The Note

Sharpton stood alongside Jimmy Fallon and cut some promos for the show, poking fun at himself for being desperate for votes; hence, his appearance on SNL.

Fallon: "It's almost Christmas, Reverend, what do you want?"

Sharpton: "Iowa, Jimmy, Iowa."

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

Iowa:

The Des Moines Register 's Rob Borsellino takes a look at the busy, busy life of Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Fischer. LINK

New Hampshire:

The Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso breaks down the numbers of the ARG and Zogby polls and includes this analysis from ARG pollster Dick Bennet. LINK

"'Because of the nature of this race, I don't think his lead is becoming too large,' said Bennett. 'Part of his strength is the collective weakness of the other candidates.'"

DiStaso also has his own reporting that Manchester Mayor Robert Baines is set to endorse Senator Kerry.

Florida:

In the face of this weekend's Florida convention at the wonderful world of Disney (we should Note, ABC's parent company), the Orlando Sentinel showcases the distinct challenge the Democratic presidential hopefuls face in this hugely contested state.

"'This is the real scary thing for any of us who are on-the-ground activists in Florida,' said Doug Head, chairman of Orange County's Democratic Party. 'This is not a state that is going to be won if there is not an effort. I am terrified that one of these nominees will look at the numbers and say, 'Florida is too big.'" LINK

The Daytona News-Journal also addresses the Florida Dems' concerns, adding that this convention will also tribute the presidential campaign drop-out, but favored Florida Democrat, Senator Bob Graham. LINK

The St. Petersburg Times/ Miami Herald straw poll illustrates the now-expected Florida confusion (tough rap to beat, Florida voters) with numbers. LINK

But the Florida "political junkies" — yes, that term makes us flinch — are ready! LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The Boston Globe 's Rick Klein and Yvonne Abraham report, "Amid signals that their fund-raising is lagging, national Democrats yesterday put an upbeat spin on their convention in Boston next summer, entertaining reporters from across the country with a flashy ice show and saying their planning is ahead of schedule." LINK

Page Six has a media walk-through wrapup Noting the not quite firm plans on workspace for the press. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

The Wall Street Journal 's David Rogers reports that the White House is pushing Senate Republicans to get a budget vote done, and a key concern is the hangup of the time-sensitive AIDS budget.

"Year-end budget fights are always messy, but what makes this omnibus bill so striking is the contrast between Washington's often self-centered politics and the real-life consequences in the AIDS war. After the 2002 elections, Republicans vowed they would end the gridlock of divided government. But two months into the fiscal year, they have boxed themselves into another mammoth spending bill covering 12 cabinet-level departments and exposing divisions in the party."

Big Casino budget politics: Medicare:

The New York Times focuses on the disincentives to do better under the Medicare program, reporting "the Medicare legislation that President Bush is expected to sign on Monday calls for studies and a few pilot programs on quality improvement, but experts say that it does little to reverse financial disincentives to improving care." LINK

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