The Note

Patrick Springer of the Fargo Forum reports on Kerry's potential win in the upcoming North Dakota caucuses. LINK

For another week it is...drumroll, please... John Kerry with the win in the National Journal Insiders Poll. Former No. 1'er now at No. 3 is Howard Dean, with John Edwards coming in at second.

Chris Cilizza at Roll Call sees Kerry and Kennedy double-teaming the opposition, trying to shake loose some of Dean's congressional supporters. LINK

We notice one Don Fowler is now on the list of Sen. John Kerry's superdelegates under the heading "DNC Members and Distinguished Party Leaders." Very interesting...and good news for the South Carolina effort? LINK


The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren and Glen Justice report on the status of the Dean campaign, writing that Dean is rebuffing the notion that he has to win on Tuesday; that Roy Neel and Dean told the campaign's donors they are planning to cut staff; and that the campaign has "at least" $3 million, minus "some bills." LINK

From ABC News Dean campaign reporter Reena Singh:

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan 30 -- Greetings from the petri dish on wheels (a bus full of deathly ill reporters).

While Gov. Howard Dean stepped on his new press plane, which was last used by Pearl Jam, Chief Executive Officer Roy Neel started his first day at the Dean campaign head quarters. Neel arrived in Vermont from Washington DC mid-morning and called a staff meeting in the office lobby, about the same time as Joe Trippi's assistant, Kristin Morgante, finished packing up his items, like that fabled boxing glove signed by Walter Mondale.

"Neel is a great guy-real easy going," said staffer Sarah Leonard. "We gave him a big, warm welcome."

Neel's arrival has already spurred changes. Grass roots movements need time and space to grow. But the new-delegate focused strategy requires quick decision making and more traditional plotting. One campaign staffer explains the differences in styles this way: "I love Joe, but when it came to making a decision he liked to sit, involve everyone and mull things over. But even in one day you see Roy is so much different. I called him for an answer on something and he called right back and said 'this is what we are going to do.' It's what we need."

I spoke with Neel by phone last night.

RS: "Tell us about your first day?"

Neel: "Clearly it was an exciting day. Probably my most exciting day in politics. I got a chance to meet most of the staff and then it was nonstop meetings, debate prep, finance meetingss. I knew this was a passionate staff of people and this is a stressful situation to walk into."

RS: "And big shoes to walk into . . ."

Neel: "I'm a big fan of Joe's and he was an advocate of bringing me here over a month ago. I'm not here to fill Joe's shoes."

RS: "So Joe was one of the people who brought you on board?"

Neel: "I came on board to be a senior advisor. This changed over the past day o so and it did catch Joe by surprise. I wish Joe was still here and the door is still open.

RS: "What will you be doing on a day-to-day basis?"

Neel: "My job is to use the resources we have to go forward. We are in a serious situation right now. We're going to be looking at where ti be, where to send surrogates, streamline the organiation and where best to spend ad dollars. And also how to move all that talent we had in Iowa and New Hampshire. We need to help Governor Dean out there in the field more."

RS: "Speaking of talents, what about Karen Hicks?"

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