The Note

The audience numbered more than 400, according to a Dartmouth police officer, and two hundred more were diverted to overflow rooms. But six young-looking people who appeared to be students managed to enter the main hall, toting Confederate flags. One was seated in the second row, literally wrapped in one. Dean ignored them.

"Things happen on college campuses," Dean said later. "They wouldn't identify who they were or who they represented. So I'm not going to respond to that."

This was the second time in as many days that the flag controversy touched Dartmouth and Dean; pranksters put up posters showing the Confederate flag plastered with Dean's around Dartmouth's campus, and that news led the campus daily's coverage of Dean's impending visit.

Dean was asked about the flag issue at a town hall meeting in Hampton, New Hampshire. Dean acknowledged that it was a mistake to use that particular phrasing.

"I should not have use the words 'Confederate flag.' That is a racist symbol. We understand that. We don't need to get into that.. it's a very sensitive symbol. The main message … which most people got … is about two things. First, we need to bring Southern whites into this party or we're not going to win elections anymore … . The second issue is about race in general."

Read more from the trail with Dean on abcnews.com: LINK

Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times lays out Governor Dean's higher education plan and talks with a couple of the students who unfurled the Confederate flag at his speech. LINK

The New York Post 's Deborah Orin also writes up the student protestors. LINK

Dean's higher education plan "makes no sense at all," opines the Union Leader. LINK

Dean made it official yesterday and filed for the New Hampshire presidential primary, becoming the 17th person to do so. LINK

The Union Leader's Roger Simon thinks the best chance for another Democrat to get the nomination from Dean is for Dean to lose New Hampshire. LINK

Tom Beaumont writes up Dean's college plan pitch. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Sarah Schweitzer reports that Dean "increasingly appears to enjoy that elusive, coveted, and fickle political asset: momentum." LINK

E.J. Dionne asks: Is Dean Goldwater? LINK

Salon's David Kusnet wonders whether the "Bush hatred" Dean has "ignited" will "burn up" the Democratic party's '04 chances? Says Salon, "Dean has both the message and the policy agenda to make the case to the undecided electorate that he can solve problems Bush can't. The challenge for the feisty front-runner is to present those policies with optimism more than anger, and to strike the right note when it comes to the president." LINK

Jackie Calmes reports in Washington Wire that "Conservative Family Research Council says 'THE issue' for Republicans is a gay-marriage ban, which has added resonance since Democratic front-runner Howard Dean backed gay "civil unions" when he was Vermont governor."

Kerry:

The AP reports that Senator Kerry called his three former aides to apologize to them for saying that his campaign would be "better off" without them. LINK

The brief also mentions that Mrs. Heinz Kerry thinks it's now or never for her husband. Helen Kennedy writes up the apology to Robert Gibbs and Carl Chidlow. LINK

The Boston Herald's Noelle Straub reports that Congressman Barney Frank said Kerry "is lagging behind Howard Dean in the presidential race largely because of Kerry's vote authorizing the war in Iraq." LINK

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