The Note

Newsday picks up on former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian's Monday letter to Howard Dean asking him to stop using the flag "as a measure of discerning independent voters in the South." and Dean's answer that he wants "people with Confederate flags on their trucks to put down those flags and vote Democratic, because the need for quality health care, jobs and good education knows no racial boundaries." LINK

Slate's Saletan says sure, Dean's explanation of his Confederacy flag line was "cruddy," but the other candidates are being dishonest in hammering Dean for wanting the votes "of these people despite their fondness for the Confederate flag, not because of it." LINK

Dean criticized Florida's Shiavo decision as he visited the Sunshine State.LINK

Although Dean blog comments on the debate were largely positive (one said Dean won "hands down"), some bloggers took the attacks on the flag flap pretty hard. A few initial comments from Rock the Vote Debate on CNN @ 7pm right as the attacks began at 7:07 p.m.:

"pray people"

"OUCH Gov. Dean, that was the worst thing I have ever heard you say. After MONTHS of support and hard work, how could you let me down!"

"Go governor, don't take any GUFF."

"My tummy is turning … this is not going well. I seriously hope that we can recover from this."

"this is another CNN hatchet job on Dean"

"you guys I am crying here"

"I am getting ill."

"GOV. DEAN!! What are you doing!!! I cannot believe this!"

In the I-feel-your-pain department, Edwards has touted his youth as the son of a mill worker, Kerry has stressed his service in Vietnam, and Moseley Braun has focused on her experience as both a woman and a minority. But until recently, Dean has mainly focused on issues and touted his success fundraising with the common man rather than being one.

Consider then Dean's upcoming article in December's Vanity Fair as his treatise on feeling the pain of the poor. Reaching back as far as his childhood, which he hints at being privileged, Dean makes his case for universal health care and social safety nets.

The article follows Dean in an autobiographical manner as he grows up "literally within blocks of" poor families, to go on to internships at Bronx hospitals handling the underprivileged, to his tenure as a physician in Vermont. Keep an eye on this, the Dean as doctor image could start popping up more.

From ABC News' Dean campaign reporter Marc Ambinder:

The small and obvious question for the campaign now: Does the tongue-lashing over the Confederate flag flap survive the news cycle, creep into press stories about the financing decision, put a little pressure on the SEIU to postpone an endorsement?

The big and obvious question: Has this and will it dampen the enthusiasm of Dean's Internet supporters?

Here is what Dean will say today during a speech at New York City's Cooper Union:

"We have two choices. The first will be for us to decline federal matching funds. It will mean walking away from 19 million dollars. This will place the burden of funding the campaign entirely on our supporters, but with the knowledge that this may be the only way to win this election and reform our political system."

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