The Note





With apologies to Steve "!" Schmidt and Phil "Sunday's Best" Singer, we thus wade into the politics of Iraqi prison abuse.

Potential fallout:

1. American disappointment leads to a worsening of the all-important right track/wrong track number (and look how bad it is already in the new Dow Jones/General Electric poll).

2. Still murky timetable under which Mr. Bush learned of the investigations leads to further "what did he know and when did he know it?" questioning and -- perhaps -- (un)timely disclosures.

3. Loss of hearts and minds complicates June/July handover.

4. Attacks on John Kerry's vintage decrying of American military atrocities lose some of their bite.

5. Distracted White House communications team can't focus like a laser beam on the destruction of John Kerry. (Those mocking jokes don't write themselves, you know.)

6. Battling between Rumsfeld camp and Powell camp reaches a destabilizing crescendo.

7. The justification and support for the overall Iraq enterprise begins to crumble.

8. Critics of the international message policy are emboldened to speak out (NBC reported last night that Ambassador Tutwiler has not been happy with the effort.).

9. Investigations into abuses lead to plea bargains and more accusations.

10. Capitol Hill dam breaks on long-simmering GOP dissatisfaction with Administration secrecy and alleged failure to respect the responsibilities and prerogatives of the co-equal legislative branch.

11. Potentially enhances John Kerry's claim that he would play more nicely with other countries.

12. Bush stump lines about how happy the Iraqi people are that the United States is there and about the end of torture chambers (repeated as recently as last night) lose some of their intended resonance.

President Bush meets with the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and King Abdullah of Jordan before holding a joint press avail with Abdullah and speaking on the National Day of Prayer at the White House today.

Sen. Kerry visits a classroom at Colton High School in California before delivering a major education address on the quality of teachers. Tonight he speaks at an AFL-CIO campaign kickoff event and attends a campaign fundraiser in Phoenix, Ariz.

Tomorrow night on ABC's "20/20," Teresa Heinz Kerry sits down with Barbara Walters to talk about life and the campaign. Tune in at 10:00 pm ET -- check your local listings.

The Senate continues debate of the FSC-ETI Jobs bill.

BC'04 Chairman Gov. Marc Racicot speaks about Kerry's record on national defense from Charleston, and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani speaks about the war on terror at the Council on Foreign Relations this afternoon.

The politics of national security: the prison controversy:

The Baltimore Sun's Tom Bowman tick tocks the chain of the custody of the photos from the earliest days. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Chen, Hendren and Hook on the Pentagon's differing view of how the crisis was handled and what would happen in the wake of a Rumsfeld resignation. LINK

The trio have the most detail about timing of Rumsfeld and Bush Notifications, placing them in January.

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Dan Balz examine Bush's appearances on Arab TV, during which he fell just short of apologizing for the prisoner abuse in Iraq. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Fassihi and Hitt wrap Bush's Arabic language TV appearances, writing the President "made it clear to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Wednesday that he was unhappy with the way he was informed about the mistreatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to White House aides. In particular, Mr. Bush didn't appreciate that no one told him about the pictures of U.S. soldiers posing with hooded or naked Iraqi prisoners until the images aired on national television."

The New York Times' Stevenson reviews President Bush's appearances and writes that "as Mr. Bush sought to contain the damage to the credibility and reputation of the United States abroad, his Democratic rival in the presidential race, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, signaled for the first time that he would make the case a political issue at home." LINK

The Washington Post's Robin Wright and Bradley Graham Bush report that President Bush is " "not satisfied" and "not happy" with the way Rumsfeld informed him about the investigation into abuses by U.S. soldiers at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison or the quantity of information Rumsfeld provided." LINK

The New York Times' Bumiller writes of the public venting of unhappiness with Rumsfeld: "The disclosures by the White House officials, under authorization from Mr. Bush, were an extraordinary display of finger-pointing in an administration led by a man who puts a high premium on order and loyalty." LINK

The Washington Times' Joe Curl details the interviews, the allegations, and the controversy surrounding Rumsfeld. LINK

The Washington Post's Babington and Dewar Note that congressmen from both parties "demanded yesterday that the top Pentagon and CIA leaders explain in detail why Iraqi prisoners were abused in prisons operated by U.S. military and intelligence officers, while a senior Democratic senator said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should resign if he can't adequately do so." LINK

On Wednesday Sen. Kerry criticized Bush's response to the Iraqi prisoner abuse, but "stopped short of demanding that President Bush issue a formal apology," Notes the Washington Post's Lois Romano. LINK

The Los Angeles Times says it seems Kerry's remarks "were prodded in part by concern among some allies in Washington about his relative silence since reports of the abuse surfaced last week." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board reminds its readers that the military, not CBS, uncovered Abu Ghraib's abuse and writes in a zinger that "unlike the Catholic bishops, some corporate boards and the editors of the New York Times or USA Today, the military brass did not dismiss early allegations of bad behavior."

Maureen Dowd reviews the Bush Administration's handling of Iraq and its Pentagon luminaries' attendance of Washington soirees this past weekend. LINK

The politics of national security: the new $25 billion request:

The White House has asked Congress for another $25 billion to use for Iraq and Afghanistan, reports the New York Times' Hulse and Shanker. Note Democratic Rep. Obey's charge that the closed-door GOP meeting in which the request was made "'represents yet another effort to conceal the full costs of meeting the challenge in Iraq until after the election.'" LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that the money is slated for Army operations and maintenance, says stem cell expert Trent Duffy, and that the White House would ask for as much as $50 billion next year. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Hitt and Rogers see the President's $25 billion funding request cutting both ways -- on the one hand, Bush wanted to wait to have this funding debate until after the election, on the other hand, "the president already is using Mr. Kerry's opposition to the $87.5 billion Iraq spending bill against his rival. The fresh spending request could add to this pressure on the senator."

Has anyone figured out yet what Sen. Kerry will do about this vote?

William Neikirk of the Chicago Tribune writes that the extra $25 billion request is expected to be granted, but basically hands over both the can of worms and the can opener to lawmakers looking to slam the White House further for its approach to stabilizing the region(s) and lays on more pressure to offset the costs. Not to mention the conundrum of members who will vote for the bill and then against it. LINK

The politics of national security:

"For the second time in a month, the State Department yesterday found itself fending off questions about Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's role in the Bush administration, after some of his top aides gave interviews to GQ magazine suggesting he was frustrated and isolated," Notes the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler. LINK

"The House Judiciary Committee voted 17 to 12 to report with an "unfavorable recommendation" to the House a proposed constitutional amendment on replacing killed or gravely injured lawmakers after a terrorist attack," reports the Washington Post's Christopher Lee. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

A must-read indeed:

The latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll shows the President "still holds a 4-point lead over John Kerry, despite worrying news from Iraq and a growing sense of anxiety among voters," reports John Harwood. "With six in 10 voters also concluding that events in Iraq have slipped out of U.S. control, Mr. Bush's slim national lead in the presidential campaign depends, for now, largely on doubts about Democratic challenger John Kerry that the president is stoking in stump attacks and a barrage of negative television ads." And more: "Poll results reflect a mood closer to the unsuccessful 1992 re-election campaign of the current president's father than to prevailing sentiment during Bill Clinton's successful bid for a second term in 1996." LINK

The Quinnipiac Poll shows "approval for the job President Bush is doing has hit a record low, but voters don't much like the prospect of John Kerry replacing him," reports the New York Daily News. LINK

You must read Stu Rothenberg's Roll Call piece today, in which he writes, "The president looks weak. Kerry looks weaker."

The AP's Liz Sidoti truth squads the ads on both sides. LINK

Ralph Z. Hallow of the Washington Times writes about a plan for each party to set up a separate committee to spend unlimited amounts of hard money to spend on their presidential candidates, so as not to coordinate. Everyone's keeping their options open, sayeth Messers. Wachs and Gillespie. LINK

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

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be surrogating for the campaign at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York this afternoon when he delivers remarks on the war on terrorism. We can expect the former mayor to talk about "where we've been and where we are going," according to one source familiar with the preparations for today's speech. Giuliani will also talk about "the importance of sustaining the efforts including homeland security and the Patriot Act."

A Q&A session with reporters is scheduled for 20 minutes following his remarks.

Mark Z. Barabak of the Los Angeles Times turns his eye on Nevada and explores how Yucca Mountain could make the state a tossup: "In a race fought so close to the margins, it is not just the big states and big questions of war, peace and the economy that matter." LINK

We love the political picture of Yucca that Mark Z paints: "an issue that juts up like the rugged peaks rising from the brown desert floor."

USA Today Lilleston reports on the latest Gallup poll released today that found that 62 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country and Notes that this number is the "highest dissatisfaction number since early January 1996 - shortly after the federal government shut down briefly when Congress failed to reach a budget agreement." LINK

And one graph from the WSJ poll that is worth taking a look at:

"But four in 10 Bush supporters say they might reconsider their vote for reasons including the economy losing more jobs, events in Iraq growing worse or the president emphasizing conservative social issues such as banning same-sex marriage or abortion. Another worry for the president is the growing war tab; the White House is seeking another $25 billion in funding from Congress."

The President's job rating also fell, with just 49 percent of those polled saying they approved of the way Bush was handling his job, while 48 percent expressed disapproval.

President Bush delivered his standard stump speech last night at the RNC's presidential gala and helped the party raise $38.5 million, AP's Theimer reports. LINK

The best visual of the night had to be President Bush stopping on stage to shake hands with legendary boxing promoter Don King who was enthusiastically waving two American flags throughout the President's speech.

The Center for Public Integrity study found that President Bush has received more than $1 million for lobbyists this election cycle, while Sen. Kerry has taken in more than $300,000, the AP reports. LINK

Meg Jones of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at how the tiny hamlets along the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin are looking forward to possible stops by President Bush tomorrow. According to Jones' calculations, the five towns she visited (combined population about 1,800) fall in well with the Bush-Cheney campaign's "fight for every vote" motto, given that they voted Democratic in 2000. LINK

David Callender of the (Madison, Wis.) Capital Times ponders whether Bush is the new "Teflon president," looking at the new Badger Poll, showing him holding steady with a 50 percent approval rating. And after a bloody month in Iraq that saw the most U.S. casualties yet, Bush scored 59 percent approval of his handling of the war on terror. It also points to the notion that whether or not the President's approval remains flat, John Kerry isn't picking up support. LINK

The Washington Post's Alan Cooperman Notes that the National Day of Prayer ceremony with President Bush and evangelical Christian leaders will air for the first time in prime-time on Christian cable and satellite TV. LINK

"The debate over embryonic stem-cell research, which occupied President Bush during his early days in the White House, is re-emerging as an election issue as advocates for patients, including Nancy Reagan, press the president to loosen the limits on federal financing for the science," writes Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times. LINK

The Manchester Union Leader quotes a local manufacturing leader on Vice President Cheney's trip to his factory on Monday "Geez, I've heard stories if the President or vice president visits, everything has to stop for a couple of days…We'd certainly love to be welcoming, but there are limits to how much we could interrupt our production to do it. I guess that didn't kill the deal."LINK

The Albuquerque Journal sums up the grassroots anti-Bush efforts of local environmental groups. LINK

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie speaks tonight in Sheldon, Iowa and will use video clips of Sen. Kerry talking about his cars. In one clip from Jan. 7 in Merrimack, N.H., Sen. Kerry is asked what he has done professionally to reduce dependence on foreign oil and he responds "I sold my gas guzzler and downgraded to a van. And I've got an economical car in Washington."

ABC News' Ed O'Keefe Notes that this is a line that Sen. Kerry would use every once in awhile when he was asked about fuel efficiency or his fleet of cars.

Gillespie will wrap it all up: "John Kerry's pattern of caveats, qualifications, disclaimers, policy reversals and vacillation are not the qualities voters are looking for in times of uncertain change that deserve steady leadership."

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

USA Today's Martin Kasindorf writes up Kerry's presser that ended "a three-day silence Wednesday on the furor over American-run prisons in Iraq." LINK

The Boston Globe's Glen Johnson has Kerry basically dismissing criticism on every topic and being assertive that his campaign is moving forward. LINK

The New York Times' Todd Purdum reviews old FBI files released Wednesday detailing Kerry's role in Veterans against the Vietnam War. One memo called Kerry "a more popular and eloquent figure" who was "glib, cool and displayed best what the moderate elements wanted to reflect." LINK

In more breaking news from the 1970s, the AP reports on the FBI's assessment of a 27-year-old Kerry, which was "glib, cool." LINK

The Boston Globe's Michael Kranish and Bryan Bender Note, "Much of the information in the [FBI] documents is secondhand hearsay, such as a report on a comment Kerry reportedly made June 14, 1971." LINK

Sen. Kerry visits a California school today to talk about education, outlining his plan to make sure that every child has a quality teacher. Kerry is expected to criticize the President, saying that while he pays lip service to the idea of schools getting better, he hasn't don't anything to support teachers. Kerry's "New Bargain for America's Children and Teachers" is a plan to recruit or retain 500,000 teachers over the next four years. Kerry says he will work with parents, principals, and communities to pay teachers more, allow them to be better prepared, and to have more contact with parents in exchange for requiring results for students.

Some highlights:

--at least $5,000 in pay raises for teachers in high-need schools and subject-shortage areas

--a new Teacher Corps --mentoring programs --testing for all new teachers --allowing schools to replace poor performing teachers --a "Great Expectations Fund" to reward teachers who improve students' achievement --a "Great Strides Fund" to give money to states to help schools

Kerry then travels to Phoenix today, where he will meet behind closed doors with the DLC. All of the appearances are "open to the public."LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry: the campaign report:

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

LOS ANGELES, May 5 -- On May 5, 1862, a relatively small band of Mexican soldiers banished from Mexico an invading French legion nearly double their size.

In celebration of that day, on Wednesday in East Los Angeles, a small legion of Hispanic students and teachers welcomed Sen. John Kerry to Woodrow Wilson High School, perhaps despite his Franco roots.

The Wilson Mules greeted the donkey-party politician's better-than-average Spanglish speech which proclaimed, "¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!" and thanked the penta-lingual Teresa Heinz Kerry as "la futura primera dama de los Estados Unidos."

The Massachusetts Senator quickly advanced from simple introductions to a full-fledged bilingual assault on his Republican rival, announcing, "¡Estamos aqui hoy para celebrar el Cinco de Mayo, y tambien el fin de la administracion de Bush!" ("We're here today to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and also the end of the Bush Administration.")

In his native tongue, Kerry listed the President's alleged "broken promises" then exclaimed to the crowd's delight, "¡El rompio sus promesas!"

At a hastily staged outdoor press conference following the event and pre-taped interviews with Univision and Telemundo, Kerry, who had not held an availability in three weeks, was asked about the criticism that his campaign staff does not include many Hispanics or Latinos.

Kerry voiced his disagreement, explaining, "The first meeting I held after wrapping up the nomination was with the Congressional Black Caucus."

The Senator listed four African-American congressmen and Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as minorities involved in his campaign.

The presumptive Democratic nominee, whose campaign is led by a woman and has diverse headquarters staff, did not mention any Hispanics. Los Angeles District 14 Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa later defended Kerry, saying proof of his commitment to diversity was in willingness to spend Cinco de Mayo in East L.A.

But the Kerry family multiculturalism does not end on Cinco de Mayo. Alexandra Kerry, the Senator's eldest daughter, heads to the Cannes Film Festival next week.

Her 15-minute short film, "The Last Full Measure," will show but not compete in the renowned French festival. Instead, the fictional Vietnam drama about a girl and her father's relationship after he returns from war hopes to attract a distributor, raising the possibility that Kerry's film could soon be at an art house theater near you.

Christine Anderson, Teresa Heinz Kerry's communications director, will join Kerry's daughter in France, helping the American Film Institute student navigate the tricky terrain of a worldwide media spectacle.

Sen. Kerry, alongside his wife, continues to push his education agenda on Thursday in San Bernadino, Calif.

The candidate ends the day in Phoenix, Ariz., where he will speak to the Democratic Leadership Council on Friday. Democratic sources hint the Senator will have some face-to-face time with DLC chair Sen. Evan Bayh.

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

Matt Pommer of the (Madison, Wis.) Capital Times reports on day three of Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's KidsFirst rollout -- this time focused on child support collection and new parent education programs in the state. LINK

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Steven Walters focuses on the new-parent instruction, which includes in-home counseling on taking care of new babies, signing up for state health care, and what to do in emergencies. LINK

The politics of taxation:

Dow Jones' Godfrey writes that House passage of an AMT exemption increase gives the GOP "another chance to highlight its tax-cutting agenda" and potentially setting up a showdown with the Senate.

The New York Times'Oppel Jr. reports that the House has approved legislation which would curb for "one year only" the alternative minimum tax, "which was meant to prevent the wealthy from taking advantage of tax breaks but has affected many middle-income families." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Murray reports that although "the Senate revived a bill repealing an export tax break in return for tax relief for manufacturers" its prospects "remain grim." Check out this sentence: "Privately, lawmakers and lobbyists complain that neither the White House nor major companies are pushing hard for the bill."

The Wall Street Journal's ed board speaks out against New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey for slapping a millionaire's surcharge on those making $500,000 and warns that "given what we're seeing in Virginia and hearing from John Kerry at the national level, what's going on in New Jersey today looks like a rehearsal for what will happen if Democrats retake the White House come November."

Big casino budget politics:

Bob Novak looks at congressional budgeting through the prism of an effort by Paul Ryan, a young Wisconsin congressman and former Jack Kemp speechwriter, to set spending caps, get rid of "baseline budgeting," and take money saved by getting rid of pork projects out of the budget entirely. LINK

Novak gets budget hawkish, calling the budget process "one of the largely overlooked scandals in American government," and Notes that Ryan has the backing of more than half the Republican conference. And even if his bill doesn't make it to the Senate this year, "Sooner or later, the Republican leadership will have to determine whether they are willing to put a lid on federal spending to save the Bush tax cuts."

The politics of health care:

The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly reports that according to an analysis by Emory University health economist Kenneth E. Thorpe "President Bush's plans for expanding health care would provide coverage to fewer than 2.5 million uninsured Americans at a cost of $90 billion, a far more modest approach than Democrat John F. Kerry's $653 billion package that would insure 27 million people." LINK

The politics of Medicare:

Tim Jones of the Chicago Tribune reports that Thomas Ryan, the head of CVS/Pharmacy, told a government task force that imported prescription drugs should be legal -- "one more signal that the federal government and the drug industry are backing off their longstanding efforts to block states from providing Internet access to lower-cost drugs from Canada." Jones wraps in reaction from governors of both parties who favor allowing citizens to buy cheaper drugs. LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports "three Republican governors and the head of a major drugstore chain" are publicly rejecting "the arguments of the Bush administration and pharmaceutical manufacturers against importing U.S.-made drugs from Canada and other countries." LINK


Ralph Nader sat down with Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith on KLRU's "Texas Monthly Talks" to offer a long look back at the 2000 elections and ahead at this 2004 cycle. Lots to see here from the candidate who says he is running because the country "has great promise that's not being fulfilled." In the interview, Nader:

--Says he would prefer Kerry to Bush when it comes to judicial appointments -- and that he has been in touch with Kerry, whom he likens to an "accordion." --Refuses to say he would have preferred Al Gore to win over George W. Bush --Says he can win "conservatives and liberal Republicans" upset about deficits, WTO, tax subsidies and the Patriot Act

The morning shows:

The morning shows led with the Washington Post's new photos of abuse of Iraqi prisoners and the situation on the ground in Iraq.

On the CBS' "Early Show," Sen. John McCain chided the Bush Administration for a lack of "decisive" action, calling for taking prisoners out of Abu Ghraib and razing the prison to ground. McCain said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's lack of candor on Capitol Hill last week sparked a lot of the "outrage" and predicted that "...there are going to be repercussions…" As for whether Bush should apologize, McCain said: "Sure. We're all sorry."

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Kate Snow handled the latest photos. Claire Shipman reported that despite Bush's decision to take the unusual step of chastising the Secretary of Defense on Wednesday, Bush aides "scoffed at the notion that Rumsfeld might lose his job." Of Bush's Arab TV interviews, she said "eyebrows are being raised at the fact that he never actually apologized." Shipman said the situation is "so delicate" for Kerry because he "cannot be seen as criticizing the military." Robin Roberts looked at the "dirt poor," small-town girl who is at the center of the prison abuse scandal. Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz provided legal analysis.

In a two-way with NBC's Katie Couric, Tim Russert discussed Rumsfeld's job security and the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll numbers, calling the 33 percent right-track number "a major red flag for any incumbent." When asked why Kerry isn't benefiting more from Bush's drop in poll numbers, Russert pointed out that nearly half of people (and more than 40 percent of Democrats) said the one thing they like least about Kerry was his flip-flopping. "Clearly the Bush-Cheney campaign's effort to try to define Kerry as a flip-flopper has worked quite well," Russert said.

On CNBC's morning Squawkback show, the Wall Street Journal's John Harwood discussed the WSJ/NBC News poll numbers, noting that Kerry's numbers haven't increased in part because he "hasn't cleared the bar" and convinced voters he is capable of leading the country in war. "But he's still got time to do it," Harwood said. And he said that while Bush's advisers expect a better economy will help the President's numbers toward the summer, they also realize many of the economy's new jobs are temporary. "The economic outlook is a mixed picture, really," he said.

The politics of same-sex marriage:

The Boston Globe's Yvonne Abraham and Scott Greenberger report that Massachusetts state senate Democrats are trying to repeal a 1913 law that Gov. Romney is using "to block out-of-state gay couples from marrying" there. LINK

The land of 5-plus-2-equals 7:

America Coming Together and America Votes will come out and play on Saturday, hoping to give many voters and new registrants a favorable impression of their heretofore sub rosa activities.

Their Election Action Day will feature canvassing opportunities and rallies in 17 states laden with a healthy dose of anti-Bush badinage.

Howard Dean and a host of Democratic stars will participate. The comedian Lewis Black, for example, will headline a day of activities in New Hampshire. 527 groupies can chase Cecile Richards in St. Paul, Minn., Ellen Malcolm and Steve Rosenthal in Cleveland, the wonderful Ana Berger from SEIU in Philadelphia, and FDCOS (fake deputy chief of staff) Bradley Whitford in St. Louis.

Counterintuitively, ACT's Mo Elleithee, who handles regional communication for ACT and AV, has contributed to President Bush's economic recovery by furiously hiring the following communications directors:

Brad Anderson (Iowa), Tait Sye (Florida), Bill Brown (Maine), Lavonia Perryman (Michigan), Meighan Stone (Minnesota), Sara Howard (Missouri), Mark Benoit (Nevada), Delacey Skinner (New Hampshire), Courtney Hunter (New Mexico), Jess Goode (Ohio), Scott Ballo (Oregon), Rebecca Kirszner (Pennsylvania), Andrew Poag (West Virginia), Phillip Walzak (Wisconsin).

More to come.

The politics of faith:

"Bowing to pressure from New Jersey's increasingly outspoken Roman Catholic bishops, Gov. James E. McGreevey said Wednesday that he would no longer receive holy communion during Mass because his support for abortion rights and other social causes contradicts church doctrine," reports the New York Times'Kocieniewski. LINK

ABC Vote 2004: the gubernatorial races:

The AP's Paul Foy reports that Utah Gov. Olene Walker might not garner 60 percent of the delegates at this Saturday's GOP state convention, and might not even make it into the primary at that! LINK

In a Salt Lake Tribune poll on this fall's gubernatorial race, 40 percent remain undecided. LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein reports that some civil liberties groups and Boston's police union agree that special rules set up for protests at the convention "will compromise their right to free speech." LINK

Republican National Convention:

The New York Daily News reports Mayor Bloomberg says only the NYPD will decide this summer's security perimeter. LINK

Making votes count:

USA Today's Jim Drinkard writes about Wednesday's Hill hearing on e-voting and the growing concerns in many states that are making some people e-nervous. LINK

The Washington Post's Dan Keating writes that election officials told the federal Election Assistance Commission that "retrofitting electronic voting machines with paper receipts in time for this year's presidential election would cause chaos far worse than the security concerns it is intended to address. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

—8:30 am: The Labor Department releases the weekly report on initial jobless claims —8:30 am: The Labor Department releases the productivity and costs report for the first quarter —8:30 am: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force holds a news conference to discuss same-sex marriage at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. —9:30 am: The Senate convenes for morning business —9:45 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —10:00 am: The House of Representatives meets for legislative business —10:30 am: Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist meets with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to discuss state-federal relations, the Capitol —10:30 am: Sens. Ron Wyden and Bob Graham hold a news conference on expanding Stand By Your Ad legislation, the Capitol —10:45 am: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference with Rep. John Murtha on Iraq, the Capitol —11:00 am: The weekly mortgage rates report is released —11:00 am: Members of the Congressional Black Caucus participate in a panel discussion on Brown v. Board of Education, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: BC'04 Chairman Gov. Marc Racicot speaks about Kerry's "Troubling National Defense Records" at Yeager Airport, Charleston, W Va. —11:00 am: The Senate resumes debate on the FSC-ETI Jobs bill —11:10 am: President Bush attends a briefing by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba at the White House, Washington, D.C. —11:30 am: Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz, subbing for Secretary Rumsfeld, addresses the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Pa. —12:00 pm: On-camera briefing by Secretary McClellan —12:30 pm: Greek Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis meets with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage at the State Department to discuss Olympic security, Washington, D.C. —12:40 pm: Sen. John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry visit a classroom at Colton High School, Colton, Calif. —1:00 pm: Politics Live on ABC News Live and AOL —1:00 pm: Sen. John McCain and members of Justice at Skate hold a news conference on judicial elections at the Capitol —1:00 pm: Sen. Kerry delivers a major education speech about the quality of teachers, Colton, Calif. —1:00 pm: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani addresses the Council on Foreign Relations on the war on terror and holds a Q&A session with the press, New York, N.Y. —1:15 pm: President Bush meets with the King of Jordan at the White House —2:00 pm: Greek Public Order Minister Voulgarakis meets with FBI Director Robert Mueller, Washington, D.C. —2:05 pm: President Bush and King Abdullah of Jordan hold a joint press availability at the White House —2:40 pm: President Bush speaks about the National Day of Prayer, Washington, D.C. —3:30 pm: Greek Public Order Minister Voulgarakis meets with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Washington, D.C. —4:30 pm: Greek Public Order Minister Voulgarakis meets with CIA Director George Tenet, Washington, D.C. —4:30 pm: The Federal Reserve releases its weekly reports on aggregate reserves and the monetary base —7:00 pm: Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie addresses a fundraiser for the Northwest Iowa Republicans, Sheldon, Iowa —10:30 pm: Sen. Kerry speaks at the AFL-CIO Labor 2004 campaign kick-off at the Wyndham, Phoenix, Ariz. —12:00 am: Sen. Kerry attends a fundraising reception at the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel, Phoenix, Ariz.