The Note

"Just days after he vowed not to run a 'scorched earth' campaign that could hurt the eventual Democratic nominee, Howard Dean lit into Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts on Wednesday, saying that if Mr. Kerry wins the nomination, 'once again we may have to settle for the lesser of two evils,'" writes Jodi Wilgoren of the New York Times. Do Note Dean's nice words for Sen. Edwards . . . LINK

Matea Gold and Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times Note Dean's "increasingly biting tone" when it comes to Kerry, coming as it does "after his own repeated pledges not to run a spoiler campaign that would damage the Democrats' ability to beat the Republican incumbent in the fall." The two also say Judy Dean is likely to join her husband on the trail in Wisconsin. LINK

The Boston Globe's Glen Johnson writes about why Dean is not happy with Kerry, the Torch, negative television ads by mysterious groups, accusations that he is going negative to regain an edge, the idea of Kerry as the nominee instead of Edwards, and a few other things. LINK

From ABC News' Dean campaign reporter Reena Singh:

BURLINGTON, VT., Feb. 12 -- For most campaign reporters, the term "down day" plays to the ears like a soothing string quartet. But for the Dean press corps it is a cacophony of alarmed trumpets heralding the chaos of breaking news. So while over the skies on the way to Vermont, the fear of the Governor making more headlines under the guise of "being down" loomed. After all, Dean is notorious for dashing plans of relaxation with a quick draw from the hip or, to be more precise, lips.

But on Wednesday all the news was made before the Governor touched down in Burlington. Scathing words for Sen. Kerry and his Republican-like ways as well as a strange endorsement-of-sorts for Sen. Edwards made its way to Vermont via the wires.

One staffer described the reaction to Dean's statements this way: "I just shook my head. What are you going to do? That's Howard Dean. And he can't believe that someone like Kerry -- someone so opposite of everything he stands for -- is where he is." As the plane taxied at Burlington's charter airport, campaign manager Roy Neel waited patiently inside a glass walled conference room where he, the Governor and Kate O'Connor had a long chat.

Back at the ranch, the mood is, according to another staffer, "definitely not upbeat." There are certainly fewer volunteers and on the table in the entrance sympathy cards reading "I know things look bad right now," have replaced good luck wishes.

Read more from the trail with Dean on LINK

Trippi . . .

So that's what is.

Joe Trippi's new blog. (It may also become the launch pad for Trippi's future grassroots endeavors).

First entry: a defense of the allegations that his firm was lucratively lined with commissions from the Dean campaign. And a very, very pointed reference to Bob Rogan, deputy campaign manager for Gov. Dean and the man who had budget authority (and, by implication), Dean's trust.


Adam Nagourney and Ed Wyatt of the New York Times take a look at how the Clark campaign, once expected to have so much promise, fell short. Finds the duo, "during what was arguably the most critical stretch of his campaign -- the eight days between the caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire -- General Clark made a series of mistakes that served as a reminder of the risk many Democrats had taken in attaching themselves to a first-time candidate." LINK

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