The Note

They're not the Mommy Party anymore, perhaps? Max Cleland talks to new Salon Fearless Washington Chieftain Sidney Blumenthal and offers some serious fightin' words of his own when it comes to the Republicans and their campaign tactics.

Writes Blumenthal, "'They have been shown to trash anyone, anywhere, anytime,' Cleland told me. 'They seek to slander a noble veteran's record who was wounded and the only member of his division in the Navy who won a Silver Star. Use 9/11? Have they no shame? Listen, John Kerry knows that the slime machine is targeting him and his family. We discussed this before the race -- somebody's got to fight. That's the way it's turning out, the band of brothers against the slime machine.'" LINK

The Boston Globe's Michael Kranish writes about one of Kerry's Vietnam crewmates whose "view of Kerry at war is far different from the heroic view presented by others." LINK

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein reports on Kerry's picking Robert Crowe, "a longtime Massachusetts political operative and Kerry ally," to head his DNC fundraising. LINK

The Hill reports that Kerry-endorsing League of Conservation Voters is facing questions over money ties to Teresa Heinz Kerry. Most of these questions are coming from the RNC. The LCV's Mark Longabaugh says "Heinz-related funding 'didn't go into our political efforts in any way, shape or form.'" LINK

Veepstakes:

The New York Daily News picks up on the "McCain as Veep" storyline, Noting that the Arizona Senator didn't rule out the position (!), but Mark Salter did it for him. LINK

That Mark Salter: he knows how to be Shermanesque.

Nader:

A new angle on the Nader run. The Boston Phoenix's Adam Reilly says it's not just Kerry and the Dems who should fret about a Ralph Nader candidacy. The Greens should be worried too. And they are.

Not only is Nader's lingering reputation as a spoiler making it hard to get prospective voters into the party, but "if Nader continues his run as an independent, he'll compete with the Green nominee for volunteers and votes - which could pull the Green candidate below the thresholds required for ballot status in various states and make it harder for the party to add members and run candidates in 2006."

And then there is the issue whether Nader will eventually end up the Green nominee at the Green convention in June, which some say could happen if the Greens rally around him in the end. With several other candidates currently running for the Green nomination, such a move could be divisive:

"This wouldn't destroy the Green movement. But it could create some serious turbulence for a party that's grown from 100,000 to 300,000 since 1992." LINK

Another Green-related opinion piece by Collin Levey in the Seattle Times argues that the Greens are in the midst of an identity crisis:

"Along with San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest is the closest thing the Greens have to an electoral stronghold. The party's fortunes are often covered in the press, where the former public citizen's doings are front-page news. But even here, the party seems to be suffering an identity crisis in the vacuum Nader left." LINK

The house of labor:

The New York Times' Steven Greenhouse reports that the AFL-CIO says it will spend $44 million this year in an attempt to unseat President Bush and, for the first time, "will seek to persuade and mobilize hundreds of thousands of nonunion members to vote for labor's preferred presidential candidate." LINK

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