The Note

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NEWS SUMMARY

Ralph Reed, as quoted in USA Today: "Every day for the next eight months, John Kerry is going to have to look in the mirror of his record. . . . It is not a record he wants to defend."

A "GOP strategist on Capitol Hill who requested anonymity," as quoted in the Los Angeles Times: "This White House that seemed to be so disciplined, so political, doing such a good job, looks awfully bumbling to me."

David Carney, "a Republican strategist in New Hampshire and White House political director for Bush's father," quoted in the same Los Angles Times story: "People are anxious. . . . There's a lot of fretting going on out there."

One "outside (Bush) campaign advisor, who also requested anonymity, quoted, yes, in that same Los Angeles Times story: ""I worry about Ohio….We've got a real vulnerability on the jobs issue if we can't get that discussion going in a different direction."

At some point, the fact that the Kerry campaign makes its own share of daily undisciplined bumbling decisions (not revealed publicly, MBC, but we know about 'em!) will be part of the daily Chatter of the Chattering Class, and those days can't come soon enough for BC04. (And if you skip the Hastert transcript at the end of today's Note, you are crazy.)

But it is still virtually impossible for even the Washington Times to write about the Kerry campaign a story that would be comparable to the one penned by the Los Angeles Times' Barabak and Hook, whose mustest-read looks at the anxiety over the BC04 campaign as some key Republicans say that "the White House took too long to engage in the race and lacks a clear strategy for addressing voters' economic worries." LINK

While some chalk up the recent polls to the battering that the President took from the Democratic side during the nomination season, "not everyone blames Bush's problems solely on his political foes," the duo Notes, and has a slew of key Republicans to weigh in on what is going right and wrong in the re-election campaign.

And just wait until Bob Dole and Lamar Alexander find out that Tom Rath is a "Bush family loyalist"!!!!!

As Mary Matalin told Harry Smith this morning: "'You're going to love this campaign!'"

But: is it just us, or is the political and Washington press corps already on overload trying to cover

1. the substance of the national security, economic, and health care debates? 2. the tactics, strategies, and personalities of the Bush and Kerry campaigns? 3. the relative merits and veracity of the charges and countercharges?

A great piece of work in the third category -- days in the making -- appears under the headline "President overstates Kerry's record on intelligence budget," in which the Washington Post's Pincus and Milbank do some serious legwork and decide that the President's attack on Kerry's intelligence budget proposal that he started touting this week is "about half right" because it fails to mention that the Republican-led Congress later approved a comparable cut. LINK

Walter/Dana: let us know what Terry Holt says when he gets back to you on that narrative.

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