The Note

It is no secret that the Dean folks have exerted heaps of energy wooing the board, which was expected to issue its candidate verdict this week. Dean was the first candidate to visit with the union's leaders and returned on repeated occasions. He spoke to a group of 400 at the union's annual meeting in March and, we are told, was very well received.

This is BIG NEWS for Team Dean as NEA NH brings with it 14,000 members as the largest education association in the state.

Speaking of Dean and endorsements, lots of bad blood in the House of Labor as Teamsters Pres. James Hoffa has answered AFSCME's McEntee and SEIU's Stern's letter demanding the firing of Gephardt aide Joyce Aboussie with his own letter that gets personal.

Hoffa begins by commending the two union leaders' "stand for the rights of public sector employees" and then goes on to say that "Instead of attacking a longtime friend of labor … you may want to demand from your candidate a public renunciation of the concrete positions he has taken against the interests of public employees"

And closes with this zinger showing just how deeply the House is divided:

"I believe it's pointless for the family of labor to waste its valuable resources this election season merely to put a pro-privatization President in the White House. We've already got one."

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

We still know precious little about just who the Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Progressive Values really are … but the Dean-bashing ad did get some fine free media over the weekend. LINK

Lots of familiar names floating around in connection to the group but still no hard info as to who these folks, who filed with the IRS just last month with one David Jones of M Street NW listed as the treasurer. This is, we believe, the same Mr. Jones who U.S. News once called "a professional fundraiser who is close to Gephardt."

Meanwhile the Craig Shirley folks heading up the 527 "Americans for a Better Country" (ABC — not to be confused with our own humble network) tell us their request for an FEC Advisery Opinion has been granted. In the group's November 18 letter to the FEC, ABC wrote it was seeking the opinion "as to the permissibility" of various fundraising and political activities, including voter registration and get-out-the-vote. (That's gotta sound familiar to the tenants of 888 16th St.) "In particular," the letter asked for clarification of the legality of the "use of non-federal dollars (also known as 'soft' or 'state' dollars) raised outside the source and amount limitations of the Federal Election Campaign Act."

Look for the opinion to be issued come February. Stay tuned, folks. We know all those trying to decipher BCRA (we confess we find it more challenging than translating Greenspan-speak) will indeed.

Dean:

Newsweek's Isikoff, Bailey and Wolffe look at the hunt for "skeletons" in Dean's closet and report that "among the papers under lock and key, NEWSWEEK has learned, are the records of Dean's meetings with utility executives about the controversial sale of a Vermont nuclear plant to Entergy Corp." LINK

Time magazine's Karen Tumulty writes up Dean's strategy to look beyond Iowa and New Hampshire but also Notes that Dean "emboldened" his critics with his "I'll unseal mine if he'll unseal all of his" comment on ABC's "Good Morning America." LINK

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