The Note

"Bush's 40-minute speech to party allies signaled the White House would use its political muscle to break the deadlock, especially with gasoline prices now over $2 per gallon, and lawmakers later showed the challenge facing the administration."

"'We are not interested in renegotiating this bill,' [House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay said."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the BC04 campaign will hit the ground today to tout job growth. "'A body in every state,' one aide says — including the president in Louisiana, Treasury Secretary John Snow at an auto plant in Ohio and Commerce Secretary Don Evans at a town meeting in Florida."

The Boston Globe 's Mary Leonard spends some time on the campaign trail with First Lady Laura Bush and profiles her "rescue" effort for her husband. LINK

"She also may be raising her profile in anticipation of the media's focus on Teresa Heinz Kerry, an heiress who is passionate about the environment and other policy initiatives," Leonard reports.

But one critical difference between the First Lady and the woman who would replace her: Laura Bush said she had "no intention of sharing her views on hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage in the campaign."

"'I know people are very interested in the personal lives of their president and his family,' Mrs. Bush said. 'At the same time, I am more reserved and want a private life.'"

If you are a college (or maybe even high school) graduate this year in one of the battleground states, there is a good chance you will hear a politician give you post-graduation advice. LINK While the speeches may not be political or focus on the upcoming election, commencement addresses by the president and his surrogates and Senator Kerry provide a vehicle for positive media coverage in important states, USA Today 's Benedetto reports.

The AP's Pete Yost goes into detail on one of those graduation speech sites: Louisiana. LINK The AP has learned that President Bush will make another trip to Ohio next week, his second visit to the key battleground state this month. LINK Bush is schedule to talk about health care in Youngstown, Ohio.

AP's Nedra Pickler Notes that during her first campaign event in New York City yesterday, Lynne Cheney jumped into the fray and criticized Senator Kerry's record on education, specifically his vote on the president's No Child Left Behind act. LINK The Wall Street Journal 's ed board chides Bush for waving the white flag by striking a deal with Senate Democrats on judicial appointments, but says it "can understand why the White House felt it had to wave this white flag … Especially if Mr. Bush loses this fall, Republicans will be glad they filled those seats."

Townhall columnist and conservative talk show host Neal Boortz raps the president for the judges deal, writing that "if it were not for his fondness for tax cuts, and his pursuit, however flawed, of the ongoing war on terror, I can't for the life of me think of a good reason to vote for George Bush this November." LINK New York Times ' Yardley and Stowe look at Connecticut Gov. John Rowland's falling star and how he "relinquished a crucial platform of political power and influence within his party: leading the state re-election campaign for President Bush." LINK

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