Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):
—8:00 am: Senator Joe Lieberman makes remarks at a breakfast sponsored by the Voter Education Project, Columbia, S.C. —9:00 am: Congressman Dennis Kucinich officially announces his presidential candidacy, St. Louis —9:30 am: Senator Lieberman holds a roundtable discussion with single mothers, Columbia, S.C. —9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —10:30 am: Senator John Kerry makes remarks on senior issues, Mason City, Iowa —11:45 am: Governor Howard Dean meets with Van Buren County Democrats, Keosauqua, Iowa —12:15 pm: Congressman Kucinich speaks at the Willkie House, Des Moines —1:00 pm: Senator Lieberman meets with customers at Hyman's Seafood Company, Charleston, S.C. —1:50 pm: President Bush participates in a roundtable discussion on the economy and housing at Ruiz Foods, Dinuba, Calif. —2:00 pm: Governor Dean meets with Marion County Democrats, Knoxville, Iowa —2:00 pm: House convenes for legislative business —2:15 pm: President Bush makes remarks on the economy and housing at Ruiz Foods, Dinuba, Calif. —4:00 pm: AARP Iowa Democratic presidential candidates forum, Des Moines —4:00 pm: Reverend Al Sharpton speaks to students at Claflin University, Orangeburg, S.C. —5:00 pm: General Wesley Clark holds a media availability with Governor Bill Richardson, Santa Fe —5:45 pm: General Clark tours a non-profit that provides meals for disabled and chronically ill people, Santa Fe —4:15 pm: President Bush attends a Bush-Cheney 2004 luncheon fundraiser, Fresno, Calif. —6:45 pm: Governor Dean meets with Story County Democrats, Story City, Iowa —7:00 pm: Senator John Edwards meets with Jasper County Democrats, Newton, Iowa —7:00 pm: Congressman Dick Gephardt meets with Polk County Democrats, Des Moines —7:30 pm: Senator Kerry meets with Mahaska County Democrats, Oskaloosa, Iowa —8:00 pm: Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun attends a town hall forum at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa —8:30 pm: Senator Edwards meets with Democratic activists at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa —9:00 pm: General Clark attends a private campaign fundraiser, Las Vegas —9:05 pm: President Bush attends a Bush-Cheney 2004 reception fundraiser, Riverside, Calif.
We find it positively extraordinary the amount of planning that is going on in the Bush campaign, at the DNC, on 527 Row, and in the presidential campaigns on the assumption that a Democratic presidential nominee will be chosen by the first week of March at the latest.
Of course, we also find it extraordinary that people act as if there IS a de facto nominee by then that it will mean that front-loading the caucus/primary calendar will have produced a nominee far earlier than usual (when, in fact, presidential nominees are usually determined by the third week of March at the latest).
All the Bush fundraising/spending stories; all the Dean "busta cap" stories; all the network budget planning; all the anchor vacation schedules; all the (public) Democratic candidate calendar strategizing — all of that seems to assume a world in which there is an early Democratic nominee.