The Note

And we can't wait to see what roles the Democratic presidential candidates who happen to be Senators play in the debate on those bills, with their war votes and tax votes and No Child Left Behind votes ringing in their husting ears. We KNOW what Dean will say about them.

Triple big wins for the DNC in the last 72 hours: getting the Louisiana gubernatorial victory; killing the Florida straw poll in December; and getting their debate schedule finalized, with the big Dec. 9 event in New Hampshire.

If Wes Clark really raises $12 million in the fourth quarter, reports of his demise will have been substantially exaggerated.

The Note challenges all seven of the other Democratic presidential candidates not named "Dean" or "Clark" to raise more than $4 million this quarter — we have no Trippi baseball bat to put on the Web, but anyone who raises that much will exceed our expectations.

The more the president can stay big picture ("This is why we are doing this … .Why we MUST do this … ") about Iraq and the war on terror (a) the more the Helping Hand of Hughes is evident; and (b) the less a political problem the Iraq situation becomes.

If you don't right now read Ron Brownstein's column on the Bush-era Republican hold on the South, you can consider yourself to be not all that interested in politics (and probably should question why you are reading these very words … .). LINK

Speaking of parentheticals, you should certainly check out foxy Mark Leibovich's brilliant use of one in his Hillary Clinton story, which, along with the Howard Fineman item, and the madcap Adam Nagourney piece, illustrate that when political reporters are in " … was overshadowed … " mode, there's nothing reality or a typically meandering speech can do to get them out of it. LINK; LINK; and LINK

Some Democrats and some political analysts have joined Republicans like George Will in thinking that Dick Gephardt's Iowa standing (and, thus, perhaps, Dick Gephardt) is the main obstacle standing between Howard Dean and the Fleet Center.

If you are Tom Harkin or Tom Vilsack, you gotta figure you want to endorse someone who can (a) win Iowa and (b) win the nomination — or not endorse at all. (So: where does that leave the Toms, whose endorsements actually would matter?)

John Kerry's new "Real Deal" stump speech is very well written. (You may read into that anything you wish.)

Democratic Party rules don't allow winner-take-all for delegates in any state. Mark that down well.

Governor Schwarzenegger is "finally" getting help from Bob Shrum, but a solution to the budget problems still seems elusive.

"Rush, rush, hurry, hurry, lover, come to me," is more than a Paula Abdul lyric. LINK

As December approaches, the number of campaign flights that will have to be cancelled because of Iowa and New Hampshire weather is going to go up exponentially, wreaking havoc on candidate and media scheduling (and we all know that the latter is what matters!!).

For instance, if a certain tarmac-held Des Moines-to-Chicago plane doesn't get off the ground soon this morning, some of America's leading political journalists (Zeleny, Thomma, Balz, and Nagourney, to name just a few) are going to be seriously disrupted.

Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger will be sworn in as California's 38th governor today in Sacramento.

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