The Note

Gen. Clark officially dropped out of the race for the presidency yesterday but he hinted that his political career may not be over, writes Paul Schwartzman of the Washington Post. LINK

The Boston Globe's Joanna Weiss has Clark reflecting on the five months of Clark '04. LINK

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres foreseeing Clark as a future secretary of state in the Kerry administration. LINK

Read more from the trail with Clark on abcnews.com: LINK

Sharpton:

The AP reports Sharpton's loans from supporters may cause him FEC problems. Reports the wire, "The Sharpton campaign has a debt of about $500,000 and has scant thousands left in the bank." LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The Boston Globe's Murphy reports on Sec. Ridge's assertion that there will be maximum security for the FleetCenter and for the city of Boston in July. LINK

The land of 5-plus-2-equals-7:

The folks over at Moveon.org are up with a new ad produced as part of its ad contest "Bush in 30 Seconds" showing the President failing a lie detector test.

The group says it is spending $1.4 million to air the spot through Feb. 25 in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio and West Virginia.

The New York Times' Rutenberg writes on the spot, quoting Terry Holt saying that the ad could actually help the President. (And we bet Ed Koch would agree!: LINK) LINK

And in the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson previews next week's FEC meeting to discuss whether advocacy groups should fall under the same regulations as federal campaigns. This, argues Meyerson, would "confer a huge advantage on the Republicans in this year's presidential and congressional elections" and would "make it all but impossible for advocacy groups that have never participated in electoral activity, and are not even legally structured to do so, to praise or condemn the positions of public officeholders." LINK

We would argue that Steve Rosenthal, Suzy Ballantyne, Cecile Richards, and Harold Ickes would agree with Mr. Meyerson's argument . . .

House of Labor:

It's now official!

ABC News' Gayle Tzemach reports the unions formerly known as Gephardt's decided on a unanimous vote during an afternoon conference call Wednesday to endorse John Kerry. The presidents of the unions in the Alliance for Economic Justice heard from their new candidate once the decision had been made, with the Massachusetts senator thanking them for their support and telling them he did indeed respect what they had done for Rep. Gephardt.

Look for an early morning event next Tuesday, the day of the Wisconsin primary, with Gephardt and a number of union leaders gathering at a hotel in Milwaukee to show their support for the Kerry candidacy.

Liz Smith ain't gotten nothing on us:

February 12, 2004 -- "I want minimum information given with maximum politeness." So said the always elegant former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

It seems the fabulous Mrs. Kennedy would be getting her wish at Fred Hochberg's 3rd Annual Valentine's Day luncheon (complete with petit fours for dessert) today at chef Tom Colicchio's stylish, laid-back Gramercy Park dining establishment, Craft.

"Won't You Be Mine 2004" will survey 70 or so of the Democrats' leading ladies on who they would like to see as the vice presidential candidate.

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