The Note

"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.

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