The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:30 am: Senator John Kerry meets with the editorial board of the Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.

—9:40 am: Senator Joe Lieberman tours a daycare center and holds a roundtable discussion and press availability, Wilmington, Del.

—10:00 am: Senator John Edwards attends the Every Child Matters/WMUR presidential forum at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.

—11:30 am: Governor Howard Dean holds a town hall meeting to discuss his economic policy, Sioux City, Iowa

—12:00 pm: Senator Lieberman makes remarks and holds a press availability at the Modern Maturity Center, Dover, Del.

—12:30 pm: Senator Edwards holds a workplace town hall meeting at AmberWave, Salem, N.H.

—12:30 pm: House convenes for morning business

—1:00 pm: Senator Kerry attends the Every Child Matters/WMUR presidential forum at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.

—1:15 pm: Governor Dean meets with Plymouth County Democrats, Le Mars, Iowa

—1:30 pm: Senate convenes for morning business

—2:30 pm: Senator Kerry delivers an environmental speech at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.

—2:45 pm: Governor Dean meets with Sioux County Democrats, Orange City, Iowa

—4:15 pm: Governor Dean meets with Lyon County Democrats, Rock Rapids, Iowa

—5:30 pm: Senator Kerry meets with students at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

—5:45 pm: Governor Dean meets with Osceola County Democrats, Sibley, Iowa

—7:00 pm: Senator Kerry appears on "Hardball: Battle for the White House" at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Mass.

—7:15 pm: Governor Dean meets with O'Brien County Democrats, Sheldon, Iowa

—7:20 pm: Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at a fundraiser for Congressman Jim Leach, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

—9:15 pm: Governor Dean meets with Emmet County Democrats, Estherville, Iowa

NEWS SUMMARY

Why is it that the same journalists who quadrennially force every presidential candidate to spend a comically disproportionate amount of their resources in Iowa and New Hampshire get to decide in what instances candidates get a pass to skip Iowa?

Adam Nagourney's employer — the New York Times — was nice enough to post his historic story on the paper's Web site early enough Sunday night that there was time for other organizations to do some matching, but the (Jerry) Gray Lady's version is the one that will go into the history books. LINK

The lead: "Two prominent Democratic presidential candidates, Gen. Wesley K. Clark and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, have decided to bypass Iowa's presidential caucuses, angering some party leaders there and signaling what could be a very different nomination battle next year."

After that comes a cascading tumble of prose and quotes that insiders are re-reading and lapping up as they have few stories this presidential cycle.

The subset of the Gang of 500 that sets expectations for Iowa and New Hampshire — determining on a daily and weekly basis all the way up through caucus and primary days what constitutes a "win" for those competing — is likely to follow the Times zeitgeist and let Clark (certainly) and Lieberman (probably) have a McCainial pass out of competing in Iowa.

Henceforth, can we all agree to refer to this subset as "the 25 expectation setters," shortened to, as pronounced, "the 25S"?

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