The Note

"Democratic governors are some of the most innovative, in touch leaders in the country. And I am convinced that is why we know how to win in areas that Democrats usually write off. I'm talking about rural towns, small towns, Midwestern towns, Southwestern towns. I'm talking about states like Iowa, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kansas, Arizona -- all states where we have Democratic governors. And I'm talking about Montana -- where we are about to have a Democratic governor.

"The bottom line is, with the help of candidates for governor and Governors, Democrats can win in every area of the country. I saw that President Bush went and whooped it up at a Rodeo and Livestock show this week. They think that they've got the votes of farmers and small town families and agricultural families all wrapped up. They think that Bush can give a healthy horse a hearty pat on the side, flash a steady grin toward the camera, and convey trust and likeability. Well President Bush is in for a surprise if he thinks that's all it takes . . . Rural families are looking to the President to produce a serious, sustained lift to our economy -- not for a shot of him posing with prize pigs."

The New York Times' Carl Hulse reports that the House of Representatives has voted to raise the fine for indecency on television. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers reports that "a feisty" House Speaker Dennis Hastert said fellow Republicans will move ahead with the $275 billion highway and mass-transit that is almost "$20 billion more" than Bush's goal but "still substantially less than many lawmakers want."

In (one of) our favorite exchanges from the Speaker's pen and pad briefing yesterday:

Q: You met with the administration yesterday. Did they say they would support the target number?

Speaker Hastert: We need to go forward, we need to go to conference with the Senate, and then if they want to be involved in that conference, they certainly will be able to be involved in it.

Q: But did they say they would sign?

Hastert: They didn't make a commitment.

Q: Did they say they would veto it?

Hastert: They didn't say they would veto it.

Q: Is that with the President or with the people?

Hastert: That is with the President. I don't deal with his people anymore.


Q: Sir, what did you mean by that last comment: That was with the President; I don't deal with his people anymore?

Hastert: Well, we weren't getting straight numbers from his people, and they changed their mind in the middle of the process. So we are going to do what we feel we need to do.

Q: Just on this issue or on --

Hastert: On this issue.

Q: Or in general?

Hastert: On this issue.

Q: Sir --

Q: What kind of numbers were you getting from them?

Hastert: Different numbers.

Q: Different from?

Hastert: Where they added up.


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