TODAY SCHEDULE (all times ET)
Dynamics to watch:
1. How does today's round of the Bush campaign's campaign to "define John Kerry" go? The major prongs: Vice President Cheney's tour de force speech on taxes and the economy and a new radio ad with a Massy cop. And will there be (yes) a new Bush television spot tomorrow?
2. Does the focus on Dr. Rice ("Will she or won't she?") obscure the bigger 9/11 commission issues? (The POTUS and VPOTUS "visits" with the commission; the shape and tone of the final report; Ron Brownstein's pro-Dick Clarke boosterism.)
3. Will there be a deal to secure a Rice appearance before the commission?
4. What led to yesterday's Republican rush to decry Rice's refusal to testify, and is it a sign of things to come?
5. With Democrats from outside the campaign still keeping the jury out on the competence of the Cahill Crew (Is it more Estrich or Carville?), how does Team Kerry handle the semiotics of their candidate's surgery this week?
6. With the Massachusetts legislature trying once more on same-sex marriage today, will the president ever talk about the issue again?; what will the GOP platform say about it?; will either or both chambers of Congress vote on it?; and, if so, how will those votes come out?
7. How tight is the connection between gas prices and the "wrong track" number?
8. Will the question posed a while back in a full-page ad from Southwestern University in Texas Monthly ("What's important to Karen Hughes?") be answered in the next month, what with her book tour and all?
9. Will the Wall Street Journal 's David Rogers ever learn that nuance in the '00s is hazardous?
10. Will Time's Joe Klein ever learn that Ron Suskind (and not Paul O'Neill) wrote that book?
11. Which USA Today headline does Trent Duffy like more — A1's "Iraq Economy Shakes Off the Shackles of Saddam" or B1's "Economists See 'Booming Economy'" in America?
12. Which of The Note's readers will be smart enough to double back and read the must-reads from the weekend, sprinkled throughout below?
13. What is up with Ralph Nader?
President Bush meets with the prime ministers of new NATO nations at the White House today. He speaks about the economy in Wisconsin tomorrow; meets with members of the Baseball Hall of Fame at the White House and attends a Washington fundraiser on Wednesday; celebrates Greek Independence Day at the White House and attends an NRCC dinner on Thursday; and speaks about job training in West Virginia and attends fundraisers in Georgia on Friday.
Vice President Cheney speaks about Sen. Kerry's tax policy at the Chamber of Commerce today.
Sen. Kerry campaigns in Sacramento this afternoon before holding two fundraisers, one in Sacramento and one in San Francisco. He repeats his schedule tomorrow, speaking in San Diego before attending fundraisers in San Diego and Beverly Hills. He flies back to Boston early Wednesday morning to undergo outpatient, one-hour surgery on a torn tendon in his right shoulder.
First Lady Laura Bush is in Florida today and in Washington the rest of the week until Friday, when she travels to Texas.
The Senate debates the welfare reform reauthorization bill today.
Trials challenging the Partial-Birth Abortion Act begin in New York, California and Nebraska today.
The Massachusetts state legislature debates a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban same sex marriage today, tomorrow and Wednesday.