The Note

ABC's Brian Hartman reports Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Peter Pace said Wednesday Pentagon brass did not adequately plan for the Post -war phase in Iraq because: "We did not want to have planning for the Post war make war inevitable." He said post-war planning started in January, when it became apparent the US was "more likely going to war than not."

You're (in)tel-ing us! The New York Times says the congressional dust-up surrounding the leaked memo from the Senate Intel Committee's Democrats underscores "the considerable extent to which Democrats and Republicans now believe that the question of who is to blame for the failure to verify those original assertions will carry enormous political consequences." LINK

The Hill Notes some Democratic nice-making, writing that over the course of less than 24 hours, what Democrats had viewed as an effective line of criticism against the administration became dramatically blunted and their air of indignation had turned to one of conciliation." LINK

Meanwhile, Zell Miller calls the memo "the first cousin of treason" and says "heads ought to roll." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: In another bout of fantasy on the left … ..a story that is quietly gurgling below the radar.

A Los Angeles Times op-ed looks at whether keeping Cheney on the ticket will be a political liability for President Bush in 2004:

"Another problem is Cheney's failed stewardship of the administration's domestic agenda in Congress … If Cheney, who was elected six times to Congress, can't hold together a GOP Congress for a Republican president, perhaps Bush needs to tap someone else for the job."LINK

The New York Times ' Maureen Dowd sets her sights on President Bush's public handling of casualties in Iraq (and throws in a little Mike Allen reporting): LINK

Vice President Cheney will be in Denver today for a fund-raiser for Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell that is expected to raise $500,000. LINK

The AP's Tom Raum weighs in on the political consequences of the partial-birth abortion ban for Bush. LINK

President Bush will head to North Carolina on Friday for a BC04 fundraiser, but before he arrives, the White House moved to soothe textile makers in the state who are angry about job losses in their industry. LINK

The economy: ABC News' Ramona Schindelheim reports that productivity jumped to 6.8% in the 2nd quarter, indicating that employers are accomplishing more with fewer workers. It's the best showing since the 1st quarter of 2002. Businesses' output increased by 8.8%, which is the fastest rate of growth since the 4th quarter of 1992. And while employees worked more hours, hourly wages grew by 3.1%.

More Schindelheim: "Initial jobless claims fell sharply last week, to 348,000, down 43,000 from the previous week. Claims for the week ending October 25 were revised up by 5,000. Continuing claims continue to trend down as well, falling to 3.51 million, the lowest total since March. The four-week moving average fell to 380,000, its lowest level since the beginning of 2001."

Expect this to be cited when economists and politicians talk about economic recovery: service sector employment is growing, report the Wall Street Journal 's Jon Hilsenrath and Michael Derby. The non-manufacturing index, which includes health care, retail and banks, rose 1.4 points in October to 64.7. Service jobs make up more than 80% of the job market, Hilsenrath and Derby Note.

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