The Note




Morning Show Wrap

Evening Newscasts Wrap


While the public commemoration of the life and death of President Reagan continues, politics and the economy perk along.

As the U.N.-ification of the Iraq operation continues and as the President prepares to give (maybe) one of the great speeches of his career at tomorrow's funeral, this morning, the Labor Department reports that initial unemployment claims rose to 352,000 last week, but numbers continue to indicate that the economy is improving. AP Notes that a year ago this week, the number was 424,000, and that the number of jobless claims this year continues to fall from an April high of 444,000.

The question is, will the numbers matter to President Bush's standing with voters? Signs point to "no," argues the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman this morning. Weisman points out the disconnect between improving economic numbers and the President's approval ratings -- particularly his handling of the economy. Ever the student of history, Weisman points out that Bush isn't the only President who's been through this, however. LINK

Add that to this morning's Los Angeles Times poll, which shows Sen. John Kerry above 50 percent nationwide in a head-to-head matchup and President Bush with a 56 percent wrong-track number, even though his base is holding strong. Keep an eye on the independent and congressional numbers, though. LINK

Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd caveats to ABC News: "A note of caution: be very careful in reporting Los Angeles Times poll. It is a mess. Bush is leading independents by three, ahead among Republicans by a larger margin than Kerry is ahead among Dems, and we are down by seven. Outrageous. And it gets worse. They have Dems leading generic congressional ballot by 19. this means this poll is too Democratic by 10 to 12 points."

Over to you, Mr. Brownstein. Let's get all those methodological numbers on stat.

President Reagan's remains lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda until Friday morning for the public to pay respects.

President Bush attends his final news conference of the G-8 summit before heading back to Washington, D.C. Upon arrival, President and First Lady Laura Bush motorcade to the Capitol to pay their respects to Reagan's remains in the Rotunda. President and Mrs. Bush then go to the Blair House to visit with Nancy Reagan.

Sen. Kerry is in Washington, D.C. with no public events. He meets with reporters and editors of the Washington Post this evening.

Ralph Nader speaks at the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee National Convention at the Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.

Congress is not in session until Monday out of respect for President Reagan.

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) celebrates his 51st birthday today.

President Reagan's political legacy:

Carl Hulse of the New York Times looks at Ronald Reagan's reshaping of the Democratic Party and writes of the D.C.-type focus on the political center as a part of his legacy. LINK

Joan Biskupic of USA Today looks at Reagan's legacy from a judicial standpoint: "Fifteen years after he left Washington, Reagan's legacy is particularly evident on the nine-member Supreme Court, where his four appointees have reined in the reach of civil-rights laws and have stripped power from the federal government, in favor of the states. They have allowed more public funding of religious activities and generally have tried to get judges out of the business of solving society's problems." LINK

The New York Times looks at Reagan's economic legacy -- large tax cuts and deficits. LINK

In order to get through the huge number of legislative proposals honoring President Reagan, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist created a task force that will go through and vet them all before any bill is created, reports Roll Call.

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller looks at the return of Reagan Administration staffers who have reassembled in makeshift offices at the Mayflower Hotel for one final task, the planning of their former boss' funeral. LINK

For those unable to watch it on television, Todd Purdum of the New York Times dramatically recounts yesterday's ceremonies. LINK

As does the Washington Post's David Von Drehle. LINK

Michael Tackett and birthday boy Jeff Zeleny of the Chicago Tribune wrap the Capitol evacuation in their scene story. LINK

The G-8 summit:

The Washington Post's Glen Kessler and Dana Milbank report that some leaders at the G-8 summit -- namely French President Jacques Chirac -- rejected the Notion that NATO should take on a larger role in Iraq. The duo point to the "tensions simmering beneath the surface of the summit," Noting that while President Bush's goal was to capitalize on the U.N. Security Council vote, support for the U.S. plan is shaky, and other summit participants balked at the idea of debt forgiveness for Iraq. LINK

In his G-8 Journal, the Washington Post's Dana Millbank Notes in addition to the initiatives that the G-8 leaders produce at the Summit, "surely none of these initiatives is as innovative as the G-8's bold new action plan to stop rumormongering."LINK

The New York Times' Sanger and Stevenson are getting a taste of "America's High Life" on Sea Island, Ga. LINK

Protestors at the G-8 are not only outnumbered by the police, they're outnumbered by the world leaders and their aides. LINK

The politics of Iraq:

Imagine how much play a photo op with President Bush and the incoming Iraqi president would have gotten were it not for the wall-to-wall Reagan coverage. LINK

"An emotional President Bush met Wednesday for the first time with the newly designated interim president of Iraq, Sheik Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar, telling him, 'I never thought I'd be sitting next to an Iraqi president of a free country a year and a half ago.'"

Tom Friedman writes of some recent good political news coming out of Iraq and urges the Bush Administration "to throw all its resources into getting Iraqi soldiers trained and able to take on their own opposition." LINK

The Los Angeles Times looks at the tough moment in which neocons are currently finding themselves. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:

This Ron Brownstein write up of the latest Los Angeles Times poll numbers should suffice as your crack for the week.

Kerry hits above 50 percent in a nationwide two-man horserace and the highest wrong track number recorded in the 43 history of the poll. However, the President still does exceedingly well with his base and gets high marks for his handling of the war on terrorism. Voters still don't know Kerry all that well, but they do think he is far more likely to flip-flop then the President. LINK

And don't miss the Ohio, Wisconsin, and Missouri numbers, lovingly detailed in their own sidebar. LINK

Deb Orin of the New York Post looks for similarities between the election of 1980 and that of 2004, but seems to come up a bit short of finding any. LINK

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

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman writes that even with the economy growing, jobs being created and wages rising, voters still say President Bush is doing a poor job of handling the economy. The disconnect doesn't lie merely with the kind or quality of jobs or whether they come with benefits. It's also foreign policy, and a sense that while wars are often good for the economy, an anxiety pervades about national security, and a feeling among some many voters (according to polls) that the country is headed in the wrong direction. And while Americans hear good news about new jobs, they're also seeing higher prices for gas and other goods. LINK

"Bush's negative ratings are rising not just on the economy but also on energy policy, foreign affairs and his handling of the prescription drug issue. Voters fixated on Iraq so far are not willing to see the improving economy through a positive prism, according to pollsters and Bush campaign aides."

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt reports that President Bush's surprising news conference last week was a sign Bush "finally has good things to talk about as the crucial summer of his re-election campaign arrives. And he seems to realize it."

The Wall Street Journal's David Wessell looks at President Bush's options if he decides take on Social Security if he is reelected. And it's your free Wall Street Journal link of the day. LINK

Attention television producers: Put the gas pump footage to the side for the moment and stock up on some home telephone b-roll.

The New York Times reports, "In a move that critics say could lead to higher telephone rates, the Bush administration on Wednesday sided with the four regional Bell companies in a court case over the fees they charge their rivals for access to their networks." LINK

File this under "Not exactly how the RNC would have advertised it" -- Sport Illustrated's "This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse," Notes "Don King has joined the George W. Bush campaign."


Judy Keen shows the light at the end of the dark tunnel that is this week of mourning: former President Bush's huge birthday bash and jump from an airplane. She quotes him on his jump: "'It's a little bit of an ego trip, I guess . . . but you can't help but to be focusing a little on me." LINK

USA Today sidebar with excerpts from the George H.W. Bush interview -- on everything from criticism of his son to what he's reading: LINK

Take Note on 43rd Street, Mr. Sulzberger: On Larry King last night and in USA Today today, Barbara and George H.W. Bush made their shared disdain for the New York Times VERY apparent.

The economy:

"After a three-year drought, U.S. corporations are seeing profits boom," writes the New York Post's O'Brien. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Tom Herman points out that states' increasing tax revenues could mark the turning point in recent slowdowns or cuts of major government programs such as education and health care. It could even have an impact on college tuitions, which would be huge.

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

Bob Novak looks back at Sen. Kerry's 1994 argument for cutting the intelligence budget and questioning the use of some "human assets" to gain intelligence, calling Kerry's argument typically liberal and one he's now attempting to rationalize and defend, rather than admit a mistake. Not admitting mistakes . . . have we heard that somewhere before? LINK

Last night, Sen. Kerry attended his daughter's graduation at the American Film Institute in Hollywood, and the ensuing attempts for the press pool to get near any part of the ceremony or the dinner took on a distinctly cinematic quality -- at least like some disaster-fraught cross-country adversary/buddy movie.

However, a spy on the inside tells us that at the ceremony at least, Kerry played the role of proud dad, along with the parents of the more than 200 graduates. "He seemed pretty up on lines from classic movies, such as, 'sometimes you got to say what the . . . ' from 'Risky Business,' or 'What we have here is a failure to communicate,' from 'Cool Hand Luke.' But the most emotional moment came when his daughter received an award for her work in directing on her thesis film. Afterward, he posed with the graduates for photos and made himself accessible to all the attendees."

The politics of national security:

In a report released several months ago, the Bush Administration gave itself high marks on counterterrorism. However, reports the Washington Post's R. Jeffrey Smith, the report was later criticized by academics and lawmakers who said "its math defied the reality of a steady growth in the number and significance of terrorist attacks in 2003 . . ." LINK

As it prepares to release a report highly critical of the CIA for overestimating the prewar Iraq threat, the Senate Intelligence Committee is beginning a new probe -- this time into why U.S. spy agencies failed to foresee the strength of the postwar insurgency there, reports USA Today's John Diamond. LINK

Prison abuse scandal:

Gen. Abizaid has requested a higher ranking official to take over the lead investigative role into possible prisoner abuse so that high-ranking officers can be properly interrogated if need be, says the New York Times. LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Slevin and Joe Stephens report that military interrogators at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay "have been given access to the medical records of individual prisoners, a breach of patient confidentiality that ethicists describe as a violation of international medical standards designed to protect captives from inhumane treatment." Slevin Notes that the files have been opened over objections by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which complained that they're being use to help interrogators develop plans to get information from prisoners. LINK

Dana Priest and Bradley Graham of the Washington Post look at some of the 24 still-classified methods of interrogation approved for use at Guantanamo. LINK


The Ralph Nader campaign achieved a major milestone yesterday when it submitted 21,185 petition signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office close to the deadline, thus qualifying for the presidential election ballot.

Far exceeding the 14,694 signatures required to qualify for the ballot -- election officials tell the Arizona Republic there should be enough to make up for any found invalid. Democrats are expected to carefully sift through the petitions in the next 10 days. LINK

Reminder: Nader has also exceeded the signature requirement to make the Texas ballot. A lawsuit contesting his ballot access will be heard on July 22, since they were handed in past the deadline. Nader is also backed by the Reform Party, which puts him on the ballot in seven states including Colorado and Florida.

As The Hill reports, Nader may make the ballot though the Green Party as well. "Nader is not actively seeking the Green Party nomination, but he would like access to its 23 ballot lines. That would make it easier for Nader to get on the ballot in key states such as Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii and New Mexico, which Democrat Al Gore won by fewer than 400 votes." LINK

Yet, in the neighboring swing state of Nevada, there's a major setback. The AP reports Nader campaigners found out this week they'll have to start over with their effort to place Nader's name the ballot before the July 9 deadline.

Though a reported 4,800 signatures had been collected -- roughly 5,000 shy of the minimum needed -- the secretary of state's office says state law requires petitions to put a third-parties must name both the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese says it is uncertain when Nader will name his number two. LINK

The independent candidate insists he's drawing GOP voters away from George W. Bush yet "admits no Republicans have asked him to leave the race or expressed fear he will siphon votes from Bush," in Peter Dizike's oeuvre in Salon. LINK

Look for Nader to tout those results from the Los Angeles Times poll that suggest he just maybe might could perhaps be right.

Norman Soloman poses questions about a candidate who might be trying to have the best of all worlds and Notes a national Green party spokeswoman says Nader's approach is potentially very damaging to the her party. LINK

The Green Party's convention is later this month in Milwaukee, Wis. For more about their nomination process see LINK

Morning show wrap:


Stem cell politics:

The Washington Post's Rick Weiss writes that despite the recent outpouring of support for stem cell research in the wake of Reagan's death, stem cell experts confess that "of all the diseases that may some day be cured by embryonic stem cell treatments, Alzheimer's is among the least likely to benefit." Weiss Notes, however, that scientists pushing to pursue this research aren't aggressively correcting the myth. LINK

The politics of faith:

The Washington Post's Alan Cooperman looks at the conference of religious liberals sponsored Wednesday by John Podesta's Center for American Progress, where 350 attendees discussed the need for "progressive religious voices" in public debate. And blamed the media for not giving them as much ink as religious conservatives. LINK

Cooperman also reports that "a proposed change in tax laws that was intended to give religious leaders more freedom to engage in partisan politics appeared to be losing support in Congress yesterday." LINK


The Boston Globe's Glen Johnson profiles the not-so-clandestine get-John-Edwards-the-vice-president-spot operation. LINK

Happy birthday, Sen. Edwards.

The conventions:

While the rest of the political world is being nice out of respect for President Reagan, things are still heating up in Boston over construction of the FleetCenter and unhappy union workers. The Boston Globe's Klein reports that Mayor Thomas Menino's lawyers are filing a federal court challenge against the protestors who have been outside the FleetCenter for two days forcing construction delays. LINK

"Accusing the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association of violating an agreement reached last week in federal court, city lawyers will return to court this morning to ask US District Court Judge Joseph Tauro to order pickets to allow individuals and vehicles through, under penalty of arrest."

The Los Angeles Times on day two of picketing and construction disruptions at the FleetCenter. LINK

The Boston Globe's Abraham and Healy look at the pressure facing Mayor Menino from all sides: "His allies in the labor movement are not at his side, national Democrats are growing frustrated with him, and even some delegates are threatening to stay away from the Democratic National Convention." LINK

The Boston Herald looks asks whether the city of Boston will call the police union's bluff and make deals with other unions. LINK

The Boston Herald also reports that other unions are feeling torn. LINK

And of course, as the Boston Globe reports, this delay could end up costing the Democrats a lot of money. LINK

A new Quinnipiac poll out today shows a plurality of New Yorkers think the convention will be good for Gotham. Forty-three percent of New Yorkers polled gave the convention a thumbs up while 21 percent do not think hosting the GOP quadrennial gala is good for New York. Thirty percent of those surveyed say it makes no difference.

The New York tabloids are eagerly waiting (okay, so are we) to see the next set of "how's the convention playing with the people" poll numbers from Boston.

Some Republicans say they hope to see "sharp-tongued" Democrat Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia at the GOP's national political convention this summer. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

New battleground state polls have mixed news for Bush and Kerry. Critical Insights shows Kerry with a 10 point lead in Maine LINK and Zogby has Kerry up by 3.5 points in Nevada. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Brownstein goes inside his paper's poll numbers for Ohio, Wisconsin, and Missouri and finds the President is performing better in these crucial states than he is nationally. LINK

"The barrage has helped produce dynamics in the three states distinct in many respects from the national trends -- though potentially telling similarities remain."

"In all three states, the bottom line is the same: Bush is in better shape politically than he is nationwide."

The AP reports a very tight race in Michigan, "with independent Ralph Nader in the race, Kerry was supported by 45 percent, Bush by 43 percent, with 3 percent going to Nader and 9 percent undecided." LINK

There has been much discussion of how Ohio's recent job losses will influence President Bush's fate in the state come November, but economist George Zeller offers a unique perspective on the issue in the Columbus Dispatch. "We went into the recession earlier than the rest of the country, and we're still losing jobs more than the rest of the country. The economic growth of Ohio has been sub-par -- and not just during the recession, but during the last eight years continuously," he said.

An editorial in the Charleston Gazette warns West Virginians not to be "duped" by issues that don't affect them, lamenting that in return for their strong Bush support, they "got record unemployment, cuts to services for veterans, the elderly, kids and lower-income people, tax giveaways to the wealthiest, and an unnecessary war that is eating up the lives of many of the state's young men and women." LINK

The Sun-Sentinel reports of Florida GOPers hurriedly incorporating Reagan's death into political messages and fundraising tactics. LINK

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wants to implement early voting in the city to avoid the voting problems and "national embarrassment" that plagued the city during the last presidential election. LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Gov. Jeb Bush's backing of Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt's campaign to unseat Gov. Bob Holden. LINK

The Democratic candidate in the Washington state governor's race is claiming that the Bush White House is promising to give a whopping $9 million to her opponent's campaign. Opponent Dino Rossi calls the figure "outrageous" and a fabrication. LINK

Speaking of things in doubt in the Pacific Northwest, the Bush Administration is not confirming rumors that the President will make his first visit of the year to Washington state next week to stump for Senate candidate George Nethercutt. LINK

Environmental politics:

"A research firm that the Bush administration commissioned to analyze its plan to lower emissions from coal-fired power plants compared the plan with two competing legislative proposals and concluded in a report released Wednesday that the administration's plan was the weakest," reports the New York Times. LINK

Judicial politics:

"In all honesty, I'm busting my can to get everyone I can through," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) responds to conservative critics who want more nominee output his Senate Judiciary Committee. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

Abby Goodnough reports in the New York Times that some Florida county elections supervisors still have questions about how to handle purging their rolls of felons who by state law should be disenfranchised. LINK


Republicans may have lost a key theme in their Congressional battles against Democrats, reports Brian DeBose in the Washington Times. "Republicans' plans to blame Democrats for obstructing the president's agenda to gain ground in upcoming congressional races have backfired, some experts say, and instead, Republicans have slowly been losing the issues they had once hoped to highlight." LINK

Roll Call reports that House and Senate leaders are planning to "ratchet up their floor schedules for the next two weeks in an effort to regain legislative momentum lost during this week's memorials for the late President Ronald Reagan."

The AP interviews Cindy McCain. LINK

"The physician nominated nearly a year ago to the nation's top-ranking health policy post has yet to receive a Senate hearing -- and may not be considered for confirmation -- amid questions about whether she fabricated or inflated portions of her résumé," reports the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —8:30 am: The Labor Department releases the weekly jobless claims report, and Import and Export Prices for May —8:30 am: The American Enterprise Institute holds a briefing on the November presidential election, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: Sen. Bill Nelson pays his respects to Ronald Reagan with a Florida resident whose liver need for a liver transplant was publicized by Reagan in 1985, the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —10:30 am: Democratic pollster Mark Penn announces the findings of a New Democrat Network poll of voters' concerns in battleground states, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: A church service is held at the President Ronald Reagan family's church, Dixon, Ill. —11:55 am: President Bush participates in an African leaders and G-8 leaders class photo, Sea Island, Ga. —12:00 pm: Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh —12:30 pm: Honor Guards march from the Reagan family church to Reagan's boyhood home, Dixon, Ill. —2:15 pm: Rep. John Peterson discusses "the economic challenges facing rural America" during a panel discussion at the Economic Development Administration's national conference, Washington, D.C. —3:00 pm: Iraq's new president, Ghanzi al Yawar, holds a press briefing at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. —3:00 pm: The Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for May —4:00 pm: President Bush participates in a final Summit news conference at the International Media Center, Savannah, Ga. —4:30 pm: The Federal Reserve releases weekly reports on aggregate reserves and the monetary base, factors affecting bank reserves and money supply —5:00 pm: Secretary Powell meets with Yashwant Sinha, the minister of external affairs for India, Washington, D.C. —5:20 pm: President Bush and Mrs. Bush depart Hunter Air Army Airfield en route to Washington —6:30 pm: President Bush and Mrs. Bush arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. —6:30 pm: Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue speaks at a program hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C. —7:00 pm: President Bush and Mrs. Bush pay their respects to Ronald Reagan at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —7:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry has dinner with reporters and editors from the Washington Post, Washington, D.C. —9:00 pm: Ralph Nader speaks at the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee National Convention at the Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va.