The Note

Don Hudson of the Charlotte Observer Notes that, though Kerry is riding high on waves of early contest momentum, Bush retains the home field, incumbency advantage with control over may factors that could make or break the potential for a Kerry surge. LINK

Andy Kanengiser of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger Notes that a group of 28 Mississippi lawmakers endorsed Kerry for president, claiming he "has a better shot than anybody else" of claming the nomination. But, according to many, the state still overwhelmingly remains Bush country. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' La Ganga looks ahead to the race to define Kerry — by both sides. LINK

The Boston Globe 's columnists all sound off on the results with key points of focus on Kerry:

-Jackson — heart LINK

-Oliphant — spending LINK

-Vennochi — ambition LINK

-Lehigh — Edwards LINK

-Jacoby — substance LINK

The Hill's Dealey looks at the funds Kerry has received from those now-infamous "Benedict Arnold CEOs." LINK

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 2 — As Senator John F. Kerry waited to celebrate his newly earned, statistically official title of Democratic presidential nominee at an 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue party, an operator five blocks down the street prepared a call from President George W. Bush.

At 7:50 pm ET, the president congratulated his challenger in what Kerry described as "a very nice conversation."

Then Kerry, who more often invoked Bush than any of his Democratic rivals on the stump, said, "I hope we have a great debate about the issues before the country."

In essence, Kerry has already commenced that "great debate," framing himself as Bush's central foe throughout the nomination process. Even in celebrating a victory a hard-fought year in the making, a senior Kerry aide cheered with political overtones, "We're going to Disneyland, in every way, shape, and form."

And indeed, Kerry will make his first post-Super Tuesday stop in the 2000 battleground state of Florida (Granted, home of Disney World, not Disneyland.).

Kerry will rest his voice on Thursday in Boston, and the campaign will not change his schedule, heading to each of the remaining March 9 states — Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas — through the weekend.

But as Bush-Cheney '04 goes up with $4.5 million in strategically placed ads, the Kerry camp will immediately feel the pinch of a contested nomination contest.

Senior Kerry aides estimate his coffers are filled with no more than $3 million (while the Bush-Cheney team holds 33 times that amount). But, Kerry communications director Stephanie Cutter pledges the candidate will head to fundraisers "everywhere," including drilling for cash in the president's home state of Texas.

The Democratic National Committee, with $15 million already armed and ready, will also hold a fundraiser for Kerry on March 25.

And, looking way down the road with tea leaves in hand, it's worth Noting that Kerry spent the first four minutes of his 19-minute victory speech praising former rivals Senator John Edwards and Gov. Howard Dean.

Kerry effusively praised Edwards for a "gracious" and "powerful" campaign, while thanking Dean for the "unprecedented contribution that he has made to our party and our country."

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