Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):
—9:00 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —9:20 am: Vice President Cheney meets with Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, White House —10:00 am: House convenes for legislative business —10:00 am: Governor-elect Schwarzenegger meets with Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, D.C. —12:00 pm: General Wesley Clark holds a book signing, D.C. —12:00 pm: Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun speaks at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio —12:05 pm: President Bush makes remarks at a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser luncheon , Columbus, Ohio —2:15 pm: President Bush makes remarks on energy at Central Aluminum, Columbus, Ohio —5:00 pm: Reverend Al Sharpton attends a UNITE rally, White Plains, N.Y. —5:30 pm: Senator John Kerry goes on a downtown walk, Portsmouth, N.H. —5:45 pm: Governor Howard Dean holds a town hall meeting, Seattle —7:00 pm: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld addresses Empower America's 10th Anniversary Dinner, D.C. —7:00 pm: Reverend Sharpton attends the Connecticut NAACP convention, New Haven, Conn. —7:50 pm: Senator Joe Lieberman makes remarks at the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo's annual meeting, Getzville, N.Y. —7:55 pm: President Bush makes remarks at a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser reception, San Antonio —9:00 pm: Governor Dean keynotes the Ada County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Boise, Idaho
Sure, we can wait to see how the markets react (Greenspan, though, baked that into the cake); for POTUS Buckeye remarks; craftily spun Democratic statements; and, most of all, for next month's readjusted figure.
But whether you write it "seven-point-two" or "7.2," the immediate impact is, well, immediate.
It's not just the economic numbers, it's boy oh boy look at the economic numbers.
ABC News' Ramona Schindelheim reports that this morning's economic growth number — 7.2% in the third quarter, was the best showing for the Gross Domestic Product since the first quarter of 1984 and was above most estimates. The GDP got a three-pronged boost: spending by consumers, businesses and the government.
Schindelheim: Armed with child tax credit checks and a bit more money in their paychecks, consumers spent with abandon. Consumer spending grew at a 6.6% pace in July, August and September. (One economist estimated last week that consumers spent about two-thirds of the child tax credit checks and saved the rest.)
Business spending — largely in the form of computers and electronics — rose by 11.1%, the best increase since the start of 2000. Businesses actually spent less on structures.
Government spending rose as well. The shrinking U.S. trade deficit helped improve the GDP, as did lower inventories.
For the next three months leading up to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, and the State of the Union, and seasonal shopping, and Sunday talk show after Sunday talk show, the notion that "the Bush presidency=a failed economy" ain't going to be the dominant storyline.
Sure, there are a lot of "buts" (jobs, income distribution, what fueled the growth, etc.), but, to quote economist James Carville's favorite expression "if 'ifs and buts' were beers and nuts, we'd have a heck of a party."
And The Note, as you know, almost always covers what "is," as opposed to "what ought to be," and what is is that this is a H-U-G-E political development.