The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—10:00 am: Governor Howard Dean delivers a foreign policy address at the Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City, Iowa —10:10 am: President Bush signs the Military Family Tax Relief Act, White House —10:45 am: Congressman Dennis Kucinich speaks to students at Valley High School, West Des Moines, Iowa —10:45 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —10:55 am: President and Mrs. Bush participate in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. —11:10 am: President Bush makes remarks on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. —11:15 am: Senator John Kerry attends a Veterans Day breakfast, Phoenix —11:30 am: General Wesley Clark visits a veterans hospital, Manchester, N.H. —12:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich speaks to employees at Principal Companies, Des Moines, Iowa —12:00 pm: Senator Joe Lieberman keynotes the Comanche County Veterans Council Veterans Day Ceremony, Elgin, Okla. —12:00 pm: Senator Kerry attends a event with veterans, Phoenix —12:00 pm: Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun visits a veterans hospital, Chicago —12:45 pm: Governor Dean meets with VFW members, Ottumwa, Iowa —1:00 pm: Senator Kerry marches in a Veterans Day parade, Phoenix —1:00 pm: General Clark holds a "Conversations with Clark" town hall forum, Manchester, N.H. —1:15 pm: President Bush makes remarks at the Heritage Foundation's President's Club Luncheon, D.C. —1:15 pm: Governor Dean meets with Wapello County Democrats, Ottumwa, Iowa —1:30 pm: Senator Lieberman attends a private campaign fundraiser, Lawton, Okla. —2:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich visits a veterans hospital, Des Moines, Iowa —2:10 pm: President Bush signs the Cemetery Expansion Act, White House —3:30 pm: Governor Dean meets with Des Moines County Democrats, Burlington, Iowa —4:00 pm: Senator Lieberman holds a roundtable discussion with veterans, Oklahoma City, Okla. —4:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich speaks at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa —5:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich speaks Grandview College, Des Moines, Iowa —6:00 pm: General Clark meets with VFW members, Franklin, N.H. —6:15 pm: Senator Lieberman meets with supporters, Norman, Okla. —7:30 pm: Senator Kerry tapes an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Burbank, Calif. —10:30 pm: Governor Dean attends a rally and grassroots fundraiser, Portland, Ore. —11:35 pm: Senator Kerry appears on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno


There is nothing nice in this news cycle's stories about John Kerry's decision to fire Jim Jordan.

There is nothing nice in Mike Glover's revealing that Senator Kerry was heard mispronouncing the name "Gibbs"* and eating his dinner during the conference call telling the staff about firing Jordan (although it was nice of Glover to provide the Gang of 500 with some of the best details of the whole campaign!).

There is nothing nice about the Washington Post 's blind quote claiming that Karl Rove has flipped on steel.

There is nothing nice about the Democratic Party's efforts to neutralize the national security issue on this Veterans' Day. (Those efforts are more steely than nice, although the boys at the RNC get QUITE a chuckle out of them — and, yes, we do mean "boys.")

And there is nothing nice about Mayor Menino and Senator Kennedy having to dial for dollars to try to raise the money for the Boston convention (and nothing nice about the sense of Los Angeles-style déjà vu this must be giving Terry McAuliffe … )

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."

The Wall Street Journal editorial board urges the president to take the WTO ruling and run, using it as an opening to extricate the U.S. from tariffs that don't have a political purpose for an Administration that has "abandoned its free trade principles."

"Meanwhile, the strategy of using the tariffs to score political points has backfired. The tariffs have done nothing to win over protectionists, as evidenced by the growing number of blue-collar union endorsements of Democrat Presidential contender (and anti-free-trader) Dick Gephardt. Karl Rove might also note that a disproportionate number of the steel-consuming jobs that have been lost are in key battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, which Mr. Bush needs if he is to win re-election."

"If the tariffs don't go, all this will only get worse."

USA Today 's James Cox reports, "The world's trade court Monday dealt a blow to President Bush's efforts to help ailing steelmakers, forcing him to choose between them and other sensitive industries, including food and textiles." LINK

The Los Angeles Times leads the paper with the decision, stating the steel tariffs imposed by President Bush last year violate international trading rules and the European Union's readiness to play tough. LINK

The New York Times examines President Bush's options: LINK

While the paper's ed board urges the Bush Administration to go ahead and lift those tariffs, already. LINK

And, as always, The Note is disappointed because these stories have nary a mention of legacy costs.

House of Labor:

Wednesday marks the official kick-off of the House of Labor's Civil War reenactment as the two biggie up-and-comers in the movement, AFSCME and SEIU, join together to lend their bona fides to the insurgent Dean campaign, while the "Alliance for Economic Justice," a coalition of 18 unions supporting Congressman Gephardt, is prepping to go up with an ad in Iowa on the issue of trade and lobbying UAW locals to get behind the Missouri Congressman.

(Attention Ken Burns!)

Yes, ladies and gentleman, the split is real and deep.

Starting with the Dean endorsement, ABC News has confirmed the Chinese Room at the Mayflower Hotel has been rented for tomorrow's 1:00 pm ET McEntee-Stern duet. LINK (Note that is the only Mayflower ballroom named in honor of a country!)

Expect to see the Painters Union folks there, and expect to see the marquee labor names add momentum and energy to the pro-Dean union ranks.

Also Wednesday, ABC News' Gayle Tzemach reports the Alliance for Economic Justice will launch a 30-second TV ad in Iowa's major markets on the importance of the trade issue. The spot will run for one week and we are told the buy is in the "several hundred thousand dollar" range.

Here's a look at the script:

"Ron" "American workers can compete against anyone, anywhere. But thanks to NAFTA, the rules of the game are no longer fair. Our jobs are going to Mexico, to workers we were forced to train. And they're making a fraction of the money we made to support our families. NAFTA — it may be good for Big Business. But for thousands of Iowa workers, it's cost us our jobs and hurt our communities. The next time someone asks for your vote, ask them where they stood during the fight against NAFTA."

Teamster Government Affairs Director Mike Mathis says the ad "represents working families who have lost their jobs in Iowa because of bad trade deals" and says there will be more spots to come. On the question of whether the SEIU-AFSCME alliance hurts their guy considerably, Mathis says, "They were never in our equation. We represent over 50,000 members in Iowa, which is more than SEIU-AFSCME combined, and we are going to gain more."

As for whether the ad is aimed squarely at the Vermont Governor, a source close to the Alliance says, "He is the guy to beat, and he is the guy that's horrible on trade."

So you do the math!

All this news comes as the AFL-CIO's John Sweeney tells the AP's Leigh Strope that Gephardt is "tough enough to really continue to fight as hard as he can for the nomination," despite the SEIU-AFSCME Dean embrace. LINK

(We are sure these are very soothing words to Erik Smith's ears … )

ABC News Vote 2004: The Invisible Primary:

Steve Murphy owns a better razor than Chris Lehane — so learned viewers of Fox News Channel this morning at 9:40 am.

Rebecca Lieberman has a smile as big as all outdoors — so learned viewers of MSNBC this morning at 9:45 am.

The Washington Post 's Laura Blumenfeld profiles both George Soros and his money, Noting that "Soros's contributions are filling a gap in Democratic Party finances that opened after the restrictions in the 2002 McCain-Feingold law took effect." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's David Bank looks at the $5 million pledge by Soros and Peter Lewis to team up with's "voter fund," which is paying for ads criticizing President Bush on the war in Iraq, the economy and education. Banks reports that the first spot is running in West Virginia, to be followed by four others that have been produced.

The goal of the voter fund is to raise $10 million from small donors — and raised about $2.4 million from two e-mails sent to's 1.7 million members, Bank writes. Soros and Lewis have promised matching funds of 50 cents to every dollar raised toward the goal — up to $5 million. The 527 is just the latest recipient of a Soros pledge, after his $10 million check to Americans Coming Together and his pledge of $1 million per year for the Center for American Progress.

Thus: more Ed Gillespie talking points!

Howie Kurtz reports that the "Macs or PCs" question at the Rock the Vote! forum wasn't just stupid, it was planted too! LINK

The Boston Globe 's Peter Canellos writes about why the Rock the Vote! forum was a "missed opportunity." LINK

The Washington Post 's Jay Mathews has a very informative write-up of 10 myths about the No Child Left Behind Act. LINK


The New York Times ' Halbfinger and Nagourney serve up lots of crunchy details in his story about just how Kerry crossed the river Jordan (and we can't be alone in thinking the vivid picture painted of the candidate is not exactly a portrayal with which the Senator will be delighted … ) LINK

James Gerstenzang and Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times have this blind quote from a Democratic strategist: LINK

"'This has been brewing for a long time. You want a presidential campaign that can move on a dime, and this one was turning around like an ocean liner … '"

Senator Kerry will no doubt enjoy the historical perspective Gerstenzang and Brownstein provide.

"Ronald Reagan overhauled the top management of his campaign in 1980 even as New Hampshire Republicans were at the polls choosing him as their candidate in a landslide over George H.W. Bush; four years ago, Democrat Al Gore shook up the top management of his campaign. In both cases, the candidates went on to capture the party's nomination."

The Boston Globe 's Patrick Healy writes that Cahill was brought in to "to revive [Kerry's] candidacy before it is eclipsed by [Dean]." LINK

The Globe's Anne Kornblut writes, "With his decision to publicly dump his campaign manager this week, [Kerry] offers a vivid snapshot of the anguish spreading through some corners of the Democratic field as [Dean] barrels toward the presidential nomination with increasing velocity." LINK

The Globe's Glen Johnson reports that Kerry "spent months courting Jeanne Shaheen to be his national campaign chairwoman, eager to tap the former New Hampshire governor's popularity and political skills both in her early-voting home state and before audiences across the country." LINK

The Globe's Alex Beam writes, "After months of torpor, the Kerry-Heinz empire is finally striking back." LINK

The Boston Herald's Andrew Miga writes that "insiders contend Kerry himself has been the campaign's real problem." LINK

And in one of those haunting Kennedy-had-a-secretary-named-Lincoln-and-Lincoln-had-a-secretary-named-Kennedy freaky coincidences LINK, Jordan's departure yesterday coincided exactly with the very first day of work of new Kerry communications director David Morehouse, who showed up with matching Trapper Keeper and lunch box, only to find out he had a new boss to suck up to. LINK

Recall that Wes Clark's current communications director, Matt Bennett, starting HIS job about an hour after Donny Fowler departed as Clark's campaign manager.


Reports also from:

USA Today 's Jim Drinkard: LINK

The Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei: LINK

The Des Moines Register 's Jonathan Roos: LINK

Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn: LINK

"More staffers are expected to quit soon," reports the New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy. LINK

Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen was reportedly running the show yesterday as Kerry made his campaign manager switch, reports the Concord Monitor's Jennifer Skalka. LINK

Deborah Orin leads with the aircraft carrier ad, but saves her best stuff for a bit further down. LINK

"Like Gore, Kerry is plagued by a muddled message, wooden style and feuding staffers (many of them ex-Gore aides). Rivals said dumping the tartly witty Jordan is scapegoating and ignores the real problem — Kerry's trouble in wooing voters."

Don't miss the $300-$400 million figure Republicans are predicting President Bush can raise for his re-election campaign. We wonder when Ms. Orin and Jack Oliver last spoke.

Liz Halloran of the Hartford Courant keys off the Kerry campaign shakeup to take a look at the not-so-warm relationship between Senator Kerry and Governor Dean. LINK

Salon looks at the new-and-improved Candidate Kerry, finding the Senator "confident" his campaign is "back on track" and offering readers this assurance: "'We just got up on TV. We're now there, and I feel very good about it. I'm not as far behind as Gore was behind Bradley [at this point in 1999]. We're doing very well.'" LINK

The Chicago Tribune discusses Kerry's need for a change of dynamics, as he continues to trail Howard Dean. LINK

Kerry unveiled a new ad yesterday using footage of Bush declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq, writes the AP. LINK

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

Senator Kerry emerged Monday from the Paralyzed Veterans of America center in Des Moines, Iowa, the first stop on his one-day, four-stop pre-Veterans' Day tour, determined to stay on message.

Unfortunately for the campaign, from the moment the Associated Press ran its bulletin at 3:44 am Monday, only two questions dominated the day: why did Kerry fire campaign manager Jim Jordan and what does it mean for his beleaguered campaign?

In the day's brief, solitary avail, Kerry skipped the first question and would only offer, "I wanted to change the dynamic" 10 times to numerous variations on the second. Labeled both disciplined at best and desperate at worst, Kerry refused to elaborate on how or why this move would actually change the dynamic of his campaign.

Back on the bus, the now Cahill-guided camp announced that the Senator became the first candidate to use footage of President George W. Bush on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in campaign commercial, airing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In a 30-second ad entitled "Aircraft Carrier," the image of flight-suited President Bush appears as an announcer says, "Who can take on George W. Bush and change the direction of the nation?"

Kerry campaigns in Phoenix, Arizona, this morning before appearing in a Veterans Day parade. Kerry then heads further west where he hopes to make a splashy triumph (get it?) on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Read more from the trail with Kerry on LINK


The Washington Post 's Richard Cohen writes, "The more Dean's opponents attack him, the more he is adored by his supporters and the more it enhances his anti-Washington credentials. Every time they give him the kiss of death, it amounts to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He revives and comes out fighting." LINK

USA Today 's ed board sounds off on what's wrong with the nation's public financing rules. LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times' editorial page discusses the long-term gain for Dean as he rejects matching funds. LINK

There may be little love lost between Kerry and Dean, but Dean supporters at least seem to be opening their arms to Kerry castoff Jim Jordan. Naturally, the bloggers couldn't help but take a few shots at Kerry and Bush. From yesterday's "Morning News Roundup" blog:

"like millions of other Americans, Jim Jordan is now out of a job. We should take the high road and invite him to our meetups and house parties to inform him of what Dean plans to do to get Americans working again.

"When asked why he fired Jordan, Kerry was simply heard to be muttering, "Dean. Dean. Dean. Dean."


"Just a thought, but anyone else think that the Kerry camp should have kept Jim Jordan and fired John Kerry instead?"

"I wonder if there's a way that Kerry can blame the recent "layoff" of his campaign manager on the Bush economy."

In the interest of fairness, equal time, and all that jazz, take a minute to look at Kerry's "Max Cleland" blog for the pro-Kerry take.

Despite the flap over the Confederate flag, some analysts are saying Dean's remark was correct but clumsily said, according to The Washington Times ' Brian DeBose. LINK

Read more from the trail with Dean on LINK


The Arizona Republic's Jon Kamman reports that Clark said yesterday that he shares views similar to Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and Republican Congressmen Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, who together are sponsoring a bill "aimed at curbing undocumented immigration from Mexico by creating a guest-worker program." LINK

Dick Morris writes in his New York Post op-ed that Clark is losing momentum into the early primaries because of his flip-flop on issues, limited financial resources, and fading popularity. Morris says, "OLD soldiers who run for president, to paraphrase MacArthur, never die, they just fade away. Wesley Clark has just faded." LINK

Morris continues to believe that Dean's success is based on the Internet and gay money nearly alone.

South Carolina vets are intrigued by Clark, writes the AP's Susanne Schafer, but are certainly not guaranteed for The General. LINK

Page Six calls Clark desperate to be hip for putting Outkast's Andre 3000 and Big Boi into his Rock the Vote TV spot. LINK

Andrew DeMillo of the Arkansas Democratic Gazette lays out the Clark campaign's new online strategy. LINK

The Arkansas Democratic Gazette reports that Clark will attend a fund-raiser on November 21 at the home of Morriss and Ann Henry of Fayetteville, Arkansas, longtime friends and political allies of former President Clinton. LINK

Despite the title, Clark's book "Winning Modern Wars" is largely a campaign primer for The General, according to the Washington Times ' Gary Anderson. LINK

From ABC News' Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton:

How will Clark's military experience shape his campaign? That's a question that is "probably too soon to answer," Clark told reporters Friday. The only retired four-star general in the race, Clark's 34 years in military service have defined his campaign from its early days. At almost every campaign event, General Clark will stop, sometimes with jarring awkwardness in the midst of talking about Iraq, to ask the audience if any veterans are present and for them to please raise their hands so they can be recognized.

The General is in New Hampshire today through Friday with scheduled stops in honor of Veteran's Day. Clark Communications Director Matt Bennett told ABC News that Clark "feels like there's just not enough deference placed to people who served their country" and he "hopes to provide them with respect."

Clark was recently asked if a military background is important to have as a candidate. "I think first-hand, practical leadership experience is important for the commander in chief," Clark answered. "And I think if you have that experience in foreign affairs, then it's even better. So I've been lucky, I have a lot of high-level, first hand experience in foreign affairs."

Read more from the trail with Clark on LINK


Rachel Swarns of The New York Times writes about Congressman Gephardt's unlikely successes in what seems like "the year of the outsider." LINK

"It may seem to run against the grain in a campaign season in which the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has become the Republican governor-elect of California and Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, has become a driving force in the Democratic presidential race. But given his résumé, Mr. Gephardt has little choice, and something seems to be working for him right now — at least in Iowa, the first caucus state."

From ABC News' Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins:

In New York on a fundraising blitz Monday, Congressman Gephardt paused to slam President Bush Monday, jabbing at the president's statements on the economy as he toured a BMW plant in South Carolina, a state where Gephardt recently visited counties with unemployment rates upwards of 20%.

"During the last year, under President Bush's failed economic policies, South Carolina has been hit by the largest per capita job loss in the country. The state's economy has been devastated by bad trade agreements like NAFTA and the China trade deal that President Bush and many of my opponents in this race have supported. Instead of traveling to a thriving BMW plant, the president should visit the shuttered textile mills and factories that have been forced to close their doors and lay off thousands of workers because of these bad trade agreements. While the president is in South Carolina today, he should explain what he is going to do to bring these 74,000 jobs back."

Read more from the trail with Gephardt on LINK


AP's Dick Pettys highlights the fact that Edwards recent endorsee, former Governor Roy Barnes confronted the Confederate flag issue while in office and called Dean's comments "almost unforgivable." LINK

In the Atlanta Journal Constitution Tom Baxter sums up Edwards side-by-side appearance with former Barnes whose "effort to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag was a key factor in his defeat last year." LINK

In the AP's look at Dean's organizational gains Mike Glover calls Edwards a " … danger to Kerry [now comes] from previously unsuspected areas. North Carolina Senator John Edwards has stepped up his schedule of appearances in Iowa, and is clearly challenging Kerry for third place coming out of Iowa. If Edwards is able to get past Kerry in Iowa, it would be a heavy blow that would further complicate Kerry's already difficult task in New Hampshire. Bad news in Iowa has a way of steamrolling the way for more bad news eight days later." LINK

In, the AP's look at veteran support for Clark, Susanne M. Shafer cites the American Survey Group poll that put Clark ahead of Edwards in South Carolina. LINK

The AP's Liz Sidotti summarizes the new Edwards campaign ad buy in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Manchester under the headline "Tepid Edwards campaign unleashes another campaign ad." LINK

From ABC News' Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Riviera:

In Atlanta Monday afternoon to announce endorsements by former Georgia Governor Barnes and three Georgia state representatives, Edwards focused his campaign speech to the potential donor crowd on his fight for the plight of the middle class. For anyone who read Bob Herbert's New York Times op-ed, it was old news.

Speaking to reporters afterwards Edwards repeated his now well-reported reaction to Dean's finance decision. " … Governor Dean himself said several months ago that he thought it was imperative that the Democrats to stay within the public financing system in the presidential race, and it appears at least that he has decided it is not in his interest to do that and he's reversed his position. I think this is a matter of principle and I think the integrity of the system matters."

Asked how concerned he is that Dean will carry some southern states, Edwards said simply, "Not."

The campaign launched television ads in Iowa and New Hampshire today as part of a four-phase "Plan for Change" unveiled week by week touting Edwards' 60-page platform handbook. Edwards says the book is a way to hold him accountable, and a voiceover tells viewers how to get their own copy.

Read more from the trail with Edwards on LINK


Albert McKeon writes about Lieberman's sit-down with the Nashua Telegraph 's editorial board yesterday. LINK

The AP reports on Lieberman's proposals for long-term care for seniors and includes Lieberman's concerns about the impact of Dean's decision to opt out. "Urging Dean to limit his spending to $45 million in the primaries, Lieberman said he fears Dean's move 'will create a kind of avalanche of following the bad example of George Bush.'" LINK

Sam Youngman of also reports on Lieberman's plan for seniors and his criticism of Dean. LINK

David Lightman reports on the still undecideds in New Hampshire as Joe Lieberman's greatest hope to achieve his goal of coming in third in New Hampshire — and says the approach "has holes." LINK

Lieberman detailed a long-term healthcare plan yesterday in New Hampshire that would enable taxpayers to deduct half the cost of private long-term insurance premiums and would provide a tax credit of up to $3,000, reports the Concord Monitor. LINK

From ABC News' Lieberman campaign reporter Talesha Reynolds:

Senator Lieberman was having a cup of tea at Lindy's Diner in Keene, New Hampshire, when owner Arietta Rigopoulos pointed out all of the previous candidates who had visited pictured on the paper placemats. He pointed to one familiar face and said, "I gotta have a cup of tea looking at John McCain?!" Rigopoulos replied, "He's a good tipper!"

Then Lieberman pointed to McCain and said, "He's my — he's my best friend."

Lieberman shied away from talking about the Kerry campaign shake-up, saying only, "These things happen in almost every campaign." But others close to the campaign went a tad bit further. One source said, "The problem with Kerry's candidacy wasn't a single staffer — there a much larger issues there, to say the least … " The source said, "The candidate is always responsible. It's a very Gore campaign like situation."

Read more from the trail with Lieberman on LINK


The New York Times 's Brooks gives Kucinich credit for pushing the "Halliburton got a sweetheart deal" line that the other candidates have followed, but then discounts it as utterly false, saying "In the parade of Democratic bogeymen, the word "Halliburton" elicits almost as many hisses as the chart-topping 'Ashcroft.' The problem with the story is that it's almost entirely untrue." LINK

The Santa Cruz Sentinel describes the warm welcome Kucinich got there Sunday: "Introduced at the first of his two appearances at the Rio by environmentalist icon and author John Robbins as a 'beacon of truth and sanity,' Kucinich was greeted with thunderous applause from the 700-person crowd and several hand-held signs touting his presidency." LINK

The Marin Independent Journal's Beth Ashley has a spot-on profile of Saturday night's fundraiser and Marin's worship of Kucinich, saying "Kucinich might be trailing in the nationwide polls, but he appears to have Marin's spiritual, Buddhist, Spirit Rock vote well locked up." LINK

No new additions yet to the "Who wants to be a first lady" contest on, but the site is still damn funny. Kucinich still hasn't seen it yet but knows about it: LINK

From ABC News' Kucinich campaign reporter Melinda Arons:

Congressman Kucinich has had an interesting week since Wednesday night's joke about looking for a special someone to join him in the White House. He told ABC News, "I've been getting marriage proposals slipped to me! One woman at the rally in Bellingham Friday had a huge sign that said 'Marry Me.'"

The Congressman seems genuinely surprised and amused at the response, and for now is unsure whether he'll pay any heed to the contest trying to find him a mate, wary of detracting from the seriousness of the candidacy while intrigued by the opportunity for the publicity his campaign craves.

Over dinner at the Minneapolis airport en route to Des Moines (hot water with lemon, two pieces of dry wheat toast accompanied by his ever-present plastic bag of granola), Kucinich went on to talk about how difficult it is to maintain a relationship with the schedule of a Congressman-cum-presidential-candidate, but that he would absolutely be open to having more children: "I'm in great health and I absolutely love kids." Kucinich has a daughter Jackie, 21, with whom he is very close but who does not appear on the campaign trail.

But whatever void a lack of romance may leave, perhaps campaign cash can fill it. Kucinich had a special spring in his step Monday due to some fundraising success last weekend in the Bay Area, which brought in around $100,000. He wrapped up the trip with a press conference and speech to students at San Francisco State University on sustainable energy, calling for a national commitment to creating renewable energies akin to the nation's devotion to the space program during the Kennedy administration.

On the endorsement watch, Kucinich has picked up actor Joaquin Phoenix, actress Shelley Morrison (Rosario on "Will & Grace"), and Dave Matthews Band drummer Tim Reynolds. Possible endorsements coming down the pipe include actor Casey Affleck (brother of Ben) and perhaps the entire Dave Matthews Band. Willie Nelson has scheduled a benefit concert for Kucinich in Austin on January 3. According to the AP, "The Ohio congressman, a long shot in the Democratic race, outpaces his eight rivals in endorsements from the entertainment industry."

Read more from the trail with Kucinich on LINK


The Chicago Tribune Noticed Sharpton's swing through Chicago yesterday, joining the protest against Chrysler for allegedly discriminating against African-Americans applying for car loans. The article also notes that his visit there could be deepening the rift between Sharpton and Jesse, Sr. LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times wraps the event--minus the Jesse Jackson, Sr. dynamic. LINK

Africana magazine attempts to analyze Al Sharpton — the man and Al Sharpton — the candidate by taking a plunge into the past.

"Sleep if you want to, but beneath the comic appearance, the self-deprecating one-liners — "I understand deficit spending. I was born in deficit spending" — and the deliberately Ebonic diction is a political rationality that Sharpton has parlayed into his present standing as the most influential non-elected black Democrat in the party." LINK

From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

While Sharpton held meetings in Chicago the campaign distributed a press release entitled "Sharpton Unveils National Progressive Network for 2004," naming the contributors to the campaign's drive. Among those 'leading the efforts' are Congressmen Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) and Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.); Earl Graves Jr., President of Earl Graves Publishing; Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Radio One; Bill Campbell, former Mayor of Atlanta; Percy Sutton,Chairman of Inner City Broadcasting; and Newark Mayor Sharpe James.

The motivation behind the release is two-fold. First, Sharpton felt the need to respond to the idea that the campaign is not serious about being competitive. Secondly, Sharpton is often questioned about his lack of support among black political leaders. This is his answer to that (and, arguably, in response more specifically to Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s endorsement of Dean).

The campaign was planning to send it out over a week ago, but last week was a little busy — with Dean/Confederate flag business to attend to. The press release also inadvertently, takes a shot at Jesse Jackson, Sr. " … we can pick up where the Rainbow Coalition left off a decade ago to ensure that our top issues are no longer ignored by the national Democrats."

Read more from the trail with Sharpton on LINK

Moseley Braun:

The Concord Monitor's Eric Moskowitz looks at the Ambassador's single-payer health care system. LINK

Read more from the trail with Moseley Braun on LINK

New Hampshire:

The Manchester Union Leader's Craig Liadis reports that Manchester's new Double-A baseball club will in fact not be called the "New Hampshire Primaries." LINK

Liadis' lead even includes the Union Leader's mandated prerequisite phrase "in the nation," and he reports that the team "endorsed democracy and canned the name" after an outcry from Granite State baseball fans that the "Primaries" name was too silly.

The Note has several suggestions for a name: Epicenters, Kingmakers, Firsts, Comeback Kids, and Because We Said So. They're all very empowering names with lots of marketing possibilities.

Assured that it has nothing to do with DNC rules, "The team will announce a plan of action within the next few days. With little time before the season begins, [team president Shawn] Smith said the team might have to wait until the next season to unveil a permanent name."

"'It doesn't matter what someone in California thinks or someone in Illinois thinks,' [team owner Drew] Weber said [regarding the team's name]. 'It's what people in New Hampshire think.'"

That has such a familiar ring for a New Hampshire story.

Democratic National Convention:

The Boston Globe 's Rick Klein reports, "In the year since Boston was awarded the 2004 Democratic National Convention, organizers have attracted only about $3 million in cash donations, including just two worth more than $250,000, according to a list of corporate sponsors posted on the host committee's website." LINK

The politics of national security:

On this Veterans Day, the president will speak on Iraq as Democrats find themselves struggling between taking the offensive on the bad news coming out of Iraq and hugging the defensive on the president's Middle East democracy speech.

The AP leads thusly, "Mired in a complicated, unfinished mission in Iraq, President Bush is pausing this Veterans Day to reflect on sacrifices being made by U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and honor soldiers of wars past" as he heads to Arlington Cemetery before visiting the Reagan building to "talk about the high stakes in Iraq." LINK

Condoleezza Rice tells local news outlets, "Major combat operations have not resumed in Iraq by really any stretch of the imagination" LINK

Paul Krugman marks Veterans Day by highlighting recent cuts in military benefits and writes, if military "disillusionment spreads to the rank and file, the politics of 2004 may be very different from what anyone expects." LINK

Meanwhile the Washington Post 's E.J. Dionne says Democrats are now the conservatives when it comes to foreign policy and urges them to be "bold enough" to answer the president's "radical challenge" on the Big Idea of democracy in the Middle East. LINK

Deb Orin agrees (sort of) with E.J. Writes the New York Post 's Washington bureau chief, "the Democratic 2004 presidential contenders had no answer at all" to the Bush's Middle East speech — "they could hardly ridicule the idea of spreading democracy so instead they chose to ignore the speech, to pretend it never happened," a reflection of the reality "that Democrats have a better chance of winning back the White House if there's bad news from Iraq. Contemplating breakthrough democracy doesn't fit that equation." LINK

The New York Times reports on the Vice President's recent assertions that Al Qaeda is behind the mounting violence in Iraq and finds "law enforcement officials say there is no conclusive evidence pointing to a particular group — Al Qaeda or not — as the mastermind behind any" of the major attacks. Notes the Times , "Indicating who is behind the bombings — militants linked to Al Qaeda or homegrown loyalists to Saddam Hussein — is important politically for Mr. Cheney and his boss, President Bush, terrorism experts say." LINK

The Times story quotes General Sanchez as saying recently, "We do not have any confirmed Al Qaeda operatives actually in custody at this point," and this very morning the General told reporters, "at one point, we had up to about 20 suspected al-Qaida members, but as we have continued to refine and interrogate, we have not been able to establish definitively that they were al-Qaida members." LINK

The New York Times reports on the problems of the American "Iraqification" plan in Fallujah — local leaders say the U.S. forces "don't understand that the sheiks have no control over those people doing the attacks." LINK

The New York Times Notes "twenty-six House Democrats have agreed to support a resolution calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld" that accuses the Secretary of "'gross mismanagement' in planning and conducting the war in Iraq and of misleading the public on progress since Baghdad fell." LINK

The New York Times ' David Brooks says charges of cronyism in Iraq reconstruction are the stuff of urban myth, arguing "the idea that a Bush political appointee can parachute down and persuade a large group of civil servants to risk their careers by steering business to a big donor is the stuff of fantasy novels, not reality." LINK

The Supreme Court has set the stage "for a historic clash between presidential and judicial authority in a time of military conflict" in agreeing to decide "whether prisoners at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are entitled to access to civilian courts to challenge their open-ended detention," reports the New York Times . LINK

Veterans Day:

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole honors both the "greatest generation" and the "veterans-in-the-making" in Afghanistan and Iraq in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Veterans are massing in numbers not seen since World War II to tackle the issue of care for veterans, according to the Orlando Sentinel. LINK

Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn writes, "The Democratic Party hasn't been a magnet recently for retired military men and women, but then again, in recent decades Democrats have seldom run candidates such as Kerry and Gen. Wesley Clark … " LINK

Reflecting on Veterans Day, Dean Broder wishes more politicians, especially members of the House, would recognize "the difference between war and politics." LINK

David Yepsen talks to Max Cleland to write about Kerry's courting support among veterans, who, Yepsen Notes, are "as divided as anyone else in America about the war on terrorism, the conflict in Iraq and how all of it should be prosecuted." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Mike Allen has so many fundraising figures and facts in today's Washington Post you might need to pull out a pocket-sized copy of your campaign finance rule book to keep it all straight.

Allen takes a look at the Bush fundraising juggernaut, which could swell even stronger if Dean wins the nomination, as Republicans rally to raise money to defeat a "Bush-hating ultra-liberal challenger," as one senior campaign adviser put it.

"When Bush passes the $100 million mark, possibly Thursday, he will eclipse the amount he spent in 2000 and break the record for political fundraising." LINK

President Bush was in South Carolina yesterday for policy and fundraising events. The president sat down with workers at a BMW factory in Greer to discuss the economy, jobs and free trade (without mentioning the WTO's ruling on steel tariffs yesterday).

The Los Angeles Times' Ed Chen reports that the president's tone "suggested a growing White House confidence that the economy is on a sustained road to recovery."

"Bush's comments marked a shift in both emphasis and tone over the last few days — from reticence Friday in response to improving economic indicators to near-exuberance Monday in proclaiming that his agenda, most notably two across-the-board tax cuts, have set the nation on the road to recovery. LINK

President Bush also scheduled time for campaign fundraising, bringing in $500,000 at a lunch event in Little Rock, Arkansas, and $1.6 million later in Greenville, South Carolina. The South Carolina State reported that the $2,000-per-person event there yesterday was the largest single-event political fund-raiser in the state's history and brought in twice the amount that the president raised in the Palmetto state for the entire 2000 election. LINK

After yesterday's fundraisers in Delaware and Maine, the First Lady has brought in more than $5 million this year for the Bush-Cheney camp, with more to come. LINK

Vice President Cheney was hustled into a secure location yesterday, after a plane flew into restricted airspace around Washington, the New York Times ' Stevenson reports. LINK

And President Bush got a laugh yesterday at the BMW plant when the subject turned to beer keg manufacturing and the effect that the president's sobriety had on the market. LINK

The New York Times on the keg exchange: LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Exporting democracy and free markets gets tough in a budget crunch. The Wall Street Journal 's David Rogers looks at the effects of the budget battle on the Millennium Challenge Account, a Bush project to reward U.S. aid to poor countries that move toward democracy from one-party governments. The ripples go beyond the foreign policy project to veterans' medical care, aid to public schools and voting improvements — not to mention the larger spending bills that aren't being passed.

Republicans are reaching out to the AARP, a typically Democratic-leaning group, to help pass a prescription drug bill by Nov. 21, the AP Notes. LINK

Almost 30 Republicans in the House are threatening to vote against the remnants of the Bush faith-based initiative if it contains an environmental group tax break, the Washington Times reports. LINK

ABC News Vote 2003: On to Louisiana:

According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, African-American turnout will be a key factor in the Louisiana gubernatorial runoff on Saturday. LINK

Jindal and Blanco toned down their accusations of negative attacks, but continued to throw accusations at one another in last night's debate, writes the Times -Picayune. LINK

The Times -Picayune reports that Blanco contradicted herself in a memo to the Louisiana League for equality when she said she supported allowing gay couples to adopt, a measure she had opposed in a questionnaire from the Louisiana Family Forum. Blanco blamed the switch on staffers.LINK

ABC News Vote 2003: Mississippi and Kentucky:

Check out the exit poll data from the AP for analysis of why the Republicans took Mississippi and Kentucky.LINK


The Boston Globe 's Michael Paulson reports, "Frustrated that so many Catholic politicians support abortion rights, the bishops of the United States said yesterday that they will begin evaluating whether they can impose sanctions against elected officials who vote contrary to church teachings." LINK

The Washington Times ' Martin Gross looks at what he sees causing the polarization of voters.LINK

The New York Times reports on the California GOP's struggle to find a candidate ready to take on Senator Barbara Boxer, Noting the good will the California Senator's "restraint" during the Gray Davis recall campaign won her from Team Schwarzenegger. LINK

Cindy Adams has the dish on a new Schwarzenegger bio in the works. LINK

Playing judicial politics: Senator Harry Reid spoke for eight and a half hours yesterday in protest of the 30 hours scheduled to discuss judgeship nominations. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The former President made headlines in Beijing on Monday, calling the cost of AIDS drugs an international scandal. LINK

* Since no Kerry campaign source would tell us the name that the Senator allegedly mispronounced, we are picking on Gibbs because (a) he can take it; (b) we like to.