The Note




Today: Specter's primary; Cheney's date with SCOTUS; Iraq war; Kerry in Ohio; and Bush in Baltimore.

But the short-term is (usually) for suckers.

Here's what's going on inside the brains of the senior party and presidential campaign strategists for both sides:

Republican "Oh yeahs!!" 1. It appears as of today that John Kerry might never have a message. 2. How easy it is to goad Kerry into making mistakes on the trail. 3. The press blithely accepts the nonsensical GOP patter of "this election is about who has the best ideas for the future and/so let's talk about John Kerry's life 30 years ago." 4. Oregon, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. 5. Bay State gay marriages starting May 17.

Republican "Oh no's" 1. July 1. 2. Right track, wrong track. 3. Ohio. 4. Neither the press nor the FEC seems willing to stop the overlapping personalities of those flush-with-cash 527s. 5. Toomey and McCollum.

Democrat "Oh yeahs!!" 1. The least dysfunctional presidential candidate-DNC operation in a generation (which is not to say it isn't dysfunctional . . . ). 2. ACT and Cecile Richards. 3. All that (easy) money. 4. The solid Blueness of California, Illinois, and New York. 5. John Sasso has started his new job.

Democrat "Oh no's" 1. "My Life." 2. Fear of the boogeyman: where has all the GOP soft money gone? 3. West Virginia, Southern Ohio, Florida. 4. Liberal speakers at the Boston convention. 5. It appears as of today that John Kerry might never have a message.

The polls are open and voters are voting in Pennsylvania — with the focus on whether the Bush White House's chosen candidate (incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter) can win his primary. The first results should be in shortly after 8:00 pm ET.

The only voting systems issue we're following is the new type of identification required of voters — the requisite forms have to show both name and address. That might cause some confusion, though the state has provisional ballots in place.

If the margin is close, absentee and military ballots may make up the difference, so we might be facing a long night — or days of waiting. (The safe harbor date for some of those ballots is May 17.)

There is no statewide recount; candidates must get county election officials to approve them individually.

President Bush participates in a "Conversation on the Benefits of Health Care Information Technology" at a VA Medical Center in Baltimore, Md. before returning to the White House.

Sen. Kerry is in Ohio for a jobs rally in Youngstown and a "Manufacturing Jobs Summit" in Cleveland. He then attends a Cleveland fundraiser for himself and one for the DNC.

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a case involving White House privacy in the case of Cheney v. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Be sure to catch John Donvan's extensive report on today's arguments on "Nightline."

Although the locals have been covering it since Friday, the following big news seems to have largely escaped the attention of the national press:

President Bush will hit the road next week for a bus trip to key Midwest battleground states Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin to take his campaign two major themes to voters there.

Leaving the Rose Garden to do this kind of thing is quite pricey; most campaign-funded (non-official) events are done as part of daytrips, because keeping the POTUS apparatus out on the road overnight costs a bundle.

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