The Note

From Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, BC04 co-chair in his state: "They're starting to ask this question, 'Is this thing really going to work?' "

And from voters who supported Bush in 2000:

"I voted for Bush in 2000, but I'm having some second thoughts about him now,"

"I don't think we were ever made aware of what's going on in Iraq. His administration has not told the truth." LINK

More from Minnesota!

The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Bill Salisbury reports on the "choral campaigning" that Republicans in Minnesota are likely to use this campaign season while stumping for Bush in the state, Noting they "chanted the predictable, partisan lines that cutting taxes has stimulated the economy, created jobs and is making everyone more prosperous." LINK

President Bush studiously avoided any expressions of regret, contrition or error in his press conference Tuesday night and the New York Times' Nagourney reports that "there was near unanimity in the White House, starting with Mr. Bush himself, that the last thing he should do in his first prime time news conference since the Iraq war was to show any sign of remorse."

We said yesterday that we had no idea what the body language of the senior White House staff meant during the President's press conference, but we think there are some who will be happy this reaction was not in a cutaway:

"One of his senior advisers broke out laughing Wednesday as he recalled the persistence of reporters pressing Mr. Bush on the subject of remorse, suggesting that contrition would have been a sign of weakness that was both alien to Mr. Bush and more typically found in the corridors of the Democratic Party."

President Bush responded to one question on Tuesday night, regarding his policy in Iraq, by saying "And, you know, as to whether or not I make decisions based upon polls, I don't. I just don't make decisions that way."

Do Note this item in Nagourney's memo:

"One adviser said the White House had examined polling and focus group studies in determining that it would be a mistake for Mr. Bush to appear to yield." LINK

And the Wall Street Journal's Cummings pick up on a similar theme and asks "is an apology a sign of weakness or strength?"

Her answer? Well there really isn't one:

"Mr. Bush's quandary is a time-honored struggle for politicians. While some have found a public apology helps them out of a tough spot, others discovered it can fuel more criticism. So far, there isn't a definitive answer."

Cummings looks at how like so many things in this country, even an apology is political: "Issuing an apology today may not end a crisis but may actually extend it by raising new questions about a politicians' actions or their ability to provide strong leadership."

The Washington Post's Allen turns his eye back to the nuts and bolts of Election 2004 and picks up on the BC04 ad strategy shift.

"GOP officials said the cutback will be heaviest in states where the campaign feels it is in good shape, including Florida, Arizona and Missouri. The ad buys will remain heavier in states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, where Bush is close or behind." LINK

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