The Note

On Saturday, the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei followed up on the tantalizing thought of a Kerry-McCain unity ticket, and how despite McCain saying he thinks a bipartisan ticket would weaken the presidency, and Kerry not formally offering the spot but asking the Arizona Senator to consider it, some Dems think that Kerry exploring the idea, even if it comes to naught, could only bee good for his candidacy. LINK

The New York Times' David Halbfinger followed up as well, Noting that McCain's "denials did not stop prominent members of Congress -- including Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, himself considered a potential Kerry running mate -- from suggesting that a Kerry-McCain ticket would be unstoppable in the fall." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold weighed in with her version on Saturday as well, writing about the fun that some McCain aides have had by needling the Bush campaign with the possibility that the unity ticket could happen. LINK

Fournier on Sunday wrote up the Associated Press poll showing that of the possible vice presidential candidates, 36 percent of registered voters prefer Sen. John Edwards -- but Notes that putting Edwards on the ticket does not necessarily help Kerry's chances of winning. A Kerry-Edwards ticket ties Bush-Cheney, which is where Kerry is currently. Forty-three percent of Democrats favored Edwards. Rep. Dick Gephardt was the preference of 19 percent of registered voters. LINK

The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren profiled Sen. John Kerry's campaign trail demeanor Sunday, describing him as restless, "[l]ike a caged hamster," and "a relentless polisher," who tinkers and toys with all his speeches. LINK

"Mr. Kerry is anything but simple and straightforward, a man of many sides and surprises, some seemingly contradictory."

Mickey Kaus offered this P.S. on Wilgoren's piece on Kerry: "If these are 'authentic insights,' I'll take the 'one dimensional portraits of Mr. Kerry as war hero or waffler proffered by the two sides' television advertisements' any day." Ouch. LINK

Saturday, Jim Rutenberg took a good hard look at the polling expertise of a certain Bush campaign strategist, Mr. Matt Dowd. "Still, analysts said, Mr. Dowd is exceptional. They described him as creating a new role for a presidential campaign as an expert polling director offering a more aggressive running commentary on the various public polls, one that often goes out not just to reporters, but also to Web sites and to six million supporters via e-mail." LINK

The New York Times' John Tierney wrote Sunday that the whole Blue state/Red state thing could be a farce and that some scholars "say that our basic differences have actually been shrinking over the past two decades, and that the polarized nation is largely a myth created by people inside the Beltway talking to each another or, more precisely, shouting at each other." LINK

On Sunday, the Boston Globe's Michael Kranish looked at the differing dynamics of the Bush presidencies -- how the success of George H.W. Bush enabled the political career of George W. Bush, and how not only the lessons the son took from the father's Administration, but also the policies of the two men, draw a bright line between their presidencies. LINK

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