The Note

Campaigning in Charleston Sunday, Clark and Lieberman assailed Bush on foreign policy and tax cuts writes Jessica Vanegeren of the Post and Courier. LINK

Dean:

On Good Morning America today, Gov. Dean talked with Charles Gibson about his brother, his book, his sealed gubernatorial records, and President Bush's trip to Baghdad.

When Gibson asked why Dean's gubernatorial records were sealed, the Governor responded that President Bush "takes the cake" when it comes to sealed records, promising, "I'll unseal mine if he'll unseal all of his."

Newsweek's Isikoff hits the issue as well.

It's just a Periscope item, but that's how bigger things begin. Isikoff is marching down the trail of those Howard Dean gubernatorial records, which have been sealed from public view for the next 10 years.

" … .Dean's efforts to keep official papers secret appear unusually extensive. Late last year, NEWSWEEK has learned, Dean's chief counsel [David Rocchio] sent a directive to all state agencies ordering them to cull their files and remove all correspondence that bore Dean's name-and ship them to the governor's office to be reviewed for 'privilege' claims. This removed a 'significant number of records' from state files, said Michael McShane, an assistant Vermont attorney general." LINK

"The sealed papers include Dean's correspondence with advisers on, among other matters, Vermont's 'civil unions' law and a state agency that critics charged was used to grant tax credits to Dean's favored firms. Rocchio said the sealing agreement was driven by 'legitimate' policy concerns, but also by, he later acknowledged, political factors. 'All you have to do is look at what [Dean's opponents] are doing with the existing records," he said. 'They're distorting his record.'"

People are asking legitimate questions about all this, despite the Governor's glib answer.

Among them: what precise role did Dean play in these sealing decisions and how does Ms. Enright know there are no smoking guns in there, unless she has reviewed them?

Keep watching this one.

Also on GMA, Dean praised the president's Baghdad Thanksgiving trip, saying, "That's the kind of thing that helps the troops." Then he criticized Bush for being "big on the flashy gestures" and having proposed a "cut in combat pay."

The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold explores whether Dean lacks intuition about how to personally connect with voters, or whether he does connect, but in an untraditional way.

"Dean insists that since the beginning of his candidacy, he has paired his criticism of Bush with an uplifting message," she writes. "'They still don't understand,' he said of his critics in a recent interview. 'What we're really tapping into is the desire for hope again.'" LINK

Vermont in the 1990s! Elizabeth Mehren of the Los Angeles Times takes her readers back to Governor Dean's governing days and reports that he was quite the centrist. The "nurses" and "blue dogs," and even Dr. Dean's "cut and thrust" technique on the ice all get some play. LINK

The AP concludes that Dean's prodigious new ad buy in Iowa is "so large that the average Iowa TV viewer could see Dean commercials 18 times over 10 days." LINK

Highlights of the biographical spot include black and white pictures of Dean working in the hospital … and a three second push-in of a photo showing young Dean and his wife, Judy. It's the first time either of those two images have appeared in a Dean commercial.

Here's the script:

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