The Note

B. Michael O'Hanlon's must-read Wall Street Journal op-ed on Dean's Iraq position is spot on regarding Dean's pre-war rhetoric — both inconsistent and flawed — although his characterization of Dean's views on the $87 billion is a bit off base.

C. Mark Jurkowitz's inside-the-Hardball-production Boston Globe piece is awesome for its media tick tock (Who knew Phil Griffin was the second coming of Don Hewitt?), but it also lays bare some of Dean's more absurd answers from Monday's show. LINK

D. As Rush Limbaugh and at least one Democratic campaign have pointed out, Dean's present-tense usage of "Soviet Union" in that Hardball appearance would not have been tolerated by the media if George Bush or John Kerry had done it.

E. Variety looks at Dean's somewhat wild statements about media ownership from the same appearance.

F. The Boston Globe 's Scott Lehigh has a must-read column on Dean's absolute hypocrisy, dissembling, and hedging regarding not adhering voluntarily to the state spending caps:

" … what we have here is Dean using the reaction to his own decision to justify a possible further violation of the spirit of fair primary play … .If the Vermonter does spend more than the Iowa cap, as seems likely, we'll have learned something important about him … .Namely, he's not really a no-nonsense country doctor. He just plays one on TV." LINK

And yet, look no further than the same Boston Globe edition to find out that the Walter Shapiro worldview on this holds sway for now:

Eileen McNamara's must-read trip with Dr. Dean to a Wolfeboro, New Hampshire event is so over-the-top glowing it could go straight on the deanforamerica blog, but it also captures quite nicely how and why Dean does a better job connecting with audiences than anyone else running. LINK

And the hard-working Brian Mooney chronicles how tough the money raising slog is this month for Gephardt and Kerry. LINK

In addition, while most of the other eight candidates rarely miss an opportunity to attack Dean, they are also spending a lot of their time attacking each other, to try to make sure that no one else can emerge as the Dean Alternative nationally or in a key state.

And, of course, as Howie Kurtz cleverly suggests today, every moment spent attacking someone BESIDES Dean gives The Doctor something of a breather. LINK

Konichi wa, General Clark.

All this makes the Dust-up in Durham — the year's final debate that will set the table for the January Madness — exceedingly important.

If you don't believe us, ask the people of New Hampshire, who are already getting excited about WMUR's extensive pre-debate coverage; the people of the University of New Hampshire, who are way nice; and the nation's major news organizations, who are already engaged in war-gaming about how they plan to cover what by any objective standard amounts to the Super Bowl of Democratic presidential debates.

Of course, the ABC News name will need to be, per usual, pristine, going into this event, representing the highest journalistic standards, and thus we must finish off today's summary with a longish look at what amount to a weeks' worth (and it is only Wednesday!!!) of CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFCATIONS.

Don't read anything into the order we put them in; each error is like a dagger to our hearts.


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