The Note

By some standards, it is shaping up to be a bad day for Dr. Dean — attacked by a Club for Growth ad on tax-and-spend; savaged by the deeply, cosmically influential New York Times and Boston Globe ed boards for the sealed gubernatorial records; and psychoanalyzed by his fellow doctor — Dr. Krauthammer — who hides his attack inside a diagnosis. LINK

But in other ways, The Doctor remains very much in … … line to enter the New Year quite strong.

For instance, all in the swirl of 48 hours or so, Chris Peterson, Bruce Babbitt, and Paul Simon all stand up and get counted for Howard Dean's 15 percent threshold reach.

If you don't know who Chris Peterson is, your name is not "Bill Bradley." LINK

And the New York Times ' Adam Nagourney lets Karl Rove in on a little secret — Karen Hicks has captured lightning in a bottle in New Hampshire for Dr. Dean. LINK

Speaking of Rove, as we suggested, his name floats above (or is it "below"?) almost all those steel tariff stories.

But the Wall Street Journal 's Hamburger and Hitt say the Bush-Rove White House plays tough.

Meanwhile, the men who want to elevate their games and elbow past everyone else towards Dean are grabbing at every reed they can.

Behind Dean in sketchy public polling in the Granite State by 35 points?

Trumpet it as great success!!!! So go Joe Lieberman and Wes Clark.

John Kerry gets an para-obit must-read from Dan Balz in the Washington Post LINK, and/but the endorsement of Manchester (NH) Mayor Baines, and he goes up with a new spot.

And who is pulling a 3/5 Ginsberg this Sunday?

None other than FFLOTUS/Senator Hillary R. Clinton, who still could, in theory, waltz in and have the nomination if she wanted it. But that is just a theory.

Consider it a reminder that it's time for your annual check of the batteries in your smoke detector at home, with New York's Junior Senator appearing on not one, not two, but three network Sunday shows. (The Googling monkeys are still checking on when someone last pulled this off from the Hill.)

Despite the implied gravity of this impressive logistical trifecta, we're assured that the H(RC)-bomb will be not be dropped, and that this was borne in large part by all the shows' anxiousness to talk to her post-road trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.

We are also assured that it is not a veiled attempt to skyrocket past Senate Armed Service colleague Carl Levin on Roll Call 's coveted Face Time chart.

Still unclear is whether she will bring slides.

Note Note to Philippe: skip the CBS breakfast and hold out for the perfectly cooked bacon in the ABC green room.

Those scoring at home remember that it's been nearly 15 months since her last Sunday show.

Check her out on "This Week," "Face," and "Meet."

And we are certain that the national political press corps won't let this little thing overshadow the actual Democratic presidential candidates appearing serially before Florida's Democratic Party activists over the weekend.

President Bush speaks at a fundraiser and about the economy in Maryland today. He is in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

Former President George H.W. Bush headlines a Coral Gables, Fla., fundraiser for his son's re-election campaign today.

Vice President Cheney introduces two congressmen in Tulsa and Abilene, Texas, today. He is in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

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