The Note

Ralph Nader said Thursday he will "wait until the end of the year to decide on another run for the White House." First, he wants to see how Democrats and Republicans respond to his agenda: universal health insurance, a more progressive wage policy and a crackdown on corporate fraud and abuse. LINK

Wilson:

Ho-hummish day in the papers today, but brace for some weekend stuff, wethinks.

"Democrats want Ashroft Out" — the New York Times ' Hulse and Stevenson report. LINK

But our favorite quote comes from the ole other side of the aisle:

"One senior Republican aide said that if the uproar did not abate, some Republicans were considering proposing that the White House allow the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, to appoint a prosecutor."

"'The problem with Mr. Ashcroft is that he is not seen as an independent figure,' the aide said."

Crafty and legendary veteran New York Times man David Rosenbaum Notes that no one has matched the Washington Post 's 2/6 sentence in a fantastic bit of Washington anthropology, nearly totally undermined by his confusing "off the record" with "deep background," setting us back yet again with our intern training. LINK

Washington Post : Susan Schmidt and Mike Allen write daily. LINK

The Washington Post 's Dan Eggen does the leaky thing. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Reynolds and Schmitt write up Scott McClellan's distinction between leaking information and further disseminating already leaked information. LINK

"McClellan accused critics of 'moving the goal posts' in the scandal, saying the allegations should focus only on whether classified information was leaked — and not on whether White House officials spoke to reporters about it later in an effort to capitalize on the leak."

"'The subject of this investigation is whether someone leaked classified information,' McClellan said with unusual testiness. 'Yesterday some of the questions began to move the goal post and focus on other issues that are not the subject of this investigation.'"

USA Today 's Judy Keen asks herself a bunch of questions about the leak, and thankfully she gives us her answers too. LINK

USA Today 's Richard Benedetto and Kevin Johnson report on the Justice Department's decision to "cast a wide net" to find the source of the leak. LINK

National treasure Howard Fineman writes on the Web: "the now infamous outing … isn't primarily an issue of law. It's about a lot of other things, like: the ongoing war between the CIA and the vice president's office; the long, complex relationship between George Tenet and the Bush family; the tinge of arrogance among some (as yet unidentified) members of Bush's team; and, ominously for the president, a breakdown in discipline among his spin doctors, who, in the old days, always wrote the same prescription." LINK

(Please see entry under "Hughes, Karen")

Paul Krugman channels the Democratic Party. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The latest New York Times /CBS News poll finds that for the first time in his Administration, Americans are "more critical than not of Mr. Bush's ability to handle both foreign and domestic problems" and "a solid majority of Americans say the country is seriously on the wrong track, a classic danger sign for incumbents." LINK

AP's Ron Fournier looks at the Democrats' optimism for President Bush's recent polling numbers but as DNC members gather in Washington today, that "optimism was tempered by concerns."LINK

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