The Note





July is the month for the Democratic convention.

August is the month for the Republican convention.

September is the month for national security and post-Labor Day voter focus.

October is the month for the debates.

Which makes June the month to add up each side's fundamental advantages in the presidential race:


1. The war on terror serving as a potential trump issue, a la the communist threat during the Cold War. 2. Incumbency in a time of national crisis will seem safe(r) to a lot of voters. 3. The sustaining value of the "Bush brand" (highlighted again this month with 41@80). 4. The likeability and accessibility stops haven't even been pulled out yet. 5. Laura Bush. 6. An improving economy and seemingly successful POTUS projection of "if even one American is looking for work, that's too many" caring. 7. The rise of the Republican 527s. 8. Candidate confidence and rapid response confidence. 9. The political press' general belief the Kerry probably won't win, and inclination to scrutinize the Kerry "record" more than the Bush "record." 10. Most imaginable October Surprises favor the President. 11. The skew of the Electoral College.


1. An energized base which (we are now ready to say) viscerally dislikes President Bush as much as the right disliked Clinton. (Although no accusations of domestic murders yet . . .) 2. Stew of wrong track, events in Iraq, gas prices, and other only semi-controllable factors. 3. Famous capacity to close strong. 4. Potential week or more of positive coverage if he picks a good running mate. 5. Don't forget health care. 6. The regularity of the circularity of history (one-term Bush presidencies featuring a war victory in Iraq, stratospheric poll ratings, and, then, decline . . . ). 7. The head start of the Democrat 527s. 8. Unchallenged in key Blue States such as California, Illinois, and New York. 9. Daughters, stepsons, vets unveiled big time in Boston. 10. In what would be a Bush irony (and The Note tries exceedingly hard not to misuse the term), the President's team's apparent* belief that Kerry is a phony, liberal, hypocritical Francophile might just blind them so much to his appeal to voters that they (mis)underestimate him all the way through November, and never take him seriously enough to stop him. 11. The political press' general preference for (a) underdogs; (b) challengers; (c) change; (d) Democrats; (e) good stories.

The work week will be bookended by two key events -- today's special election to fill the Janklow House seat in South Dakota and Friday's job numbers.

Voters in South Dakota head to the polls for that special House election between Democrat Stephanie Herseth and Republican Larry Diedrich. Polls open at 8:00 am ET and close at 9:00 pm ET.

The winner has to run again in November.

For whatever reasons of sanity, the national political press over the last few years has stopped imbuing these special elections with cosmic national meaning, but you can bet the winning side will crow.

Although we share the suspicion of some Republicans that THEIR special election wins are often discounted more than those of Democrats by the national press, a Herseth win in a Republican state (and after the Democrats won the cycle's earlier special House race in Kentucky) would be at least semi-eye catching.

At the presidential level, the day's main events involve the showdown on national security -- with both sides playing offense and defense on loose nukes and homeland security.

Sen. Kerry delivers a major address about port security in Palm Beach, Fla. He is expected to outline his plan for working with allies to reduce the threats posed by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons worldwide, and to keep nuclear weapons from being a terrorist threat. Kerry will talk about strengthening the military Thursday in Independence, Mo.

Vice President Cheney speaks about the war on terrorism and the Patriot Act and criticizes Sen. Kerry during a campaign speech in Kansas City.

While his Number Two carries the message of the day, President Bush speaks at the first White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives this morning. ABC News' Aditya Raval reports that President Bush will make a statement about the new Iraqi government in the Rose Garden today at 11:30 am ET. At this writing, it is unclear whether or not the President will take questions from the press.

He travels to Denver this evening to attend an RNC fundraiser.

National Security Advisor Rice speaks to the press on-camera this morning about President Bush's weekend trip to Europe and the upcoming G-8 summit.

The Senate votes on whether to debate a bill that would adjust class-action lawsuits instead of resuming debate on the defense budget, which was under debate before the recess.

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

Vice President Cheney hits the road for Kansas City today and will hit Sen. John Kerry for allegedly flip-flopping on the Patriot Act and will address the war on terror and national security.

Kerry voted for the Patriot Act but turned sharply critical toward the anti-terrorism law during the Democratic primaries. Kerry's stated reason? The law was being abused by an Attorney General who "reaches too far." Cheney will charge on Tuesday that Kerry hasn't offered "a single example of the Patriot Act actually being abused."

Cheney on the Patriot Act:

"In a statement supporting the Patriot Act, Senator Kerry said the law would, 'make it a lot more difficult for new terrorist organizations to develop.' I won't be saying this very often in the next few months -- but Senator Kerry was right...The Patriot Act has been crucial in many of our successes. Yet Senator Kerry has chosen this moment, after these victories, to share his second thoughts on the Patriot Act. He now calls the Patriot Act a 'blind spot in the American justice system.' He now says he wants to let vital elements of the Patriot Act expire at the end of next year. What he hasn't shared, however, is a single example of the Patriot Act actually being abused."

Cheney on national security:

"This nation will never go back to the false comforts of the world before 9/11. We are engaging the enemy as we must, in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, so we will not have to face them here at home. And we are not letting our guard down in the defense of the American homeland. At the President's request, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, the largest reorganization of the federal government since Harry Truman was President. We have taken decisive, focused action to improve security at our borders and ports, and to protect travelers on commercial aircraft. We added billions in new funding for cutting-edge drugs and other defenses against biological attack. We changed the mission of the FBI, and reassigned hundreds of agents to counterterrorism duties, to help prevent terrorist attacks before they can be launched.

"And we took another vital step in defending our homeland with the passage of the USA Patriot Act, which the President signed into law in late 2001. That law solved some dramatic problems that became clear in a post-9/11 world -- problems that put our government at a significant disadvantage in the hunt for terrorists inside America."

Cheney's speech follows the recent release of a Bush ad that hits Kerry on the Patriot Act. The Kerry campaign, for its part, will sponsor a conference call with Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont and former Deputy Defense Secretary John White in the hopes of making hay out of a Time Magazine story that, in the words of the magazine, "raises questions about Cheney's arm's length policy toward his old employer," Halliburton. LINK

The New York Times' Dick Stevenson wraps up President Bush's visit to Arlington Cemetery yesterday, where he laid a wreath at Tomb of the Unknowns and "then delivered a Memorial Day address in which he acknowledged the "great costs" of the war in Iraq and tied it to the broader effort to combat terrorism." LINK

Taking a look at the Red state/Blue state breakdown of the Electoral Map (which is burned in our brains and often pops up in our dreams), the Boston Globe's Anne Kornblut looks at the BC04 strategy of targeting key states to get to 270 electoral votes and recent polling suggesting the President is possibly slipping in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. LINK

Kornblut writes that those numbers are causing "party stalwarts" to take notice and acknowledge that "[i]t is nearly impossible to patch together the 270 electoral votes needed to win without building broad support nationwide, despite the mathematical quirks of the Electoral College system."

Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe writes that the Bush campaign is "already on orange alert with five months to go before the election," Noting the "shock-and-awe" of the campaign's efforts on the airwaves in defining Sen. Kerry. LINK

Do Note three interesting items from Canellos, who says that this campaign "has played out as Bush-Dukakis the way Dukakis must have envisioned it unfolding:"

--"Bush has seemed a little shrill and insistent, while Kerry travels the country making presidential-type addresses"

-- "Bush's attack-dog tactics seem more out of proportion for an incumbent seeking reelection"

-- "This year, if anyone's running a stately, incumbent-style walk-through, it's Kerry"

BC04 officials tell the Washington Times' Bill Sammon that this election will be a choice between liberalism and conservatism, with the ideological differences between the candidates "more pronounced" that in recent elections. LINK

After looking at the mediocre grades "mainstream" economists gave Bush's fiscal record when recently surveyed by National Journal, the New York Times' David Brooks writes that the election is likely to turn on Iraq and therefore concludes that the Bush folks to "roll the dice with some attention-grabbing domestic ideas" so that if Bush is re-elected "he'll have a mandate to do something big." LINK

Paul Krugman writes up the latest Bush budget memo and charges (again) that the President's economic policies amount to a huge transfer from poor to rich. LINK

Is anyone listening to the President's Saturday morning radio address, asks the Dallas Morning News' Colleen McCain Nelson. LINK

("What is a horse shoe? What does a horse shoe do? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?" LINK)

"The president is disappearing from the dial in some cities. And media experts say the address has evolved into a public relations tool - a chance for the commander in chief to deliver an unfiltered message without hassling with questions or critics," Nelson writes, Noting that the President's address is not even heard in Dallas.

The Miami Herald's Lesley Clark looks at President Bush's latest actions on Cuba, including travel and financial restrictions, Noting that "by playing to his conservative base, the president could hand Democratic rival John Kerry an opening in a state that decided the presidency in 2000 by just 537 votes." LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne sees a conservative crack-up over Iraq that imperils Bush's re-election chances, and makes the important point that a president who shows poll weakness is more subject to intra-party attacks. LINK

John Howard and A.G. Block of the California Journal report that Gov. Schwarzenegger has said he will not campaign for President Bush outside California. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:

The AP's Pete Yost recaps the candidates' Memorial Day activity. LINK

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Michael Shear look at the Bush and Kerry efforts to court veterans in Virginia on Monday. LINK

Dana Milbank continues the Bush-distorts-his-opponents'-records drumbeat with an analysis of the President's straw men. LINK

USA Today's Rick Hampson profiles that wily George Soros and his role in that thing we like to call Bush v. Kerry. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

The Los Angeles Times' James Rainey previews Sen. Kerry's WMD safeguard proposals. LINK

Some excerpts from the speech:

"Take away politics, strip away the labels, the honest questions have to be asked. Since that dark day in September have we done everything we could to secure these dangerous weapons and materials? Have we taken every step we should to stop North Korea and Iran's nuclear programs? Have we reached out to our allies and forged an urgent global effort to ensure that nuclear weapons and materials are secured?"

"The honest answer, in each of these areas, is that we have done too little, often too late, and even cut back our efforts or turned away from the greatest threats we face in the world today."

In the second major speech of his 11-day national security push, Sen. John Kerry will discuss how he would contain the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Kerry's speech comes one week after the release of a Harvard study, sponsored by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, that warns that less fissile material was secured in the two years after Sept. 11, 2001 than in the two years just before. LINK

The Kerry campaign announces a "significant new ad buy" today. To really beat it into the ground while the embargo is still in effect, we direct you to Saturday's story by Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times, who Noted that in June the Massachusetts Senator spending a reported $750,000 to go on the air in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, and the Washington, D.C. area. LINK

USA Today's Jill Lawrence calls Virginia the "third unexpected state [Kerry] has added to his list of targets for the fall." LINK

The Boston Globe's Pat Healy reports, "Yet beyond reminding voters that he was a 'Navy guy' during the Vietnam War -- which Kerry did three times in local news interviews yesterday -- and promising to delay military base closings until they could be reevaluated in a wartime light, the Democrat is not offering Virginians anything markedly different than the past standard-bearers in his party, political analysts said yesterday." LINK

Sen. Kerry's "unusual" journey to Portsmouth, Va., touched on Kerry's heritage (He's a "Navy man,") and his veepstakes musings (Gov. Mark Warner denied that he and Kerry discussed the subject.). LINK

The Washington Times' Donald Lambro writes that the Democratic base hasn't unified behind Kerry -- in fact, polls show that 12 percent of Democrats have said they'd vote for President Bush. LINK

Ain't lookin' for prayers or pity: the Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves reports that Sen. Kerry has his work cut out for him to win over New Jersey voters. LINK

The St. Petersburg Times' Adam Smith profiles Marcus Jadotte, "the only African-American in the top tier of the campaign and one of three African-Americans among the top 15 or so campaign advisers." LINK

The New York Times David Halbfinger deconstructs "Let America Be America":

"For Mr. Kerry, a central quandary has been how to convey in just a few words an argument against the incumbent as well as an alternative vision of his own. And while much of his platform amounts to picking up where the Clinton administration left off, Mr. Kerry's advisers say they are mindful that campaigns are won by talking about the future, not the past, however recent." LINK

"To his aides, the Hughes poem, which contrasts a dim view of America's reality with the age-old ideal of its shining potential, accomplishes all of this in its first line."

Our two points about this:

A. We still wonder if Bill Bradley will bring legal action. LINK

B. We still think L.A.B.A.A should be pronounced "La-bah" by the political cognoscenti. (As in "Kerry then did his "La-bah" riff…")

The Boston Globe's Brian McGrory introduces us to a moderate Republican grocery store chain businessman who may run for Kerry's Senate seat should it be open. LINK

Cindy Adams, who is just about the only person in America besides Bob Novak who can get away with devoting an entire half-column to fundraising guests, predicts that Sen. Kerry's June 10 fundraiser will take in $7 million. LINK

Yesterday, in our weekend must-reads, we told you about Alexandra Polier's account about her role in the media maelstrom when she was "linked" with John Kerry. LINK

Since some of you might have been more focused on cookouts than The Note yesterday, we provide the link again, and remind you to read this important and interesting piece, if only because of:

1. How Ms. Polier lays bare the horrors of political "reporting" in the Internet age -- revealing quite clearly to anyone paying attention how obvious it is that the overall system's players learned no lessons at all, and it could happen again (as in: just wait for the Kitty Kelley book . . .).

2. How this woman needed a better editor: she felt there was nothing wrong with talking about being both a journalist and a Democrat!

3. How this woman needed a better editor: WAY too into her own looks!!

4. How revealing the various cameos are, including and especially those of Stephanie Cutter and Chris Lehane.

The June/July issue of Details magazine ain't quite CQ, but it's pretty close. Get yourself the issue with Vin Diesel on the cover, and read on page 84 about Chris Heinz (complete with tie-askew photos) and on page 105, Mark Halperin writes about the drink they call the "Joe Hagin" at the White House.

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

In the third of a series looking at the fight for Ohio, the Washington Post's Paul Farhi looks at how jobs will factor into the vote, particularly in bellwether Stark County, home of the Timken Co. factories where President Bush has stopped to talk about tax cuts and job growth -- and are now talking about plant closures. LINK

Farhi Notes, "Democrats see bitter irony, and additional political capital, in Bush's visit to one of Timken's Canton plants in April 2003. Bush used the company's research facility (not one of the affected factories) as a backdrop to tout his tax cuts. Standing beneath a banner reading 'Jobs and Growth,' Bush said the tax cuts would mean 'companies like Timken have got a better capacity to expand, which means jobs.'"

More: "The political impact of the plant closures depends a lot on timing, says Rick Farmer, a political science professor at the University of Akron, just north of Canton in Summit County. If the factories were to shut in the fall, Farmer says, a 'significant' economic impact on northeast Ohio would ripple throughout the area and could cause undecided voters to turn against the president."

Dean David Broder of the Washington Post writes that there are battlegrounds, and then there are battlegrounds -- 12 that are vital for control of the Senate, 20 that are key in the presidential race, and the twain don't always meet. "The two fights are taking place largely in separate worlds. Of the 20 battleground presidential states, five have no Senate races this year. In eight others, one party is a clear favorite. . . . Looked at the other way, of the top 12 Senate races, half or fewer are unfolding in states that are drawing major attention from the presidential rivals." LINK

Broder Notes both the coordinated campaigns, the "delicate dance" between the presidential candidates and the Senate candidates who are trying to figure out whether it would be to their advantage to join forces, and the idea of reverse coattails.

A front-page Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article calls the Medicare discount card system "overly complicated." LINK

A Bush and Kerry tie in Minnesota, according to a local poll. LINK

The Nader Factor is hurting Kerry there.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bill Lambrecht analysis the "pitfalls" of Sen. Kerry's approach to foreign policy and national security this week. "Analysts say his lead in polls has little to do with any new bond he has forged with voters and much to do with Bush's own troubles." LINK

"Throughout his campaign, Kerry has labored to overcome a credibility gap when criticizing the White House after voting in the Senate to give Bush administration the authority to remove Saddam Hussein from power."

"Now, Kerry has the challenge of drawing distinctions with Bush on Iraqi policy while advocating an approach that doesn't appear to be markedly different from that of the president. Meanwhile, Republicans are savaging his voting record on defense issues and Democratic liberals are pushing him to speak bluntly about how to get out of Iraq."


Yesterday the Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny took a look at the cloak-and-dagger process of the vice presidential search. LINK

The Tampa Tribune's Keith Epstein offers a Veepstakes overview, writing that "history suggests the selection is unlikely to make a huge difference in the proportion of voters for or against Kerry come November." LINK

Regardless of whether Gov. Vilsack wants or gets the running mate offer and forgoes a third term as governor, the Des Moines Register's Jennifer Dukes Lee writes about all of the folks maneuvering into position to run for his current job in 2006. LINK

National Journal's Charlie Cook was last seen playing footsie with Dick Gephardt. But with Iraq coming to "completely dominate the issue agenda," Cook is starting to think that Kerry needs to "heavy up" on national security. Cook sees only two choices that could accomplish this for Kerry: Gen. Wesley Clark and former Sen. Sam Nunn.

Clark delivers a good speech. But Charlie thinks he may have rubbed too many people the wrong way at the Pentagon.

Nunn, Cook writes, "could make an interesting choice."

"Is Nunn or Clark likely to be picked by Kerry? Probably not. But an election that is driven either exclusively or even primarily by foreign policy -- with Democrats campaigning on the issue of failed Republican national security policy -- might yield a ticket that would look very different from more normal circumstances."

The politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Fred Barbash report that a new caretaker government has assumed authority in Iraq, and the Iraqi Governing Council dissolved itself as planned. Ghazi Yawar has been chosen president of the interim government, after Adnan Pachachi, the U.S.' choice, turned down the post. Ayad Allawi, the interim prime minister, has begun to appoint a cabinet. LINK

AP offers some background on Yawar: LINK

The Washington Post's Peter Slevin looks at the increasing pressure from some foreign policy experts for the Bush Administration to set an exit strategy and date for withdrawal from Iraq. LINK

William Neikirk of the Chicago Tribune Notes that the cost of the war in Iraq, estimated to be at least $170 billion by the end of 2005, could easily exceed the $200 billion figure predicted by White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey and helped hasten his departure from the Bush Administration. LINK

The politics of national security:

The Wall Street Journal's Jim Carlton notices that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not been shy or reticent to publicly honor fallen U.S. soldiers.

"The approach taken by the action-movie hero stands in contrast to the low-profile way others have remembered fallen soldiers. The Bush administration, for instance, has enforced a ban on media photos of soldiers' coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware."

Sen. John McCain praises those who Sen. James Inhoffe derisively labeled as "humanitarian do-gooders" in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

South Dakota special election:

Today South Dakotans head to the polls to choose between Democrat Stephanie Herseth and Republican Larry Diedrich as their new Representative. Either Diedrich or Herseth will replace Republican Rep. Bill Janklow, who resigned in January after being convicted of second-degree manslaughter for hitting a motorcyclist with his car and killing him on a South Dakota highway last year.

The race has been a battle for name recognition and attention, and heavy hitters have come out to stump for both candidates: First Lady Laura Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Lynne Cheney have all campaigned for Diedrich, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has hit the road for Herseth. House Democrats are looking to win not only the seat, but also bragging rights to two wins in a row in seats formerly held by Republicans (after Democrat Ben Chandler's victory in Kentucky's 6th district in February).

Regardless of who wins, both candidates are expected to campaign for the remainder of the year and face-off again in November. Of course, a big dynamic difference then will be that one of them will be the incumbent.

Polls open at 8:00 am ET and close at 9:00 pm ET. previews today's South Dakota special showdown. LINK

The Hill covers Diedrich's all-but-pre-concession, Noting that Republicans think they can do much better in November. LINK

ABC New Vote 2004: the House:

The AP's Jim Abrams reports that Rep. Steny Hoyer thinks that 2004 has all the makings to be 1994-like, but in an opposite direction. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

In case you weren't eyeballing Noted Now yesterday: A new poll by the Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV shows Democrat Barack Obama leading Republican Jack Ryan in the U.S. Senate race by a whopping 22 percentage points, 52 percent to 30 percent. LINK

The politics of gas prices:

The New York Times front-pages from Denver how gas prices are hurting people in every day life. LINK

The Washington Post's David Ignatius thinks gas prices are too low but understands, "America likes roaring down Thunder Road, playing chicken with the oil cartel." LINK

Big casino budget politics:

You'll want to read the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook opus on the intramural fight in the Republican Party over its proximate and ultimate economic ideology, including a nuanced look at the proposed Paygo rules.

"The stakes are especially high in an election year, when tax cuts are the glue holding the Republicans' domestic agenda together. Bush's proposal to make his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent is a central plank of his reelection platform. The pay-as-you-go rule would present an enormous hurdle to fulfilling that pledge if Bush wins a second term." LINK

Big casino budget politics: Medicare:

Medicare drug discount cards kick off today, to some uncertainty, the New York Times leads. LINK


Newsweek sat down for a conversation with Ralph Nader about his temperament for the presidency, the state of the political parties, his meeting with John Kerry, and his potential role as a spoiler. LINK

The conventions:

The Democratic National Convention Committee is set to go live today with its convention blog -- the first in convention history according to the DNCC. Eric Schnure will be named the official blogger and the public will get to participate in a "name the blog" contest online.

The Wall Street Journal's Hitt reviews security complications anticipated by convention planners this summer, including perimeters in New York and traffic in Boston.

"Ironically, President Bush's campaign wanted its convention in New York to dramatize his leadership against terrorism, which advisers believe is his greatest advantage over Democratic challenger John Kerry. But underscoring the continuing homeland threat won't help his campaign aides stage the convention itself. Indeed, it no longer is even clear that emphasizing the threat of terrorist violence will help Mr. Bush politically."

The Boston Herald's Jack Meyers reports, "Unprecedented security measures planned for the hundreds of convention-related parties this July will spread traffic woes and disruptions beyond the FleetCenter to locales across Boston, according to security experts and hospitality professionals." LINK

The Boston Globe's Mark Shanahan and Carol Beggy report, "Rafanelli Events principal and director of marketing Mark Walsh has been named as the director of event services for the committee organizing the Democratic National Convention. (Read: Walsh's job is to make sure the official parties are officially great bashes.)" LINK

The Boston Herald's Jessica Yeslam writes about MTV's Walter Cronkite's thoughts on the upcoming conventions and Gideon Yago's journalistic supremacy. LINK

The politics of faith:

Chris Schneider theorizes the role of the politics of the pulpit in his Rocky Mountain News report on the "battle being waged from the nation's pulpits," as debates over same-sex marriage and abortion rights are already drawing out religious leaders. LINK

Citing Colorado Springs, Colo. as the "ground zero" for debate on such issues, the city's religious leaders are getting out early to form a unified front across denominational lines.

But don't expect evangelical Christian support for conservative policies to mean a cake walk for Bush. The activist religious community is expected to keep Republicans true to tenets of their faith by holding their feet to the fire.

With Van Jensen's report on the politics of Catholic Communion in today's Arkansas Democrat Gazette, a national conversation about what diocese will -- and won't -- serve John F. Kerry continues. Apparently, he can add Arkansas to the list of safe states. Jensen affirms that had the Senator requested Holy Communion during a recent stop in Arkansas, he would have received it. LINK

Making votes count:

The Chicago Tribune's John McCormick writes that Ohio voters aren't exactly thrilled with the idea of new electronic voting machines. LINK


The Los Angeles Times asks: could telephone rates become a campaign issue? LINK

The Hill describes how Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer have put aside ideological differences and manage to compliment each other's political proclivities quite nicely. You won't see Rep. Pelosi in districts where Hoyer Democrats predominate, and vice-versa. LINK

Rush and Molloy has news about presidential portraiture, as well as 43's choice words for Michael Moore. LINK

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Leonard Sykes reports that the Congressional Black Caucus will make Milwaukee one of the stops on its three-city "collective leadership tour" this spring. Milwaukee will host the conference on June 12; Dallas and Seattle are the other locales. LINK

*Note Note: one of our favorite journalistic weasel words.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —8:00 am: Polls open in the special election to fill South Dakota's only seat in the House of Representatives —9:30 am: National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice briefs the press on-camera about the G-8 summit and President Bush's trip to Europe, the White House —9:30 am: The National Press Foundation holds a panel discussion on "Covering National Presidential Conventions" with Frank Baker of the Associated Press, James Carroll of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Larry Arnold of Bloomberg News, Washington, D.C. —9:30 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The construction spending report for April and the manufacturing index for May are released —10:00 am: The U.S. Supreme Court meets to hand down decisions and release orders, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The Senate convenes for morning business —10:10 am: President Bush speaks at the first White House National Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Washington, D.C. —10:30 am: Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, American Values President Gary Bauer, and Coalitions for America National Chairman Paul Weyrich announce a coalition between the Arlington Group and the Coalition of African-American Pastors to push for an amendment banning same-sex marriage, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: Secretary Powell meets with members of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, Washington, D.C. —11:30 am: President Bush makes remarks on the new Iraqi government, Washington, D.C. —11:30 am: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer holds a pen and pad briefing with reporters at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: National Interreligious Leadership Initiative holds a news conference to discuss their meeting with Secretary Powell, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: The Urban Institute holds a panel discussion: "The Long-Run Budget Squeeze and the Short-Run Race to November," Washington, D.C. —12:15 am: Vice President Cheney speaks about the war on terrorism and the Patriot Act and criticizes Sen. Kerry at a campaign event, Kansas City, Mo. —12:30 pm: The Republican Policy Committee holds its weekly closed meeting at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —12:30 pm: Undersecretary of Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson holds a news conference to announce the award of the US-VISIT prime contract, Rosslyn, Va. —1:00 pm: USAID and the State Department hold an on-the-record briefing on the "Humanitarian Crisis in Western Sudan," Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Leavitt delivers the keynote address at the annual "Healthy Communities and Ecosystems" conference, Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: Rep. Dan Burton holds a news conference with a delegation of seven Iraqi men allegedly mutilated by Saddam Hussein's regime at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: The House Government Reform Subcommittee holds a hearing on whether low-level exposure to sarin may have played a role in Gulf War Syndrome at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —1:15 pm: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers hold a briefing at the Pentagon —1:45 pm: Sen. John Kerry delivers a speech titled "New Strategies to Meet New Threats" at the Port of Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Fla. —2:00 pm: Sen. Joe Lieberman and Hadassah Lieberman hold a reception at the Capitol for World War II veterans from the 42nd Infantry Division, which helped liberate the concentration camp holding Sen. Lieberman's mother, Washington, D.C. —2:00 pm: The House of Representatives convenes for legislative business —4:00 pm: The Energy Department releases the weekly gasoline price report —4:15 pm: United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick signs a trade and investment agreement with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Washington, D.C. —5:30 pm: The Senate is expected to hold a cloture vote on whether to proceed with a bill that would adjust class-action lawsuit laws —6:30 pm: Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni and Tom Clancy, co-authors of "Battle Ready," participate in a conversation at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C. —7:15 pm: The New York Times and Discovery Communications screen the documentary "Thomas L. Friedman Reporting: The Other Side of Outsourcing," Washington, D.C. —7:40 pm: President Bush attends a Republican National Committee Victory 2004 fundraiser at the Lawrence C. Phipps Memorial Conference Center, Denver, Colo. —9:00 pm: Polls close in the special election to fill South Dakota's only seat in the House of Representatives —11:00 pm: Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Kerry campaign advisor Richard Holbrooke appears on "Charlie Rose"