TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET)
Like a laser beam: The Labor Department reported this morning that the economy added 248,000 jobs last month, a bit better than expected. Pre-report estimates had been for an increase of 200,000-225,000. May was the third consecutive month of solid jobs growth. March and April numbers were revised upward.
If you find a turtle on a fence post, it didn't get there by accident: Washington remains very, very Washington over the Tenet departure speculation game.
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow: The Bush-Cheney campaign is releasing a new 30-second ad today entitled "Pessimism," which focuses on the new jobs numbers. The spot moves into the campaign's cable television ad rotation on Monday along with the "Patriot Act" ad currently airing. The spot is also expected to take a shot at John Kerry's alleged pessimism.
"The public will never believe the innocence of the Clintons and their loyal staff": Bill Clinton gets boffo reviews but little TV coverage for his first show-a-little-leg book event.
President Bush meets with Pope John Paul II, the President and Prime Minister of Italy, and embassy personnel and U.S. Veterans in Rome before having dinner with Prime Minister Berlucsoni. It's nice to see Jim Nicholson in photo ops again.
On Saturday President Bush holds a joint press availability with Prime Minister Berlusconi at Villa Madoma. He then flies to Paris for a bilateral meeting, press availability and working dinner with French President Chirac at the Elysee Palace.
On Sunday, President Bush delivers remarks at the U.S. Cemetery at Colleville, holds a photo-op with all leaders at Caen town hall, and attends a ceremony at Arromanches. His exclusive interview with Tom Brokaw from Normandy airs Sunday evening on "Dateline NBC."
Sen. Kerry today holds a rally to launch "Veterans for Kerry" at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. He is down tomorrow in Boston. On Sunday he completes his 11-day focus on national security with a high school commencement address at Bedford Senior High School in Toledo, Ohio before flying to Denver.
On Sunday night C-SPAN airs an extended interview with Kerry -- going head-to-head with Brokaw's "Dateline" interview. No offense to Mr. Brokaw, but you aren't going to want to miss Susan Swain's grilling of the presumptive nominee -- she asks a lot of good questions.
On Monday Kerry flies to Los Angeles for campaign events and a fundraising concert featuring Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, and Willie Nelson.
Vice President Cheney today speaks at the Police Officers Association of Michigan's Annual Convention in Grand Rapids, Mich., appears on CNBC's Kudlow and Cramer, and speaks at a reception for Senatorial candidate Jack Ryan at the Hilton Hotel, Chicago, Ill.
RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie today delivers the keynote address at the West Virginia Republican State Convention at the Tamarack- the Best of West Virginia, Beckley, W. Va.
The Senate resumes consideration of the Department of Defense Authorization bill. No roll call votes will take place on Friday or Monday.
CIA Director George Tenet's resignation:
The Washington Post's Dana Priest and Walter Pincus tick-tock the resignation of CIA Director George Tenet, whom they describe as a "gregarious schmoozer" who had been "psychologically worn down" by the pace of the job and the criticism over intelligence failures preceding Sept. 11, 2001 and the presence of mass destruction in Iraq. LINK
The New York Times' Bumiller and Jehl report that Tenet's resignation comes as three highly critical reports on U.S. intelligence are about to be released and that the highly critical nature of those reports was "widely known in the White House." LINK
"Bush is unlikely to nominate a permanent successor before the November election, Republicans said, because a confirmation battle this summer would attract more attention to the agency's assessments of Saddam Hussein's weapons."
The Washington Post's Smith and Pincus examine George Tenet's record of both successes and failures. LINK
Bob Novak takes a look at the tough reports coming from the Senate Intelligence Committee and the 9/11 Commission, and writes that "despite Tenet's problems, he will not be an easy act to follow." LINK
In his analysis, the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler asks: "Was Tenet finally being served up as a sacrificial lamb by an administration that loathes to admit a mistake?" LINK
David Sanger believes that "even though the president may be spared the spectacle of more contentious hearings, Thursday's resignation is unlikely to remove the issue from the campaign, or from voters' assessments of whether the administration twisted and squeezed imperfect intelligence to sell the war in Iraq as a immediate necessity."LINK?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1086321714-zg61PkGlNUsN2SEX2aCgNg">LINK
"Now, with five months until the presidential election, President Bush must confront looming challenges in Iraq and homeland security with a temporary CIA director, a defense secretary fending off calls for his own departure, a secretary of state who has distanced himself from key administration policies, and several departments riled up over ongoing criminal investigations," writes the Boston Globe's Peter Canellos in his analysis. LINK
The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich examines the words which will now define George Tenet's tenure as CIA director: "slam-dunk." LINK
The New York Times' ed board makes a scathing comparison between Bush's words of praise for the beleaguered Tenet and the words of praise Bush offered for Rumsfeld and then advises leaving McLaughlin in charge of the CIA as a caretaker through the election as the Congress reforms the structure of U.S. intelligence. LINK
The Washington Post's ed board cautions that "the ongoing damage of that failure is only compounded by the conspicuous absence of accountability. Yes, Mr. Tenet is going, but Mr. Bush has yet to face up to the reasons why his departure was inevitable." LINK
Keying off of Tenet's resignation, Paul Pillar, the officer responsible for Near Eastern and South Asian issues in the National Intelligence Council, writes in a New York Times op-ed that "a scapegoat is not a solution." LINK
The Wall Street Journal's ed board sees Tenet's departure as an opportunity for Bush to reshape the CIA from a "defensive agency into an offensive one.
The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei and Chuck Babington write that Kerry and some Democrats in Congress say the resignation of George Tenet was overdue, but more changes have to happen to account for past intelligence failures and offer security for the future. LINK
Dana Priest profiles new CIA Acting Director John E. McLaughlin. LINK
Is Giuliani waiting in the wings? LINK
Deborah Orin has a nice wrap-up of the politics of Tenet's resignation, including Republicans who felt Bush was too loyal, too long. LINK
CIA leak investigation:
President Bush said Thursday that he intends to cooperate fully in the investigation of an administration official who leaked the name of a CIA operative, reports the Washington Post's Mike Allen, who still seems in the dark about Jim Sharp but makes a nice stab at the Cheney angle. LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
The New York Times' Dick Stevenson reports that the White House has "played down the possibility of any substantial diplomatic progress on dealing with Iraq, saying it does not expect NATO or any individual European nations to send many additional troops to Iraq" while also noting that Bush is "sure to discuss with the Italian and French leaders how to bridge differences" over a new UN Security Council resolution. LINK
Los Angeles Times' Ed Chen previews the President's European trip: LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes and Neil King write that winning wider support for U.S. aims in Iraq would give Bush "ammunition against criticism" from Kerry "that the president has damaged U.S. clout abroad."
Big spending and "big government tendencies" could keep some members of Club for Growth away from the polls on Election Day, reports New York Times David Kirkpatrick after a dinner party for "prominent members" in New York. LINK
Club president Stephen Moore: "There are a lot of donors who have said, 'No, I am not going to support Bush because he is a big spender or because he supported Specter or because of the steel tariffs,'" he said. "It is easier to raise money for ads attacking Kerry than for pro-Bush ads."
Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are on a "catchall list" of potential witnesses in the case of Pfc. Lynndie England, an Army reservist facing a court-martial for alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners," AP reports. LINK
The Washington Post's Dan Morgan reports the vote yesterday by the House Appropriations Committee to cut some of the domestic initiatives of the Bush Administration by $750 million. Spending on most domestic programs would be held down around or below their current levels, Morgan Notes "squeezed by the explosive growth of spending on defense and homeland security." Increases for homeland security, foreign aid and military construction are expected. LINK
This should play well in Kentucky, North Carolina, and elsewhere. "Responding to a political outcry this election year, the Bush administration is reversing course and signaling support for a plan to pay farmers to stop growing tobacco," reports the Associated Press. Just last month in Ohio President Bush said he didn't think the system needed to be changed. LINK
John Harwood's Washington Wire says that Marc Racicot and Larry Thompson top the list to replace John Ashcroft at Justice.
Tonight Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie delivers the keynote address at the West Virginia Republican State Convention -- and judging from his prepared remarks is looking to coin a phrase to compete with "voodoo economics." Some excerpts:
"John Kerry voted for higher taxes 350 times including a vote against President Bush's historic middle class tax relief in 2001 and 2003 that benefited more than 570,000 West Virginia taxpayers and over 100,000 small business.
Now on the campaign trail, John Kerry promises tax relief for 99.9 percent of voters. But higher taxes don't mean lower taxes unless you believe in Houdini economics.
John Kerry voted for higher gas taxes 11 times and supported a 50-cent gas tax-higher gas taxes don't mean lower gas prices unless you believe in Houdini economics."
Veepstakes: An Update:
Here's our latest update on where we THINK John Kerry's brain is at in his search for the perfect mate.
Our preface to any reporting on veepstakes is that one person-- the would be John Kerry -- makes the decision, and he consults with just a handful of folks who don't dish, so we can't access their minds.
This is and will remain a case of those who know aren't talking, and those who are talking don't know (all that much).
First, the when: sources familiar with the vet of Tom Vilsack, Dick Gephardt, and John Edwards all say that the candidates have been told not expect a formal decision during the month of June.
Despite the early clamor for Kerry to make his choice public well before the convention, given the apparent state of things and the weeks that make no sense because of various other factors (Bill Clinton's book, big Bush events, holidays), we are currently betting on a public announcement no earlier than three weeks from the start of the convention.
That said, since the process is so tightly held, anything could happen. (Note Note: is this enough hedging for you, Sen. Kerry?)
Every reasonable indication one could have is that those three gentlemen -- Gephardt, Edwards, and Vilsack -- remain under consideration; beyond them, well, things get a whole lot less clear.
Sen. Kerry has come to believe that the vice presidency is an extremely important and powerful institution, those close to the process say, and has established a central organizing principle for the search: the person he'll choose must be seen by voters as having instant credibility in all policy arenas and the capacity to assume the presidency without question.
Those considerations, these sources say, is primary. They outweigh base political concerns, like who can help in what state and with what constituency.
For years, Sen. Kerry has been taken with the idea of running with Sen. John McCain, but aides to both men point out that, aside from McCain's filing for Senate re-election yesterday, his public disavowals and private expressions of annoyance, the two disagree significantly on many things, and McCain is and will be a Republican.
That said, the two men like each other and respect each other. And the decision whether to call Sen. McCain and offer him the job will be Kerry's and Kerry's alone. And several Democrats confirm that Johnson has asked them about McCain during his consultative rounds.
McCain can always rescind his filing, and there will doubtless be partisans who will point this out in news accounts, but every step he takes is one step further from running with Kerry.
Rep. Dick Gephardt and Sen. John Edwards have supporters and detractors among top-level Kerry staff.
Former Gen. Clark has also been vetted to some extent, according to sources close to him.
Several sources say that Kerry continues to praise Gephardt privately, and is particularly content with how Gephardt has comported himself in the weeks after he dropped out of the presidential race.
Edwards has the busiest schedule of all the proposed veep candidates, but that's largely because he's asked to do more. And he's very careful to avoid appearances where he'd be accused of trying out. That hasn't been entirely successful, in part because the operant theme of his presidential quest was, well, that Edwards was auditioning.
His political staff are in close contact with the Kerry surrogate operation. And some sources claim that there is much less tension between the two principles than initially reported. Edwards remains a top draw for Democrats around the country, is popular in places like northern Florida (where Kerry needs to do better than Gore did), and is likely to excite audiences regardless of his status this fall.
Gephardt has been noticeably quiet, appearing at a select few events. That's largely by his choice.
Gov. Vilsack is peppered with veepstakes questions at every press conference and has managed to stay mostly above the fray. But he does have some prominent Democrats pressing the case for him in Washington. And his staff is preparing for the possibility that he'll be picked.
Other names mentioned by those not involved in the process but smart enough to have their mentionings included in The Note: Evan Bayh, Anthony Zinni, Bill Nelson.
Unlikely names that still get mentioned: Bob Rubin, Franklin Raines, other retired generals.
Names rarely mentioned anymore: Bill Richardson and Ed Rendell.
Several people who have met with lawyers involved in the vetting process say that the questions James Johnson and company are asking this year are more exacting, more detailed, and more probing that any before -- even the Gore 2000 vet.
One of the questionnaires they're using is familiar: it's called the White House personal data statement questionnaire and includes the following questions:
--Have you and your spouse ever filed a late income tax return without a valid extension?
--Do you presently have or had you in the past had domestic help . . . ? If yes, please indicate the years of service for each individual and also give a brief description of the services rendered.
--Have you or your spouse ever been arrested for or charged with, or convicted of, violating any federal, state, or local law, regulation or ordinance (excluding traffic offenses for which the fine was less than $100)? If so, please identify each such instance and supply details, including: date, place; law enforcement agency, and court.
--Have you ever had any association with any person, group or business venture that could be used, even unfairly, to impugn or attack your character and qualifications for a government position?
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:
As part of his eleven-day focus on national security, Sen. Kerry pledged Thursday to increase the active-duty army by 40,000 soldiers, reports the Washington Post's Dan Balz. Kerry also advocated increasing the number of Special Forces troops, dedicating the National Guard to homeland security and developing new technology and equipment, as well as cutting funding for the missile defense program. LINK
Cheers to whoever on the Kerry staff came up with "backdoor draft," as that formulation appears to have made it in to most accounts of Sen. Kerry's hawk-y military speech yesterday. LINK
The New York Times' Robin Toner has a must read on Kerry's "don't cede an inch" strategy, the lessons of '02, and the Michigan student who lured Kerry to be his high school's commencement speaker with his letter on job losses, teacher cuts and war casualties. The Bush camp, for their part, contend that the proper focus belongs on Kerry's voting record in the Senate. Toner reports that Kerry will turn to domestic issues next week while Bush is in Europe. LINK
Pat Healy of the Boston Globe writes, "The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee portrayed his Republican rival as tough-talking but myopic, 'obsessed' with pre-Sept. 11 strategies such as expensive missile systems for 'fighting classic conventional wars' with other nations." LINK
If you read all the way to the bottom, you'll see Mr. Healy's editors allowed him to tuck in the in-flight chat demonstrating Kerry's care-free attitude toward the FPOTUS boffo book tour.
The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny wrote up Sen. Kerry's military plan as well, Noting the "playing politics with national security" accusation leveled by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who pointed out the vote on military funding that Kerry missed on Wednesday. LINK
Reaction in Missouri to Kerry's visit was mixed. Sen. Jim Talent quickly came out and blasted his colleague: "When John Kerry comes to Missouri and talks about defense, I don't think you can take him very seriously. He has flip-flopped too many times."
On the other hand, The Note assumes the employees at Independence, Mo. restaurant Arthur Bryant's enjoyed the visit after Kerry tipped them $19 for $21 in sandwiches and fries. (No word -- yet -- on what kind of ketchup was on the fries.) LINK
While in Manhattan, Mrs. Heinz Kerry declares President Bush the Democrats' best fund-raiser. LINK
Guess who donated to Sen. Kerry's presidential campaign?
POTUS lawyer Jim Sharp . . . according to today's Washington Wire.
Calvin Woodward of the AP harkens back to "morning in America" and a "man from Hope" and warns of the risks for John Kerry in talking down the country's direction too much. LINK
The Associated Press follows up on the Corpus Christi Caller-Times story concerning the unauthorized images of Hispanic veterans in Kerry's recent ads. LINK
"The Corpus Christi Caller-Times is asking Democrat John Kerry to apologize for what it says was the unauthorized use in a Kerry campaign commercial of photos copyrighted by the newspaper."
More: "Kerry spokesman Luis Vizcaino said the campaign has apologized to the veterans' families. He said the ad has been replaced with one that uses photos only of those veterans whose families have given permission for use of the images."
Dear Page Six: You might want to call up those "sources" who tell you that Kerry has "installed John Sasso, a loyalist from Boston, as his key man at the DNC" a little more frequently. LINK
Ed O'Keefe's Kerry campaign report:
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., June 3 -- Making his third election year trip to Minnesota on Friday, Sen. John Kerry aims to stem the recent string of statewide Republican wins, hoping the traditionally Democratic state rediscovers its liberal roots come November.
Critical to tight electoral calculations, the North Star State exemplifies the challenge the Kerry campaign faces in several battleground states.
A Blue state in 2000, Minnesota saw then-Vice President Al Gore edge out Bush by 2 percent -- a difference of less 50,000 votes. Since that time, Republican Tim Pawlenty took the governor's mansion from the hands of former wrestler Jesse Ventura and, in the emotional roller coaster following the sudden death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, Republican St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman won a seat in the Senate.
Coleman and Pawlenty now chair the Bush-Cheney effort in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, opening a statewide campaign headquarters in early April, hiring a communications director in March and forming specialized outreach groups including a BC04 Minnesota Veterans and Minnesota Viva Bush Coalition through the spring.
The Kerry campaign has hired a statewide director and just this week put a full time communications director in the field. But the campaign remains without a statewide campaign headquarters, still leaning on the in-state DFL to spread the Kerry word.
The Senator has, however, ramped up advertising in the state, running bio and recently released policy-oriented ads as a part of two ad buys totaling $43 million in 20 states.
And, despite having been outspent on advertising by the Bush-Cheney team 6-to-1 through March, a Star Tribune poll taken during that same period put Kerry over Bush by a comfortable 12 points.
But, the presumptive Democratic nominee will likely face another hurdle in the form of Independent candidate Ralph Nader. In Minnesota, like liberal rich Oregon and Washington, Nader's candidacy poses a measurable threat in a narrow margin election.
Under the Green Party banner, Nader received 126,696 Minnesotan votes in 2000, snatching up 5 percent in a state won by less than half that percentage. The margin was so thin that if only one-quarter of the Nader votes had gone to Gore, the former Vice President would have added another percent-and some breathing room-to his 10 electoral vote win.
Some have argued Nader's candidacy will be less potent under an Independent label, the consumer advocate's vice presidential choice for the past two elections presents particular complications in Minnesota.
Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe Native American, lives on the White Earth Reservation and teaches at the University of Minnesota.
While in campaigns past these factors might have been dismissed as insignificant or at least low risk, it seems that in states such as Minnesota, the Kerry and Bush camps will not take any chances.
Kerry rallies in Minnesota on Friday, and then spends a down day in Boston before celebrating the 60th anniversary of D-Day, delivering a commencement speech for an Ohio high school.
The Senator continues an 11-day focus on national security next week before turning his attention back to the domestic front.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry: the Catholic vote:
The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Alan Cooperman look at the President's meeting with Pope John Paul II as a way to examine the pursuit of Catholic voters by President Bush and Sen. Kerry, Noting, "rarely have politics and religion become so intertwined as they have this year in the pursuit of Roman Catholic voters." LINK
The duo trace the complexities of focusing on Catholic voters, as well as the factors that transformed them from consistently loyal -- almost monolithic -- Democratic supporters to a far more complex constituency.
"Education and affluence changed the face of the Catholic Church in the United States in the second half of the 20th century and, with it, the voting patterns of its members. What once was a predominantly urban, ethnic constituency now is wealthier and more suburban."
John Harwood takes a turn at Washington Wire this week, and begins with this:
"The president, hoping to blunt Kerry's edge among fellow Roman Catholics, welcomes the session with the aging pontiff. It also highlights the Catholic leader's opposition to the Iraq war and his veiled criticism of 'how dignity is profoundly offended' by Abu Ghraib abuses."
"Bush split Catholics with Gore in 2000; according to a University of Akron survey, Bush holds a wide edge among what it calls "traditionalist Catholics." Kerry seeks to avoid fallout from abortion-related communion flap and gay-marriage issue."
Steve Thomma keys off the President's visit with the Pope to look at the battle for the Catholic vote here at home. LINK
"Three factors combine to make Catholics a potentially pivotal bloc in the 2004 elections: They're the country's largest religious denomination, with 65 million members; they're a major presence in election-battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, and they're split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, the only denomination so closely divided."
The politics of faith:
As President Bush prepares for an audience with the Pope today, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Americans appreciate their politics and their religion -- but separately.
The survey shows that 64 percent of Americans say church leaders should not try to influence politicians. Among Catholics surveyed, 65 percent said the church should stay out of politics.
The battle over abortion did not make a difference in that feeling either: "68 percent of Americans oppose denying communion to such politicians; that includes 72 percent of all Catholics and a similar number of churchgoing Catholics. Even among Americans who oppose legal abortion, 57 percent reject the idea of denying communion to Catholic politicians who hold the opposite view," according to Dalia Sussman of ABC News' Polling Unit.
In addition, Catholics support legal abortion by the same numbers as the general population: 55 percent.
The divide among those who want to keep them separate and those who want the two to mix is interesting. "Liberals, Easterners, senior citizens, Democrats and the non-religious are among those most likely to say no. Republicans and conservatives divide, while a majority of conservative evangelical Protestants favors such efforts," Sussman Notes.
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:
Continuing the recent press trend to appear shocked, shocked at the truth stretching in campaign advertising. USA Today's ed board observes "while deceptive ads are hardly new to politics, what makes this year different is how early the barrage has begun and how often the commercials are running. And truth is the principal victim: One non-partisan study has found that most viewers believe the ads."LINK
On USA Today's op-ed page Mathew Dowd continues his oft-made claim that television ads aren't everything ("just one component"). He then proceeds to explain why the campaign sees it as crucial to contextualize Sen. Kerry's record in its advertising. LINK
"Kerry has tried to detach himself from this 19-year record by reversing himself on a host of issues such as the No Child Left Behind Act, the liberation of Iraq and the Patriot Act . . ."
"…Our ads are an important part of our dialogue with the American people about the choice between President Bush's steady leadership and Kerry's political posturing."
Tad Devine offers his counterpoint on the same page by contrasting the TV ads of Bush and Kerry, Noting "Kerry is laying out his positive vision for the future. Bush is running a wholly negative and false ad campaign designed only to tear down Kerry." LINK
Connecticut remains firmly in the Blue column, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. The survey shows show Sen. Kerry leading President Bush by 10 points in a head-to-head matchup in Connecticut, 46 percent to 36 percent, and Ralph Nader picking up 8 percent. The poll shows the President with his lowest approval rating ever in the state, 39 percent, and Connecticut voters said the economy is the issue most important to them.
National Journal's James Barnes and Richard Cohen pontificate on how "the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group to flex its political muscles" in the Tar Heel state and the presidential 2004. "North Carolina's Hispanic population might indeed grow to be influential enough to sway the outcome of statewide races, if current demographic trends continue." The only problem is getting them to vote. LINK
The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman outlines the dueling energy policies "that have more in common than their allies like to acknowledge" of President Bush and Sen. Kerry. LINK
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne (of "Stand Up Fight Back" fame) gets all hopeful on us as he examines the impact of campaign finance laws on the upcoming election, Noting that "the nation's campaign money system is still flawed. But it's better than it used to be." LINK
Lionel Barber writes in a Financial Times op-ed that Europe needs to realize that despite the campaign rhetoric, Kerry's foreign policy isn't much different from Bush's.
ABC News Vote 2004: ad traffic:
This week: The Bush campaign continues to air only one ad to hit Kerry on the "Patriot Act." The Kerry campaign unveiled two new ads this week touting his vision for what America needs. MoveOn.org digs into its vault to run an older anti-Bush ad in D.C. only. Same ads up as last week from the New Democrat Network, the Club for Growth, and the anti-Nader groups.
By the numbers . . . 1 Bush ad hitting Kerry on national security. 2 Kerry ads touting his vision for the country. 1 pro-Bush and 2 anti-Bush ads by outside groups. 2 anti-Nader ads by outside groups. 4 ads by the New Democrat Network promoting Hispanic unity behind Democrats.
From the outside:
Last month, America Coming Together and America Votes mobilized thousands of volunteers in dozens of cities to kick off their nationwide canvass operations. This month, the groups will set precise targets for their registration, contact and get-out-the-vote efforts. Three more nationwide canvass days are planned -- June 12 is the next -- and in the fall, it's off to the races.
At the Campaign for America's Future conference yesterday, Cecile Richards, the president of America Votes, and JoDee Winterhof, ACT's political director, briefed conference-goers on their strategy through election day. The two included some choice morsels for the scattered journalists in attendance among the 500 liberal activists.
As Richards operated the Powerpoint, Winterhof sped through a couple of key states, careful not to let our Googled eyes linger and recall. We caught a few (Ms. Richards, you weren't fast enough!), which we present as a public service to Mr. Norris, Ms. Hazelwood, Ms. Vilmain, Mr. Nelson and others:
Ohio: ACT estimates that Democrats need 2.5 million votes to win.
Florida: ACT will target 56,000 African American households and 52,000 Caribbean American households.
Iowa: ACT targeting includes 112,000 irregular independent voters in high Democratic precincts, as well as 45,000 traditionally undecided voters.
Missouri: ACT is looking at 19,000 ticket-splitting voters in high-density areas.
Michigan: They hope to register 54,000 new voters.
New Hampshire: They hope to increase Democratic turnout compared to the primary by at least 2,000 as well as to contact 29,000 independents.
ACT and the Media Fund have fundraising commitments of approximately $100 million to date, Winterhof said. They hope to raise nearly $190 million by the end of the year. Though ACT is budgeted at $95 million and the Media Fund at $94 million, we suspect that ACT's share of the pie will ultimately be more than half.
Liberal Democrats gathered at the Campaign for America's Future conference got their red meat served to them courtesy of Howard Dean. Sen. Kerry declined the opportunity to address the group, reports the Boston Globe. LINK
"'George Bush organizes progressives for Kerry the way Bill Clinton organized the right for Bush,' [Co-Director of Campaign for American's Future Robert] Borosage said."
The Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves wraps Howard Dean's star turn at the "Take Back America" conference. LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten Noted Sen. Clinton's introduction of George Soros, Soros, and Howard Dean's lasting draw. LINK
Joel Achenbach went to the conference to eyeball the progressives, who are "suddenly as disciplined as Republicans. They realize all too keenly that there's a presidential election this fall between one man who is George W. Bush and one man who isn't." LINK
The AP's Will Lester writes that Ralph Nader expressed reservations about Kerry's commitment to energy conservation in his National Press Club remarks. LINK
John Maggs pieces together a glimpse of Ralph Nader the entrepreneur, activist, businessman, workhorse, taskmaster, manager, workers' right champion and alleged union-buster in the newest edition of National Journal.
ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:
The Denver Post's Karen Crummy makes the case for Colorado's important role as a swing state and previews Sen. Kerry's trip to Denver Sunday and Monday (where he will be joined by former Sen. Gary Hart), and Kerry is expected to return there next two weeks. Bush took Colorado by 8 percentage points in 2000. Nader took 5 percent. About one-third of registered voters in Colorado are neither Republican nor Democrat. And if Ken Salazar wins the Democratic nomination for Senate, the state's Hispanic vote could come out for Kerry too. LINK
Rep Mark Udall tells the Rocky Mountain News that Kerry's going after the "hook and bullet" crowd. "Not only is [Kerry] a snowboarder and a hunter, he's a Harley-Davidson rider." LINK
The Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the tradition of organizing through the church after an e-mail from the Bush campaign to Pennsylvania supporters recruiting volunteers from 1,600 "friendly" Pennsylvania congregations stirred controversy this week. LINK
Score one for the Democrats in Missouri. On Thursday, the state's Supreme Court ruled that a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage should go on the August primary ballot, a move that "provides relief to Democrats, who fretted that the prospect of a large conservative turnout in November would boost Republican candidates' chances, possibly even affecting the outcome of the presidential race." LINK
"The seemingly arcane constitutional stalemate quickly intensified into an all-out political war . . .
"The stakes are high for the vote's timing, which could alter the outcomes of many key political races, including the presidential race. A vote on gay marriage in November is generally thought to hurt Democrats, since it could draw large numbers of conservatives to the polls. An August primary vote would have little effect, since the two parties' candidates don't square off on the same ballot." LINK
Missouri was well represented at the Take Back America conference in Washington this week for the "three days of nearly uninterrupted Bush-bashing and furious planning for the November election." LINK
In Seattle, there's talk about Washington being the first state in the nation to hit the female political trifecta, with the possibility that women could inhabit both of the state's Senate seats and its governor's mansion come November. Post-Intellegencer columnist Joel Connelly assesses the likelihood that this will be "a 'Year of the Woman' boosting the female presence in both Washingtons." LINK
There should be smiles in Nevada this morning after the Senate voted yesterday to ease the cleanup requirements for millions of gallons of radioactive waste that's currently being held in Savannah River, S.C. This means that the waste won't have to go to Nevada. Nev. Sen. John Ensign hopes this sets a precedent: "Ensign said the more nuclear waste that can remain in South Carolina, Washington and Idaho, 'then that much won't be going to Nevada and that's not a bad thing to me.'" LINK
Of course, Ensign's joy hasn't extended to states like Washington, which now may be forced to hold onto their nuclear waste. LINK/nationalpolitics/2001947259_nukewaste04.html">LINK
One of the "Democratic Party's most opinionated and increasingly popular figures" stops in Tacoma, Wash. tonight. Three guesses on who it is. LINK/nationalpolitics/2001947331_gore04m.html">LINK
White House environmental officials stopped in West Virginia yesterday to defend the Bush Administration's environmental policies and slam the media's coverage of the issue. LINK
Arizona withdrew its application to redistrict the state legislature from the U.S. Justice Department yesterday. The Arizona Republic's Elvia Diaz says this is a big blow for state Democrats. LINK
The politics of Iraq:
Robin Wright and Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post look at Iraq's request Thursday to the U.N. Security Council to invest full authority for security and all matters within the country to the Iraqi interim government. LINK
The Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Bradley Graham report that Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi was mentioned nine years ago in an intercepted Iranian cable describing CIA-supported plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein. CIA case officer Robert Baer says the plot was phony. LINK
Big casino budget politics:
The Rumsfeld/McCain showdown over the proposed Boeing deal gets some Knight Ridder play. LINK
In this weekend's New York Times Magazine, Paul Krugman argues that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, by tacitly supporting tax cuts, inserted himself into the political/economic debate and sullied his legacy, calling Greenspan's endorsement of tax cuts to prevent large surpluses "a misjudgment of Rumsfeldian proportions." Krugman blames Greenspan's reluctance to cut interest rates in the early 1990s for the defeat of President George H.W. Bush, and credits his argument about against surpluses with tearing down the resistance to the George W. Bush tax cut.
"Greenspan is still a figure of enormous prestige and power; he is to economic policy what J. Edgar Hoover once was to law enforcement. After 17 years as Fed chairman, Greenspan has become an icon, and it's hard to imagine America without him; indeed, last month the president nominated him for a fifth term. Yet his reputation is not what it once was. At the height of the boom, he was the monetary maestro whose advice was sought on many aspects of economic policy. Now his record as a monetary leader has been called into question, and his judgment on fiscal policy has been proved disastrously wrong. Worse, he seems to have abandoned the long tradition that places the Fed above the political fray."
More: "In the first days of the Bush administration, as we've seen, Greenspan gave decisive aid and comfort to the new president, urging Congress to cut taxes in order to prevent excessive budget surpluses. Three years and at least $900 billion in additional debt later, that argument seems ludicrous. And besides giving bad advice, Greenspan was engaging in highly questionable behavior. Since then, rather than make amends, he has compounded the sin."
The politics of labor:
On Sunday, Rev. Jesse Jackson begins a three-day bus tour through Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania in support of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's new "Reinvest In America: Put America Back To Work!" effort. Also on the bus: Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); Gerald McEntee, President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and Leon Lynch, Vice President of the USWA; and David Bradley, Executive Director of the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF).
The politics of outsourcing:
Al Kamen catches up on his Hindustan Times reading, and proclaims the story alleging Republican National Committee call centers in India "headed for the dustbin." LINK
ABC New Vote 2004: the Senate:
Salazar gets a day in the day profile in today's Rocky Mountain News: LINK
Coors brewing is distancing itself from Colorado Senate candidate, and namesake, Pete Coors, for his stance on gay-marriage. Coors brewery issued a statement that says the candidate's stance against same-sex marriage would not affect the firm's gay-friendly policies: "Mr. Coors' statement on the Federal Marriage Amendment is his own as a candidate and does not reflect the views of Coors Brewing Co." Coors says he is against gay marriage, though he is not sure a ban is necessary. LINK
But the Associated Press Reports Coors might to take a step to the middle on some of his conservative stances after the State Republican convention this weekend. LINK
The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly outlines the argument over the rescinding of grants for the Global Health Council, which accused the Bush Administration of succumbing to pressure from conservatives on abortion and sex education. LINK
"President Bush's most recent nominee to the federal appeals court in Washington practiced law for three years in the District without a valid license because he did not pay his annual dues to the local bar association," writes the Washington Post's Carol Leonnig. LINK
Initiatives and referenda:
A biggie in California: voters will be able to decide whether to fund $3 billion worth of stem cell research. LINK
We might call this section "the politics of Nancy Reagan" in the future.
The Boston Globe's Rick Klein and Kevin Joy have a must-read look at the state of labor relations in Boston as construction work is slated to begin at the FleetCenter next week. The duo leads with the police union court victory allowing members to picket in front of the FleetCenter up through the Friday before the convention. Then Klein and Joy raise the curtain on the big Greater Boston Labor Council meeting coming up on Monday. LINK
The prolific Rick Klein also attended a Quincy Market event with excited business leaders talking up the convention. (Has the press coverage been negative? We hadn't Noticed.) LINK
"The predicted crowd of 100-plus business leaders was closer to 30, including the Red Sox mascot, Wally the Green Monster, and a few food-stand workers. Those who did attend proclaimed their belief that the traffic won't be that bad and that Boston will ultimately be thankful for its turn in the national spotlight."
"Boston janitors who clean buildings downtown want Mayor Thomas M. Menino to seek assurances from their employers that they will not lose jobs or pay if they are late for work during the Democratic National Convention, which is expected to create traffic and mass transit disruptions," reports the Boston Globe. LINK
The Globe's editorial page looks beyond the "traffic snarls" and "security measures" and finds the convention is already bringing money to many minority-owned and women-owned businesses in and around Boston. LINK
The Boston Herald reports the traffic nightmare in Boston will not only be on the ground. LINK
"Travelers flying out of Logan International Airport on afternoons and evenings of the Democratic National Convention next month should consider arriving as much as four hours early, airport officials warned yesterday."
And hopefully you won't need to see a doctor while you are in town. LINK
Per the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: "After losing a South Dakota seat, House Republicans give coveted spots on highway bill conference committee to vulnerable incumbents Miller of California, Rehberg of Montana and Beauprez of Colorado. A transportation lobbyist warns passage of the roughly $300-billion bill is 'almost impossible' unless the House and Senate compromise before their summer recess."
A Kaiser study finds the new Medicare prescription drug benefit is being greeted with skepticism from America's seniors, the Wall Street Journal's Sarah Lueck reports.
"OPEC will raise its output ceiling by 2.5 million barrels a day this summer. The increase won't lead to higher oil volume, but OPEC hopes the move calms market fears," the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Wall Street Journal's Henninger sees Michael Moore's movie (trailer came out yesterday), Gore's stemwinder, and the Day After Tomorrow as evidence that Democrats have abandoned the Kennedy dictum of "don't get mad, get even," in favor of simply getting mad.
The Clintons of Chappaqua:
The Washington Post's Linton Weeks writes that former President Bill Clinton was in top form for his speech last night at BookExpo America, and Notes that the crowd "went Bill-istic for him as the author of the soon-to-be-published 'My Life.'" LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Ellen Warren writes that Clinton isn't President any more, but he still shows up late. LINK
"Nobody works a crowd -- or a television interview -- like Clinton. And his publisher can barely wait for the former president to hit the publicity circuit. Neither can Clinton, reported to be miserable with the quasi-solitude that writing the book entailed and chafing to get out and begin reinventing himself again, this time as best-selling author."
Scott Fornek of the Chicago Sun-Times leads with Clinton's statement that he didn't write his book to "settle a lot of scores." LINK
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel book editor Geeta Sharma-Jensen writes that Clinton's $10 million advance was a safe bet for Knopf. LINK
Cindy Adams says publishers were forced to shrink the type page of President Clinton's new book in order to stuff it into 957 pages. LINK
TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —5:15 am: President Bush meets with Italian President Carlo Azgelio Ciampi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Vatican City, Italy —6:00 am: President Bush meets with Pope John Paul II, Vatican City, Italy —6:25 am: President Bush attends a presentation of the American Official Party, Vatican City, Italy —6:35 am: President Bush and Pope John Paul II deliver statements, Vatican City, Italy —7:00 am: President Bush meets with the secretary of state of the Holy See, Vatican City, Italy —7:55 am: President Bush visits Fossee Ardeatine, Rome, Italy —8:30 am: George Washington University hosts a journalism conference on "The Changed Landscape of the 2004 Elections: New Laws, New Groups, and the New Role of the Internet," Washington, D.C. —8:30 am: The Labor Department releases the weekly report on initial jobless claims —8:30 am: The Labor Department issues the Employment Situation for May —9:00 am: House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Campaign for America's Future "Take Back America" conference at the Marriott, Washington, D.C. —9:15 am: Former President Bill Clinton delivers the commencement address at the City College of New York, New York, N.Y. —9:30 am: The Senate resumes consideration of the Department of Defense Authorization bill —9:30 am: Sen. John Kerry conducts interviews with ABC News Radio and ABC Radio affiliates —9:30 am: U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans delivers the keynote address at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The Commerce Department releases the April factory orders report —11:00 am: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino attends the John Hancock's Convention 101 for Kids mini-convention with 150 Boston Public School fifth-graders at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston, Mass. —11:00 am: Sen. Kerry holds a conference call to state coordinators of "Veterans for Kerry" —11:00 am: Former New York City Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami, and former U.S. Attorney William Kolibash hold a news conference to criticize Sen. Kerry's policies on the Patriot Act, Clarksburg, W.Va. —11:15 am: President Bush meets with Italy's president at the Quirinale Palace, Rome, Italy —11:30 am: Protestor "Enron Ed," dispatched by the DNC, visits RNC headquarters, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: Federal Reserve Board Governor Donald Kohn delivers remarks on the "Outlook for Inflation" at a National Economists Club luncheon, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: The House of Representatives meets for a pro forma session —12:00 pm: Former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi speaks about his new book "The Revolution Will Not be Televised: Democracy, the Internet and the Overthrow of Everything," at a journalism conference sponsored by George Washington University, Washington, D.C. —12:55 pm: President Bush meets with embassy personnel and U.S. veterans at Fosee Ardeatine, Rome, Italy —1:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry holds a rally to launch "Veterans for Kerry" at the University Of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. —1:00 pm: Australian Prime Minister John Howard addresses a National Press Club luncheon at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: Rev. Jesse Jackson, AFSCME President Gerry McEntee, Rep Luis Guiterrez and others speak at the closing lunch of the "Take Back America" conference, Washington, D.C. —2:00 pm: Vice President Cheney accepts the endorsement of the Police Officers Association of Michigan's Annual Convention on behalf of BC04 at the Amway Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, Mich. —2:00 pm: President Bush attends a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Berlusconi at Villa Madama, Rome, Italy —4:15 pm: The Federal Reserve releases its weekly conditions report of large commercial banks —6:00 pm: Vice President Cheney appears for a taped interview on CNBC's Kudlow and Cramer, Chicago, Ill. —7:05 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at a reception for Senatorial candidate Jack Ryan at the Hilton Hotel, Chicago, Ill. —7:30 pm: RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie delivers the keynote address at the West Virginia Republican State Convention at the Tamarack- the Best of West Virginia, Beckley, W. Va.