The Note

The New York Times' Lichtblau reports that "Attorney General John Ashcroft rebuffed calls from Congressional Democrats and abortion rights groups to drop the Justice Department's demands for abortion records from a half-dozen hospitals," stating that the records were necessary for the courtroom defense of partial birth abortions. LINK

Ashcroft "defended efforts by the Justice Department to obtain the confidential medical records of patients who have undergone a type of late-term abortion, saying yesterday that attorneys representing the government in a lawsuit need the documents to determine if the procedures were medically necessary," reports the Washington Post's Dan Eggen. "Ashcroft said patient privacy would be protected because "identifying characteristics" would be removed from the documents before they are turned over to the Justice Department." LINK

Congress will not lift repeal an export-tax subsidy declared illegal by the World Trade Organization by the March 1 deadline because some Republicans consider a trade war less politically risky than making themselves vulnerable to Democratic charges that they are deepening an already huge budget deficit, reports Shailagh Murray of the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times' Clemetson reports on the issues that are important to Asian-American voters, such as poverty, hate crimes, and immigration changes, and the plan for a "coalition of organizations that represent Asian-Americans" to create a "unified platform intended to increase politicians' involvement with the ethnic group." LINK

The Governator takes to the the New York Times writes that "in little more than three months in office, despite no experience in politics, he has proved himself an effective negotiator." LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times' Scott Fornek opens with a fantastic pun in a story about the Republican Senate bid of ice cream tycoon Jim Oberweis and the complaint filed against him by Democrats accusing him of illegally using his dairy to campaign. LINK

ABC 2004: The Campaign Bus Logs:

As the campaigns go national, so do our campaign buses. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at their daily logs.

From ABC News Red Bus producer Beth Loyd, in Charleston, W.Va.:

QUOTES OF THE DAY: "This call better not be about switching hotels" -- David Reiter, after we called him five times about switching to a hotel more centrally located in Louisville.

"Hey, give us a ride, give us a ride" -- About 20 middle-school students from Southern Leadership Academy when we tried to close the door and leave after doing a survey for our visit tomorrow morning.

"Please keep your hands off the bus…we have to go" -- Bus driver Steve Hoker trying in vain to get the kids to back away from our bus

RUMORS FROM THE ROAD: We here that the Bus Hall of Fame is trying to track Big Red down to schedule our induction ceremony. A bronze cast of Big Red will be on permanent display at their Hall in Wabash, Indiana. Go Big Red.

From ABC News Blue Bus producer Matthew Frucci, in Milwaukee, Wis.:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "What? You've never been to a Wal-Mart?" -- Wal-Mart check-out clerk in disgust after learning that bus producer Michael Kreisel had never been to a Wal-Mart before this day.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: Watching eight, yes, EIGHT episodes of Dawson's Creek on our day-long trip from Nashville to Milwaukee. In Tennessee, Dawson and Jen were dating. By the time we made it to Kentucky, Dawson and Jen had split and Dawson was now linked to Joey. In Illinois, Joey started gravitating towards Jack, much to the dismay of Dawson. And it all came to a head at the Homecoming Dance as we steamed into Wisconsin. We traveled many miles indeed.

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