The Note

In a cosmic blow to the four nominatable candidates still competing flat-out in the caucuses (Gephardt, Dean, Kerry, and Edwards), Nagourney (a leader to be sure in 25S) has the temerity to write:

" … the absence of General Clark and Mr. Lieberman could plant an asterisk alongside the results of the caucuses on Jan. 19. Even Iowa Democratic leaders, eager to maximize their quadrennial exercise of influence, say it could diminish the state's role in choosing the a nominee."

The Lieberman and Clark decisions have great implications for determining the identity of the Democratic nominee for president — but nobody can tell you for sure what those implications will be.

While this development is on many levels inside baseball, much of the early jockeying for positioning — even after the voting starts early next year — has a hefty inside baseball component.

Today, as on more days than not between now and January, 2004, if you are looking for people who want to work in the White House starting in January of 2005, check in Iowa and New Hampshire — where today you will find Cheney, Kerry, Dean, and Edwards.

Will the Two Skippers get to be in the Iowa debates? Will New Hampshire voters reward or punish them for dissing their first-in-the-nation sister state? What does this do for the relative expectations of the remaining candidates?

For Lieberman, this decision allows him to stop wasting resources in a place out of which he couldn't get any bounce, whether he finished fourth (unlikely), fifth, or sixth (or, truth be known, seventh).

For Clark, assuming he pulls this off, he avoids showing the feet of clay that would be deadly to his I'm-a-winner-premised candidacy.

See below for more on all this in our "Lieberman and Clark Can Now Oppose Ethanol" section.

The other big story with the president away is the sixth (or so) wave of "Howard Dean is going to be the nominee and what does it all mean?" stories.

See the Dean section below for all that.

President Bush attends the APEC meeting today in Bangkok as he continues his Asian tour.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at a fundraiser for Congressman Jim Leach tonight in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Governor Dean campaigns in Iowa today through Wednesday.

Senator Kerry is in New Hampshire today and tomorrow. He heads back to D.C. on Tuesday night for the Building and Trades dinner. He's in Iowa Wednesday and Thursday and back in New Hampshire on Friday.

General Clark has no public events scheduled for today. He is scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire Tuesday through Thursday, including another "New American Patriotism" speech at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester on Tuesday.

Congressman Gephardt is in D.C. today with no public events.

Senator Lieberman campaigns in Delaware today.

Senator Edwards campaigns in New Hampshire today. He's in Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday, Florida on Friday, and South Carolina and Oklahoma on Saturday.

Congressman Kucinich has no public events scheduled for today. He campaigns in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Florida on Thursday, New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, and Michigan on Sunday.

Reverend Sharpton is in New York City with no public events scheduled for today.

Ambassador Moseley Braun has no public events scheduled for today. She keynotes the Harris County Women's Political Caucus meeting in Houston on Thursday, campaigns in Wisconsin and Illinois on Saturday, and campaigns some more in Michigan and New Hampshire on Sunday.

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