The Note

Johnson, by the way, has had three straight really strong, nuanced must-read news-of-day stories on Bush v. Kerry. Very impressive.

Maureen Dowd characterizes the upcoming election as a contest between "pride and prejudice." We'll let you guess who is "pride" and who is "prejudice." LINK

Los Angeles Times' Rainey looks at how presidential image-making this year will focus heavily on masculinity, driven by "the anxiety many Americans feel because of the war in Iraq and the threat of terrorist attacks at home."

Rainey Notes that the machismo factor won't just be in images of the candidates playing sports, but "will be cast in more subtle and euphemistic terms, as pundits talk about the candidates' 'authenticity,' 'decisiveness' and 'toughness.'"LINK

Karl roves:

Here is more from Lindlaw's awesome wirey work on Rove at the Grover meeting:

"Less than 24 hours after learning of the (West Virginia) speech, the Bush campaign produced an ad criticizing Kerry for his Senate votes on military spending. It also dispatched volunteers to hand out pro-Bush material to West Virginians, and started radio ads in the state."

"The Bush campaign has material ready to go on Kerry based on his votes and speeches, said a Republican who attended the session. Whenever Kerry raises an issue, the Bush-Cheney campaign will be prepared to hand out leaflets, and run ads on TV and radio."

"Kerry's vote authorizing force in Iraq, and on an array of military issues, put him 'in a box' on the Iraq war, minimizing his ability to criticize Bush, Rove told the conservatives in the private meeting. In Rove's judgment, Kerry hurt himself by calling on one-time Democratic rival Howard Dean to voice support for him.

Dean was a fierce critic of the Iraq war, but most Americans outside the Beltway back Bush on national security issues, Rove said."

"And he expressed irritation that some disgruntled Republicans in Congress and elsewhere have increasingly chosen to go to the news media to air their complaints, rather than bringing them directly to the White House."

Lindlaw also reports that the Bush-Cheney fundraising juggernaut might be coming to a close. "Rove headlines one of the last announced Bush-Cheney fund-raisers, an event in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday. The campaign also has announced a March 26 fund-raiser starring Vice President Dick Cheney in Dayton, Ohio."

"Two Republican officials said Bush plans a 'last-hurrah'-style fund raiser March 31 in Washington."

ABC News Vote 2004: Senator John Kerry:

From ABC News Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe: SUN VALLEY, IDAHO, March. 17--When a 15-car, police-led motorcade burst suddenly into the Texaco gas station night shift, a young attendant who stood post on Wednesday's starry night in Shoshone, Idaho, said it all, marveling, "What the hell just happened here?"

Idaho, meet candidate Kerry. Candidate Kerry, meet Idaho. Foregoing the sun soaked sands of some tropical isle in a battleground state, Senator Kerry chose to take his first legitimate vacation in over a year at Teresa Heinz Kerry's Ketchum, Idaho mountain lodge.

Tucked far from the rigors of the campaign trail and in a securely red state the Senator promised, "I'm going to go snowboarding, ride my bike, go snow shoeing, climb a mountain, whatever I want to do."

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