The Note

Local coverage of the president's visit from the Honolulu Advertiser: LINK

While in Hawaii, President Bush visited Pearl Harbor and placed a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial, a symbolic gesture after his trip to Asia to address the global war on terrorism.

"'It's obviously an interesting parallel,' said White House communications director Dan Bartlett. 'The president sees it as an opportunity to pay tribute to those who fought for us to prevail then and to continue to emphasize the fact that we need to pursue the war on terror now.'"LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Reynolds reports:

"Bush heads home to Washington with a string of what the White House considers diplomatic successes: a compromise proposal for North Korea, military and financial contributions for Iraq from Japan and Singapore and a new emphasis on security issues by APEC, a group designed primarily to address trade." LINK

Note to the Bush-Cheney team: President Bush might need to work on his name recognition in Hawaii.

After touring Pearl Harbor, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush visited Pearl Harbor Elementary School to read to a class of second graders.

"As the Bushes entered, the students were asked if they knew who their visitors were.

'George Washington,' one shouted. Bush laughed. 'You got the first name right,' he said."LINK

In his second veto threat of the week, the president said he'd just say no to legislation easing the Cuba travel ban, placing the president and Republican Congressional leaders "on a collision course" as "a growing number of lawmakers from both parties demanding an overhaul of the American sanctions against Havana." LINK

Nobody would be surprised to hear that the Bush-Cheney campaign sees Cuban-Americans as a critical voting bloc in Florida, but the New York Times ' Marquis reports that "the vote also highlighted a widening split between two important Republican constituencies: farm-state Republicans, who oppose trade sanctions in general or are eager to increase sales to Cuba, and Cuban-American leaders, who want to curb travel and trade to punish Mr. Castro."

USA Today 's Judy Keen reports that BC04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman was meeting on Thursday with Governor-elect Schwarzenegger's political strategists to see how the Republican Party can build on the excitement of Arnold's win and turn it into 55 electoral votes.

"Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in California, 43.7% to 35.3%, but Matthew Dowd, senior strategist for Bush's campaign, says the recall data suggest a shift to the GOP.

'A window of opportunity opened up that didn't exist before,' he says. 'Time will tell whether it will sustain itself.'" LINK

Bush Administration strategy/personality:

Ari Fleischer didn't do as well as Karen Hughes, but a $500,000 advance from William Morrow should allow for a quite a lot of white wine swilling. LINK

The economy: A Wall Street Journal Online news roundup reports that first-time jobless claims fell by 4,000 last week — their lowest in a month. Such claims have been under 400,000 for the past three weeks. The national unemployment rate remains 6.1%.

California's new governor: Arnold pledged "action, action, action" as he visited Sacramento and met with Gray Davis. He also applauded Davis for doing everything he could to make the transition smooth. LINK

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