The Note

TODAY SCHEDULE AS OF 9:00 am (all times ET):

— 7:30 am: Sen. John Kerry calls into MSNBC's "Imus in the Morning" — 9:20 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan — 9:45 am: Sen. John Edwards attends a roundtable at the Smith Steel Workers Hall, Milwaukee, Wis. — 10:00 am: President Bush meets with a Delegation of Governors returned from Iraq, the White House — 10:00 am: ABC's Cokie Roberts moderates a Glamour Magazine event with Liz Cheney, Catherine Edwards, Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry, Rebecca Lieberman and Corinne Quayle, New York, N.Y. — 10:00 am: Gov. Howard Dean tours the Anibas Family Farm, Eau Claire, Wis. — 10:00 am: Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Sens. Bob Graham and Ron Wyden speak to the press about President Bush's 2005 budget for veterans, Washington, D.C. — 10:00 am: The National Press Club hosts a roundtable discussion about Sen. Kerry's ability to beat President Bush featuring Joe Lockhart, Scott Reed, Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg, Washington, D.C. — 10:30 am: Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack speaks about the economy at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. — 11:30 am: Sen. Kerry receives the endorsement of Gen. Wesley Clark at the Armory and Gymnasium, Madison, Wis. — 11:30 am: Gov. Dean attends a rally at the State Theater, Eau Claire, Wis. — 12:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry attends a forum with Gov. Jim Doyle at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. — 12:15 pm: On-camera press briefing by Press Secretary McClellan — 1:00 pm: Politics Live on abcnews.com and AOL — 1:45 pm: President Bush participates in a conversation on choosing schools, Washington, D.C. — 3:00 pm: Gov. Dean holds a roundtable discussion at Lake Shore Technical College, Cleveland, Wis. — 6:00 pm: RNC Chairman CEO Bill Harris addresses members of the Pan Asian American Leadership Caucus, New York, N.Y. — 6:45 pm: Gov. Dean attends a fish fry at American Servian Memorial Hall, Milwaukee, Wis. — 11:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a rally at Valley High School, Las Vegas, Nev. — 11:30 pm: Sen. Edwards appears on NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Los Angeles, Calif.

NEWS SUMMARY

President Bush's political team is under tremendous pressure to aggressively counter John Kerry's rise.

Republican Party and elected officials are, like their Democratic counterparts, the first to panic at the sign of negative poll numbers, and the President -- despite the State of the Union and "Meet the Press" -- is still routinely seeing public polling representing a bad trend -- such as the just-out ABC News/Washington Post poll (more on that below).

Kerry's favorable media coverage and the lingering press' focus on the President's National Guard history are also of concern to Republicans -- who are asking the White House to step things up.

See, for example, this passage from today's Mike Allen/Lois Romano Washington Post opus: LINK

"Republican lawmakers have been growing increasingly concerned about the fallout from the dispute over Bush's Guard service. GOP aides on Capitol Hill, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the White House had put the party on the defensive on an issue related to national security, which is traditionally a GOP strength, as Bush prepares to face.... Kerry..."

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