The Note

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Despite sweeping changes in the political media landscape over the last several decades, some rules have remained the same since time began.

Long before Leslie Goodman became a Disney executive and Fellow Cast Member, she learned and taught a simple lesson:

TV news coverage drives the rhythms and outcomes of elections, and TV news decision makers (executives, executive producers, anchors, reporters, producers, and, now, Googling monkeys) have their days shaped by reading the morning papers and listening to the radio (which also keys off of the morning papers).

So if winning the news cycle means winning the newspapers (and, thus, winning national and local TV), we can already chalk up Wednesday, May 19, 2004 for John Forbes Kerry.

Consider:

-- The New York Times' Robert Pear, who Notes that "in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply." LINK

(This one could have been written by the DNC research shop -- it makes a point that has been a staple of their work for literally years. Let's see what the pickup is like . . . )

-- The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes' critique of President Bush's management style

-- The plethora of second-day gas prices coverage, including Los Angeles Times LINK and USA Today LINK, as well as so much more.

--The Washington Post's Wright and Ricks write up Paul Wolfowitz's acknowledgement to the Senate Armed Services Committee that mistakes were made. LINK

"Under tough questioning from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a leading administration advocate of the Iraq intervention, acknowledged miscalculating that Iraqis would tolerate a long occupation. A central flaw in planning, he added, was the premise that U.S. forces would be creating a peace, not fighting a war, after the ouster of Saddam Hussein."

The story also takes almost for granted the disillusionment among many U.S. government officials involved in Iraq policy.

-- The GOP Chairman v. Chairman fight over Iraq and congressional oversight. LINK and LINK

-- The Kerry/Dean mutual admiration society, as immortalized by Pat Healy LINK; Dan Balz LINK; and Jodi Wilgoren LINK

-- Battleground state headlines (i.e., gas prices, gas prices, gas prices, Iraq, Iraq, Iraq)

-- The lovefest that is the DNC's platform committee hearings, as contrasted from some of the left-far left battle royales of the past

Of course, by sundown, after the two signature events of John Kerry's day -- his 2:15 tete-a-(giant)-tete meeting with Ralph Nader, and a lush sup with New York Timesmen and Timeswomen -- Kerry's Wednesday roll could be rocked and ruined, or, perhaps, it could lead to winning Thursday.

According to ABC News' Dan Harris: In the room will be John Kerry, Ralph Nader, Mary Beth Cahill, and someone from Nader's staff. The meeting is budgeted for an hour, and will be, per a Kerry source, "casual."

Will Kerry ask Nader to get out of the race? "Absolutely not," says a Kerry source, saying that this is "just the first meeting in what will probably be a number of meetings."

President Bush meets with his Cabinet, speaks to the NCAA Winter Sports Champions, and meets with the Prime Minister of Italy at the White House. Later, he speaks at the Sons of Italy Foundation 16th Annual National Education and Leadership Awards Gala at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Beyond his Nader and Times meetings, Sen. Kerry meets with Sens. Byrd, Rockefeller, and Breaux, attends a roundtable with the Associated Press, and attends a fundraising reception at the Mayflower Hotel.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge testify before the 9/11 Commission at the New School, New York, N.Y.

The Senate Armed Services Committee hears from CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, and Deputy Commander for Detainee Operations Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller Committee, Washington, D.C.

Vice President Cheney delivers the commencement address to the 123rd United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.

First Lady Laura Bush visits William Walker Elementary School to speak about No Child Left Behind, Portland, Ore. and appears on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Both the Senate and the House considers the Defense Authorization bill.

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

President Bush spoke before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee yesterday and today, the Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds and Peter Wallsten look at the President's support among Jewish voters and Note that "the Republican president's reelection strategists have long hoped that White House policies that focus on fighting terror and spreading democracy through the Mideast." LINK

"GOP strategists view the Jewish community as a pillar of the Democratic electorate that is fracturing, with significant chunks beginning to fall to the Republicans. They see pro-Israel Jews as an important target in their long-term plan to 'realign' the electorate and give the Republican Party majority status."

On the AIPAC speech, the New York Times' Stevenson reports that President Bush issued a strong signal of support for Israel and asserted that Israel has a right to defend itself. LINK

While the Washington Post's Milbank and Kessler report that Bush's "mild" criticism of Israel's Gaza attacks track with recent statements by Rice and contradict those of Powell. LINK

The Washington Post duo Note that Bush's speech was interrupted 67 times by applause and chants of "Four more years."

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes Notes that although President Bush's management style "generally has served him well," the prisoner abuse scandal has allowed critics to question "whether the first president with a master's in business administration relies too much on like-minded advisers, too readily equates dissent with disloyalty and is too averse to admitting mistakes."

The New York Times' Robert Pear Notes that "in a twist this election season, many administration officials are taking credit for spreading largess through programs that President Bush tried to eliminate or to cut sharply." LINK

"Whether they involve programs Mr. Bush supported or not, the grant announcements illustrate how the administration blends politics and policy, blurring the distinction between official business and campaign-related activities."

The Washington Post's Ann Gerhart profiles Laura Bush on the campaign trail in Las Vegas, Nev. this week and Notes that the First Lady "has always been subtle rather than direct, implicit rather than overt." LINK

Gerhart, who wrote a biography of Laura Bush this year, "The Perfect Wife," writes that "Mrs. Bush always has been more cautious about illuminating how or what she thinks," particularly on social issues.

But there is no doubt that she is a crowd pleaser -- even if she is not there: "In the president's stump speeches during his bus tour of four other swing states two weeks ago, he consistently told his audiences that one of the best reasons to reelect him is to ensure his wife is first lady for another four years. It's the biggest applause line every time."

In USA Today's cover story, Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio challenges Bush's opposition to the highway bill, telling the Nation's Newspaper: "This is a desperately needed jobs bill that could mean 150,000 new jobs for Ohio -- a state that'll be very important for the president's re-election." LINK

USA Today's Despeignes reports "The House and Senate have each passed a version but Bush's opposition to the size of the bill has helped stall it."

And Notes: "The fight is an intense Republican-vs.-Republican battle over competing goals: putting government to work for voters or cutting the federal deficit. History says Congress will win."

Polly Ross Hughes of the Houston Chronicle reports that the new Scripps Howard Texas Poll shows that President Bush remains extremely popular in the Lone Star State -- 59 percent surveyed gave him a favorable rating. Forty-nine percent said they approved of his handling of the economy and 50 percent disapproved; 50 percent said they approved of his performance on Iraq, while 48 percent disapproved. LINK

"Rice University political science professor Bob Stein said while Texas remains safe territory for Bush now, any further slippage means he'd need to make a campaign swing to his home state."

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

The Washington Post's Balz and Kurtz report that Kerry is sometimes ignored as the networks focus on Iraq and Bush. It's been quite a turnaround from the daily coverage of the nomination contest coverage -- and slightly beyond. Which begs the question: How does Kerry break through? The Kerry camp says they're not worried: most news has been bad about Bush and they get good local coverage. LINK

The AP's Mike Glover maps out what Kerry and Nader expect to get out of their sit-down today. LINK

The Los Angeles Times examines Kerry's latest primary wins (!) through the Nader spectrum. LINK

The Boston Globe's Pat Healy gives us a feel of the interaction between Kerry and Dean yesterday, where they appeared to wax poetically about those crazy primary season days where one might have gotten the impression that they didn't really like each other much at all. LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes up Dean's comments on the Kerry charter, including:

--Dean: "I certainly admired you for kicking my [expletive] in Iowa," Dean said to roars of laughter and a quick high-five from the victor. --Dean: "You know, there wasn't a helluva lot of difference in all our platforms, really." --Dean on whether he saw it coming in Iowa: "No, I thought we were going to win," he said. He sensed slippage but was blindsided by what hit him. "I thought we had a shot," he said. "The last couple of days didn't feel right. But I thought we had a shot." LINK

The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren calls the Kerry-Dean friendship "as sure a sign as any of a Democratic Party unified in wanting to oust President Bush." LINK

Will the CBO score Kerry's health plan, asks The Hill. And how much would the proposal really cost? LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry bonus section:

Last night on his campaign plane flying from Portland, Ore., to Dulles, Sen. Kerry was asked what he thought of the Greenspan reappointment.

The Senator said he had no idea that it had occurred.

This exchange happened, as best The Note can reconstruct, between approximately 5:00 pm and 5:30 pm ET.

Which made the following e-mailed press release somewhat confusing to us:

-----Original Message----- From: Kerry campaign

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2004 4:51 PM Subject: Kerry Stmt on Greenspan Renomination

For Immediate Release

May 18, 2004

Contact: Allison Dobson

Kerry Statement on Greenspan Renomination

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry released the following statement today in response to Alan Greenspan being nominated for another term:

"Alan Greenspan's overall record as Chairman of the Federal Reserve has been one of distinction, and I congratulate him on his renomination. ..."

Ms. Dobson tells The Note, "Senator Kerry has been perfectly clear in the past about his opinion of Chairman Greenspan and his performance as Federal Reserve Chairman. Therefore, we chose to put out a statement that reflected that long-standing view while he was in the air instead of waiting until after the news cycle."

Journalism reviews of America -- have at it!!!!

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

According to a new poll published by Quinnipiac University, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's job approval rating has reached its highest point in 19 months, with a nearly even 41%-43%. The beleaguered Governor's status has brightened the hopes of Republicans of possibly stealing the Garden State in November's presidential election. This news certainly allows Democrats to take a deep breath and gives Republicans second thoughts about changing the color of New Jersey on their electoral map.

Tomorrow Quinnipiac University will release the second part of their poll addressing the presidential match-up in New Jersey.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Minnesota "gained 12,100 jobs from March to April, the largest month-to-month gain since October 1999, when adjusted for seasonal hiring patterns."

The front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is all Iraq. Leading is a story on two local Nation Guardsmen killed in a Humvee attack. LINK

The second is Abu Ghraib. LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer leads with the 9/11 hearings going on in New York proving that the heroic rescue workers on that day were "hampered by communications failures, fractured command structures, and poorly conceived evacuation plans." LINK

The Columbus Dispatch announces the arrival of the 11 Kerry field staffers in this oh-so-important battleground, the earliest state mobilization for Democrats ever, they say. It seems the Bush campaign's 13 field staffers are based in Columbus, while the Kerry camp is disbursed throughout the state. Jennifer Palmieri, Kerry's Ohio communications director, is saluted, per usual, by The Note and quoted in the story. "There's certainly not a state anyone in the campaign would say is more important," she says again.

The Salem Statesman Journal asserts its state, Oregon, as a battleground and Notes the attention being lavished about Oregon voters with Monday's visit by Sen. Kerry and today's visit by First Lady Laura Bush. The article Notes that "Past Portland visits by [President] Bush have drawn some of the most violent protests during his term in office." LINK

Veepstakes:

The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont Notes Gov. Vilsack's participation in yesterday's, umm, gas attacks and looks at that rising profile and visibility thing. LINK

David Ingram of the Winston-Salem Journal reports on a new Mason-Dixon poll that shows a Kerry-Edwards ticket would considerably close the gap between President Bush and his Democratic challenger in the fall -- from a head-to-head matchup of 48-41 percent head-to-head matchup to 46-45. LINK

The politics of gas prices:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz has Kerry assailing Bush for high gas prices. LINK

Wilgoren and Rosenbaum of the New York Times report on Democrats' push to get the President to push OPEC on oil prices. LINK

As does the Chicago Tribune's Frank James. LINK

In the Los Angeles Times, Charlie Black says there is "'some concern'" in GOP circles about rising gas prices, but goes on to Note there is historical precedent here. LINK

USA Today's Judy Keen explains how the Democrats executed their coordinated attack on Tuesday and informs us that the plans originated over coffee and doughnuts. LINK

The New York Times ed board goes all party-spoiling by trashing John Kerry and says "it's sadly predictable that politicians will try to curry favor with voters by playing silly blame games and proposing simplistic quick fixes for rising gasoline prices," but urges us all to "keep the shrill hyperbole about 'record high' oil prices in perspective." LINK

The Detroit Free Press' Chris Christoff and Ruby Bailey look at it from Gov. Granholm's angle and hear the thoughts of Detroit commuters on gas prices. They don't like 'em, but they're not ready to blame anyone in particular it seems. LINK

The Detroit News quotes Gov. Vilsack in a same-themed story. LINK

The economy:

The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel reports on Bush's renomination of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Note: Wessel says look for Robert Rubin to take Greenspan's seat if Kerry wins.

AP's Martin Crutsinger rounds up the career and cult of Alan Greenspan, and the re-nomination of the Fed chairman for another term. LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

The Boston Globe's Yvonne Abraham and Frank Phillips report that Gov. Romney "is preparing to ask a court to block city and town clerks from issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, a senior Romney aide said yesterday." LINK

The New York Times reports Romney's efforts as well. LINK

The politics of Iraq:

The Los Angeles Times' Brownstein Notes the increasing polarization among the public on Iraq, writing that "in a trend reminiscent of public opinion during Vietnam, the stay-the-course option Bush and Kerry represent, to varying degrees, is losing ground to alternatives that might be summarized as: Win or go home." LINK

Knight Ridder's Ron Hutcheson runs through the many doubts expressed at Tuesday's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing over the timetable for handing over control to the Iraqis and for the presence of U.S. troops. LINK

The Washington Post's Chan and Wilson report that in the wake of Salim's assassination, Iraqi political leaders expressed "anger and despair" over the "inability of U.S. authorities to stem the relentless violence gripping Iraq." LINK

No more money for Ahmad Chalabi, reports the Los Angeles Times' Curtius, and neo-cons are upset. LINK

William Safire raps the reporting Chattering Class for ignoring the report of sarin found in Iraq. LINK

The politics of the 9/11 Commission:

AP's Devlin Bartlett describes the scene during the New York 9/11 Commission hearings, during which the coordination between the police and fire departments came under fire from members of the panel. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge testify today. LINK

The New York Times' Shenon and Flynn write that "several members" of the Sept. 11 commission "suggested that 32 months after the attacks, the nation's largest city remained dangerously unprepared to deal with another terrorist strike." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Rudolph Bush goes a step further, detailing findings in the staff report on the key failures of the city's emergency system, inadequate Port Authority evacuation drills, and lack of communication that allowed firefighters to continue ascending in the north tower of the World Trade Center, unaware that the south tower had collapsed. LINK

Prison abuse scandal:

It's Hunter vs. Warner now: The New York Times' Hulse and Marquis observe that Republicans in Congress are split over whether the prisoner abuse investigation has been taken too far. LINK

The Washington Post's Babington and Graham report that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), "lashed out at his Senate counterpart" for "summoning senior U.S. commanders from the field to testify at hearings into the prisoner-abuse scandal, saying the move threatens to disrupt military operations in Iraq." LINK

ABC News' Brian Ross and Alexandra Salomon report on one soldier who says that dozens of other soldiers were involved in the abuse in addition to the seven who have already been charged. LINK

"Army officials in Iraq responded late last year to a Red Cross report of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison by trying to curtail the international agency's spot inspections of the prison," report the New York Times' Jehl and Schmitt. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jaffe and Cloud write "senior U.S. military officials in Iraq" "reviewed a strongly worded Red Cross report detailing the abuse of prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison last November -- but the Army did not launch an investigation into the abuses until two months later." LINK

Howard Kurtz looks at Seymour Hersh's dominance of the prisoner abuse scandal. LINK

Big casino budget politics:

On Tuesday, Republican leaders in Congress reached a budget compromise that would extend Bush's major tax cuts for only one year, reports Edmund Andrews of the New York Times. However, "Senate leaders aid that even that provision might not be enough to enough votes to pass it." LINK

Big casino budget politics: the highway bill:

USA Today's Peronet Despeignes gives it to us in a nutshell. LINK

"The key to making things better nationwide is the huge highway bill now stalled in Congress, many congressional Republicans argue. Ohio Sen. George Voinovich and other Republicans say the bill not only will reduce traffic woes nationwide but also will provide thousands of jobs, an invaluable commodity in an election year still plagued in many areas by a troubled job market."

"That combination would seem irresistible, but congressional Republicans' plans are vigorously opposed by another Republican: President Bush."

The politics of immigration:

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan writes that a new battlefield has opened up among Republicans running for Congress: immigration. Primary challengers are going after incumbents who favor legalizing illegal immigrants. LINK

Dinan follows up with a story on the House handily defeating a measure (88-331) requiring hospitals to identify illegal immigrants before the federal government would pay for their care. It's not often you see the word "xenophobic" in print from a U.S. congressman. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The latest Badger Poll shows that 36 percent of Wisconsin Republicans have a favorable impression of Sen. Russ Feingold, reports Tom Held of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. State GOP Chair Richard Graber, however, is having none of it, despite previous surveys that show steady Republican favorables for the Senator. Evidently that whole "maverick" image thing cuts across party lines. Where have we heard that before? LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the gubernatorial races:

PoliticsNH.com's James Pindell put together an extremely educational timeline last night of how Democrats appear to have ended up with businessman and former chair of the University of New Hampshire System trustees John Lynch as their consensus choice as a challenger to Gov. Craig Benson. (One of the networks should give the N.H. Dems a development deal for "Who Wants to Be the Nominee" or "Survivor: Concord.") LINK

The Wheeling Intelligencer's Tom Diana reports that GOP nominee Monty Warner has called on Democratic opponent Joe Manchin to endorse President Bush, saying that "' The state of West Virginia will be worse with John Kerry as president.'" LINK

The conventions:

A group with ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, "announced yesterday that it has canceled a series of parties and other events it had scheduled around the Republican National Convention, after it drew sharp criticism from public watchdog groups," the Washington Post's Brian Faler reports. LINK

Brody "Wildcat" Mullins of Roll Call reports, "House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has dropped plans to raise money for his charitable foundation during the GOP convention this summer after public interest groups accused him of using the fundraisers to sell access to exclusive convention events to corporate lobbyists and wealthy Republicans."

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein reports, "Boston's main police union is planning to set up a picket line at the FleetCenter when construction begins for the Democratic National Convention in three weeks, and has applied for 29 additional permits to protest outside of the delegation welcome parties scheduled for the night before the convention begins in late July." LINK

And the Globe's Kevin Joy reports that the protestors will have freshly repaved sidewalks and streets upon which to protest, courtesy of Mayor Menino. LINK

The Boston Herald's Erin Convey previews the anticipated not-so-good news today for Bostonians regarding the daily traffic closing and commuting plans for convention week. LINK

Judiciary politics:

The Washington Post's Helen Dewar writes up the White House's agreement with the Senate not to use recess appointments if the Senate will allow votes on 25 "mostly noncontroversial nominations to district and appeals court posts." LINK

"Democrats refused to include seven appeals court nominees they have been blocking -- or threatening to block -- as too ideologically conservative in their views on abortion, worker rights and other issues likely to confront a federal judge. Democrats will continue to oppose these nominees, Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) told reporters. Other nominees will be considered on a case-by-case basis, Daschle said."

The Chicago Tribune's Richard Simon looks at the compromise as well. LINK

The AP's Jesse Holland explains the deal reached on Tuesday between Dems and the White House on dozens of nominees. LINK

Casino politics:

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley tries to outflank Gov. Blagojevich on casino gambling in the state in an effort to bring gambling to the Windy City, the Chicago Sun-Times' Fran Spielman reports. We bet $5 that Tucker Carlson won't like the Governor's Wayne Newton comment. LINK

Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin are expected to force a vote today that would give the legislature final say on deals that Gov. Jim Doyle enters into on Indian casinos. LINK

Politics:

The Wall Street Journal's John Godfrey reports that the House has approved measures that would ensure "employer-friendly changes in workplace-safety rules."

Religious leaders "including some conservative evangelical groups generally supportive of President Bush -- say in letters to be hand-delivered to each senator today that a recent consensus among international experts shows the climate-change problem is real and that it requires political action "to prevent damage to the common good," reports the Wall Street Journal's Fialka.

Corrections:

Yesterday The Note recounted an amusing exchange between Sen. Kerry and one of his senior traveling aides as the presumptive Democratic nominee's charter jet quickly left Topeka on Monday before the arrival of Air Force One.

That aide's name is David Morehouse, of course, not David "Moorehouse," as it was spelled here yesterday. But there IS a Boston figure named "David Moorehouse," and the two do apparently have something in common -- a mutual distrust of the Boston Globe. LINK

We regret the error as much as we like Morehouse's neckwear.

Ed O'Keefe's Kerry campaign report:

PORTLAND, ORE., May 18 -- After a strong speech to an energetic crowd of thousands gathered in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, Sen. John Kerry clasped hands with the nomination rival who bedeviled his once-teetering campaign through a rocky fall.

Aboard the campaign's Miami Air charter on Tuesday for the four-hour flight to Washington, D.C., the Senator and Dr. Dean made their rounds to the blend of current Kerry and former Dean traveling press corps members.

Fresh from a 47-minute conversation, the unlikely pair peered into the press cabin. Kerry deadpanned, "We're here to excite you and change your lives."

Gov. Dean aimed a little lower, offering, "We're here to play, 'Oh, Hell'."

But the Governor's card-playing inclinations were temporarily set aside as Kerry moved five rows into the lion's den, ready to hold court from seat 15D. Dean followed and quickly Noted that on Monday night, "We put the bat up for John."

As Kerry chatted in separate conversation, Dean insisted he enjoyed watching the presumptive Democratic nominee work, as it provided an opportunity to "admire the craft."

Asked if he ever upstages Kerry, Dean continued to defer to the candidate who only three months ago forced him from the presidential contest, saying, "That's actually not going to happen . . . because he's the Democratic presidential candidate and nobody else is."

Kerry, praising Dean and recognizing that the crowd around him had swelled to 18 journalists packed into three 737 rows, joked, "Is this plane's structure built to handle this many people in one place? Can we move back to the front before we find out?"

Not surprisingly, no one budged as the pair reminisced about the settled race and the campaign to come. A humble Dean said, "I certainly admired him for kicking my ass in Iowa."

At which point, the Senator and the Governor high-fived before a reporter mockingly asked for clarification, "How do you spell ass?"

The still quick-witted and blunt former contender shot, "A-R-S-E."

Kerry went on to critique his own work on the stump, recognizing that after watching a purposefully unspecified event tape, "I felt that could be more effective."

The often long-winded Senator continued, "You just have to keep your mind open and be willing to be criticized . . . you know sometimes you think you're doing something and your not."

Despite several attempts to elicit elaboration, Kerry said, "Everybody in my campaign staff is an editor, doesn't (sic) hesitate to tell me, you sucked."

After nearly an hour of not-so-idle chitchat, the newfound allies retired to the first-class cabin where, a short while later, they joined aides Marvin Nicholson and Tom McMahon for several rounds of Hearts.

Sen. Kerry separates from Dean to spend an "administrative day" in Washington on Wednesday. Kerry temporarily resumes his day job, returning to Senate before sitting down with the AP and fundraising in the evening, followed by a closed dinner with the New York Times.

The nominee-to-be will also meet with 2000 Green Party and 2004 independent candidate Ralph Nader at the Kerry campaign headquarters in Washington. Scheduled late Tuesday evening, Kerry officials refused to speculate on the meeting's purpose or substance.

Kerry travels to Boston on Thursday and to Greenwich, Conn., on Friday for a pair of fundraisers.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —8:30 am: Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani testifies before the 9/11 Commission at the New School, New York, N.Y. —8:30 am: CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, and Deputy Commander for Detainee Operations Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Washington, D.C. —9:00 am: House Republicans hold a closed party conference at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —9:30 am: The Senate convenes for morning business —9:30 am: Former CENTCOM commander Gen. Joe Hoar testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the transition of power in Iraq, Washington, D.C. —9:45 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —10:00 am: House Speaker Dennis Hastert, former Rep. Jack Kemp, former Rep. J.C. Watts, and Rep. Mike Turner hold a news conference to discuss "Saving America's Cities" at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The House of Representatives debates the Defense Authorization bill —10:00 am: The American Petroleum Institute issues its monthly statistical report —10:55 am: President Bush meets with his Cabinet at the White House, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: Vice President Cheney delivers the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn. —11:00 am: Sen. John Kerry meets with Sens. Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller at the Senate, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: Sens. Joe Lieberman, Sam Brownback, and Hillary Clinton hold a news conference on the Children and Media Research Advancement Act, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: The Senate debate the Defense Authorization bill —11:00 am: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg testifies before the 9/11 Commission at the New School, New York, N.Y. —11:15 am: Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge testifies before the 9/11 Commission at the New School, New York, N.Y. —11:25 am: Sen. Kerry meets with Sen. John Breaux at the Senate, Washington, D.C. —11:30 am: Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and Sens. Patty Murray and Bill Nelson hold a news conference on increasing aid to members of the National Guard the Democratic amendments to the DOD bill, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a roundtable with the Associated Press, Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: On-camera briefing by Secretary McClellan —1:00 pm: Politics Live on ABC News Live and AOL —1:45 pm: Sen. Kerry holds a conference call with 1,000 female business leaders —2:00 pm: First Lady Laura Bush visits William Walker Elementary School and participates in a roundtable discussion on the No Child Left Behind Act, Portland, Ore. —2:00 pm: Sen. Orin Hatch holds a news conference on immigration at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —2:15 pm: Sen. Kerry meets with Ralph Nader, Washington, D.C. —2:30 pm: Treasury Secretary John Snow testifies about health savings accounts before the Special Aging Committee, Washington, D.C. —3:50 pm: President Bush speaks to the NCAA winter sports champions at the White House, Washington, D.C. —5:55 pm: President Bush meets with the Prime Minister of Italy at the White House, Washington, D.C. —6:00 pm: Bush-Cheney '04 National Political Director Terry Nelson hosts an online chat on http://www.georgewbush.com/chat —6:20 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a fundraising reception at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. —7:00 pm: Treasury Secretary John Snow delivers the keynote address at the Competitive Enterprise Institute's 20th Anniversary Gala dinner at the Capitol Hilton, Washington, D.C. —7:15 pm: Sen. Kerry has dinner with the New York Times, Washington, D.C. —7:45 pm: President Bush speaks at the Sons of Italy Foundation 16th Annual Nation Education and Leadership Awards Gala at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C. —11:35 pm: Laura Bush appears on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"