The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:00 am: Senator Joe Lieberman addresses the National Latino Police Officers Association, D.C. —9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —10:00 am: House convenes for a pro forma session —10:30 am: General Wesley Clark visits a learning center, Salem, N.H. —11:00 am: Senator John Edwards attends SEIU Local 199's "Dignity Congress," Miami —12:35 pm: Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser, New York City —1:00 pm: Senator John Kerry holds an economic event, Seacoast, N.H. —2:00 pm: Congressman Dick Gephardt attends the UAW CAP conference, Des Moines —2:00 pm: Congressman Dennis Kucinich holds a press conference, Portsmouth, N.H. —3:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich visits a retirement center, Exeter, N.H. —3:30 pm: Congressman Gephardt participates in a roundtable discussion on health care and tax cuts, Des Moines —3:35 pm: Governor Howard Dean appears on the Mitch Albom radio show —3:45 pm: Congressman Kucinich meets with students at a teen center, Exeter, N.H. —4:30 pm: Congressman Kucinich meets with student activists, Exeter, N.H. —5:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich attends a campaign office opening, Portsmouth, N.H. —6:00 pm: Congressman Gephardt meets with Madison County Democrats, Winterset, Iowa —6:30 pm: Vice President and Mrs. Cheney attend a private Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser, Ellis Island, N.Y. —7:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich attends a public forum, Exeter, N.H. —8:00 pm: Congressman Gephardt meets with Adair County Democrats, Greenfield, Iowa


Another day, another Note, and another humble and microscopic attempt to gently recalibrate The Filter to make sure that everyone feels they are being treated fairly.

Let's see: the Republicans are more than likely to nominate George W. Bush as their standard bearer next summer, and the Washington press corps daily covers both his campaign and his government with intense intensity and relentless relentlessness.

"Get off the president's back!" is about the nicest thing a certain class of POTUS supporters say in e-mails to The Note, seeing in our work, they say, the same harsh negativity and anti-Republicanism that they believe infuses the entire dominant media.

There are too many stories even to list today that would have been bombshells for an Administration that was once-upon-a-time focused on secrecy, discipline, collegiality, and success.

The New York Times suggests Republicans on the Hill and at the White House are down on Rummy (you must-read that); on the front, the Washington Post suggests George Tenet's pre-war intelligence was not so good; inside, the Post 's Pincus does his Sy Hersh imitation and says the NIE was "hurriedly pulled together"; we could go on.

The upside for the Democrats who (for some reason) want the president's job (and the scrutiny that comes with it) is that the mistakes that they make (and those made by their campaigns) are given 1/800th of the attention by the media than that given the White House.

The crack RNC research/communications shop — well that is a different matter. They pay CLOSE attention to the other side.

And today's papers, on the Friday before the Sunday when the nine current Democratic presidential candidates gather in the Motor City to both debate and witness once again (as if more proof were needed) that Gwen Ifill is one of the finest political journalists America has ever produced, check out the confusion, infighting, disarray pervading the Grand Young Party:

-- The Los Angeles Times' Brownstein writes on the Democratic presidential candidates "whose a real Democrat?" intraparty battle. LINK

-- Advice to the DNC: never cross a Boston mayor. Those guys play for keeps.

The Boston Globe 's straight-from-central-casting Frank Phillips says that Mayor Menino and the DNC aren't totally in sync on the convention. We can't decide which we like more: the blind quotes or the on-the-record ones! LINK

-- The Nashua Telegraph 's wonderful Kevin Landrigan drops General Clark into New Hampshire's still-swirling Tyco Bermuda Triangle, with a front-page story that the Clark campaign will see as unfair, but the Granite echo chamber is already echoing. LINK

-- The General and the Bay State junior Senator both get to deal with their favorite topic — the Iraqi war resolution — big time today.

The New York Times ' Halbfinger writes on Kerry and the war and the Boston Globe 's Scott Lehigh does General Clark and the war — and they are only must-reads if you wish to keep daily tabs on which candidate can accumulate more pretzelian Iraq war positions by the night of the Iowa caucuses.

Halbfinger charitably doesn't mention Kerry's recent claim to have secret information about the UN and the war, and/but he makes two essential points (amidst his letting Kerry's tortured words hang out there): LINK

1. Kerry's fundamental position on the war (when he doesn't deviate from it) is actually historically and intellectually consistent (but also non-bumper-stickerable).

2. Howard Dean's position on both the resolution and the WMD were in fact not as clear and consistent and anti-war as Dean would like us all to believe, and the press has done a horrible job with that.

Lehigh gets an exclusive interview (two, actually) with Swetty General Hosswhisperer, and comes up with this: LINK

"Clark says he didn't know what was in the resolution because he wasn't paying close attention. But had he been in Congress, he would have been aware of the details, and, having known them, his preference for patient internationalism, plus his suspicion of the administration's motives, would have led him to oppose the resolution."

So as you get ready for the debate, remember that in all likelihood, one of the six top contenders will before too long be the second-most prominent/dominant figure in American politics, and will ascend accompanied by quite a bit of baggage that will suddenly take on a presidential air (and they won't like that at all).

Campaigns be forewarned!

While it's no "Hardball: Battle for the White House," there is a political discussion today at 4 pm at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government that's sure to make some noise.

The Shorenstein Center's Alex Jones will moderate the "Election 2004: The Pundits on Politics" panel made up of the New York Times Magazine's Matt Bai, New England Cable News' Allison King, USA Today 's Susan Page, and ABC News' Mark Halperin.

Things could get rough there, but in a educational and collegial kind of way.

President Bush returns to the White House today. We imagine he has a heap of expense reports to fill out after that trip. He heads to Camp David this afternoon.

The Democratic presidential candidates will get together on Sunday in Detroit for their fourth DNC-sanctioned debate.

This one is sponsored by Congressional Black Caucus Institute, who already sponsored a debate last month in Baltimore that wasn't DNC-approved. The venue is the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Motown.

The one and only Ms. Ifill will moderate the debate (broadcast exclusively on Fox News Channel) with Fox's Carl Cameron and Detroit Fox anchor Huel Perkins asking questions too. At last report, the format was still being discussed, but we hear it will be pretty straightforward.

Governor Dean calls in to the Mitch Albom radio show today. He campaigns in New Hampshire on Saturday and in Detroit on Sunday before the debate.

Senator Kerry is in New Hampshire today and tomorrow. He's in Detroit on Sunday.

General Clark is in Boston and New Hampshire today. He's in New Hampshire again tomorrow and in Detroit on Sunday.

Congressman Gephardt is in Iowa today and tomorrow. He campaigns in Detroit on Sunday before going to the debate.

Senator Lieberman is in D.C. today and tomorrow. He's in Detroit on Sunday.

Senator Edwards campaigns in Miami today. He's in South Carolina and Oklahoma on Saturday and in Detroit on Sunday for the debate.

Congressman Kucinich campaigns in New Hampshire today and tomorrow. He's in Detroit on Sunday for the debate.

Ambassador Moseley Braun has no public events today. She campaigns in Wisconsin and Illinois on Saturday and she'll be in Detroit on Sunday for the debate.

Reverend Sharpton has no public events today. He's in D.C. tomorrow and in Detroit on Sunday.

The politics of national security: It has not been Donald Rumsfeld's week for staying out of the news. As his State Department counterpart passes the plate in Spain and the National Security Adviser stands by the president in Asia, Rumsfeld stays stubbornly In the News.

From America's Paper to the Paper of Record, another DOD must-read.

The New York Times ' Jehl and Firestone report congressional Republicans are getting fed up with being ginned by Rummy's "high-handedness and lack of respect." LINK

Mark this sentence: "One senior Republican Congressional official said that he himself had concluded that Mr. Rumsfeld's approach was doing harm to the White House and that he had become "a millstone around the president's neck."

And this one: 'The worst thing that can happen in Washington is if you're a cabinet member, you think you're bigger than the president,'" says an unnamed Republican.

For his part, The Don goes on the offensive defending his memo to the Washington Times . Rumsfeld says he "intended to 'inject a sense of urgency' into top leadership" and that "a lack of cooperation among government agencies has made long-range strategic planning difficult." The Secretary also tells critics to quit their carping on post-war planning, "'There was a great deal of planning, and it was good planning,' he said, noting that a State Department official's assessment that planning was poor reflected a 'personal' complaint." LINK

The New York Times editorial board Notes Rumsfeld's newsmaking ways and concludes "President Bush should ponder his defense secretary's latest musings about the war on terrorism, but firmly resist any further expansion of Mr. Rumsfeld's budget or bureaucratic empire." LINK

As for North Korea, the Wall Street Journal 's Robbins reports on the politics of multiparty talks. "Some campaign-minded Bush officials are already talking about how diplomatic progress might play in next year's presidential race — if, as one puts it, 'we can say he set out to change all three [countries] of the axis of evil and he succeeded.'"

For his part, Bill Clinton calls the Rumsfeld memo a "'candid statement of the facts,'" reports the Washington Times . LINK

Intel re-tell: The Washington Post 's Dana Priest previews a "blistering" report on pre-war intel now being prepared by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. At stake as campaign season nears: "Who gets blamed for misleading the American public if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq — the president or his intelligence chief." LINK

(Our betting money will be placed on the latter.)

Remember that National Intelligence Estimate produced last fall? The Washington Post 's Pincus gets a "senior intelligence expert" to call it a 'cut-and-paste job, with agencies and officials given only one day to review the draft final product when they usually take months.'" LINK

Wilson: Writing on the leak investigation and its ongoing interviews, the New York Times reports "they were hopeful about identifying the person or people who disclosed the information to Mr. Novak. But they acknowledged the difficulty of finding a specific individual who could be prosecuted." LINK

The Washington Post reports "those who have submitted to voluntary interviews include Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser, and Scott McClellan, the chief White House spokesman" and Notes no grand jury subpoenas have yet been issued in the investigation. LINK

The FBI has interviewed dozens of Bush officials, including Karl Rove and Scott McClellan, in its pursuit for the source of the leak. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

The Washington Post 's Amy Goldstein writes about the letter sent by 41 Senators (including one Republican) to President Bush "imploring him to intervene so that the negotiators, working to combine House and Senate Medicare bills, do not produce a deal that Democrats say the Senate would reject." LINK

Senate Democrats have raised the ante on Medicare, the Wall Street Journal 's Sarah Lueck reports, by threatening to vote down a final bill that doesn't meet their standards. Republican Senator Olympia Snowe and Independent Jim Jeffords signed on to the letter to President Bush, urging "bipartisan effort" on Medicare and spelling out a role for him to lean on hard-liners.

Vicki Kemper of the Los Angeles Times writes congressional talks over a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients have "bogged down." LINK

" … it is the stalemate over the administration-supported proposal to have the invisible hand of the market — rather than the bureaucratic hand of government — determine prices and premiums that poses the greatest threat to a years-long effort to expand Medicare benefits."

As promised, congressional Democrats say Casey won't come to bat if the Medicare agreement includes a plan putting the traditional Medicare program in direct competition with private health plans. Billy Tauzin calls Democrats' concerns "not invalid." LINK

The New York Times ' Edmund Andrews on the House Republican push to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 32 percent. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: The Invisible Primary: Will the real Democratic candidate for president please stand up? Ron Brownstein dissects the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party and the candidates' (earlier than usual) exploitation of their opponents' questionable moments with regards to party loyalty. Note how Brownstein's story relies on the 1990s premise that the general election battle will rely on swing voters in the ideological center. Is there any way we can convince anyone that that premise may no longer be operative? LINK

USA Today 's Susan Page reports that some people think that nobody is watching the Democratic presidential debates. LINK

However, Page writes, "Watching closely: Republicans. Some of the attacks could be replayed next year against the eventual nominee, officials with ties to President Bush's re-election campaign say. They note with relish Gephardt's criticism of Dean and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's attack on Gephardt's proposal to repeal all of Bush's tax cuts."

USA Today has a short list of previous debate "zingers." LINK

The AP points out that there really might be nobody watching if the Yankees win Saturday night and the Democrats' jabbering is matched up against the seventh game of the World Series on Sunday night. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Sarah Schweitzer reports on the Florida straw poll flap. LINK

Opening up the straw poll genie once again, Howard Dean says he'll participate in the straw poll if his competitors do but he doesn't really like 'em — straw polls that is. LINK

The economy should not be the end-all of Democratic strategies, says the Raleigh News and Observer. LINK

Don't miss the first week of National Journal's Democratic Insider's Poll — a weekly handicap of the Democratic candidates' shot at the presidential nomination. This week's favorite: Governor Dean.

Dean: The New York Post 's Fred Dicker writes up the latest Marist poll numbers which has The Good Doctor in the (statistically insignificant) lead in the Empire State. LINK

From ABC News' Dean campaign reporter Marc Ambinder:

"The pushback by other campaigns characterizing the new Iowa and New Hampshire ads as direct attacks persuaded Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi to issue a statement explaining the ads' phrasing:"

"'We know the American people understand the difference between results and rhetoric, and when other candidates distort Governor Dean's record of results — as they have for months — we're going to set the record straight,' Trippi wrote."

"So the Dean oppo research team did a Nexus search to find newspaper headlines where the other candidates attacked Dean, and came up with more than 100 hits."

"'As you can see by the headlines below, the other campaigns made a strategic decision to attack Governor Dean after he surged ahead of them in the polls. Below are three pages of headlines on these attacks. Also, click on links to Governor Dean's ads below and see them for yourself,' Trippi wrote."

"A sampling: ('Kerry slams Dean,' Boston Globe , 9/1; 'Democratic White House Hopefuls Focus Attacks On Dean,' The Bulletin's Frontrunner, 9/2; 'Kerry launches campaign, takes aim at Bush, Dean,' Seattle Times, 9/3).

"On the endorsement front, the nod from Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, the Democratic caucus's youngest member, brought The Doctor's congressional endorsement total to an even 10 on Thursday."

"On the health front, The Governor and The General have a new thing in common: campaign trail colds. Dean is down today in Vermont, recovering a nasty cold that developed over the course of the past week and hit full force during three days of intense campaigning in Iowa."

"Dean is off Friday, but he'll call into the ABC Radio Network's "Mitch Albom" show tomorrow at 3:35 pm ET. Note that the show is based on Detroit (!).. and of course, Michigan is a key February state for the campaign's national delegate accumulation plan."

More Ambinder:

"Zephyr Teachout, an energetic wunderkind who is currently the campaign's director of Internet outreach and organizing, is wildly popular in the Dean blogosphere world. There's even a nascent movement to nominate her for vice president."

"In a new attempt to generate grassroots support, Teachout will travel to 20 states (more than 100 cities) in six weeks to chronicle the stories of what the campaign calls 'the greatest grassroots campaign presidential politics has ever seen.'"

"She'll ride aboard a converted 1978 Airstream bus with a full-time campaign videographer, who will record her blogging, canvassing, and signing up people to go to Iowa and New Hampshire to turn out voters on caucus and primary nights."

"Teachout will begin her tour on October 27 in Los Angeles and end it in mid-December in Philadelphia."

Clark: The Boston Globe 's Scot Lehigh writes that in a recent interview with General Clark he tried to get him to explain the inconsistencies on his position on Iraq. Instead, Clark's message (if possible) became more scrambled. At one point, the back-and-forth led Clark to make a phone call to Lehigh to clarify some more. LINK

General Clark's past may again trouble his present. While a managing director of the merchant banking group Stephens Inc., the investment banking company bought more than 50,000 shares of stock in Tyco International Inc. But Tyco moved its headquarters to Bermuda from Exeter, NH to avoid paying millions in federal taxes and this contradicts what Clark said he in his "Saving for America's Future" economic plan unveiled Wednesday. In the speech, he vowed to close the corporate tax loophole that allowed companies "to avoid taxes by shifting income to Bermuda." LINK

The New York Times ' Ms. Seelye on the whisper campaign now being waged by Wesley Clark. LINK

From ABC News' Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton:

"General Clark went on a listening tour Thursday in New Hampshire after a relapse of laryngitis rendered him barely audible on the campaign trail. It seemed to be all anybody could talk about: "Is The General taking medicine?" "How did he re-lose his voice?" "Is the campaign frustrated that the candidate cannot speak?"

"The answers to the above quiz: Clark is drinking lots of hot water with honey; he told a small group of reporters he lost his voice after speaking at a fundraiser Wednesday evening at the Sheraton hotel in New York City (but campaign staff on the road say that The General's voice was going out during interviews following his economic policy address); and as for frustrations, the traveling staff did not seem too bothered by The General's condition — they just reminded him to stop whispering."

"Clark attended the New Hampshire State Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Manchester last night. He was the only Democratic presidential candidate to attend, although Lieberman's son attended, as did Gephardt's daughter and supporters and regional staff for Dean and Lieberman."

"Sitting at a table next to The General was Dick Swett, sans wife, Katrina. Swett wore a Lieberman sticker (Katrina is an outspoken supporter of Lieberman) but told ABC News he respected General Clark and wished his friend well in the race. Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe and Governor Jeanne Shaheen both spoke."

Lieberman: The Washington Post 's Craig Timberg writes that while, Lieberman supports D.C. voting rights, he's still on the fence about the D.C. primary. LINK

From ABC News Lieberman campaign reporter Talesha Reynolds:

"Senator Lieberman hit Cada Vez, one of the hipper spots in the District, Thursday night to hold a reception-cum-rally in favor of D.C. voting rights. It's an issue that most Americans know little about, but one that Lieberman has championed as far back as 1979."

"Lieberman managed to weave D.C.'s lack of full representation in Congress into his standard stump speech, saying that all of America, including the District of Columbia, had been 'battered and bruised' since George W. Bush took office by virtue of the vote of five Supreme Court justices. The audience hissed and booed in agreement."

"Lieberman ran down the list of Bush's broken promises and told the audience of local leaders and residents, 'I want to be a president of the United states who finally ends this injustice!'"

"At one point during Lieberman's speech a man called out, 'We love you Joe!' And the Senator channeled Barry White, saying, "I love you back.'"

"Native Washingtonian Anise Jenkins, wearing a 'Free D.C.' baseball cap, said she was pleased Lieberman was not a latecomer to the D.C. voting rights issue. 'If someone has a long history, that makes a big difference.' But Ms. Jenkins said it was not enough to convince her to vote for Lieberman. 'My problem with Lieberman is the war,' she said. 'He's a bit too hawkish.'"

"When the speech was over, the DJ invited Senator Lieberman and all those present to sign up for karaoke. Senator Lieberman did not sign up."

Arizona Republic's Elvia Diaz reports that three Latino legislators have left Lieberman to endorse John Kerry. It's a blow to Lieberman in a state he wants to win. LINK

Joseph Straw of the Middletown Press says Lieberman's application for matching funds is no surprise. The real question is whether Dean or Kerry will opt out. Straw quotes Lieberman spokesman Adam Kovacevich saying, "If Howard Dean or John Kerry abandon the system, democracy will lose and the American people will lose." LINK

Dan Wasserman has a cartoon in the Boston Globe that the campaign might not like. LINK

Kerry: Senator Kerry is being forced to square his Iraq vote with his criticism of the administration's handling of the war, says the New York Times ' Halbfinger, who Notes Kerry needed 40 minutes to arrive "at a somewhat simple formulation" of his own view.

(We ask, what should we take from the Times ' graphic charting Kerry's Iraq position?)

A Kerry supporter sums up his candidate's challenge very well: "His biggest problem is Iraq — that he can't explain his position in two sentences," said Dan Caligari, a longtime New Hampshire campaign organizer who is backing Mr. Kerry. LINK

Knight Ridder's Steven Thomma reports that Senator Kerry's numbers are looking better in New Hampshire. "Aides and analysts credit three reasons: He rolled out an earlier-than-expected endorsement from former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, is spending far more time in the state and is sharpening his often obtuse speaking style." LINK

Former Ambassador Wilson endorsed Kerry yesterday. Here's the Boston Herald LINK; the New York Post LINK; and the Manchester Union-LeaderLINK.

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Eva Price:

"I'm halfway between puberty and paralysis, so I do what I do?" Words to live by? Yes! And also a direct quote from 'Red Henton', the minstrel who welcomed Maquoketah's (Iowa) Kerry supporters to the belated birthday party of Iowa State Senator Roger Stewart on Thursday.

A boisterous crowd gathered for the second time this month to honor both State and U.S. Senator; the latter had to cancel the original party 10 days ago in order to vote on the $87 billion package for Iraq. Stewart is one of more than a dozen and half state legislators backing Kerry in January's Caucus, say campaign officials."

"But the crowd would have waited 100 days if it meant being near John Kerry for an hour, it seemed. In what campaign officials are calling a politically significant night, three other State Senators were on hand sounding the beat to a new drum of personal and political support that the Boston Brahmin is finally getting throughout the Hawkeye state."

"Clearly feeling comfortable in an atmosphere full of admiration, Senator Kerry confidently shouted to the crowd, 'Roger Stewart and his wife have a wonderful marriage … They're both in love with the same man!'"

"And to the tune of a '50s commercial jingle, Mr. Red Henton melodically ended the night … In Montana, Illinois or up in Maine … doo doo doo … We're gonna sum it up … doo doo doo … or from any state you name … doo dooh … Pennsylvania or New Hampshire or from Frisco's Golden Gates … doo dooh … , Your average studs or dames … .he's gonna treat us all the same. Dooh..Dooh..he'll be a voice for us all right away, he'll be there for all of us … .. right … a … way … doo doo dooh!! "

"The Kerry confidence quotient in Iowa seems to be rising. The Senator hit Dubuque, Iowa late at night for a private RON at the Dubuque Inn. And to the complete surprise of the Kerry Campaign, 50 activists and precinct workers greeted the tired Senator. Press Secretary David Wade said "it was very emotional. It fired up a tired candidate at the end of a long, long day."

A recent internal poll by the Mellman Group shows Kerry tied with Gephardt in Iowa at 21% and Dean just ahead of them both at 24%, with a 4% margin of error. LINK

Edwards: Although there is a discrepancy over the exact figures, it is clear that Edwards is the top spender thus far in both Iowa and New Hampshire. LINK

Edwards spotlighted his 10-year, $3.5 billion plan to improve the nation's nursing home and senior long-term care systems while campaigning in Des Moines. LINK

The Des Moines Register 's Tom Beaumont watched Edwards' health care stumping in Iowa. LINK

Gephardt: From ABC News' Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins:

"Congressman Gephardt picked up another union endorsement Thursday, getting the nod from the New Mexico Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO, a local building trades union. This makes three early-state building trades under his tool belt; Missouri and New Hampshire building trade unions endorsed earlier this year."

"ABC News also has a sneak peek at another Gephardt endorsement to be announced later today. The International Longshoreman's Association AFL-CIO, is set to be Gephardt's 20th international union endorsement today. According to its Web site, the ILA is the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 65,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada."

Kucinich: The AP compares Kucinich to a preacher in their write-up of his rolled-up-shirtsleeves approach to the SEIU: LINK

From ABC News' Kucinich campaign reporter Melinda Arons:

"In his first time actively campaigning in Florida, Congressman Kucinich spoke to the Service Employees International Union about some of his, and his audience's, favorite issues: corporate greed, immigration and health care. He wasted no time in bashing Wal-Mart for its run-in with the law while speaking about immigrants' rights, saying, 'Rather than rounding up 300 sub-contracted cleaning workers, we oughtta round up 300 of Wal-Mart's executives and put THEM in jail!'"

"Actor Danny Glover, active in the Immigrant Workers' Freedom Ride effort, was also on hand. Although he didn't know Kucinich would be speaking, when asked by ABC News if he would consider endorsing Kucinich he said, 'Yes, I would. I've always though Kucinich represents the voice within the Democratic party which speaks for workers … it was refreshing to see him here.' Is a formal endorsement in the works? Glover said he hadn't endorsed anyone else yet but hadn't heard them all speak yet."

"Despite a 5:30 am departure time Friday, the baseball nut Congressman scored last-minute World Series tickets for himself and deputy campaign manager (and constant companion) Paul Costanzo, an opportunity he felt was not to be passed up no matter how early the wake-up call. Arriving as the sixth inning started, Kucinich started to tell his staff who he was rooting for when he stopped himself and said, 'Is Melinda in the car?' Realizing I was indeed and ever the politician, he would only say this: 'I have friends who are Yankees fans, I have friends who are Marlins fans, and I agree with my friends.'"

Students applaud Kucinich's liberal views and anti-war stance in New Hampshire, reports Ed Pilolla of the Monitor. LINK

The Harvard Crimson's Daniel Hemel reports that Kucinich has chosen to freakin' boycott "Hardball." LINK

According to a campaign press release, Kucinich campaign lawyer "Donald J. McTigue has sent a letter to all of the television stations broadcasting in New Hampshire asking that they 'not air or immediately cease and desist from airing' an advertisement produced by [the Dean] campaign, and requesting that they 'provide Kucinich for President, Inc. air time equivalent to the time in which you have already aired the advertisement free of charge so that Congressman Kucinich may have an opportunity to correct the falsehoods contained in the advertisement.'" Here's the full release: LINK

Sharpton: From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

"A Gallup poll of African-American voters conducted for the National Newspapers Publishers Association shows Reverent Sharpton at 22%, 9 points ahead of runner-up General Wesley Clark. According to Rachel Noerdlinger, Sharpton's press aide, the campaign is pleasantly surprised by the fact that Gallup did a poll of African-American voters, as Sharpton often argues that nobody ever polls African-Americans."

Moseley Braun: From ABC News' Moseley Braun campaign reporter Monica Ackerman:

"Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun gave the keynote speech at an award ceremony hosted by the Harris County (Texas) Women's Political Caucus which is affiliated with the National Woman's Political Caucus. Her NOW and NWPC endorsements in September have yet to show much of a financial reward for Moseley Braun's campaign."

"Braun spoke to about two dozen people of the 'sticky floor' which she describes as women who are trapped because of their gender. In terms of gender issues abroad, she said women in Afghanistan will be helped when women in our country are helped because 'we can become advocates for them.' She Noted,'that was not a stump speech … I reckon that this was not the setting, I wanted to speak in more general terms.'"

Democratic National Convention: The Boston Globe 's Frank Phillips reports that Boston Mayor Tom Menino and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson seem to have calmed some tensions between the city's host committee and the national committee. LINK

Phillips writes, "While it's not unusual for convention organizers to differ with their hosts, the problems in Boston stem from Menino's close hold on many details and decisions in the planning, party sources said."

Iowa: The battle continues.

Writing in a not-so-quaint paper, the Des Moines Register 's former editorial page editor Gilbert Cranberg says candidates won't miss much by skipping the Hawkeye State. LINK

The Des Moines Register 's John Carlson tells those New York Times writers where they can take their "quaint" opinions. LINK

Michigan: With Michigan poised to play a pivotal role in deciding the Democratic nominee, there is a special urgency for the candidates to debate well there, reports the Detroit News. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: President Bush was in Honolulu yesterday for a Bush-Cheney fund-raiser that brought in more than $600,000. Campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said 600 people attended the evening event, where the president addressed the war on terror and other policy issues that will be critical in the election year, like education, energy and health care.

The president reiterated his message that the campaign has not yet started for the Bush-Cheney team: "The political season will come in its own time. I've got a job to do. And there's a lot on the agenda in Washington." LINK

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

The Los Angeles Times' Gold, Halper, and Vogel write the joint appearance between the Governor and the Governor-elect was somewhat awkward. The trio also writes up the dire budget news Schwarzenegger received in a briefing by Phil Angelides. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Martin asks if Governor Schwarzenegger will take the sexual harassment prevention training class required for state employees and members of the legislature. LINK

Gray Davis has been busy appointing many of his aides to "lucrative slots on state boards and commissions." LINK

All the California papers seem to be reporting that the Schwarzenegger inauguration will take place on November 17. Note to California constitutional experts: If the election results are certified (and thereby Gray Davis no longer officially serving as Governor) on Saturday November 15, who will be Governor between certification and inauguration?

Politics: The Republican Party may be a big tent and all, but it's apparently not a big enough tent to house big city mayors who urge wealthy contributors to withhold donations from some Congressional Republicans. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes reports speculation over whether former Vice President Gore will endorse one of the Gang of Nine for the Democratic presidential nomination. Dean, Calmes reports, is least likely to get Gore's support.

Congress increases its paycheck for the fifth consecutive time. LINK

Conservative Barbie?: The Washington Post checks out the new Ann Coulter doll, which comes complete with blonde hair, mini-skirt and 14 Coulter-esqe quips. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua: The Associated Press reports on former President Clinton's Thursday press conference to announce the AIDS drugs agreement brokered by his foundation. LINK