The Note

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NEWS SUMMARY

The President deals with baseball and fundraising.

John Kerry deals with jobs and surgery.

The nation deals with horrible new civilian deaths in Iraq.

The RNC gets litigious about 527s.

The AFL-CIO catches the media bug.

As does Al Gore (maybe) and the new liberal radio network.

OPEC TIGHTENS supply!!

41 gets emotional.

The White House begins to cast Bob Barnett-caliber stand-ins for the POTUS/VPOTUS murder board in preparation for their extraordinary, unsworn, still-unscheduled joint appearance before the full 9/11 commission.

"Thank you for that excellent question, Mr. Ben-Veniste. I think Vice President Cheney should probably handle that one … "

Note to Dan Bartlett: we know you are busy, so here are our ideas; we hope Karen Hughes doesn't object:

Ed Gillespie as Thomas H. Kean

Josh Bolten as Lee H. Hamilton

Ben Ginsberg as Richard Ben-Veniste

Vin Weber as Fred F. Fielding

Susan Molinari as Jamie S. Gorelick

Trent Duffy as Slade Gorton

Andy Card as John F. Lehman

Newt Gingrich as Timothy J. Roemer

Tom Ridge as James R. Thompson

And, of course, no one is qualified to play Bob Kerrey.

Never in the history of the Republic has an upcoming event been so obviously crafted to serve as the basis of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch.

Why the President and Vice President want to visit jointly with the 9/11 Commission is beyond us, but it should be quite a (private) spectacle.

Too busy to read the papers today? Here's all you need to know.

David Sanger of the New York Times finally figures things out — at the very end of his spicy and crispy news analysis:

"Ms. Rice's testimony will pave the way for interviews the commission tried to seal for months, with Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney themselves. As part of the same deal, they will answer questions in private and not under oath, but will permit questioning from all the commissioners and have dropped limits on how long they will testify."

"They will appear together, and thus presumably be able to correct each other's memories. And in the end, it is their performance — behind closed doors but likely to leak quickly — that may prove the most politically crucial."

Sanger is also part of the journalistic pound-of-flesh harvesting group, participants in that Washington ritual whereby an administration that has done a 180 has to stand there for a news cycle (or two) and be flayed by the Gang of 500 — usually via Owl Eyes blind quotes.

Sanger's:

" … (T)he pressure grows. And grows. And now people know that if you keep it on long enough, these guys will give way … ." (Note Note: Lynne Cheney will HATE that!!)

"'They wait until a gallon of blood has been shed,' one administration official said."

The Fanny Dooley dream byline of Allen and Eggen in the Washington Post have this: "'The president's aides finally realized that the most important element of this president retaining power was for him to remain president,' said the political adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Bush's inner circle does not like to discuss deliberations."

Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times has all this:

"You could make a case that one of Bush's greatest strengths, which is resolve in leadership, can also be a weakness at times: My way or the highway,' said a Republican strategist who works with the White House."

"A senior Senate Republican aide said lawmakers were puzzled by the administration's failure to grasp the mood of a public that has little patience for any perception of stonewalling on subjects related to Sept. 11."

"The administration 'thought it could tell the American public that 9/11 wasn't important enough to send an adviser up to talk?' the aide said. 'Are you kidding me?' … .

"Restiveness among Republicans in Congress added to the pressure on the White House to reverse course. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) took soundings from his colleagues and sent a clear message to the White House, according to a senior aide: 'Principle be damned. Change your principles.'"

And lest any of you be tempted to take your eye off of the Iraq transition ball, make sure you check out Steven Weisman in his New York Times must-read: "Three months before sovereignty is restored in Iraq, the Bush administration is still looking for an ambassador to replace L. Paul Bremer III as the chief American political presence in Baghdad."

Now, don't go acting like John Kerry is having a good news cycle either.

We'd Note two items in particular.

Racing well ahead of our cautious stand that we wanted to see more polling data before declaring the broad-based success of BC04 in defining John Kerry, our polling buddy Dan Balz writes this in his Washington Post must-read: "Some Democrats … . worry that Kerry's campaign has been ineffective in countering the Bush attacks. Privately, they have begun to question whether the Kerry team has been too slow in making the transition to the general election campaign."

And in a nice attempt to hold Kerry accountable and to a standard of consistency (When ARE we getting that budget?), the Wall Street Journal's Calmes and Fialka write:

"In his plan yesterday, Mr. Kerry promised energy independence in a decade, although incentives for hydrogen-based fuel, wind and solar power probably would take several decades to have effect, analysts say. Missing was a specific proposal, which he featured earlier in the campaign, to raise auto makers' fuel-efficiency standards for passenger-car fleets to an average 36 miles-per-gallon by 2015, from 27.5 mpg now, for an estimated savings of two million barrels of oil daily."

OPEC news, per the AP "[O]il producers on Wednesday agreed to endorse tighter oil supply curbs, ignoring consumer country concerns about crude prices near 13-year highs, the Libyan Oil Minister Fethi bin Chetwane said."

Today, the Republican National Committee (in concert with the Bush campaign) will a discuss a complaint they're filing with the Federal Election Commission that accuses the major Democratic 527s of using non-federal funds (soft money) to illegally finance a war to defeat George Bush (a federal candidate) and elect to office Sen. John Kerry.

The actual complaint will be filed tomorrow.

Also today, the AFL-CIO caps its eight-day, 18-city "Show Us The Jobs" your with a rally in Washington featuring unemployed workers.

Tomorrow, expect the AFL to announce a major, nationwide ad buy on the subject, we are told, of "the nation's job crisis under the Bush Administration."

Today marks the end of the first quarter of fundraising for congressional candidates. The presidentials and party committees are filing monthly, so expect their March numbers 'round about the 20th or so of April.

Today, President Bush is in Washington, D.C. attending a luncheon with members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a fundraiser at the Marriott Wardman Park.

The President will be shifting to doing more events for the Republican Party and candidates, but this will not be his last BC04 event, press secretary Scott Stanzel said. this morning.

The event tonight is the second major public fundraiser the president has attended in Washington. The last was on June 17 and brought in $3.5 million for the re-election campaign. The Vice President has attended one fundraiser in Washington, at the Mayflower Hotel on Oct. 29, that raised $500,000. Cheney is not expected to attend tonight's event.

Expect protests a-plenty by the AF of L C of IO and MoveOn.

Sen. Kerry receives shoulder surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after doing an economic event.

Eyewitness to history: an occasional Note series:

ABC News' Ed O'Keefe, he of little sleep but hearty soul, provides this exclusive glimpse of life aboard the redeye back to Boston from the Left Coast:

"Kerry looked fairly good this morning — wearing the same suit and tie as last night but he may be headed home to change before the satellite speech and roundtable. Still no word on whether third year Harvard Medical student daughter Vanessa will scrub in for the procedure. When asked if he would mind if she did, Kerry replied yesterday on his campaign plane, 'That's cool.'"

"Everybody was out cold … the Secret Service moved the non-poolers an hour early, forcing them to wait on the plane for the candidate and pool. The luxury 727, with all brown leather, near fully reclinable first-class seats, was much more comfortable than the plane which crushed Kerry and the corps overnight from Seattle to Boston after Feb. 3. Teresa Heinz Kerry toured the press cabin, browsing at digital memories of the trail and desperately searching for her favorite New York Times reporter. Heinz Kerry attempted to wake Boston Globe reporter Pat Healy, poking him, with no success. The plane arrived an hour and 15 minutes late, to rain and cold, having left a sunny, star-filled evening in southern California On board for the Kerry cabin sleepover: Kerry, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Vanessa Kerry, Bob Shrum, Morehouse, Wade, and Warren."

Rice, Clarke, and the politics of the 9/11 Commission:

Philip Shenon and Elisabeth Bumiller drew the main story duty for the New York Times, writing, "President Bush bowed to growing political pressure … " The duo also refer to the delight of the 9/11 Commission members at the White House's "sweeping concessions." LINK

David Sanger's New York Times news analysis is an absolute must-read, in which he demonstrates his understanding of this White House in these three key graphs: LINK

"His decision to reverse course, dropping his claim of executive privilege preventing public, sworn testimony by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was part of a distinct pattern that has emerged inside this highly secretive White House."

"The first reaction to most demands for outside inquiries, or for details about energy policy decisions or intelligence concerning Iraqi weapons or Nigerian uranium, has been to build walls: Mr. Bush, or more often Mr. Cheney in his stead, asserts a clear, inviolate principle that the president and his advisers need the freedom to gather information, develop policy and exchange ideas in private."

"But eventually other forces come into play. Gradually pressure builds until Mr. Bush's advisers — including Ms. Rice herself in this case, several officials said — determine that the cost is too high."

For the Chattering Class, there's little doubt about the reason for the shift in the White House's view.

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and Dan Eggen report that "Bush allies on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in Washington said Rice had undercut her position by repeatedly granting high-profile television interviews to rebut Clarke, and in the process discussing at length the very subjects that were of interest to the commission." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Reynolds and Miller lead their paper's coverage thusly: "Caving in to pressure from both parties … " LINK

Janet Hook provides the Los Angeles Times analysis piece with (positive) reaction from the Hill. LINK

The Los Angeles Times edit board: LINK

"Rice's appearance should have been an easy call. That it wasn't illustrates this administration's disregard for the public's right to know."

BC04 seems optimistic about the public's reception of Rice's public testimony.

"'Condi knocks it out of the park,' said a Bush-Cheney campaign official who requested anonymity. 'This person is knowledgeable and credible and has been on top of the global war on terror from the beginning. She is one of the administration's best assets.'" LINK

But the questioning will be tough.

The Washington Post's Dan Eggen boils it down: "Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska senator and a Democratic member of the commission, said in an interview yesterday that two key questions for Rice will be whether the Bush team ranked terrorism as a significant priority before the al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington and, if not, why not."

"'The contradictions [between Rice and Clarke] are really centered on how serious did you regard terrorism and where did you put it on the list?' Kerrey said. "When you came into transition, what did you regard as the number one strategic threat to the United States? What did you regard as the number two threat? . . . They had criticized the Clinton administration's policies during the campaign and set out to change those policies. That's really the central question.'" LINK

Others, from USA Today:

"Was the administration so focused on Iraq that it neglected to heed Clarke's warnings about al-Qaeda attacks?" LINK

"Did the administration consider military action against al-Qaeda before Sept. 11?"

"Why did it take eight months to develop an al-Qaeda policy that wasn't much different from the Clinton approach."

The New York Times' Lewis looks at executive privilege. LINK

"'Executive privilege is, in the end, a combination of law and politics,' said Louis Fisher, a senior researcher at the Congressional Research Service, who has written a book on the issue."

The New York Times editorial board appears to be unimpressed with the president's possible motives in reversing course. LINK

" … Mr. Bush did the right thing only under intense political pressure and after he had already undermined the principles he claimed to be upholding."

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

The Wall Street Journal's Bob Davis delivers one for the "If Bill Clinton did this" files.

"The Treasury tapped civil servants to calculate the cost of Senator John Kerry's tax plan and then posted the analysis on the Treasury Web site. A federal law bars career government officials from working on political campaigns." Rob Nichols says it is "proper" for Treasury to analyze various tax proposals on the table.

More Davis: "Because the power of the government is so vast and can be a formidable political weapon, the actions of an incumbent president of either party, and of his cabinet, often come under scrutiny during election years. Mr. Bush has been criticized for using the government to pay for trips when he flies to battleground states in the U.S. on Air Force One. His predecessor, Bill Clinton, faced similar criticism.

President Bush's visit to Appleton, Wis. yesterday prompted no less than 10 articles in the Appleton Post-Crescent, most of which focused on the positive aspects of having Air Force One touch down in its area.

Ed Culhane's lead article focuses on the president's speech but also all the accompanying details of the visit, including the protestors, motorcade speeds, and the president's surprise visit to emergency management workers.LINK

Kerry was on MTV last night reaching out to young voters but two Appleton West High School columnists with opposing political views both found the president's visit "thrilling," the Post-Crescent's Nufer reports.

"Justin Sykes, the conservative, and Nathan Hoft-March, the liberal" had differing opinions on the speech — "Sykes called it inspiring, while Hoft-March thought it scary and lacking substance" — but were both excited to be so close to the political process.LINK

The Post-Crescent's Wallenfang and Bach had speech duty yesterday, saying that the president succeeded in his goal of coming as the "economy's cheerleader-in-chief."

Along with "his agenda of protecting tax cuts and eliminating trade barriers," President Bush brought optimism.LINK

Steve Wideman goes through two hours in the life of President Bush, from 11:08 am when Air Force One touched down in Greenville, Wis. to 1:00 pm when it took off again for Washington.LINK

WBAY-TV in Green Bay Notes that protestors and supporters mingled together on the streets near the president's speech.LINK

In his ninth visit to a state that he lost by just 6,000 votes in 2000, President Bush "touted free trade and lower taxes yesterday as the cure for Wisconsin's ailing industrial sector," AP's Scott Lindlaw reports. LINK

Bringing up a topic that caused significant controversy and embarrassment at the White House last month, Treasury Secretary John Snow told the Cincinnati Enquirer this week that "is part of trade" and that "there can't be any doubt about the fact that trade makes the economy stronger."

The New York Times' Andrews' observes that the comments "reflect a growing willingness by the Bush administration to defend global free trade even in hard-hit industrial states like Ohio." LINK

While promoting her new book in Stamford, Conn. yesterday, uber-adviser Karen Hughes went after Kerry on domestic and foreign issues, the New York Post's Friedman reports. LINK

Former President George H.W. Bush "appeared to fight back tears" yesterday as he complained about media coverage of his son and defended the Iraq war in a speech in San Antonio.LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Priest conjures up the Steven Aftergood within and writes, "the Bush administration's uneven decision-making on which sensitive documents it declassifies has prompted criticism that the White House is selectively releasing information to bolster its foreign policy agenda and respond to political pressure." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the politics of gas prices:

Because we're Midwest-centric … we start with an article by Bob Livingston of the Daily Republican Register in Illinois. He Notes the effect high gas prices are having for residents of Wabash County in Illinois, where petroleum production is a way of life for many. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Calmes and Fialka look at candidate Bush vs. President Bush on the gas issue. "With gas prices high and today's OPEC meeting likely to keep them there, President Bush is confronting the politically charged question: Why hasn't he done more to try to hold down oil prices?"

"The short answer: He is finding, as have presidents before him, that limiting Americans' costs at the pump isn't as easy as the former oilman made it sound when he ran for office four years ago."

In a summary of yesterday's back-and-forth, Patrick Healy of the Boston Globe Notes, "[Sen.] Kerry also cast the gas debate as a national security issue, pledging to fund science research on alternative energy in order to avoid going to war over oil, which many Democrats cited as the reason for the first Gulf War against Iraq." LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei report "Bush's remarks, at a taxpayer-funded forum on the economy here, were coordinated with his campaign's new ad, which accuses the Massachusetts senator of backing a gas tax increase that would cost the average family $657 a year. Kerry opposes any increase in the gas tax. Though the narrator does not say so, the ad's charge is based on a 10-year-old statement by Kerry." LINK

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz analyzes the ad, Noting that "the spot softens its charges with a mocking tone and funny footage against the 'wacky' Kerry. But it unfairly presents a gas-tax hike as if it were the senator's current position, when most of the examples are a decade old." LINK

The New York Times' Wilgoren on why gas prices are an irresistible political prop. LINK

"The back-and-forth on gas prices marked the candidates' efforts to translate their larger economic debate into a daily pocketbook issue for voters. Mr. Bush focused on taxes as the villain, while Mr. Kerry framed the high gas prices as a sign of weak economic stewardship."

The Los Angeles Times' Vieth and Simon on the gas sparked to and fro: LINK

"Kerry's attack on the president was part of a broader pitch for reducing dependence on foreign oil. Bush's rebuttal included a reminder that shortages of natural gas and electricity deserve attention too."

"Kerry accused Bush of not fulfilling a 2000 campaign promise to pressure OPEC to boost production to keep prices in check."

(We Noted, with some amusement, the response to this from the White House, per the Washington Post: "A White House spokesman confirmed that Bush has not sought any rollback in the gas tax but said Bush never formally committed to the proposal.")

(Unintentional) irony Noted. By almost everyone.

Nick Anderson provides today's Los Angeles Times ad box on the latest from the Bush-Cheney media mavericks. LINK

The Orlando Sentinel's analysis of the Bush ad "Wacky," now airing in the battleground state of Florida, is less than glowing. LINK

"Gas prices have spiked to record levels on Bush's watch. The ad was unveiled the same day Kerry offered his proposal for curbing the rising cost of gas."

"The commercial is based almost entirely on votes Kerry cast and comments he made in the context of President Clinton's economic-stimulus package."

It says Kerry 'supported higher gasoline taxes 11 times.' That's not exactly the case."

Susan Page of USA Today writes of debate over gas and Notes the voters' reactions, "In a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, nearly seven in 10 Americans said the cost of gas was a crisis or a major problem. Nearly half said the price hikes had caused financial hardship in their households. Even more said they expect gas prices to cause financial problems for them this summer." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

Dick Morris writes in the New York Post that Richard Clarke's keeping the media focused on national security is a good thing for President Bush. LINK

"If voters are focused on terrorism on Election Day, Bush will win. If their gaze is on economic issues, Kerry is likely to prevail. The struggle between the two candidates is, at its core, a competition between these two issues for domination of the national agenda."

Karen Hughes attacked Kerry for his desire to raise taxes while hawking her book in Connecticut. LINK

More Balz:

The Bush campaign has sought to change the political dynamics after two months of bad news and unified Democratic attacks. "For six months, it was a one-way conversation, and then you had the final five or six weeks when Kerry was winning primaries that improved his image," said Bush senior strategist Matthew Dowd. "Right after March 3, a dialogue started about who is or who isn't John Kerry, and the president started advocating for himself. I think we're better positioned from that and Senator Kerry is worse positioned." LINK

"Kerry's advisers discount the changes that have occurred. 'They've thrown their very best shot at us,' said Kerry adviser Tad Devine, 'and the result is essentially a dead-heat horse race. If they cannot open up some daylight with Kerry in the next few weeks, they are in trouble, and that's why they're acting the way they are.'"

"Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg said the damage inflicted so far can be overcome with an effective and consistent message from Kerry. 'The Bush White House has chosen its weapons well,' he said, 'but I really want to emphasize that while Kerry has taken some hits, I think they are surface wounds. People . . . want to learn more about Kerry.'"

"Democrats also said that voters are more than willing to take repeated looks at a candidate before making a final decision, as they did in 1992 with Bill Clinton, who was badly battered by personal problems early that year and still defeated Bush's father."

The AP's Mike Glover analyzes the Bush campaign's attacks on Kerry, writing "Bush not only draws distinctions with Kerry but tries to get under the Massachusetts Democrat's skin. There's a clear edge to many of the president's attacks, along with hopes of provoking a reaction. And it's worked a few times." LINK

Lloyd Grove Notes a special potential Kerry cabinet member: former President Bill Clinton as Secretary of State. Stephanie Cutter did not deny it. LINK

Hans Nichols of The Hill writes of the DNC outreach to the Congressional Black Caucus. LINK

"Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe has assured black lawmakers that the presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) will not arrive unannounced or uninvited in black lawmaker's districts."

The morning show wrap:

All three morning shows led with striking video of burned-out SUVs and references to "unairable" pictures of the civilians and soldiers attacked and killed overnight in Fallujah. Condi Rice and President Bush, who led all three evening newscasts last night, were bumped to second place and not even mentioned in GMA's opening headlines.

Following coverage of Iraq and Condoleezza Rice, but preceding numerous looks at MJ's visit to Capitol Hill, senior Bush adviser Karen Hughes used a chat with ABC News' Charlie Gibson on "Good Morning America" to argue that President Bush's interaction with the 9/11 commission has been "unprecedented" — and skewed by the press.

Asked by Gibson whether she worried that the President's message of repeatedly resisting the 9/11 commission only to give in to their requests looked bad, Hughes argued, "The perception is a little bit from reality. One of the problems is that news values speed rather than thoughtfulness … I'm worried about what I think was a real mischaracterization that resulted last week — that the result of much of Mr. Clarke's testimony is someone in the Bush or Clinton administration was responsible. No one was responsible for these attacks except for al Qaeda. It's very important that the American people know that and remember that."

(Later, when chatting about how well she and the President knew each other, Hughes Noted, "For example, he knows that I'm tall, not big, because I've had that conversation with him.")

She was buttressed by Mr. Russert, who said on "Imus in the Morning" that the press gets so caught up in "the story of the day" it loses sight of the fact that "just 90 days from today," the United States is scheduled to transfer power in Iraq. He went on to note that last night five U.S. troops and four foreign nationals were killed last night.

(Asked by Imus about Leslie Stahl's "dopey" husband, Russert had no comment.)

If you were watching NBC's "Today Show," you saw two 9/11 family members sit down with Katie Couric. Jim Boyle, who lost his son on 9/11, was supportive of President Bush. Kirsten Breitweiser, who lost her husband, thinks much more needs to be done.

And on CBS' "Early Show," 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean was interviewed by Harry Smith and made no news.

And on the day when the new liberal network Air America goes on the air, standard bearer and liberal icon Al Franken had the Note of the Morning when he responded thusly to Katie Couric's mention that Fox News had sued him: "In the United States, satire is protected speech, even if the object of the satire doesn't get it."

Other Notes of Hughes' (staying on) message:

Did she push Rice to testify? "I don't think it's fair that I pushed. I agreed with the decision."

"I will point out yesterday the polls showed the president with a higher approval number than he's had. He made his decision from a position of strength."

"I worked at the White House in a senior position. I never saw the presidential Daily Brief."

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

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

Kerry spent barely 48 hours in California, but heads back to Boston having raised, according to campaign sources, nearly $6 million during a whirlwind four-city tour.

Having spent the morning rallying against rising gas prices at the University of California-San Diego, candidate Kerry made Tuesday "Burkle Day," spending the remainder of the day raising money at two of the supermarket magnate-turned-investment banker's Golden State homes.

Ron Burkle, who ranks 231st among Forbes' wealthiest with a net worth of $2.3 billion, is a Democrat's best friend.

At Burkle's La Jolla Spanish-style hacienda by the sea on the north end of San Diego, 400 donors paid between $500-$2,000 per person to hear the Massachusetts Senator's 29-minute stump in between noshes on tangerine-honey glazed wild Alaskan salmon, curried chicken salad in miniature cream puffs, or sugar snap pea, roasted pepper, and corn salad.

But, the real show was in Hollywood, where Burkle's sprawling 5-acre "Green Acres" Beverly Hills estate hosted A-list celebrities paying a minimum of $1,000 per ticket to cozy up to the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Comedian/actor/producer Larry David, who entertained the crowd prior to Kerry's 22-minute speech sarcastically hoping for a Kerry-David ticket, joked, "You'll notice I'm limping. You gotta be a little bit careful when you jump on that bandwagon."

David continued to argue he could appeal to the 'C's, D's and F's' of America, "chicken hawks," and "exaggerators" but Kerry wasn't swayed.

In his speech, the Senator assured, "Tonight, rest assured, (Larry David) did absolutely nothing to change my mind about … the vice president."

Singer James Taylor also attempted to influence his longtime friend's selection process, playing "Carolina on My Mind" during the post-speech entertainment, and saying slyly, "It's way too early to say that song had anything to do with the prospects of Jonathan Edwards."

Despite their presence at the political rainmaker's gathering, other stars weren't quite as cozy showing their political stripes. Actor and director Kevin Costner claimed he had not yet decided on a candidate and when asked if he would still consider President Bush demurred to reporters, "That's kind of a private process, isn't it?"

Jason Alexander of "Seinfeld" fame gave a very un-Costanza like response when asked about his current political considerations saying simply of Kerry, "I like his approach. I like his direction. I think he would make a good president."

All told, the Kerry camp claimed a $3.2 million dollar day, raising $500,000 in San Diego, over $2.1 million in Los Angeles, and an additional $1 million for the DNC.

Kerry rushed out of the Golden State Tuesday, taking a redeye campaign charter back to Boston to undergo surgery to repair a slight tendon tear in his right shoulder. The minor procedure will force the candidate from the campaign trail until Sunday.

But, as the Senator briefly departs the trail, he goes with a fuller bank account and memories of all those stars.

And, here's just a partial list of those The Note spied turning out for Kerry:

Kevin Costner, Don Henley, Henry Winkler, Helen Hunt, Danny DeVito, Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbra Streisand, Peter Boyle, Quincy Jones, Jennifer Aniston, Tobey Maguire, Ed Harris, David Spade, Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, Christina Applegate, Ben Affleck, Mary Steenburgen, Mark Burnett, Sharon Stone, Oliver Stone, Dustin Hoffman, and Harvey Keitel

Martin Kasindorf of USA Today writes that despite the facts that Kerry is no Bill Clinton, and that Hollywood first chose Howard Dean and Wesley Clark to support before him, his fundraisers in California this week, the beginning of his $20 million in 20 cities effort, indicate Hollywood is not going to let him down. LINK

Organizers of last night's fundraiser at the home of silent screen comic Harold Lloyd in Beverly Hills said it "would pull in more than half of the $3.5 million that Kerry expects to net from a fundraising tour of four California cities Monday and Tuesday."

James Rainey and Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times provide many juicy details of the Southern California fundraisers courtesy of Ron Burkle. LINK

The AP's Nedra Pickler writes of Kerry's impending surgery and how he is making the most of his pre-anesthesia and shoulder-hurting state. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

Judy Keen of USA Today outlines the importance of Ohio as a must-win state for the presidential candidates, but also a markedly difficult win. "The outcome of the battle for Ohio is uncertain, but the stakes are not: The state has 20 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. No Republican has been elected president without winning here." LINK

"Bush is ahead in the competition to build grass-roots support, judging by a reporter's unannounced visit to each campaign's headquarters in Columbus.

"Kerry's campaign office is wedged into a corner of the red brick headquarters of The Media Group and Triumph Communications northwest of downtown Columbus. Computers that were used by Kerry's field staff before the Ohio primary are still in boxes …

"While a lone volunteer answers the Kerry phone, Bush headquarters in a first-floor suite of offices in a three-story building called Pear Tree Place is buzzing. There's a volunteer at the reception desk. Bush-Cheney '04 posters and color photos of the president are on the walls. A dozen paid staffers are on the phone or working on new laptops."

Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston Gazette reports on the criticism the Bush Administration's federal coal-mine cleanup program is receiving from both sides in Congress. LINK

The Charleston Gazette's Paul J. Nyden reports on yesterday's vote by the West Virginia Workers' Compensation board of managers to continue lawsuits against the owners of several coal companies in the state as the battle over debt leftover from earlier days of the coal industry continues. LINK

Bob Withers of the Lexington Herald-Dispatch reports on Bush's upcoming visit on Friday to Marshall University in the state of West Virginia, where he will discuss job training and the economy with invited guests. LINK

President Bush leads Kerry in the Keystone State 46 to 40 according to the latest Philadelphia Daily News/CN8 Keystone poll. (The poll has some good news for Senator Specter too.) LINK

Veepstakes:

The New York Observer reports John Edwards' fundraisers are making no secret of their desire to see him fill the number two slot. LINK

"In fact, some of Mr. Edwards' donors are adamant on the subject: They've told Mr. Kerry that if he wants all '150 percent' of their support, he ought to put Mr. Edwards on the ticket. 'I think the Edwards people genuinely feel that he would be the preferential Vice Presidential person on the ticket,' said Laura Ross, the former chair of the Women's Leadership Forum and one of Mr. Edwards' leading fund-raisers, describing the events at the St. Regis. 'So a few of them made the message clear: We support you, of course, but if you want to see our firepower, put Edwards on the ticket.'"

Gore:

The New York Observer's Hagan (re-)breaks the news that Al Gore and business partner Joel Hyatt are set to close a deal to purchase a cable channel for $70 million from Vivendi "making them the owners of the tiny digital-cable channel Newsworld International (NWI), moving Mr. Gore from politics to mini-media-moguldom." LINK

The former Vice President reportedly sought the help of Jacques Chirac in closing the deal. Gore is now searching for his version of a Roger Ailes.

Nader:

The New York Times' Todd Purdum spent some time with Ralph Nader recently in North Carolina and sizes up his current White House bid. LINK

"No, he says, he is neither a nut nor a narcissist. Yes, he agrees with his sharpest Democratic critics that defeating President Bush is essential. In the end, he believes, out-of-power Democrats will rally around John Kerry, and Mr. Nader will take votes from disaffected Republicans and independents. He is running as an independent, but might accept the endorsement of the Green Party, which nominated him four years ago, though not if doing so means refraining from campaigning in swing states, as some in the party insist."

The politics of national security:

The New York Times takes a look at the search for Ambassador Bremer's replacement and reports one key quality will be for that person to get along well with the president. LINK

The New York Times reports the new chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, has " … acknowledged that American inspectors had still not found any evidence of an illicit arsenal. But he seemed less inclined than his predecessor, David Kay, to close the door on the possibility that such weapons might yet be found … " LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

"The day after the Massachusetts legislature gave initial approval to writing civil unions for gay couples into the state's constitution, opponents of same-sex marriage began focusing on plans to oppose the proposed constitutional amendment," reports the Washington Post's Jonathan Finer LINK

Former Rep. Bob Barr expressed his opposition to the president's proposed ban on same-sex marriage as an "unwarranted intrusion," reports the New York Times. LINK

The Boston Globe's Lewis reports that Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly said in a press conference yesterday that a 1913 Massachusetts law prevents out-of-state couples from getting married in the Bay State if they are not eligible for marriage in their home state. This would apply to residents of at least 38 other states. LINK

"Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage issue expect a legal fight on out-of-state applicants for licenses, so Reilly's pronouncement yesterday will hardly be the last word. Still, if only residents of Massachusetts and a few other states can obtain marriage licenses, the breadth of the Supreme Judicial Court ruling will be sharply limited from what was originally envisioned by gay-marriage supporters."

The Boston Globe's Phillips writes of a political v. legal argument happening in the Bay State now as well. In the same press conference, Attorney General Reilly accused Gov. Mitt Romney of "of trying to force political arguments before the Supreme Judicial Court by trying to seek a delay of the court's gay-marriage ruling." LINK

The politics of immigration:

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is outraged by the political antics that were played out on Karl Rove's front lawn the other day.

"It's hard to know which is more outrageous here: the thuggery or the stupidity. The thuggery we've mentioned. But let's not discount the stupidity. Mr. Rove serves a President who has proved himself willing to buck a significant part of his own coalition by pushing a forward-looking, pro-immigration plan. To put it another way, what we had on Sunday was the spectacle of immigration "leaders" directing their ire at the most pro-immigration Administration in recent memory."

Note to the WSJ folks: we appreciate the narrative power of the neighbor's kid's story, but we aren't really sure how you think that could have been researched by the protesters.

The politics of TANF:

"Over strenuous objections from the White House, the Senate voted on Tuesday for a significant increase in money to provide child care to welfare recipients and other low-income families," writes Robert Pear on the front page of the New York Times and he Notes Sen./Dr./Leader Frist was among the renegade Republicans. LINK

Politics:

John Harwood of the Wall Street Journal looks beyond presidential politics and introduces you (as if you haven't already met them) to Barack Obama and Dino Rossi, two statewide candidate stars of this cycle.

The Wall Street Journal looks at an attempt to get stem cell research on the November ballot in California. "For the first time, advocates are bypassing government officials and asking voters directly to approve public funding for controversial, cutting-edge scientific research. If successful, the initiative could change the U.S. scientific landscape and send a message that the White House faces significant dissent over its decision not to provide federal funds for some stem-cell research."

The Wall Street Journal's Fialka writes up the poorly reviewed prosecution rate at the Environmental Protection Agency. "Management and morale problems in the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement branch are hindering the government's ability to enforce its environmental laws, an advocacy group says in a new report."

The Washington Post's Dan Keating Notes "the Pentagon has decided to drop a $22 million pilot plan to test Internet voting for 100,000 American military personnel and civilians living overseas after lingering security concerns, officials said yesterday." LINK

The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin reports that the U.S. Public Research Interest Group stated yesterday that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to act against nationwide violations of the Clean Water Act. LINK

The Los Angeles Times continues to explore the effect the Internet has in political campaigns. LINK

Donna Brazille gets Cindy Adams treatment. LINK

Gebe Martinez at the Houston Chronicle reports that Rep. Tom DeLay denied that he was Notified or subpoenaed that he is under investigation by a grand jury, that he was preparing for a legal dispute over his PACs, and that he may step aside from his leadership position should either of these denials actually be true. The first grand jury investingating DeLay's PAC ended its term, and a second will be impaneled next week. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Holding open those House votes until you have what you need is proving an effective tool for the Speaker. The New York Times ' Oppel writes up the debate over "pay as you go" tax cuts (which the Senate narrowly supported and the House narrowly defeated) to which the president is strongly opposed. LINK

"Reflecting the high stakes of this debate, the White House has been leaning on both Ms. Snowe and Ms. Collins. After the vote in the Senate earlier this month, Ms. Collins said a White House official called "to protest my vote." And Ms. Snowe said that she recently talked to Mr. Bush about the issue."

The New York Times editorial board is no fan of Hastert's penchant to keep open a vote for the desired outcome. LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The Hill's Bolton Notes how the new campaign finance law could affect the summer convention party scenes in Boston and New York. LINK

The Boston Globe reports that major highway Interstate 93, as well as a busy subway hub stop, North Station, will be shut down by the Secret Service for the entire four days of the convention. These closures are expected to be highly disruptive to commuters. LINK

Speaking of clogged arteries . . .

When Boston Mayor Thomas Menino entered Brigham and Women's Hospital this weekend, "a section of his small intestine was so swollen that doctors had to thread a drainage tube through his nose and into his stomach to eliminate collecting waste." Said a spokeswoman: "If you have a sink that has a clog in it, the stuff comes up back into your sink." The spokeswoman said that "doctors removed the tube yesterday and Menino had started to eat — and complain about being hungry." LINK

We can understand why.

The Schwarzenegger Era:

Gov. Schwarzenegger sat down with the Los Angeles Times' Salladay and Nicholas for an interview in his Sacramento office and said that his desire to balance the budget without raising taxes may prove to be "wishful thinking." He also reiterated his claim that if President Bush delivers federal dollars to California he could have a chance at capturing its electoral votes this November. LINK

Media:

Sen. Clinton is taking on the recently proposed changes to the Neilsen ratings system because she claims they will not accurately represent minority viewership. LINK

The New York Times on the debut of Air America Radio. LINK

Two right-wing media veterans offer this advice to their new colleagues at Air America Radio on the Los Angeles Times op-ed page: LINK

"Talk radio is a medium for expressing clear-cut, black-and-white, passionately articulated views. Nuances don't work."

Al Franken offers his "here I come" warning to the right on the day of his launch. LINK

TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET): —9:15 am: Sen. John Kerry addresses the Building Trades Legislative Conference via satellite —9:30 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —9:30 am: The Senate convenes for morning business —10:00 am: Reps. George Miller and Barney Frank and Sen. Barbara Boxer hold a news conference to discuss legal protections for gay people, Washington, DC —10:00 am: Boston Police Department holds a press briefing on security measures for the Democratic National Convention at police headquarters, Boston, Mass. —10:00 am: The United States Supreme Court meets to hear arguments —10:00 am: The House of Representatives convenes for legislative business —10:00 am: Sens. Rick Santorum, Jeff Sessions and James Talent hold a news conference to discuss the impacts of the 1996 welfare reforms, Capitol Hill —10:05 am: Sen. Kerry attends a roundtable with workers at the Boston Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Center, Boston, Mass. —10:30 am: First Lady Laura Bush and Mrs. Marta Sahagun de Fox visit Martha's Table, Washington, D.C. —10:30 am: House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato plant a cherry blossom tree at the Southeast lawn, Capitol Hill —11:00 am: RNC and Bush-Cheney campaign hold news conference announcing FEC complaint —11:30 am: Sen. Kerry receives shoulder surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass. —11:30 am: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist meets with Iraqi Ambassador Rend Rahim Francke, Capitol Hill —12:00 pm: President Bush participates in a luncheon with members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the White House —1:00 pm: Politics Live on ABC News Live and AOL —1:00 pm: On camera briefing by Secretary McClellan —2:00 pm: Michael Jackson attends a private meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee —2:30 pm: The AFL-CIO holds a news conference with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Capitol Hill —3:00 pm: Dr. Bertram Zains conducts a conference call on Kerry's condition —4:30 pm: Moveon.org joins the AFL-CIO in a rally outside a Bush fundraiser in support of overtime pay at the Marriott Wardman Hotel, Washington, D.C. —6:00 pm: President and Mrs. Bush attend a Bush-Cheney fundraiser dinner at the Marriott, Washington, D.C. —6:00 pm: Sen. Frist attends the Cherry Blossom Congressional Reception, Capitol Hill —7:30 pm: Gov. Howard Dean speaks at the 21st Century Democrats annual dinner at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. —11:00 pm: Karen Hughes appears on Comedy Central's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart"

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