The Note

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

— 7:30 am: Sen. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah share a "Cup of Joe" at Logo Loc, Manchester, N.H. — 8:00 am: Gov. Howard Dean attends a town hall meeting about jobs at the Londonderry Lions Club Hall, Londonderry, N.H. — 8:30 am: Sen. Lieberman and his wife stop at Bagel Works, Concord, N.H. — 8:45 am: Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference, Arlington, Va. — 9:00 am: Sen. John Kerry greets voters at Mary Anne's Diner, Derry, N.H. — 9:00 am: Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives a presentation at Heritage Heights, Concord, N.H. — 9:30 am: Gen. Wesley Clark attends a "Conversations with Clark" event at Rivier College, Nashua, N.H. — 9:30 am: Sen. Lieberman hosts a town hall meeting at Jefferson Pilot Securities, Concord, N.H. — 9:45 am: Off-camera press gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan — 10:30 am: President Bush speaks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Hilton, Washington, D.C. — 10:30 am: Sen. Kerry tours and speaks to workers at PolyVac, Manchester, N.H. — 10:30 am: Sen. John Edwards visits Page Belting, Concord, N.H. — 11:30 am: Gov. Dean attends a town hall meeting at Martha's Exchange, Nashua, N.H. — 12:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a town hall with veterans at the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester, Manchester, N.H. — 12:00 pm: Sen. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah greets local residents at Cafe Brioche, Portsmouth, N.H. — 12:15 pm: On-camera briefing by Press Secretary McClellan — 1:00 pm: Politics Live on and AOL — 2:30 pm: President Bush participates in a photo opportunity with the 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins, The White House — 2:30 pm: Republican National Chairman Chairman Ed Gillespie addresses the CPAC conference, Arlington, Va. — 2:30 pm: Sen. Lieberman participates in the National Health Policy Forum, Manchester, N.H. — 2:30 pm: Sen. Edwards addresses the Voter Education Project at Margarette H. Miller Cosmetology Center, Columbia, S.C. — 3:00 pm: Gen. Clark attends a national health policy forum at the Palace Theater, Manchester, N.H. — 3:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a forum about health care at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, N.H. — 4:15 pm: Sen. Kerry skates at the Newport Town Green, Newport, N.H. — 4:30 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a "Primary Palooza" concert at Keene State College, Keene, N.H. — 6:15 pm: Gen. Clark attends a House Party, Windham, N.H. — 6:30 pm Gov. Dean attends a town hall meeting at Keene Middle School, Keene, N.H. — 6:30 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a chili feed with Gov. Jeanne Shaheen at Disnard Elementary School, Claremont, N.H. — 7:30 pm: Gen. Clark attends a rally at Pinkerton Academy, Derry, N.H.


The Note -- normally a relentless scold when it comes to the political press' poll-driven-we-can't-wait-for-the-voting-before-passing-judgment mentality -- is filled to bursting with pride for our profession today.

Given the Gang of 500's IV drip (read: "flood") of daily tracking polls, we hereby salute our colleagues for (so far) resisting doing the following stories:

-- the stylistic melding of Teresa Heinz and Elizabeth Edwards: Can Chris Black save this marriage?

-- the potential conflicts of interest posed by Dewey Square clients and Pentagon contracts

-- Jill Alper: the new It Girl?

-- how stormy will Richard Holbrooke's confirmation hearings be?

-- Marylouise, when was the last time you saw your hubby?

-- can a huge turnout of veterans -- and sons and daughters of millworkers -- turn Ohio from red to blue?

-- Chris Heinz's potential primary challenge to Senator Clinton

Now: here are some questions that we think SHOULD be answered:

How do Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and other members of the unalligned congressional and party Establishment feel about a Kerry nomination?

And if he wins New Hampshire, how soon will the ranks close?

And has anyone considered lately whether Kerry as nominee could adopt Howard Dean's "$100 from 2 million people" challenge, and/or use that catsup money in the general election?

Also: Will John Kerry have a bad news cycle between now and next Tuesday?

If he does, it appears it won't be because he is forced into it by his opponents (who are variously playing, it seems, for second and/or survival), or by the press (who are, it also seems, unlikely to drop any investigative bombs that detonate before the primary).

And it won't be because of bad staff work -- don't underestimate the number of "adults" who are surrounding John Kerry now, and the extent to which their vast campaign experience is likely to shield him from scheduling snafus or political landmines.

After a "relentlessly civil" debate; another day of NO new newsmaking television ads; and another day of apparent Kerry upward movement (with no one else seeming to make substantial gains) -- after all that, we are looking at another day today of "routine" campaign events throughout New Hampshire.

It is of course too soon to say if Howard Dean's remade strategy and Primetime and Letterman appearances will do anything to put his numbers back on track.

It will be interesting to Note how our colleagues on cable will handle the first New Hampshire poll (regardless of the source) which shows Clark or Edwards surpassing Dean for the number two slot in the Granite State race -- if such a thing happens.

It ISN'T too soon to say that deanforamerica won't get any solid tracking poll data to gauge the effects until the weekend, at which point they will be flying blind (with the rest of us) about whither Howard Dean's image in the Granite State.

It also isn't too soon to say that the expectations for the Feb. 3 states and the candidates on the road out of New Hampshire will be largely derivative of:

A. whether Kerry wins New Hampshire and by how much, and

B. IF Kerry numerically wins New Hampshire, how many other candidates are seen by the Gang of 500/19-person subgroup to have gotten a "win" there as well.

At this point -- given how absolutely unsettled the Feb. 3 and money situations are -- any of the four other leading candidates still have the potential to leave Manchester in the hunt.

Starting now, we'll be looking for the final changes in advertising strategy; the beginning of "robo" calls that might be carrying a negative message; and the beginning hints of on which states the candidates will focus their resources after New Hampshire.

If you are looking for the fun parlor game of the day and want to keep very busy perhaps you might consider counting how many times the word "Halliburton" is invoked by the candidates out on the Democratic campaign trail today.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "Halliburton Co. has told the Pentagon that two employees took kickbacks valued at up to $6 million in return for awarding a Kuwaiti-based company with lucrative work supplying U.S. troops in Iraq."

"The disclosure is the first firm indication of corruption involving U.S.-funded projects in Iraq and raises new questions about Halliburton's dealings there. The company's work already is being scrutinized because of accusations that the U.S. government was overcharged for gasoline under another controversial contract."

And so begins the day.

President Bush speaks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and meets with the Florida Marlins today in Washington, D.C. He is in D.C. over the weekend.

Vice President Cheney is in Davos, Switzerland and Rome this weekend to speak to the World Economic Forum and the Italian Senate. He meets with Pope John Paul II on Tuesday.

BC'04 campaign manager Mehlman and RNC Chairman Gillespie both speak to the CPAC conference today.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman, Gov. Dean, Gen. Clark and Rep. Kucinich are in New Hampshire today and through the weekend. Sen. Kennedy will campaign with Sen. Kerry this weekend, and Sen. Kerry will appear on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday night.

Sen. Edwards is in New Hampshire this morning and this weekend but is visiting South Carolina this afternoon. Go, Tiger, go.

Rev. Al Sharpton has no public events today or over the weekend.

The Debate:

The Washington Post's Broder and Balz write up the debate, highlighting the Kerry and Dean electability arguments and their accentuation of the positive. LINK

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Kit Seelye Note Kerry's and Dean's eagerness to fight the GOP on taxes and social issues in the general election. LINK

The New York Times' Robin Toner writes on the newfound amiability on display among the candidates last night and points to John Kerry as its leading beneficiary. LINK

The New York Times' John Tierney writes of the scrutiny Dean faced in the debate, Noting the candidate came out better for the wear, looking "humbler" than he had in "months." LINK

Howie Kurtz writes in the Washington Post on what precipitated Brit Hume's on-air correction last night (Dean walking over to Hume during a commercial -- "The most interesting moment" of the debate.") LINK

The AP's Calvin Woodward reports that stories were "not fully told" in last night's debate as he scrutinizes Clark on his Democratic credentials, Kerry on whether he camped out on the Mall and on whether the Medicare reform bill pushes seniors into HMOs, Edwards on the Defense of Marriage Act, and Dean on whether there was a middle-class tax cut. LINK

Al Hunt writes that the Democratic contenders were too worried about looking negative to actually go negative -- or to shake things up -- in last night's debate.

"The bottom line: there probably still is enough fluidity to shake up this crucial electorate before voters go to the polls in four days."

The Nashua Telegraph's Kevin Landrigan writes up last night's "civil debate" and Notes that Kerry (and Edwards) "passed on the chance to hit back at Dean's only shot at him…. Dean said" Kerry, Edwards and Lieberman "were in part responsible for the 500 dead and 2,200 wounded American soldiers by voting to authorize Bush to attack Iraq." LINK

The Boston Globe op-ed page is totally torn about the performances last night. Columnist Joan Vennochi thinks Sen. Edwards seems to be auditioning for vice president and asks whether a Kerry-Edwards ticket is already in the works. LINK

But then Scot Lehigh writes that Sen. Edwards was the best performer of the night. LINK

The Union Leader leads with the Democrats refraining "from attacking one another while Howard Dean worked to defuse fallout from his bombastic post-caucus speech." LINK

John Kerry "stole the show" before last night's debate "with a grand entrance, including a pipe and drum corps and a contingent from the International Association of Firefighters," the Union Leader reports. LINK

The Manchester Union Leader was unable to find anyone who thought there was a crystallizing moment in last night's debate. LINK

The AP's man-out-of-Central-Time Mike Glover states the debate lacked "the fire and sniping of earlier encounters in a race that's been jumbled in its opening week." LINK

Anne Kornblut of the Boston Globe on the "relentlessly positive, fraternal tone" of the debate. LINK

Novak reports that the candidates' decision to pull their punches was "good news for Kerry" and "bad news" for Dean and Clark. LINK

ABC 2004: The Democratic nomination fight in New Hampshire:

The AP's Will Lester Notes that Dean is losing support in New Hampshire even in counties next to Vermont. LINK

The AP sums up the pre-NH cash situation "'The same phenomena that brings it in dries it up.'" LINK

No hard numbers, though. Will any campaign volunteer their COH?

Will it be a showdown, like the Sharks meeting the Jets in New Hampshire on primary eve? The Boston Globe writes that Republicans are hoping for that to be the case when the Deaniacs meet face-to-face with the McCainiacs. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer reports that independents, the largest voting bloc in Tuesday's primary, are even more undecided than are the registered Democrats. Lieberman, Clark and Dean have courted them the most aggressively. LINK

The Washington Post's William Branigan and Dan Balz Noted in an early file the high "undecideds" in the latest polls. LINK

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg reports on the New Hampshire ad race, Noting that "The most important lesson [from Iowa], several strategists said, was that negative advertising can haunt the attacked and the attacker." LINK

Leadership with a smile: Dean's new ad. LINK

ABC 2004: The Democratic nomination fight:

Phil Kuntz writes in the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire that since Iowa, Kerry and Edwards claim to have seen a boom in Internet fundraising, bringing in $700,000 online. Dean has raised $600,000 online since Monday's caucuses. Kuntz also has fascinating tidbits about whether or not Chris Lehane supported the idea of The General hiring John Weaver, and that Rep. Dick Gephardt would not take the call when former Vice President Gore picked up the phone to reach out.

Jack Welch assesses the leadership qualities of the Democratic presidential candidates in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 21,000 people under 30, or 17% of caucus goers, participated the Iowa caucuses. LINK

The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich on the courting of Rep. Jim Clyburn. LINK

The Washington Post's Names and Faces reports (below the Big Bennifer News, of course) on yesterday's push and pull between David Gregory and President Bush about ribs … and catches a Kerry source grousing about Tom Brady's appearance next to Laura Bush Monday night. LINK


The Dean blog is Primetime Crazy. It reports a wave of contributions and more than 1,200 comments from supporters after the interview.

Behind-the-scenes tid-bit: we're told that Dr. Judy brought her husband a crate of fresh oranges to nurture his ailing bronchial flesh.

Here's the full transcript: LINK

And here's an excerpt:

DIANE SAWYER: ...some of the political analysts have said that the real problem is that it tapped into another concern, it seemed to reinforce the concern that had been brought up before about your pressure gauge. And, how you control it. And, specifically the whole issue of temper. So, can I ask you Mrs. Dean, does your husband have a temper?

JUDY DEAN: Not much. I mean, you know, we've been married for 23 years, and he is very easy to get along with.

DIANE SAWYER: A couple of things on the campaign trail I want to let you address here. We saw the instance where a Republican, admittedly combative Republican, in one of the town halls asked you a question, and you had a flash point, you reacted.

HOWARD DEAN: You know, I'm not going to say what I, what the guy did, or what he didn't do, or anything like that. My attitude is this basically I believe people ought to respect each other. And, I want to hold everybody to those standards. I want to hold myself to those standards. And, I want to hold everybody else to those standards. People, you know, this anger stuff, which is, essentially(Inaudible) began last March when other campaigns started to spin it, because of the passion of the campaign, I don't really react to that, because I'm not particularly an angry person.

DIANE SAWYER: One thing I actually heard somebody say is, this is like Bill and Hillary Clinton. This is the stand by your man interview. The public relations event. Does it feel like that?

JUDY DEAN: No, no. I think -- you know, I think we are who we are, and I came out today, because Howard asked me to. I went to Iowa, and I enjoyed Iowa. And I did want to come to New Hampshire, whether it was today, here with you, or whether it would be some other time, I think that was up to Howard.

DIANE SAWYER: Do you wish she'd been out on the trail with you more?

HOWARD DEAN: No, I don't. And, the reason I ... Do I think it would be easier for me politically? Yes, I do. But, in the context of my relationship, one of the things that Judy ... Judy and I share a lot of values. And, one of the things we share is the family always comes first, and to have her out on the trail, and have our son at home by himself is just unthinkable. Never mind the issue of career. I think she has the right to have her own career. She didn't sign on to this. And, so you know, my ... my attitude is look, this is the way it is. As it turns out, Judy's a doctor, and she's a good doctor, and she loves medicine, and I'm not going to try ... try to convince her for a moment that she has to give that up.

Dueling Howies! The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz writes up his own version of Dean's coping with The Yelp. LINK

Politics Live:

Yup. That's right. The Webcast for kids of all ages. The Webcast that defies technical difficulties. The Webcast that laughs in the face of those who say it can't get big name guests. The only Webcast in the world bringing political news to the fanny-pack-wearing, picture-taking, map-checking, latte-sipping, Volvo driving travelers at the Crossroads of the World in Times Square (and who said that politics can't be enjoyed by all?).

That's right, (drumroll please) it's Politics Live. It's the second place to go on the Internet each day to get your full daily dose of all things political.

Today's show, for all you New Hampshire voters out there and all those interested in what's going on up there in the Granite State -- Kathleen Sullivan, New Hampshire Democratic party chair, will be on the show.

And, just because we're trying to appeal to younger viewers - we thought we'd get in on that money-making stuff- Jehmu Greene of Rock the Vote will stop by for a chat.

Since the suspense is eating you alive, here is a clip to watch in the mean time, from yesterday's show. LINK

AOL subscribers, don't you worry, you can watch it too.

But you can't tell the players without a program -- which means ya gotta sign up to have ABC News Live delivered right to your desktop. We don't underestimate the power of customer service around here. LINK


From ABC News Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

LACONIA, NH, Jan 22-- 400 people filled the Elks Lodge with an overflow crowd. Kerry, who arrived nearly a half hour late for his first and only event of the day, abbreviated his stump to a twelve minute presentation, then took forty-four minutes worth of audience questions. After the event, as is quickly becoming custom, a media swarm engulfed the candidate, eventually forcing Kerry to Wade step-by-step into a throng of immovable reporters, cameras, and stills.

Having finally broken through the crush of media, Kerry stromed onto the "Real Deal Express," ripped off his Timberland Barn Coat, and tossed it into the gray and red striped seat by his side.

"Don't they get it?," Kerry bellowed to no one in particular. "I can't have this," he continued, referring to the media horde now watching his every move.

David Wade, traveling press secretary, entered the bus and immediately faced the Senator's wrath. Thrashing his arms, Kerry asked several times, "Where are my boots?"

Once located, the previously nervous Kerry seemed a bit more serene. Surrogates continue to flank the state, while the candidate grows less willing to take any risks or chances given the current volitility of the Democratic field. Former Senator Max Cleland, is in the state Friday for a vterans' event with James Rassmann, the special forces soldier who was saved by Kerry in Vietnam. Teresa Heinz Kerry returns to New Hampshire to campaign through this weekend for her husband. And, naturally, the Kerry campaign will be dependent upon its most influential surrogate so far: big Mo(mentum).

Read more from the trail with Kerry on LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Maria L. La Ganga reports that Kerry has cut down on his public appearances since winning the Iowa caucuses; "Instead, he has taken to the phones, seeking more money for his revitalized campaign and rallying troops in the spate of states with primaries and caucuses that quickly follow in February." LINK

The Washington Post's Hanna Rosin on the "Man of the Moment" and his current hold on that "elusive shimmering jewel" known as "momentum." LINK

The New York Times' Dave Halbfinger writes of Sen. Hollings' Sen. Kerry endorsement LINK


From ABC News Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Rivieria:


"This is great chapstick. I really love this chapstick." -- JB

So went the observation of one Edwards' staffer late night post-debate. An insightful commentary on what is good in New Hampshire. And what else is good for the Edwards' campaign in the Granite State? The following are the top three:

1. Elvis has left the building: after Edwards' event on the Dartmouth University campus in Hanover, NH a new exit strategy was on display. After his speech Edwards was whisked outside, down the stairs and into the bus in minutes flat. In the five minutes it took to get outside, audience members hoping to catch a glimpse of the Senator missed him completely and the following commentary was overheard, "He's gone! I missed him! I can't believe it."

2. What over 30 percent of Iowa caucus-goers decided last Monday night: Edwards is a real contenda'. In response to Peter Jenning's question on lack of experience Edwards stayed on message.

3. I may not be an expert, but is that the point? In response to Peter Jenning's question on understanding Islam, Edwards deftly admitted he was no expert. The real issue, he argued, is the challenge in understanding the people, not solely their choice of prophecy.

Read more from the trail with Edwards on LINK

The Los Angeles Times' John Glionna and Scott Martelle Note that "Edwards has sought to turn his easy-rolling Southern drawl into a political asset": "I can win in the North, in the West, in the Midwest and, talking like this," Edwards says, pointing to his mouth, "in the South." ">LINK


Jim VandeHei writes up Dean's shifting image on the front page of the Washington Post again, writing that Dean's "Dean's decision to personalize -- and poke fun at -- his candidacy reflects the serious concern inside his campaign about the fallout" of his Iowa loss and the speech shown round the world afterward. LINK

Read these two key graphs near the end, with another great journalistic use of the word "privately":

"When articles appeared about Dean's silence on religion, he responded by talking about God. When Democrats complained about his electability, he started talking more about bringing the party together. When they said he sounded angry, he lightened up. When aides complained that he was letting attacks from rivals go unanswered, he fired back hard. All of which left some Iowa voters confused about who the real Howard Dean is, interviews with voters there revealed."

"Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager, said Dean was 'uncomfortable' as the front-runner. 'He's at his best . . . when he's an against-the-odds kind of guy.' Now Trippi and others talk of allowing Dean to be Dean, but privately some worry it may be too late."

The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren reports on Diane Sawyer's Drs. Dean interview and the candidate's push to humanize himself a la Bill Clinton on "60 Minutes" way back when. Wilgoren writes Dean "seemed unsure of himself," before reporting that one Gina Glantz is headed into the field for SEIU's candidate. LINK

Ah, the inefficiencies of life in the bubble!!!!

The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley writes of the Dean move to head onto TV to "atone" for what he had done on TV. LINK

The New York Times' David Rosenbaum puts Dean's shifts since Iowa in perspective, writing that Dean aint the only one to switch his m.o. between Iowa and New Hampshire. LINK

Yesterday, The Note misidentified a Dean scheduler. She is Sarah Buxton. And we regret the error.

Former Senator Durkin is no longer supporting Howard Dean due to his post-caucus performance. The defection may not have become public if CNN's Bill Schneider and a "frantic producer" hadn't bumped into the senator at the Merrimack Restaurant. LINK

Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe writes a play-by-play of yesterday's Dean strategy at reinventing himself and his temperament in the eyes of voters. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood and Jake Schlesinger detail the efforts of a wounded Gov. Dean to rehab his image and take command of the shifting dynamic in New Hampshire that has voters asking Dean how he'll bounce back from Iowa and his negative press.

Greg Hitt of the Wall Street Journal assesses the avenues for Dean damage control before Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold writes that the Primetime and Letterman appearances "were designed to give a more lighthearted and intimate portrait of Dean as he tries to contain the fallout from a frenzied speech he delivered on caucus night in Iowa." LINK

The Post's Charles Krauthammer is despondent over Dean's fall this week: "The future looked so bright, and now it is so clouded." LINK


From ABC News Lieberman campaign reporter Talesha Reynolds:

MANCHESTER, NH Jan 22 -- At the last debate, JIL bungled the moment that was intended to make him look good - his invitation to the other candidates to sign a letter in support of the Help America Vote Act, a reminder that he (and Al Gore and all Democrats) were wronged in Florida in 2000.

At Thursday night's debate there were no gimmicks. No letters to sign, just his own message that avoided slighting anyone else on the stage. Thursday night, the attack dog rolled over and played nice.

During the two hour debate, Peter Jennings gave Lieberman a few opportunities to criticize his competitors, but the Senator never took the bait. Every answer was about himself and he even managed to get in a few jokes and earn some applause. During the event and at appearances in recent days his speech has been littered with the words "affirmative" and "positive," perhaps to try to counteract his high unfavorability ratings in polls.

At his after party in a smoky pool hall adjacent to his Manchester headquarters, Lieberman told supporters, "Praise be to God, this was a great night. And you know what, we all needed it. This was the best debate I've had." He added that he hopes "that here in NH, it's going to lead to just the same kind of popular uprising that happened last week in Iowa."

Lieberman was so happy he grabbed Hadassah and cut a rug in the middle of the crowd of supporters. The song they danced to was one that often plays at Lieberman's events, Bryan Adams' "Can't Stop this Thing We Started."

For more from the field, go to ABC LINK


From ABC News Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton:

MANCHESTER, NH, Jan. 22-With only four full days of campaigning left before the primary, the Clark campaign continues to search for a message for their candidate. On Friday, the campaign will put up a new ad in the New Hampshire market to run through the New Hampshire primary, called "Families." The television ad focuses on Clark's electability as president and will air in Manchester, Boston, Portland, and Burlington.

The ad script: "I'm Wes Clark and I approve this message because I want to tell you why I'm running for president. I'm not from Washington DC. My mom was a secretary and I understand the challenges that families face. I've spent my life keeping America safe. I'm a doer, not a talker. I'm a leader, not a politician. And I would like your support on Tuesday, because we need to focus on the next generation - not the next election."

And along the same theme, the campaign will hold an "electability rally" on Sunday in New Hampshire where former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth will formally endorse General Clark for President. Butterworth chaired Al Gore's Florida state campaign in 2000.

Also on hand to rally behind Clark this weekend will be steadfast Clark supporters: Wisconsin Lt. Governor Lawton, South Carolina's Governor Hodges, and close family friend Mary Steenburgen whose husband, Ted Danson, will introduce Clark at a rally in Derry, New Hampshire Friday night.

Read more on ABC LINK

The New York Times' Ed Wyatt writes up Clark's (lack of) responses to questions about abortion Thursday. LINK

As does The Washington Post's Paul Schwartzman. LINK

And's Terry Neal writes that the Clark abortion moment was part of the timeless art of Dodging the Question. LINK


The Los Angeles Times' David Lamb profiles the "precocious, pugnacious and ambitious" "Boy Mayor" of Cleveland to Note that his Muny Light stand was Rep. Kucnich's "political coffin and his eventual springboard to redemption." LINK

The economy:

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip writes that the jobless economic recovery is bringing with it a widening gap in wages between the highest and lowest earners -- affecting particularly young men, a key voting bloc. Labor Department statistics show that wages on the bottom of the scale dropped 3 percent, while the wages of those in the top 10 percent were unchanged.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus pick up on Vice President Cheney's NPR interview yesterday in which he asserted that the Administration has not stopped looking for WMD in Iraq and said "We still don't know the whole extent of what they did have. It's going to take some additional considerable period of time in order to look in all the cubbyholes and ammo dumps and all the places in Iraq where you'd expect to find something like that." LINK

President Bush said he would ask for major increases in funding for domestic security and previewed a campaign strategy that a senior political advisor calls "'a healthy mix of optimism and the fear factor,'" New York Times' Sanger reports. LINK

Two Senate Democrats have written Chief Justice Rehnquist to raise their concern about Justice Scalia's impartiality in Vice President Cheney's energy task force appeal. LINK

First Lady Laura Bush is gearing up for campaign season with fundraisers and trips but will take the Democrats criticism of her husband with a "grain of salt." LINK

From ABC News Bush-Cheney campaign reporter Karen Travers:

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 22 -- Sitting in the back of the large ballroom here, waiting to hear Vice President Cheney address the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, sat Amy Sheen, wearing a $75 thrift shop wedding dress, and Martin Waugh, wearing his own tuxedo.

They certainly stood out among the men and women in dark suits and young adults in professional attire, but that was the intention of the Traditional Values Coalition, which was there to represent "traditional marriage." The group was one of dozens of conservative political groups on hand at the hotel to spread its message and rally its supporters for the election in November.

Though Vice President Cheney did not bring up the issue of marriage in his speech, he did highlight the Bush Administration's "record of accomplishments" that will soon become a regular part of the stump speech.

"The campaign season is on its way, and President Bush and I will be proud to present our record to the voters in every part of the country. We will run hard and take nothing for granted," Cheney said.

Speaking before a crowd comprised mostly of younger voters, Cheney addressed a broad variety of issues, including the war on terrorism, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the importance of making the Bush tax cuts permanent, the improving American economy, and the need to renew the Patriot Act.

After emphasizing that the Bush Administration's "greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people," Cheney also borrowed from this week's State of the Union and delivered the most well-received line of his entire speech: "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country."

The large, enthusiastic crowd interrupted the Vice President numerous times during his speech, excited to have him kick off the three-day conference that will also feature BC04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman and RNC chairman Ed Gillespie as speakers on Friday. Most wore "Bush-Cheney '04" pins, buttons, or stickers and after greeting Cheney with a loud standing ovation when he walked to the podium, the Vice President acknowledge the support of the audience in the 2000 election and said "And from the sound of things, I think you're fired up and ready for victory in 2004, as well."

House of Labor:

The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes that with union membership and influence on the decline, it's not a surprise that AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney and others are devoting their time and energy to politics.

"As the shrinking labor movement has lost clout in the real economy, unions have turned to politicians to preserve the status quo."