The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:00 am: Senator Joe Lieberman speaks at the Second Annual Business Conference on Greece-U.S. Relations, D.C.

— 9:45 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan

—9:45 am: Senator Lieberman holds a press availability to discuss the recall, D.C.

—10:00 am: Polls open in California recall election

— 10:45 am: President Bush meets with his Cabinet, White House

—11:00 am: Senator John Kerry tours a senior center, Sioux City, Iowa

— 11:30 am: Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and his family cast their recall ballots, Elk Grove, Calif.

— 11:30 am: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver cast their recall ballots, Los Angeles

— 12:30 pm: House convenes for morning business

— 12:45 pm: On-camera White House press briefing with Scott McClellan

— 1:00 pm: Reverend Al Sharpton addresses students at Spelman University, Atlanta

— 1:30 pm: Senator Kerry has lunch with Democratic activists at Lally's Restaurant, Le Mars, Iowa

—2:00 pm: Governor and Mrs. Davis cast their recall ballots, Los Angeles

— 2:00 pm: Lieutenant Governor Bustamante takes his parents to cast their recall ballots, Fresno, Calif.

— 3:00 pm: Senator John Edwards meets with Jones County Democratic activisits, Anamosa, Iowa

—4:30 pm: General Wesley Clark speaks about job creation at the Transportation Union Workers Local 514, Tulsa, Okla.

—5:00 pm: Governor Davis greets get-out-the-vote volunteers at the Fire Fighters Local 1014 Hall, El Monte, Calif. — 5:00 pm: Deadline for White House personnel to turn over documents pertaining to the leak of the identity of a CIA operative —6:00 pm: Representative Dennis Kucinich attends a "Democracy Rising" rally with Ralph Nader, D.C —6:00 pm: Senator Edwards attends a community gathering, Cedar Rapids, Iowa — 6:00 pm: Senator Kerry attends an event with Democratic activists, Cherokee, Iowa — 7:00 pm: Governor Davis greets get-out-the-vote volunteers at the United Food and Commerical Workers campaign office, Los Angeles — 8:00 pm: Senator Edwards meets with Democratic activists, Tipton, Iowa — 8:30 pm: Senator Kerry attends an event with Democratic activists at Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon, Iowa

— 11:00 pm: Polls close in California recall election


In newsrooms in New York and conference rooms in Washington, the debate that has raged for weeks -- is the California recall a national story? -- is pretty much coming to an end.

Voter anger blah blah blah.

Implications for the President's re-election blah blah blah.

Porn stars, child actors, adult actors, smut peddlers blah blah blah.

For Terry McAuliffe (and his hard-working, always-more-than-enough-to-do staff) this has clearly been a national election.

Ditto for Barbra Streisand, Bill Clinton, Mark Barabak, Jeff Zeleny, Jay Leno, Mike Murphy, "good friend" Pat O'Brien, Jackie Calmes, Shari Annis, and John Sweeney.

Less so for Scott McClellan, 41 and Barbara (Remember when we all predicted they would stump with Arnold?), Barbara Boxer, Mike Glover, and Mindy Tucker.

The dirty little secret held by the most experienced political operatives and Germondian political reporters is there ain't much to do or to know on Election Day.

Florida 2000 changed a lot about the way operatives and journalists think about elections, but one of the things it changed the most was our shared loss of faith in the holy grail infallibility of the "network" (really: network and AP) exit polls.

But as Mr. Murphy and Tim Russert know, having access to the exit polls on election day is still significantly better than, say, hearing from your cousin's husband that there were long lines at his polling place in Encino, or from your affiliate that it is drizzling in Mendocino.

Note to our "sources" who normally don't return our calls and/or to whom we speak fewer than three times a year:

If you are looking for network exit poll numbers today, we suggest you call Tucker Carlson or Roger Ailes at home. Cable news will be wall-to-wall this evening, and you can get plenty of news on the Web, but until the polls close at 8 pm PT/11 pm ET, there will be no "official" word on what is happening.

In fact, given the national imperative Viacom and GE see in regular programming, to paraphrase the immortal line, we can tell you without any fear of contradiction that more people will get their news about the recall results from Nightline and ABC News (with East Coast AND West Coast editions) than from any other source. The Field Poll predicts 10 million Californians will vote in today's historic election -- about 65% of registered voters. "The Field Poll bases its estimate of a high turnout in part on its pre-election surveys, in which a higher than usual proportion of voters indicated that they were likely to vote. Another factor is that over 3.1 million voters have requested absentee ballots for this election, considerably higher than what was observed in the 2002 general election." In the recall: Governor and Mrs. Davis will vote today in Los Angeles and attend mass afterwards. The Governor will greet get-out-the-vote volunteers in El Monte and Los Angeles later in the day. He will watch the returns at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles tonight. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver will vote today in Pacific Palisades. They will await returns at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles tonight. Lieutenant Governor Bustamante will appear on the Steve Harvey radio show this morning. He will vote with his family in Elk Grove and later take his parents to vote in Fresno. State Senator McClintock will vote in Newbury Hills this morning and watch the returns in Sacramento tonight. As for business involving the other 49 states: Senator Graham will still attend a fish fry fundraiser tonight in Pensacola, Florida, even though he has left the race for president. We don't want to read any huge semiotic significance into the fact that he was only allowed to tell Larry King about his decision after scores of minutes of discussion about Roy and tigers, including some rambling by the star of "The Birds." There is much more on Senator Graham's withdrawal below. President Bush convenes a Cabinet meeting today at the White House. Governor Dean campaigns some more in New Hampshire today. Senator Kerry is campaigning in Iowa again today. General Clark campaigns in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Senator Edwards begins a three-day swing of his "Real Solutions Tour" through Iowa. Senator Lieberman campaigns in D.C. and West Bloomfield, Michigan. Congressman Gephardt has private fundraisers in Florida today. Reverend Sharpton travels to Atlanta today where he'll speak at Spelman University. Congressman Kucinich is in Cleveland for a funeral. He returns to D.C. tonight for a "Democracy Rising" rally with Ralph Nader. Ambassador Moseley Braun is in Chicago with no public events scheduled.

California recall:

The recall campaign ends much as it began, with Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times elegantly explaining all. LINK

Here are a couple other final day wrap-ups: LINK


Absence makes the vote grow longer. The New York Times reports on the record number of absentee ballots and what they might mean for right-coast journalists with tickets home tomorrow. LINK

The Times' Kershaw says, "it could take the counties, who have up to 28 days after the election to count the absentee ballots and certify the election results, several weeks to finalize a tally."

Much has been written about the 2.2 million Californians who have already voted either through absentee voting or early voting. The Note checked in with some county elections officials to get a sense of how these ballots are coming in according to party.

As of close of business on Sunday, Los Angeles County had received 165,493 absentee/early ballots from Democrats and 123,789 from Republicans.

Contra Costa County had 44,418 ballots from Democrats and 35,663 GOP returned ballots.

Alameda County received 54,100 absentee ballots from Democrats and 21,805 from Republicans.

All three counties are Democratic-leaning counties, and/but we don't offer the numbers up for predictive purposes, but simply to provide some additional detail.

Sue Fox of the Los Angeles Times offers a primo profile on the woman who runs elections in the nation's largest electoral district. LINK

"'There's no such thing as a perfect election,' McCormack said recently as she dashed out of her office to a television interview."

"'It's the only time that 2 million people in L.A. County decide to do the same thing on the same day. It's like filling up the Rose Bowl 20 times in a row - there are going to be some fender-benders in the parking lot. And there are going to be some people who can't find their seats.'"

Mark Simon of the San Francisco Chronicle predicts a very high turnout and reports that may benefit Arnold Schwarzenegger. LINK

"The boost in participation is likely to come from younger, occasional voters drawn to the polls by Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that could mean trouble for Davis, said DiCamillo." "Historically, a high voter turnout favors Democrats, but in this election, with 400,000 new registered voters, many of the participants are 'occasional voters, those voters who have been aroused by this election,' DiCamillo said."

California recall, bonus section:

With all the clichéd media references being thrown around as part of the Schwarzenegger coverage (as late as Sunday night a certain Other Network was slugging their piece "Total Recall"!!), we are shocked, shocked that no one reproduced in full the (slightly modified) lyrics to this classic and wildly appropriate Tom Lehrer song, complete with Mr. (Mike!) Murphy reference: LINK

Hollywood's often tried to mix Show business with politics From Helen Gahagan To Ronald Reagan? But Mr. Murphy is the star Who's done the best by far.

Oh, gee, it's great! At last we've (maybe) got a governor who can really kill and dance. We can't expect America to win against its foes With no one in Sacramento who can really tap his toes.

The movies that you've seen On your television screen Show his legislative talents at a glance. Should Americans pick crops? Gray says "No", 'cause no one but a Mexican would stoop so low. And after all, even in Egypt, the pharaohs Had to import Hebrew braceros.

Think of all the musicals we have in store. Imagine: Broadway Melody of Nineteen Eighty-Four**. Yes, now that he's (maybe) a Governor, he's really got the chance To give the public a song and dance!

ABC News Vote 2004: The Invisible Primary:


From ABC News' Graham campaign reporter Tarana Harris: "Tuesday night on CNN's Larry King Live Senator Bob Graham announced that he's dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination: 'I have made the difficult decision to withdraw my candidacy for president of the United States of America.'" "A source close to the campaign says that Graham's announcement, while not a complete surprise, frustrated many staff members because of how he chose to do it: in a 15 minute segment that followed a program almost entirely dedicated to the Siegfried and Roy tragedy. The source said this decision was representative of Graham's refusal to follow the counsel of his campaign staff." "Graham's Senate office announced shortly before 4 pm EST that the Senator would appear on Larry King. Campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee originally said that Graham would discuss the CIA leak, and later called back to say he'd been told to tell reporters, 'Wait and see.'" "The majority of Graham's staff learned that he was leaving the race only when he appeared on Larry King." "After his announcement, Graham held a campaign conference call in which he thanked his staff and repeated his commitment to supporting the Democratic nominee. He did not elaborate on who he believes the nominee will be, nor did he indicate whether or not he will run for reelection." "Graham blamed poor expectations for the third quarter -- a source close to the campaign says Graham raised less than the $2 million that's been reported -- on the fact that he didn't have a fundraising staff in place until late this summer. In spite of that, Graham had commitments from a loyal fundraising base in Florida, that are now freed up. Some of these supporters would have given to the other candidates long ago had they known that Graham would drop out." David Broder gives play-by-play and color commentary on Senator Graham's departure. LINK USA Today's Susan Page bids farewell to Senator Graham and Notes, "Even for last night's announcement, he took second billing on the CNN talk show to a discussion of a tiger attack on Las Vegas performer Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy." LINK The Los Angeles Times account of Graham's departure hits the keyest nail on the head: LINK "The main effect of Graham's decision may be the sudden availability of Florida's rich roster of donors to others left in the Democratic field." The endorsement of the Graham daughters, we'll say one last time, would also be key. The Orlando Sentinel reports that "speculation had been swirling around Graham's faltering campaign since last week, when key advisers started bailing out and when his campaign ... failed to come close to bringing in the kind of money needed to sustain a national race." LINK The Tribune's Jeff Zeleny reports on Bob Graham's failed presidential bid and his hopes of a possible vice presidency LINK Bob Graham ended his bid for the presidency Monday "while leaving open the possibility of another Senate campaign or even a vice presidential run." LINK The AP's Nedra Pickler Notes that Graham's departure could "benefit other candidates, such as Joe Lieberman, "who hoped to get a fund-raising boost from Jewish donors in Florida who were committed to their home state senator." Graham's "top campaign aides" were "left to speculate about their jobs" until Graham "appeared on CNN." Pindell Notes that Graham has left behind in New Hampshire a "very talented field staff from all over the country who now find themselves in Manchester without a job." LINK


Sally Struthers -- eat your heart out. The New York Times Notes The General raked in roughly 50,000 a day in the first two weeks of his campaign. LINK The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont writes about General Clark's "Hear it from the Heartland" appearance, where Senator Harkin said "Clark handled himself well and explained his positions adequately." LINK The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Clark "acquitted himself well" at Harkin's forum. "But some still doubted his Democratic credentials." LINK Per the Washington Times, Wesley Clark is "finally" a registered Democrat. LINK


The Des Moines Register's Jonathan Roos reports that Senator Kerry "stoked a smoldering campaign dispute with [Dean] over Medicare cuts" in Iowa yesterday. LINK


Jodi Wilgoren does her best Alison-Mitchell-covering-John-McCain (or is it Frank-Bruni-covering-George-Bush?) in writing up Howard Dean's support among the Xs and Ys of young people. LINK Speaking at the New Hampshire senior center where Clinton and Gingrich shook hands eight years ago (and Bradley and McCain did their thing…), Dean rebutted Gephardt's charges that Dean stood with Gingrich on Medicare. Dean said he still believes Medicare is "badly run" but that his record in the Green Mountain State "proves his commitment to health care and the elderly." LINK


The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen thinks Iowa's elected officials should avoid making endorsements in the presidential race and just let the caucuses do their job. LINK

South Carolina:

Six (or more!!) Democratic presidential hopefuls will be in South Carolina Friday for an NAACP forum, writes Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The Boston Globe's Peter S. Canellos looks at President Bush's polling numbers over the last month and concludes that "the next round of polls will show definitively whether the president is merely experiencing a soft landing on a solid base of support -- or whether he's free falling without a parachute." LINK Focused on the 2004 election, the White House has stayed clear of getting involved in the California recall and is keeping a "safe distance" from the Arnold Schwarzenegger controversies, the Boston Herald reports. LINK


White House aides have until 5:00 pm ET today to turn over any records relevant to the Justice Department's investigation into the leaking of a CIA operative's identity. President Bush said yesterday that the investigation "will not only hold someone to account who should not have leaked . . . but also hopefully will help set a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop, as well." LINK The Washington Post reports that White House officials said that "at least 500 of the White House's nearly 2,000 employees had signed the required statements attesting that they had turned in documents relevant to the case or had no such documents." The Los Angeles Times' Schmitt and Reynolds report the White House's claim it may take two weeks to produce all the documents requested by the Justice Department "…suggests that officials may be considering invoking claims of executive privilege in connection with some of the materials being sought…" LINK All we have to say is: no better day to bandy about "executive privilege" for any White House than on recall day!!!

The politics of national security:

House Republicans put the President's Iraq request on Adkins, criticizing it for "taking a 'gold plated'approach when federal money is not forthcoming for such projects at home." LINK