The Note

Lee Bandy says that when the President hits Charleston today, "he will find a growing number of anxious Republicans who are worried about his re-election prospects." LINK

And the New York Post's Deborah Orin writes that GOP grassroots loyalists are grumbling that "an out-of-touch President Bush is blowing it" in the debate on the economy, jobs and the lack of WMD in Iraq. LINK

The President sat down with the Republican Party's top donors yesterday at an RNC "donor maintenance" luncheon in Washington. AP's Ashton reports that dining with the President -- "the RNC's Team 100, a roster of donors who have given at least $25,000 during the most recent two-year election cycle; and the 'Regents,' donors who have contributed $50,000." LINK

The New York Times' Tom Friedman thinks that conservatives could wake up one day "in November and find that while Mr. Bush focused on the home front, his foreign policy created the 'Islamic Republic of Iraq' and the 'Islamic Republic of Palestine.'" LINK

ABC 2004: The Democratic nomination fight:

The Wall Street Journal's Rogers reports that the next few weeks will bring "gritty internal party politics" but also offer Kerry "a window to expand his campaign beyond what has been a populist-sounding fight against Washington "special interests" and the privileged."

A Note tip to future would-be presidential candidates of either major party: if you want David Rogers to fall in love with you, make sure you fought in a war before the first interview you have with him.

Don't believe the extraordinarily misguided front-page Wall Street Journal story by some editor who slapped the names of Harwood, Cummings, and Schlesinger on a mess of a story which claims that John Kerry's chances of a general election win will be somehow reduced if he is forced to battle it out through early March and if he is forced to become slightly more rhetorically protectionist.

The story breathlessly says that Kerry's failure to sweep the Feb. 3 contents has led to "a risk that the race for the nomination could veer in a direction that damages the eventual nominee and aids Mr. Bush in the general election that follows."

CNN's Ron Brownstein (who moonlights for the Los Angeles Times) looks at lessons learned from the compressed Democratic nomination schedule: "momentum trumps money and organization." LINK

More Brownstein: "The wave propelling Kerry is so powerful that it threatens to overwhelm one of the most reliable laws of modern presidential campaigns. Since 1984, the candidate who raised the most money in the year before the voting has won each major party's presidential nomination. But Dean now appears a long shot despite collecting about $41 million in 2003 - the most by any Democrat in the year prior to primary season."

Iowa and New Hampshire -- rejoice!!!

Adam Clymer also writes of the Dems' bunched-up nomination season and the impact it has on all those states that come after Iowa. Says Clymer, "there has to be a middle ground. The perception of a Kerry steamroller may so cripple his opponents' fund-raising that there is no chance for second thoughts about the current front-runner, whose Senate record consists of 19 years of votes but few great causes." LINK

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