The Note

For all of those readers who wondered if yesterday's ostensible Jim Jordan memo was made up or the real deal, the answer is: "Yes."

President Bush is in D.C. today. He will sign the Military Family Tax Relief Act this morning before going to Arlington National Cemetery to participate in a wreath laying ceremony and make remarks on Veterans Day. He will later make remarks at a lunch with the Heritage Foundation. This afternoon, he will sign the Cemetery Expansion Act.

Governor Dean campaigns in Iowa and Oregon today.

Senator Kerry campaigns in Phoenix today before heading to Los Angeles for an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Congressman Gephardt has no public events today.

General Clark campaigns in New Hampshire today.

Senator Lieberman campaigns in Oklahoma.

Senator Edwards is in D.C. with no public events.

Reverend Sharpton is in New York City with no public events.

Congressman Kucinich campaigns in Iowa today.

Ambassador Moseley Braun visits a veterans hospital in Chicago today.

The politics of steel:

The Wall Street Journal 's Neil King, Scott Miller and Carlos Tejada set the scene by looking at the grip-like vise the Bush Administration faces on steel tariffs following the World Trade Organization's ruling that they're illegal.

The conundrum: either face retaliatory tariffs on American goods by supporting steel prices only marginally above the tariff level, or face alienating steel manufacturers and workers in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia going into an election year.

"Changes in the domestic steel industry will give the administration cover if it chooses to drop the tariffs. Many of the weaker domestic steel producers have merged with bigger companies or closed their doors. Unions have proved willing to negotiate labor contracts that gave the companies opportunities to enact work-force reductions and work-rule flexibility. U.S. steel-product demand, while flat, is expected to rise next year as the nation shakes off its economic malaise."

Lobbying continues in Washington to keep the tariffs, in the face of a threat by the EU to impose tariffs between 8% and 30% on American exports estimated to be worth as much as $2.2 billion a year, the trio Notes.

"The tariffs also aroused heavy opposition among a large swath of U.S. companies that use steel to make everything from auto parts to tin cans and washing machines. In numerous lobbying trips to Washington, chief executives of these companies have argued that the tariffs have driven up their costs and imperiled more jobs across the manufacturing belt than they have saved in the steel industry."

Blustein and Weisman of the Washington Post do the best job getting a sense of where the White House stands on this from a policy and political standpoint. LINK

" … sources close to the White House say the administration's economic team has united in imploring Bush to scrap the tariffs rather than let them stay in effect until their scheduled expiration in March 2005. Perhaps more important, one source said, Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, now believes the tariffs have cost Bush more political support among steel-using industries and conservative free-trade advocates than the political goodwill he gained from their imposition."

"'Rove has agreed they should come down,' said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

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