in-depth look at the huge debate about electronic voting. Does it work, or does it not? That is the question no one seems to agree on. LINK

"There is no chance the issue will be resolved before the Nov. 2 election, and some states are sticking with punch cards until 2006, when new electronic-voting standards that include some form of paper record are supposed to be in place. That will result in continued use of punch cards in precincts that are home to about 19 percent of registered voters this fall, Election Data Services projects, down from about 31 percent four years ago."


In Periscope, Newsweek's Howard Fineman goes out on a limb and packs a wallop in just a couple of paragraphs, reporting (a) that this week may bring "a round of private, close-to-final decision discussions with potential running mates" for Sen. Kerry, (b) that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has refused overtures to discuss it, (c) Sen. John Edwards has been told to keep his schedule open to be able to sit down with Kerry, and (d) the Independence Day holiday may not be all that relaxing, as a "strong faction is pushing for an early pick -- perhaps around July 4." LINK

The Hartford Courant's David Lightman writes about how Sen. Lieberman is so less present on the stump for Sen. Kerry than most of his other former nomination rivals, and Lightman that it's Lieberman's position on the war in Iraq that is "freezing him out" of a larger role in the campaign, contention as a running mate, and even more influence on the vice presidential search. LINK

The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont says chemistry between candidates could lead to the eventual veep choice, and that "Kerry and Vilsack have an easy relationship." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

Roll Call reports that majority leader Bill Frist has confirmed that he will still actively campaign against minority leader Tom Daschle, saying he would not desert Daschle's opponent Rep. John Thune.

The politics of the 9/11 commission:

The talk of possible Al Qaeda/Iraq ties got a lot of play on the Sunday morning circuit with many commissioners making the rounds. Here is the New York Times wrap-up: LINK

William Safire takes on the 9/11 commission staff today and urges the commissioners to reclaim its "nonpartisan credibility." LINK

The politics of Iraq:

The New York Times report the Bush Administration has been putting revenues from Iraqi oil to work in rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure prior to the handover of sovereignty. LINK

The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes a look at the frustrations of an American educator who goes to Iraq to help rebuild the country's educational system in the second of his three-part series on the reconstruction of Iraq. LINK

Chandrasekaran on Sunday took the first must-read look at what was expected to happen with the handover of sovereignty in Iraq, versus the reality of what is happening -- and the miscalculations that ensued. "Viewed from Baghdad since April 2003, the occupation has evolved from an optimistic partnership between Americans and Iraqis into a relationship riven by frustration and resentment," he wrote. LINK

The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl observes "though Bush's mismanagement of Iraq has put his democracy advocates on the defensive, there nevertheless now exists the beginning of a broad pro-reform coalition in and outside the region." LINK

The Washington Post's Will Haygood takes a really interesting (not to mention largely glowing) look at the career of the U.S.' new ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. LINK


Bob Novak looks at Speaker Dennis Hastert's efforts to lobby on behalf of United Airlines. LINK

The New York Times business section has a less breathless take on the same matter. LINK

Rep. Chris Bell was barred from distributing two letters to colleagues concerning his ethics charges against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay or from discussing the charges at a weekly whip meeting, according to Roll Call's Damon Chappie.

Big casino budget politics:

"In the wake of a long-running series of scandals and controversies involving charities and nonprofits, Congress's tax-writing committees are launching an effort this week to crack down on fraudulent activities and tighten laws governing tax exemptions for those groups," reports the Washington Post's Albert Crenshaw. LINK

From the outside:

Michael Crowley sits down with Harold Ickes and Jim Jordan in a look at the "shadow Democratic Party" -- i.e., the Media Fund, et al, for New York magazine, and explains how, despite the lack of formal coordination, Kerry's campaign would be in a far different place without the influence of the 527 groups. LINK

Judicial politics:

The Washington Post's Carl Leonnig reports an incident in the career of Thomas B. Griffith, President Bush's nominee for the federal appeals court in Washington, that might prove a snag in his confirmation process: he has been practicing law in Utah for the past four years without a state law license. LINK

"Most lawyers arriving in Utah are allowed to get reciprocal state licenses, but Griffith did not meet the Utah State Bar requirement that he be a lawyer in good standing in his previous state for three of the previous four years."

Reproductive politics:

The Bush Administration has the United Nations Population Fund in its sights for its perceived support of abortions in China and is looking to isolate it from working with other UN agencies, reports the New York Times' Marquis. LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

The Wall Street Journal's Avery Johnson writes that social conservatives hope the gay marriage will cause a rebirth of a moribund Christian Coalition and other evangelical political movements.

"At the coalition's headquarters in Washington, national field director Bill Thomson says he wants to broaden the organization's traditional base beyond issues affecting the family to tax cuts and the defense budget. But conservative ire over gay marriage is lending fresh energy. Some 30 new directors have been appointed to coalition chapters. The group is devoting attention to electoral battlegrounds with large numbers of evangelicals such as Missouri, Florida, Oregon, Iowa and Ohio. In the Buckeye State, director Chris Long plans a briefing for pastors this month and a statewide "citizenship Sunday" on July 4 to register voters."

Civil rights activists Saturday called for Democrats to take an explicit stand in their 2004 party platform against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and for "equal recognition of same-sex relationships." LINK

Ralph Nader:

Today, Ralph Nader announces his running mate at noon ET at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The Congressional Black Caucus will meet with Nader this Tuesday to tell him "in no uncertain terms" that they want him to withdraw his name from the presidential race, according to Roll Call's Erin Billings.

Laura Kurtzan of the San Jose Mercury News Notes the polls that do -- and do not -- exist on Nader popularity. And that "Better Than Bush" is the battle cry leading Nader supporters to Sen. Kerry. LINK

The Arizona Republic suggests Ralph Nader's popularity has dropped in the battleground state. LINK

This Friday the Nader campaign aims to get all 1,000 signatures it needs to make the Oregon ballot in one magical night. The campaign attempted a similar event in April but fell short of the attendance goal possibly due to a NCAA championships game and a discouraging message from Howard Dean. Dean tells the AP "this is not the year for a third party." Both Nader and Dean enjoy strong supporting Oregon. LINK

The Green Party holds its national convention in Milwaukee this week, where Nader may take the nomination though he is not directly politicking for it. His chief rival for Green backing is California attorney David Cobb who tells the Seattle Times if he wins he'll employ a safe-state strategy. "My primary goal is to grow and build the Green Party, but my secondary goal is to have George Bush out of the White House." LINK

Cobb defends the Green Party's standing to the Houston Chronicle: "If anyone thinks we are spoilers, it is because of a system that forces voters to vote against what they hate instead of voting for what they want." LINK

The conventions:

Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe tells the Boston Herald that all the hooplah about traffic problems, fundraising, and construction for the Boston convention will be resolved. LINK

The AP looks at businesses in downtown Boston making "emergency" plans involving transportation and food for during the Democratic National Convention. LINK

The AP Notes the presence bloggers will be at the national party conventions this summer -- guaranteed at the Democratic Convention, not at the Republican Convention. LINK

The Boston Herald breaks the news that those heading to Boston for the convention will not be able to enjoy the Museum of Science, and will have to get to the New England Aquarium early. But art buffs rest-assured, the Museum of Fine Art will be operating business as usual. LINK

New York magazine's Greg Sargent reports Boston is not the only city with possible labor problems come convention time. A dispute between CNN and NABET could prove troublesome for labor/convention relations. Sargent also reports on Kerry's involvement in the dispute. LINK

"Labor leaders asked him to boycott CNN shows, sources say, but Kerry refused, instead penning a private, sharply worded letter to CNN president Jim Walton: 'I find the dismissal of long-term workers and the ouster of their union to be disturbing, and I urge you to do the right thing by reconsidering your actions.'"

The New York Daily News picks up on Crain's report about beefed-up security at Manhattan hotels hosting conventioneers. LINK

Morning show wrap:

Weekend must-reads:

On Saturday, birthday boy Mike Allen of the Washington Post described the dynamic between President Bush and Sen. McCain at a campaign stop last week. LINK

Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times did as well, Noting, "At times, the two men appeared chummy. At others, there were signs of the distance between them rooted in their bitter fight for the GOP presidential nomination four years ago and political disagreements since then." LINK

So did the New York Times' Elizabeth Bumiller, who threw in this graf: "It was last week when Mr. McCain was spurning Senator John Kerry's repeated proposals to be his running mate, dashing hopes of Democrats who viewed a Kerry-McCain ticket as unstoppable. A CBS News poll recently found that a Kerry-McCain ticket had a 14 percentage point edge over Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney among registered voters, 53 percent to 39 percent, compared with most head-to-head polls that show Mr. Kerry alone tied or slightly ahead of Mr. Bush." LINK

On Sunday, Dana Milbank looked at the way the Bush White House is reacting to the preliminary findings of the 9/11 commission, and the potential affect the final report could have on this fall's presidential election. It might not harm Bush, Milbank reasons, but the onus is on Sen. John Kerry to cast doubt on the President's credibility and to separate the war on terror from the war in Iraq in voters' minds. LINK

On Sunday, the New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg looked at how the 90-day offensive by the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, including massive spending on television ads, once Sen. Kerry locked up the Democratic presidential nomination has affected Kerry's standing with voters. Answer: not much, though Bush has succeeded in raising doubts about the Senator. But polls continue to show the race basically even. LINK

"The state of play does not appear to be the result of any particular expertise by the Kerry campaign, or of mistakes by Mr. Bush. Rather, it reflects the extent to which both campaigns have been whipped by events beyond their control, and the challenges of trying to influence public opinion at a time of turmoil and voter polarization."

The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer on Sunday looked at the competition between the Bush and Kerry campaigns for New Hampshire's four electoral votes. LINK

Newsweek reports that former President Clinton advised Sen. Kerry not to delay accepting the Democratic nomination for president, and that Clinton "hopes to tune up the message of a senator who lacks Clinton's political perfect pitch." LINK

Perry Bacon of Time magazine writes about the importance of being optimistic, and the challenge for Sen. Kerry to be both serious about the problems of the country and his solutions to them without appearing pessimistic about its future. LINK

On Saturday, David Halbfinger of the New York Times tick-tocked the veepstakes process of the Gore campaign that so put Kerry off and informs the way he's conducting his own search. LINK

On Sunday, The AP's Ron Fournier wrote that the Kerry campaign has been largely successful in keeping mum on search for a VP candidate, and that beyond the few Notable candidates "little is known for sure," and that even then the nomination tends to go to a candidate who isn't widely reported. The decision, writes Fournier, could be "last minute." LINK

On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman examined how the Republican base around Pittsburgh, scarred by a tough Senate primary fight and frustrated over Iraq and economic issues, could affect voter turnout -- and President Bush -- on election day. LINK

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Robin Abcarian compared the "classic portrait of American privilege" that describes the lives of both President Bush and Sen. Kerry. For anyone who wants/needs a refresher on the backgrounds of the President and the Senator, this is a must read -- particularly Abcarian's pointing out the difference between "real wealth" (Bush) and being "comfortable" (Kerry). LINK

On Sunday, MoDo found the "Just because I could" attitude abundant in both former President Clinton, for whom that was the reason for an affair, and President Bush, who she said used it as a reason to go into Iraq. But Clinton's, she wrote, did not bring with it a body count. LINK

On Sunday, Yvonne Abraham of the Boston Globe talked to the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, and examined the effect his legacy could have on the Kerry campaign as Democrats try to sort out their conundrum with respect to him. LINK

The Boston Globe's Michael Levenson on Sunday wrote about the effort by Raymond Flynn, the former mayor of Boston and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, to mobilize Catholic voters for the Democratic National Convention and the fall election. Flynn is working in conjunction with Boston Archbishop O'Malley, who has pledged church support as Flynn visits parishes statewide in the next few weeks. LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's Alan Cooperman wrote that evangelical Christians are frustrated and puzzled that the popular uprising against gay marriage has not materialized. LINK

". . . a few skeptics on the Christian right, as well as many on the Christian left, are beginning to conclude that there is more fervor for a constitutional amendment in America's pulpits than in its pews. And politicians of both parties say the issue has had less grass-roots sizzle than they had expected."


The Wall Street Journal reports that health care premiums have risen more slowly this year than in years past, largely due to political pressure from states.

Fred Dicker of the New York Post looks at Rudy Giuliani's eyeing Albany's top job or a run for the White House and how this year's presidential election will impact that decision. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —9:45 am: Off-camera press gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —10:00 am: The American Enterprise Institute hosts a conference titled "Preventing Another Florida? Will the Changes Make Things Better?" on the 2000 Florida elections, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The Supreme Court convenes to hand down decisions and release orders —11:00 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell holds a news conference with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Mauritania at the State Department, Washington, D.C. —11:30 am: Sen. John Kerry attends a fundraiser, Aspen, Colo. —12:00 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks about the economy at the Convention Center, Henderson, Nev. —12:30 pm: The House of Representatives meets for morning business —1:00 pm: The Senate resumes debate of the Defense Authorization Act —1:00 pm: Secretary Powell meets with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed El Baradai at the State Department, Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: Ralph Nader announces his running mate at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. —2:00 pm: The House meets for legislative business —4:00 pm: President Bush participates in a conversation on compassion and on his plan to promote marriages in poor communities at the ADAS Center, Cincinnati, Ohio —5:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry speaks about the economy and scientific research at the Greek Theater, Denver, Colo. —5:30 pm: The Senate is expected to vote on amendments to the defense budget bill —5:50 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks a campaign rally at the Exposition Center, Springfield, Mo. —6:10 pm: President Bush attends an RNC fundraiser dinner, Cincinnati, Ohio —8:30 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a fundraiser, Denver, Colo. —9:15 pm: President Bush returns to the White House —12:00 am: Former President Clinton's memoir, "My Life," hits bookshelves across the country —12:10 am: Sen. Kerry arrives at the airport, Albuquerque, N.M.