The Note

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

— 7:45 am: Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at the Second Baptist Church, Aiken, S.C. — 8:00 am: Vice President Al Gore attends services and speaks on behalf of Gov. Howard Dean at the Oak Grove AME Church, Detroit, Mich. — 9:00 am: Sen. Joe Lieberman has a "Cup of Joe" at Jimmy's Restaurant, Claymont, Del. — 9:45 am: Sen. Lieberman speaks at the New Destiny Fellowship Church Service, Wilmington, Del. — 10:00 am: Rev. Sharpton attends services at the Faith on High Church, Aiken, S.C. — 10:00 am: Gov. Dean has a roundtable Discussion with African American community leaders at the Hilton, Milwaukee, Wis. — 10:00 am: Vice President Gore attends services and speaks on behalf of Gov. Dean at the Great Faith Ministries International, Detroit, Mich. — 10:45 am: Rep. Dennis Kucinich attends an Islamic Festival at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M. — 11:00 am: Rev. Sharpton attends services at the Carpenterville Baptist Church, North Augusta, S.C. — 11:00 am: Sen. John Edwards attends a reception at the Bibleway Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C. — 11:00 pm: Vice President Gore attends services and speaks on behalf of Gov. Dean at the Ebenezer AME Church, Detroit, Mich. — 11:15 am: Rep. Kucinich attends a rally for volunteers at his campaign headquarters, Albuquerque, N.M. — 11:45 pm: Gen. Wesley Clark holds a "Conversation with Clark" event at the Best Western, Lawton, Okla. — 12:00 pm: Vice President Gore attends services and speaks on behalf of Gov. Dean at Chapel Hill Baptist Church, Detroit, Mich. — 12:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich appears on NPR — 12:15 pm: Gov. Dean attends a church service at the Holy Redeemer Institutional, Milwaukee, Wis. — 1:00 pm: Sen. Edwards attends services at the Bible Way Church, Columbia, S.C. — 1:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry attends a rally at the Fargo Air Museum, Fargo, N.D. — 3:00 pm: Sen. Edwards meets with campaign volunteers at the West Side Cafe, Florence, S.C. — 3:00 pm: Rev. Sharpton attends a town hall meeting, Aiken, S.C. — 3:45 pm: Sen. Lieberman meets visits the Tulsa Boat Show, Tulsa, Okla. — 4:00 pm: Gov. Dean attends a town hall meeting, Detroit, Mich. — 4:30 pm: Sen. Edwards meets members of the community at the Bethel AME Church, Georgetown, S.C. — 5:00 pm: Gen. Clark greets supporters at the American Legion Post 204, Flagstaff, Ariz. — 5:30 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a rally at Espanola Community College, Espanola, N.M. — 6:20 pm: Gen. Clark attends a Super Bowl party at the Museum Club, Flagstaff, Ariz. — 6:45 pm: Sen. Lieberman attends a Super Bowl party at Saint John's Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, Okla. — 7:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a Super Bowl party, Fargo, N.D. — 7:30 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a rally at Baatan Hall, Taos, N.M. — 8:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a fundraiser, Taos, N.M. — 8:00 pm: Sen. Edwards attends a Super Bowl party at LJ's, Charleston, S.C. — 8:15 pm: Sen. Lieberman attends a Super Bowl party Oklahoma City, Okla. — 8:40 pm: Sen. Edwards attends a Super Bowl party at Manny's Sports Bar, Charleston, S.C.

NEWS SUMMARY

Dear Note Readers:

The Googling monkeys are FINALLY getting used to working on the weekends, as we continue our pledge to churn out Saturday and Sunday Notes until the determination of the de facto Democratic presidential nominee.

One of the weekday and weekend tasks of the monkeys is to go through our overnight inboxes, so that we can hit the keyboard running when we start up in the morning.

The instructions the monkeys are supposed to work with: wade through our spammed inboxes, delete all junk, and just send us those messages that might be helpful in putting The Note together.

Perhaps it is a subtle sign of rebellion -- or perhaps it is because of those piled-up bottles of Kirin Light -- but here are the subject lines of the supposedly culled-down e-mails we found when we came in this morning:

-- "Rekindle the passion in your life!"

-- "Expand Your Breast Size"

-- "who does what......producer change"

-- "TIME's New Cover: What Kind of President Would John Kerry Be?"

-- "find out about Cialis Vi*agra`s big brother ` szfhavjcd"

-- "hi there"

-- "Re: WEZCS, did he chase"

The sad thing is -- in terms of our efficiency -- we can see how only three of these messages enhance our capacity to cover American politics.

Anyway . . .

Take the points, take over (as opposed to under), and choose your poison.

Sunday's Must-reads:

1. The New York Times' Purdum and Halbfinger and Wilogren and Rutenberg on how Kerry LINK and Dean LINK got where they are today. Kate O'Connor sure sounds past-tense and post-mortemy to us.

2. Dan Balz, as only he can, puts the February 3 states in perspective. LINK

3. Brilliant and sassy Marjorie Williams has a great Washington Post Outlook piece on Dean's fall. LINK

4. Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times has all of his paper's poll numbers in Missouri, South Carolina, and Arizona which show John Kerry on some very solid footing. LINK

And here's the Los Angeles Times polling analysis: LINK

5. Time magazine's Kerry cover and big ol' package of stories.

Dynamics to watch:

1. Just how small could the field of plausible nominees be by Wednesday?

2. Just what WILL Terry McAuliffe tell George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," where you can also get the latest on the WMD debate, and understand the Des Moines-Manchester-Tulsa/Fargo/Kansas City-Manhattan bounce better than you ever have before.

3. How many budget stories aren't seen on the 24-hour cable news outlets between Super Bowl Sunday and mini-super-Tuesday?

4. How many political reporters can outline Senator Kerry's innovative near-universal health care plan? (And how many can't -- thus breaking the heart of Sarah Bianchi?)

5. When will political reporters stop using plane trouble, bad catering, or a balky sound system as a metaphor for whether a campaign is doing well, and as a rock-solid litmus test for whether someone would be a good president of the United States or not?

6. If John Edwards gets Sen. Kerry one-on-one, will he still resist contrasting their records and backgrounds?

7. Which Boston Globe reporters are shopping for book deals?

Sen. Kerry is in North Dakota today and heads to Albuquerque, New Mexico this evening where he will remain overnight.

Sen. Edwards and Rev. Sharpton campaign in South Carolina.

Gov. Dean is in Milwaukee and Detroit today before heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico this evening where he will remain overnight.

Vice President Gore is in Detroit on Gov. Dean's behalf today.

Gen. Clark is in Oklahoma and Arizona.

Sen. Lieberman is in Delaware and Oklahoma.

Rep. Kucinich is in New Mexico.

Time's cover boy:

As Howard Dean will tell you time and time again, Newsweek and Time don't get to determine nominees… the voters do. Time magazine's cover asks, "What kind of president would John Kerry be?" The answer is apparently one who likes to chew on his reading glasses.

In this week's issue you can read Matt Cooper's opus on the Bush-Cheney 2004 plan to unleash an air war soon after a Democratic nominee emerges. With $99 million on hand, why not, right? Cooper also writes the anti-Dukakis-esque plan of attack being formed against Sen. Kerry. Ted Kennedy just may see a Kerry victory as the finishing touch on the Kennedy legacy. However, according to Time, Edwards is Sen. Kennedy's personal favorite of all the candidates.

Also inside Time, you will learn Sen. Kerry likes President Bush personally despite all that harsh rhetoric on the campaign trail.

There are some six articles in this timely Kerry package and you will undoubtedly want to savor every one of them (at least you will if you are one of Sen. Kerry's three communications directors).

The papers and magazines:

President Bush will approve an independent inquiry into the "prewar intelligence that he used to assert that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction," the Washington Post's Milbank and Priest report. LINK

"Bush's shift in position represents an effort to get out in front of a potentially dangerous issue that threatens to cloud his reelection bid. An independent commission would not necessarily absolve Bush politically, congressional officials said, but it could quiet the current furor and delay calls for top-level resignations at the CIA and elsewhere until after the elections, diluting the potency of the issue for Democrats."

Again, that front page headline, Washington Post: "Kerry strong in all 7 states on Tuesday." Dan Balz goes on to Note that Kerry's opponents "have adopted a divide-to-survive strategy to deny him a sweep." Do Note the Andy Stern quotes about the importance of winning on Feb. 3. LINK

The AP's Will Lester takes a look at all the Feb. 3 poll numbers and determines that Gen. Clark and Sen. Edwards are best positioned to stop Sen. Kerry from a clean sweep on Tuesday. LINK

AP's Ron Fournier writes that only South Carolina and Oklahoma stand in the way of a Kerry sweep on Feb. 3 (and gets Mary Beth Cahill to downplay those expectations). LINK

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Jim Rutenberg report on which Feb. 3 baskets each candidate plans to put his eggs in (Kerry all seven; Clark in the west; and Edwards in South Carolina). LINK

The Boston Globe's Anne Kornblut also writes up the Feb. 3 cherry-picking strategy employed by Sen. Kerry's opponents. LINK

Check out the last paragraph of Glen Johnson's Boston Globe story and you gotta wonder if Dr. Dean STILL thinks "we can do better than that":

"After suffering back-to-back defeats to Kerry, in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Dean has begun focusing solely on Kerry in his speeches, while his staff has been actively disseminating negative stories about the senator to both the Dean press corps and reporters covering the senator." LINK

The AP's Theimer has all the latest campaign finance filings, leading with Howard Dean's remarkable burn rate. LINK

The Washington Post's Finer and VandeHei and the New York Times' Seelye write up Gov. Dean's calling Sen. Kerry a "hand maiden to special interests" and a "Republican" and Kerry's shooting back that Dean may have to apologize for his comments. LINK AND LINK

Tom Edsall puts the Dean campaign's financial troubles in austere language: "By the time polls closed on Jan. 27 in New Hampshire, Howard Dean had spent more than $40 million, setting a presidential campaign record and leaving his campaign close to broke, according to top strategists for the former Vermont governor." LINK

Dean goes after Kerry's ties to "special interests," reports Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

The New York Times' Pear and Andrews report that President Bush will retreat from some of the initiatives he was expected to propose in this year's budget due to the conservative political opposition. LINK

"President Bush will send Congress a $2.39 trillion budget on Monday that cuts environment, agriculture and energy programs while giving large increases to military and homeland security spending, administration and congressional officials said" reports the Washington Post's Allen. LINK

And the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports that President Bush moved one step closer to supporting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage yesterday, and that Senate Republican leaders decided to scale back their plans for the energy bill and on capping jury awards in medical malpractice cases. LINK

The Los Angeles Times Reynolds and McManus look at the GOP ground operation that is already well underway in preparation for Nov. 2. The Republicans have even rented vans planning for their get out the vote drive. LINK

Newsweek looks at the rise of Kerry and fall of Dean. LINK

Tom Oliphant observes Kerry's perceived electability and Notes that his opponents help bolster that image. LINK

The Washington Post's John Harris Notes that "band of brothers" will continue to be an unofficial Kerry slogan and writes that Kerry "hopes his military credentials will serve as a kind of ideological bridge -- allowing him to advance an activist progressive agenda, without being vulnerable to conservative charges of softness and liberal naiveté that often have doomed Democrats." LINK

Mark Z. Barabak of the Los Angeles Times looks at Sen. Kerry's arrival as a populist in this nomination fight. LINK

The Washington Post's editorial board sees a strong similarity between Sen. Kerry's recent populist message and that of candidate Al Gore. LINK

The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich gets Michael Dukakis on the phone to ask him if his state impeded his 1988 prospects and Notes that Massachusetts, "the perceived liberal outpost," could hurt Sen. Kerry's chances. LINK

Jonathan Alter uses his Newsweek column to explore the RNC attacks on Kerry and whether or not Kerry and the Democrats-at-large will be ready to respond. LINK

The second national Newsweek poll in as many weeks showing Kerry statistically tied with President Bush in a general election match-up, and Kerry with a huge horserace lead in the nomination fight. LINK

Michael Isikoff spends some time looking at from whom John Kerry has received past political contributions and what those contributors have received in return. LINK

The New York Times' Glen Justice reports that Gov. Dean spent $31.7 million last year "before a single vote was ever cast" (and quotes Ms. Brazille raising this eyebrow: "I can't imagine spending that much."). LINK

David Broder writes that Dean's fall "brings into question the whole notion that Internet-based populism is the wave of the future for the Democratic Party." LINK

"Come back, little Deaniacs" pleads The New York Times' editorial board. LINK

The New York Times' Kelefa Sanneh reports on the best "scream" remixes. LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Schwartzman picks up on a new Gen. Wesley Clark: "On many days, Clark ratchets up a decidedly populist tone, talking less about the Iraq war and President Bush, and weaving in more about his humble beginnings in Arkansas, and about a religious fervor that seems to grow stronger depending on the locale." LINK

The Kansas City Star endorses John Kerry writing, "Kerry has the right combination of intelligence, experience and thoughtful, progressive views for the job." LINK

Bob Novak reports that Republicans are worried about Kerry; Breaux might replace Valenti; and Corzine (who endorsed Kerry) might challenge McGreevey (who endorsed Dean) for New Jersey's governorship. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Glater uses this anecdote to demonstrate voters' interest in electability: John Keynes "famously compared investing in the stock market to voting in an unusual sort of beauty contest: your choice wins only if the other voters make the same pick." LINK

The New York Times' John Tierney uses his "Politics Points" to Note that the candidates would do well to remember that the network's EPs are bored by thanking aides and volunteers. LINK

In the New York Times Magazine Joann Wypijeski ponders whether black Democrats have been forgotten by the party establishment. LINK

Also in the Magazine, Judith Shulevitz writes that we have no right or business knowing the candidates' spouses. LINK

But Gina Bellafante Notes that Americans "have historically maintained a high regard for complementarity in public marriages," and they didn't quite get that from Howard and Judy. LINK

Tom Friedman opines that President Bush's most vulnerable policy decision may be his "crazy tax-cutting and out-of-control spending" habits. LINK

The New York Times' Emily Nussbaum thinks that Robert Altman and Gary Trudeau's "Tanner '88" is still prescient -- and so do we. LINK

Frank Rich writes that "in a campaign year likely to be poisoned by a culture war over same-sex marriage, politicians feel compelled to play marriage counselors." LINK

The New York Times' Cardwell on the one question hovering around Sen. Lieberman's campaign. LINK

The Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves on the candidates' wooing New Mexico's Hispanic population. LINK

The New York Times' Lyman writes that North Dakotans are "pumped" that the candidates are actually paying attention to them this year. LINK

The ground game in Virginia is slowly picking up. LINK