The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—8:00 am: Congressman Dick Gephardt has breakfast with Boone County Democrats, Boone, Iowa —8:15 am: Senator Joe Lieberman holds a town hall forum with workers at BAE Systems, Nashua, N.H. —8:30 am: Senator John Edwards has breakfast with Goffstown voters, Goffstown, N.H. —9:00 am: General Wesley Clark appears on New Hampshire Public Radio's "The Exchange," Concord, N.H. —9:10 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan —9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —10:00 am: House convenes for legislative business —10:40 am: President Bush meets with the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, White House —11:00 am: NARAL President Kate Michelman holds a news conference to speak against the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, D.C. —11:30 am: Senator Edwards delivers a speech at New Hampshire Technical Institute, Concord, N.H. —12:00 pm: Reverend Al Sharpton files to participate in the D.C. Democratic primary, D.C. —12:00 pm: Governor Howard Dean announces his campaign's decision to let supporters decide whether to accept public financing in a speech at Cooper Union, New York City —12:45 pm: On-camera White House press briefing with Scott McClellan —1:00 pm: Senator John McCain speaks to the Council on Foreign Relations about Iraq and Afghanistan, D.C. —1:00 pm: Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun attends a town hall forum at New England College, Henniker, N.H. —1:15 pm: NOW holds a protest against the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, D.C. —1:40 pm: President Bush makes remarks and signs the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, D.C. —2:00 pm: General Clark announces his New Hampshire campaign team, Concord, N.H. —3:15 pm: Senator Edwards holds a workplace town hall meeting at Graphic Data Technology, Lebanon, N.H. —5:45 pm: Governor Dean attends a MeetUp.com event at the Merrimack Restaurant, Manchester, N.H. —7:00 pm: Planned Parenthood presidential candidates forum, Manchester, N.H.

NEWS SUMMARY

Political journalism — as Jill Zuckman, Vaughn Ververs, and Matea Gold could all tell you — is basically at its root about making choices.

And the first, most basic choice each news cycle is: what is the lead?

After that, the second choice invariably is: how should we play the lead?

One by one, with the precision of a John Boehner press conference, Googling monkeys marched into our bullpen office this morning, each cluster (or do Googling monkeys come in coveys? … ) making its case for what the political lead of the day is, and how to play it.

Among those offered up:

-- the national implications of Tuesday's election results (As one Twister-playing Googling monkey said, "Red states — red; blue states — blue.")

-- whether Howard Dean's Confederate flag problem will fester, linger, metastasize, or fade (We don't know the answer, by the way … .)

-- whether it is possible to make real viewers/listeners/readers care about Howard Dean's changed position on accepting public financing and the implications for the race if he decides to Busta Caps

-- a superficial, meta-gimmicky "winners and losers and mixed" list from the news cycle just ending that would include:

winners: President Bush's political potency; Haley Barbour; Ernie Fletcher; John Street; Jim McGreevey; John Edwards; and Al Sharpton

losers: Hong Kong Harbor's political potency; Howard Dean; and Mayor Bloomberg

mixed: the Stevens Schriefer Group; the Glover Park Group; and the Lehane family group

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