The Note

"The camp of ousted Kerry manager Jim Jordan fingers Time columnist Joe Klein as advising the beleaguered candidate to dump him. Klein says he holds Jordan in 'minimum high regard,' but 'when I have arguments with candidates, they're about issues.'"

(Bad precedents to set, Joe: now all political journalists are going to be expected to (a) tell other journalists on the record which political operatives we hold in "minimum high regard"; and (b) have arguments with the candidates we cover.)

With a focus on KerryWorld, Ron Fournier observes that 2004 has marked an increase in attention paid to the political consultants behind the candidates. LINK

One close observer with direct knowledge of the Kerry campaign surveyed the carnage and told The Note this:

"Kerry's comments yesterday were a disaster — like pouring gasoline on a slow-burning fire. Add to that the 'anonymous' quotes from a 'senior adviser' hitting Jordan and the staff is in an uproar again. This thing is like Yugoslavia after the Cold War. The one force that held it all together is gone. Now months of tension, bruised ego and hurt feelings are coming out and it's ugly."

With all signs indicating that Senator Clinton will do whatever it takes to keep the mad presidential speculation in check tomorrow night, even as she (inevitably) makes a big Hawkeye splash, the real story in Democratic presidential politics this weekend is, can anyone use the dinner to take Howard Dean down a notch?

Howard Dean was so obscure one year ago at this same dinner that Iowa Senator Tom Harkin twice referred to the governor of Vermont as "John Dean," prompting the Baltimore Sun's Paul West to write that Dean "still has a long way to go."

It's worth noting that although an ailing Harkin did not remember his name, Dean was, according to West, "the only one of the '04's who "brought the Democrats to their feet in mid-speech. His protectionist language on trade drew cheers from a crowd that included many representatives of organized labor."

However, and finally, the real question is, will John Edwards'speech focus primarily or exclusively on Jennifer Palmieri's birthday?

Six of the nine Democratic presidential candidates (Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Edwards, Kucinich and Moseley Braun) will attend the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson dinner Saturday night, with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton serving as the emcee. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin will introduce Clinton, who will in turn introduce each of the attending candidates, who each get roughly seven minutes to speak. Here's their batting order: Gephardt, Kucinich, Edwards, Kerry, Dean, Moseley Braun. Following the dinner, Clinton and the candidates are scheduled to work a rope line together.

President Bush is in D.C. today. He heads to Camp David tonight.

Vice President Cheney attends a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser in New York City today.

Governor Dean, Senator Kerry, and Congressman Kucinich all campaign in Iowa today and through this weekend.

General Clark campaigns in New Hampshire today. He's in D.C. this weekend with no public campaign events.

Congressman Gephardt has no public events today. He's in Iowa this weekend.

Senator Edwards campaigns in South Carolina today. He's in Iowa tomorrow and Sunday.

Senator Lieberman is in D.C. today and tomorrow with no public events. He campaigns in New Hampshire on Sunday.

Reverend Sharpton campaigns in New York City today. He's in South Carolina this weekend.

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