The Note

For the latest in the New York Times vs. Iowa face-off, do watch the Gray Lady take on ethanol on the editorial page. LINK

Republican National Convention:

In the end, Stuart Roy was simply no competition for one Ed Skyler. (Okay, all those political lessons Mr. Cunningham received from Sen. Moynihan may have helped too.)

"The Republican luxury liner 'booze cruise' idea floated for next year's GOP convention was sunk last night before it ever got anywhere near New York's harbor … " LINK

" … The decision to nix the controversial proposal came after Mayor Bloomberg spoke to DeLay yesterday and convinced him to drop the idea … "

The New York Times ' Slackman also looks at the demise of the convention cruise ship. LINK

"In New York, there was a sense of bewilderment among Democrats and Republicans that Mr. DeLay let the dispute go on as long as he did, and that he seemed not to understand how it would appear if the Republican delegation and their guests slept, dined and relaxed on a cruise ship instead of in a hotel."

The New York Daily News' Michael Saul and Maggie Haberman (a double byline we'd like to see more of, by the way) also have the sinking of the GOP boat. LINK

"DeLay 'obviously fights for what he believes in, but where we have an event at the Republican convention is not something that we particularly care about,' said Stuart Roy, spokesman for the Texas congressman."

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

USA Today 's Richard Benedetto looks at Vice President Cheney's quick fund-raising trips and reports that side issues like traffic, security costs and protesters often make the local headlines along with Cheney's speeches.

Benedetto writes: "He rarely makes time to meet voters outside the fundraisers, which often results in news reports and commentary that suggest he's indifferent to the people and problems of the cities he visits … But unlike President Bush, who often combines fundraising with a stop at a school, senior center, factory or military base, Cheney sticks to raising money." LINK

Broder looks at President Bush's Baghdad trip and how it puts him in the "catbird seat politically": "Because he is the head of state, the man who speaks and acts for all Americans in his ceremonial role, he has a claim on the voters' emotions that no challenger can match." LINK

Not surprisingly, Dean Broder is spot on with his analysis of the trip.

A new poll by the National Annenberg Election Survey finds that President Bush received a bump in approval after his surprise trip to Iraq on Thanksgiving, the Washington Times reports. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood writes that hidden in Bush's Medicare victory is a big political setback, making a revamp of Social Security with private accounts that much harder. The tone of the Medicare brawl leaves only "a thin veneer" of bipartisanship, AARP opposes the Bush Social Security plan even though they endorsed the Medicare overhaul, and the political capital spent on getting Medicare passed all stack the odds against a victory lap over Social Security, Harwood argues.

White House political adviser Karl Rove made a cameo in Florida yesterday where he joined fundraisers and party leaders in Tampa and Jacksonville to discuss strategy and grassroots planning, the St. Petersburg Times reports. LINK

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