The Note

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

—8:30 am: Sen. John Edwards appears on MSNBC's "Imus in the Morning" —8:30 am: The Commerce Department announces January retail sales —10:00 am: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee —10:00 am: Elizabeth Edwards has coffee with campaign supporters at Bentley's American Grille, Racine, Wis. —10:05 am: Gov. Dean tours the Living Healthy Community Center, Oshkosh, Wis. —10:55 am: President Bush participates in a conversation on Education and the 21st Century Jobs Initiative, Harrisburg, Pa. —11:15 am: Sen. John Edwards meets with voters at the Bray Center, Racine, Wis. —11:15 am: Gov. Howard Dean attends a town hall at the Grand Opera House, Oshkosh, Wis. —11:30 am: Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: Massachusetts legislature reconvenes its constitutional convention, Boston, Mass. —12:45 pm: Rev. Sharpton visits the Greenleaf Senior Citizens Home, Washington, D.C. —12:55 pm: President Bush returns to the White House —1:15 pm: Mrs. Edwards meets with supporters at Bombay Louie's, Kenosha, Wis. —2:20 pm: Gov. Dean tours Northeast Family Medical Center, Madison, Wis. —4:00 pm: Gov. Dean attends a town hall at the Wisconsin Union Hall Theater, Madison, Wis. —5:00 pm: Mrs. Edwards attends a house party in Sheboygan, Wis. —7:15 pm: Mrs. Edwards attends the Brown County Democrats' "Bye-Bye Bush Bash" at the Riverside Ballroom, Green Bay, Wis. —7:30 pm: Sen. Edwards meets with voters at Culver City Senior Center, Los Angeles, Calif. —8:15 pm: Gov. Dean attends a grassroots fundraiser at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, Minn. —11:00 pm: Gen. Wesley Clark appears on PBS' "The Charlie Rose Show" —11:35 pm: Rep. Dennis Kucinich appears on NBC's "Tonight Show," Los Angeles, Calif.


We WERE going to have today's Note summary anchored by "Political dynamics to watch," a regular feature here, but there's actually only ONE dynamic to watch in the presidential race right now.

Political dynamic to watch:

1. How is the Kerry communications team (and the candidate himself) dealing with the stepped-up dredging/Drudging of his past?

Did the campaign know in advance about the Jane Fonda picture? How about the old Harvard Crimson interview? How about the gay marriage letter?

Leaving aside the merits of these matters (like the merits of a flag factory . . . .), there are the basic questions of knowing what's out there and being ready to respond to kill these things before they take on a life of their own and define John Kerry for a public that still mostly doesn't know him.

Everything else -- the Mankiw flap; Bob Novak's mindset; Howard Dean's mindset; John Edwards' mind; House special elections; the President's dental records; Joe Allbaugh's memory; the Massachusetts legislature; Fred Hochberg's lunch -- all these things are at most secondary, and, in many cases, tertiary.

President Bush stops in Harrisburg, Pa., to participate in a conversation on education and the 21st Century Jobs Initiative before returning to Washington, D.C. No gaggle or briefing at the White House today, so if you want to hear someone say the word "gutter," you'll have to look elsewhere.

Sen. Kerry is down in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Edwards is in Wisconsin and California.

Gov. Dean is in Wisconsin.

Rep. Kucinich is in Los Angeles, California.

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