The Note

On Thursday ABC's George Stephanopoulos moderates a debate between Catholic University graduates Ed Gillespie ('83) and Terry McAuliffe ('79) at their alma mater. In Seattle and on Larry King Live, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean announces his new post-campaign political organization.

On Friday BC '04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman and former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi address the Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet's Politics Online Conference at George Washington University, D.C.

Also Friday, it's the first anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. Watch ABC News all this week for special coverage.

Saturday brings the first day of spring; Wyoming, Alaska and Guam hold Democratic caucuses.

ABC News Vote 2004: Spain:

It's no secret that the pan-Atlantic Chattering Classes will spend the day constructing analogies between the victorious Socialist Party, various other European opposition parties, and the Democrats here at home.

And coming up with scary "what-ifs" for the fall.

And speculating about the political effects of the withdrawal of Spanish troops.

There is one significant difference for domestic comparisons, anyway: Spaniards were much more public and vocal in their dissent against the war than Americans have been. Way before the terrorist strikes in Madrid, anti-war sentiment among the middle class was pitched. It's less pronounced and different here in the U.S.

The Democrats want to use doubts about the war to challenge the credibility of the incumbent, alleging that President Bush can't be trusted. (Add for multilateralists: "and has squandered American credibility.") Further, Rodruiguez Zapatero based his campaign on anti-war sentiment. (That's not something that, say, the Conservative Party in Britain has done).

The biggest similarities (aside from the too-easy "Democrats are Socialists" epithet) we can find between Kerry and Mr. Zapatero is that they are both tall. Both lawyers. Both began their political career at a young age. (So far as we can tell, Kerry is not nicknamed "Bambi.")

Steven Komarow of USA Today writes that, "On both sides of the Atlantic on Sunday, analysts were suggesting that the turnabout in Spain raises troubling questions for the global war on terrorism and future support for the war in Iraq, questions that eventually could reverberate back into the American political scene." LINK

The New York Times' David Sanger Notes that the Administration "must now fight the perception, accurate or not, that acts of terror against America's allies can sway nations into rethinking the wisdom of standing too closely with Mr. Bush."

More: "'We don't know how big a factor the Madrid bombing was in the outcome,' a senior American official" told Sanger. "'We don't know that what happened in Spain marks a broader trend. But I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said this is the kind of outcome we might have wished for.'" LINK

(That doesn't sound like Dr. Rice to us AT ALL!!!!)

The Los Angeles Times' Wilkinson writes, "Numerous voters said they believed Spain's support for the Bush administration had put it in the cross hairs of Islamic terrorists." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Battlegrounds:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jim VandeiHei whittle away at the slate of Great 18 battleground states, narrowing it down to 17, then 10, then five, then … basically … to Wisconsin and Iowa.

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