The Note

"So far, however, that hasn't happened."

And another potential voting bloc worry for the BC04 campaign:

William Douglas of Knight Ridder profiles Bush's declining popularity among military voters. "Democrats sense an opportunity to chip away at what's been a mostly Republican base since the United States turned to an all-volunteer military in 1973." LINK

the AP reports that Bush's Medicare ad campaign is legal although "somewhat political," according to the General Accounting Office. LINK

The New York Times' Oppel, Jr., reports the Senate passed a measure that will require 60 votes for any tax cut -- a "surprising election-year rebuke" to the White House that reduces the chances of making President Bush's tax cuts permanent. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. and Glenn Simpson report the Pentagon's Halliburton probe has widened and Note the "broadening of the fuel inquiry, which one military official described as "highly significant," would give the investigation considerably more heft. Justice investigators have the power to indict and to press criminal fraud charges -- abilities denied the Pentagon's civilian watchdogs. They also can assess hefty penalties and seek additional damages, a power the Pentagon lacks, though its auditors can reject a contractor's billings as being too high and decline to pay."

These aren't your typical Long Island fundraisers. And three hours of cocktail party on a school night! Newsday's Michael Rothfeld reports on the "big-money donors that President George W. Bush is scheduled to greet at his fund-raising gala in East Meadow this afternoon" and says many of them are "unknown in local circles." Among those scheduled to be in attendance: Gov. George Pataki, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Lt. Gov. Mary Donohue, and state Republican chairman Sandy Treadwell. LINK

The Kentucky Post on the Cheney cash dive for Sen. Jim Bunning, which is designed for two purposes: "It will add to Bunning's $4.2 million re-election war chest and send a political message: opponents beware, Bunning is a national player who has President Bush's stamp of approval." LINK

The land of 5-plus-2-equals-7:

The New York Times' Justice and Rutenberg report on Sens. McCain and Feingold's position that the 527s "are circumventing the new campaign finance law that they sponsored." LINK

The criticism was just hitting everyone Wednesday. The Washington Post's Tom Edsall reports that Sen. McCain "accused the chairman and vice chair of the Federal Election Commission of evading their obligation to enforce the law." LINK

The Hill reports that Sen. McCain says he will sue the FEC if it won't crack down on the 527s. Meanwhile "the shadow groups' legal counsel has sent a stern letter to the FEC warning it not to issue new rules in the middle of an election year." LINK

The Washington Times' Brian DeBose reports on McCain's threat to sue the FEC. Now watch the feeding frenzy begin: Republicans criticizing McCain and Feingold for proposing the regulations, and McCain going after an FEC that's, ahem, not particularly equipped to deal with enforcement. LINK

Question: Anyone ever think about funding the FEC or actually giving them authority? Just a thought . . .

USA Today's Jim Drinkard writes about the Bush campaign's argument to the FEC that the Media Fund's ad campaign is illegal. LINK

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