The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:00 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan —9:00 am: House Intelligence Committee hears testimony from former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay, Capitol Hill —9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —9:30 am: Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider pending business including the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering, Capitol Hill —10:00 am: House convenes for morning business —10:30 am: Senators Frist, Santorum, Hutchison, and Allen hold a press conference on the Republican economic agenda, Capitol Hill —12:30 pm: Arnold Schwarzenegger attends a campaign kick-off event, San Diego —12:30 pm: On-camera White House press briefing with Scott McClellan —2:00 pm: Governor Gray Davis signs a package of environmental bills at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, Santa Monica, Calif. —2:30 pm: Senate Intelligence Committee hears testimony from former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay, Capitol Hill —3:00 pm: President Bush makes remarks in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, White House —3:30 pm: Arnold Schwarzenegger attends a campaign event at the Orange County Fair Grounds, Costa Mesa, Calif. —5:30 pm: Senator Bob Graham attends a private campaign fundraiser, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. —6:30 pm: Arnold Schwarzenegger visits Riley Elementary School, San Bernadino, Calif. —7:00 pm: Senator Joe Lieberman attends a private campaign fundraiser, Gwynedd Valley, Pa. —8:00 pm: Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, State Senator Tom McClintock and Peter Camejo participate in the first part of a debate sponsored by KNBC and the League of Women Voters, Los Angeles —9:00 pm: Congressman Darrell Issa and California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres discuss the recall in the second part of a debate sponsored by KNBC and the League of Women Voters, Los Angeles


Simple day:

Read the Los Angeles Times' Schwarzenegger story on alleged groping, and play Bernie Kalb and decide what you think the journalistic ethics are of dropping investigative bombshells within hailing distance of election day (See "Packwood, Bob" and "Bush, George W., 2000"). LINK

Read what Jim VandeHei, Jeb Bush, and the Boston Globe think about Howard Dean, and ask yourself if they are causing him any problems that a huge cash advantage can't solve. LINK and LINK and LINK

Read about General Clark's shifting stories and recent past, and decide for yourself if you think a(n) (former?) independent lobbyist for defense contractors can become the Democratic nominee for president. LINK and LINK and LINK

Read our Wilson section below, including the Washington Post 's return to their fabled language about alleged White House actions, and decide if you think this story is going anywhere. LINK

And remember: almost all FBI investigations are slow, disorganized, and derivative of what's in the newspapers. It's just that the national media doesn't normally try to cover them with minute-by-minute play-by-play attention.

President Bush will make remarks in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at the White House today.

Senator Kerry has cancelled his plans to campaign in Iowa today in order to be in the Senate where he hopes to debate the Biden-Kerry amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill for Iraq.

General Clark has no public events today as he travels from Los Angeles to D.C.

Governor Dean has no public events today. He is in Burlington gearing up for his four-day, eight-city "Generation Dean" tour.

Congressman Gephardt is fundraising today in Beaumont and Dallas, Texas.

Senator Edwards has no public events scheduled for today.

Senator Lieberman is in D.C. and Philadelphia today with no public events scheduled. He will attend a private campaign fundraiser tonight in Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

Senator Graham will go to a private campaign fundraiser tonight in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Ambassador Moseley Braun has no public events announced for today.

Congressman Kucinich has no public events scheduled for today.

Before Rush Limbaugh announced he his resignation from ESPN, Reverend Sharpton was scheduled to hold a press conference in New York City today to call for his immediate termination.

In the recall:

Everyone waits to see what fall-out, if any, there is from the Los Angeles Times story, braces for another public poll, and tries to divine the Davis end-game strategy.

There's another debate tonight. Lieutenant Governor Bustamante, State Senator McClintock, and Peter Camejo will take part. After they debate, Darrell Issa and Art Torres will debate the recall.

Governor Davis sings a package of environmental bills today at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

Arnold Schwarzenegger begins his bus tour around the state with events in San Diego, Costa Mesa, and San Bernadino today.

Maria Shriver has no public events announced for today.

Wilson, newsy daily stories:

The Washington Post 's Milbank and Allen feature the Washington Post /ABC poll showing eye-poppingly negative opinions (as far as the White House is concerned) about the leak investigation. LINK

And the paper purposefully returns to its critical "two top White House officials called at least six journalists and disclosed the identity of Wilson's wife" language, as well as reprising the immortal "a senior administration official said the leak was 'meant purely and simply for revenge.'"

Richard Schmitt and Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times say the FBI's investigation which could take months. LINK

And they have this paragraph that will make those on the Grassy Knoll nuts:

"(I)n addition to Ashcroft, among the political appointees who may help decide the fate of the case is the department's new second-in-command, acting deputy Robert McCallum. He is an old friend and Yale classmate of the president's; both were members of the secret Skull & Bones Society at Yale."

And this:

"Politics aside, the task facing investigators is deceptively complex. Obtaining phone records of administration officials, for instance, is often the stuff of a delicate political negotiation between prosecutors and White House lawyers, who are likely to argue that some sensitive materials are irrelevant to the case and should be kept under wraps. "

"'It is going to take them several weeks just to get the relevant records from the CIA and the White House,' a former Justice Department criminal division official said, requesting anonymity. ' The White House is not going to turn over all of [chief political adviser] Karl Rove's phone logs. There is going to be a negotiation over it. You have to negotiate the terms and conditions. It is going to take some time.'"

Mssrs. Stevenson and Lichtblau in the New York Times detail with precision the "two-track political strategy" the White House prosecuted Wednesday: LINK

"The White House encouraged Republicans to portray … Wilson, as a partisan Democrat with an agenda and the Democratic Party as scandalmongering. At the same time, the administration and the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill worked to ensure that no Republicans in Congress break ranks and call for an independent inquiry outside the direct control of the Justice Department."

"'It's slime and defend,' said one Republican aide on Capitol Hill, describing the White House's effort to raise questions about Mr. Wilson's motivations and its simultaneous effort to shore up support in the Republican ranks."

This is a must-read for those of you wanting to know how the West Wing is preparing to greet the arrival of its DOJ guests. And we want to know how many of you already have the offices of the five GOP Members-who-might-waver listed in the last graph programmed into your speed dial?

The Wall Street Journal 's Gary Fields and Tom Hamburger nicely lay out the McClellan briefing Rove dance from yesterday, and report this:

"Justice Department officials plan to notify employees of the Defense and State departments to preserve any documents relating to the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson … "

Wilson, somewhat newsy daily stories:

She surfaces! Perhaps the Ghost of 43rd Street charmed her out of hiding? We shall credit the intrepid Lone Star press corps.

The Houston Chronicle 's Robison reports "Karen Hughes, one of President Bush's longest-serving and closest advisers, said Wednesday that the public disclosure of a CIA operative's name was a disservice to the president and 'very disruptive to democracy.'" LINK

Said Hughes, "President Bush has said — and I agree — there are too many leaks in Washington … We didn't experience that kind of situation when we were here in Texas."

Hughes "said she was confident that her fellow Texan and sometime rival, Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, didn't leak the name to a syndicated columnist because 'Karl has said that he was not involved.'"

The New York Times ' Rove-ing reporters Bumiller and Lichtblau finds Democrats asking whether the ties that bind among the Attorney General and his former staffers present a conflict of interest in the Wilson case. LINK

James Risen of the New York Times sees the Wilson episode as the watercooler around which all the critics who say the administration relied upon Artificial Intelligence on Iraq now gather. LINK

"The White House yesterday hinted it would allow lie-detector tests for President Bush's staff in the investigation into the CIA leak," The New York Post 's Deborah Orin reports. LINK

Although at the gaggle this morning, the White House press secretary seemed to be trying to get out of the hypothetical business — which is to say, the business of answering hypothetical questions.

USA Today 's Keen and Locy report on the likely "next step" of requesting records from the president's advisers. LINK

The Washington Times ' Rowan Scarborough writes on Wilson's Democratic ties. LINK

The New York Daily News has this blind quote:

"'Somebody will have to go before it's over,' an official said." LINK

"'The only question is whether it's a low-level person following orders or somebody higher up.'"

USA Today also has bullet points of a "who's who" of recent White House controversies. LINK

Wilson, today's 42 missive:

The Note hears quite a bit these days from Americans who used to work in the White House for the last Arkansan to run for president with Bruce Lindsey's help.

Every day (except on days we don't) we will print the best e-mail we get in this category.

Today, a Clinton White House veteran of the scandal wars raises all of these insidery questions (assuming in some cases "facts" not necessarily in evidence) to The Note — some fun, some important, and some both:

"If 'Post' 2X6 is true, how could 6 reporters fail to see the significance of the White House 'outing'? Even a casual Langley observer understands that's not SOP."

"Again, if 2X6 is true, don't the leakers see the handwriting on the wall and out themselves? With Novak, Newsday and Andrea in the know, this is no Woodsteinian tight circle."

"Did Dana interview Mike for the passage in Tuesday's 'Post' or was it a non-'Postie'?"

"Finally, and most importantly, how did the White House 'learn' that she was a covert operative? In 5+ years at 1600, I never once heard/learned/read/happened upon the name of an 'operative'? Names are redacted in the PDB and referenced only as 'humint'; Agency reports are redacted for names, and even the briefers who show up every day presumably disguise their identities; you don't take them to lunch at Breadline. So, if you don't stumble upon this factoid, you were looking for it. If so, why?"

"How long before this appears on 'West Wing' or 'K Street'?"

Wilson, the Prince of Darkness:

USA Today 's Jim Drinkard writes about Bob Novak, and confirms that even though Novak won't do an interview right now, you have a good chance of seeing him on CNN (Cable Novak Network). LINK

And in the red corner, Salon takes on one half of "Evans and Novak" thusly: LINK

"Rather than sit back and watch the fireworks he helped set off, Novak, busy spinning on behalf of the White House and in classic damage control mode, is raising more questions than he's answering, and having a hard time keeping his stories straight."

"At least three key points of Novak's argument have all proven faulty: that the CIA officer in question is simply an analyst, not an undercover operative, so no harm came from making her identity known; that it was her idea to get her husband involved in investigation claims about Saddam Hussein; and that the unfolding leak investigation is 'routine.'"

Wilson, Wilson profiled:

The Los Angeles Times ' Paul Richter does half profile, half "GOP challenges Wilson." LINK

Wilson, thumb sucking:

USA Today 's Susan Page suggests that this White House could learn a thing or two from the previous administration on how to handle a special counsel. LINK

The Washington Post 's Ann Gerhart goes on and on and on on the theoretical point of the leak, when she could have simply read Walter Shapiro's tight explanation of it in his column yesterday. LINK

Richard Cohen of the Washington Post writes his column on Wilson and the paper's alleged White House whistle blower with Krugmanian outrage. LINK

The New York Times ed board fairly shouts "Free Novak," and walks the tightrope about leak investigations, independent counsels, and John Ashcroft. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times turns in a must-read on the president's latest approval numbers and reports that Mr. Bush is in "the danger zone for an incumbent." LINK

"But the approval ratings for Reagan and Clinton were rising around this point in their presidencies. In the last 50 years, the only presidents whose approval ratings were unambiguously falling in Gallup surveys as they entered their election year were Gerald R. Ford and George H. W. Bush, the president's father. Both were defeated."

More Brownstein:

"That approach could still carry Bush to victory next year. [GOP pollster Bill] McInturff noted that incumbent presidents usually lose only when they suffer significant defections within their party and face strong primary challenges — the circumstances that helped doom Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Bush's father in 1992."

"Still, with the huge wave that lifted him after Sept. 11 having dissipated, Bush appears to be approaching the 2004 election much the way he began his term: with the country polarized almost evenly for and against him, and a critical slice of swing voters ready to break the tie based less on personal allegiance than the results he delivers."

A Quinnipiac poll of registered New York State voters released yesterday found not only falling approval numbers for President Bush (his lowest since before 9/11) but also several Democratic challengers would beat the incumbent, with The General leading the way. "In a reflection of Clark's political strength — and Bush's drop — the race's newcomer outpaced the president 48 percent to 41 percent." LINK

The Miami Herald looks at the Cuba issue and how it will play out in the 2004 election for Bush. LINK

BC04 officials announced yesterday that First Brother Governor Jeb Bush will lead the re-election campaign in Florida, a state that Karl Rove has called "ground zero" in the re-election effort. LINK

The Akron Beacon Journal looks at the BC04 strategy in the battleground state of Ohio, and finds that despite a narrow win in 2000 and falling favorability ratings, "he is still in good shape against the disorganized Democrats." LINK

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at the how the steel tariffs will play out in 2004 battleground states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. LINK

More than 1 million new donors have given money to the Republican Party since President Bush was inaugurated in 2001, the RNC announced yesterday, surpassing the number of new contributors during Reagan's two terms in office, the Washington Times reports. LINK

The AP has it too. LINK

The new donors yielded $55 million for the RNC, mainly through donations of under $30. LINK

The New York Post 's Deborah Orin reports that the prospect of a Schwarzenegger win has Republicans "sporting giant grins as they ponder how that would change the political landscape and help boost President Bush in the 2004 election." LINK

Orin gets California-based Democratic strategist Bill Carrick to warn that if Schwarzenegger "does a lot of controversial stuff, he's going to get recalled himself."

The economy:

USA Today 's Matt Krantz reports, "The stock market Wednesday kicked the fourth quarter off Wednesday with its best rally since April, as newfound optimism about the economy allowed Wall Street to look ahead to upcoming third-quarter corporate profit reports." LINK

Look here tomorrow for September's all-important unemployment figures. ABC News' Schindelheim reports economists are expecting another month of job losses, which would be the eighth month in a row on the negative side of the column. Recent signs of improvement in the economy have done little to stem the job losses because businesses may be returning to profit by cutting jobs and doing more with less.

Economists fear if things don't turn around soon and jobs don't start to pop up, consumers will start to worry in earnest about their own jobs and halt the spending flow that fuels the American economy.

And THAT would be bad for all sorts of people.

Stay tuned for Friday's figures.

Big Casino budget politics:

Democratic presidential hopefuls who say they'd roll back the Bush tax cuts and not deal with Social Security and Medicare, "the real dangers to the country's solvency," are kidding themselves, the Washington Post 's editorial board Notes. LINK

The politics of national security:

K Mas? The New York Times reports that despite its "rocky start" and the Dell-uge (you gotta read the piece) of resources it already has, the Iraq Survey Group — "made up of teams of troops and experts who are managed by the Pentagon but whose activities are coordinated by David Kay" — is looking for $600 million more as part of the president's $87 billion request.

We imagine lawmakers in your nation's Capital will have plenty of questions for Mr. Kay in his closed appearances on the Hill today. LINK

The Bush Administration should just come out and admit the intelligence on Iraq was wrong, George Will writes in a Washington Post op-ed. LINK

The Washington Post 's Jonathan Weisman reports, "These defections are forcing White House allies to appeal to congressional Democrats to help save the president's proposal. They also underscore the deep unease — in both parties and in both congressional chambers — spurred by public reactions to the spending plan at a time of soaring federal deficits." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's David Cloud looks at the partisan argument brewing in Congressional intelligence committees over expanding the investigation into whether the Pentagon interfered with the CIA's intelligence on al Qaeda and Iraq.

"At its core, the Democrats and Republicans are fighting over where the blame for the intelligence shortcomings should fall. Democrats say widening the congressional probes would let them look at whether the White House and officials in the Pentagon manipulated sketchy data to justify invading Iraq. Republicans appear to want to fault the CIA and its director, Mr. Tenet, for reports that appear to have wildly missed what was actually going on inside Iraq. That approach would spare the administration from a full-blown investigation into the failures."

USA Today 's Bill Nichols updates us on the latest U.N. resolution offered by the U.S. LINK

USA Today 's Andrea Stone reports, "The White House lost crucial support Wednesday among prominent Senate Republicans as it worked to block changes to its $87 billion military and reconstruction plan for Iraq and Afghanistan." LINK

The Washington Post 's team of Thomas Edsall and Juliet Eilperin report on the Republican lobbyists in Washington eyeing up Iraq as a "major new profit center." LINK

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary: "New York poll puts Clark ahead of the pack," the AP reports. LINK

The Quinnipiac survey released Wednesday has Clark at 18, Dean at 17, Lieberman at 13, and Kerry at 12.

"In a reflection of Clark's political strength — and Bush's drop — the race's newcomer outpaced the president 48 percent to 41 percent. Several of the other Democratic candidates also were favored over Bush in the Democratic-leaning state, with Dean over Bush, 47-43 percent; Lieberman favored, 49-42 percent and Kerry 48-43 percent. Bush and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt were running close, 46 percent to 44 percent."

"The poll found Bush's job approval among New Yorkers had dropped from 52 percent in June to 42 percent, close to where he was prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

The New York Post writes up the Quinnipiac poll under the headline: "Surgin' general: Wes No. 1 in N.Y." LINK

The New York Daily News writes up the Quinnipiac poll under the headline: "Clark & Dean tops, Bush sinks in poll." LINK

The AP looks at "Generation Dean" and LINK

The AP reports on the new presidential forums being planned. LINK

CNN and Rock the Vote "will host a forum of young voters and Democratic presidential candidates on Nov. 4 at Faneuil Hall in Boston."

The Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government "announced that it would host a series of nine one-on-one, hourlong, live forums … ."

"The series will be produced and aired by MSNBC" as part of its Hardball program.

Edwards will air Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.; Kerry will appear on Oct. 20; Sharpton on Oct. 27; Gephardt on Nov. 3; Graham on Nov. 10; and Braun on Nov. 17.

The Boston Globe reports on both the CNN/Rock the Vote forum and the Kennedy School candidate series that will all happen in Boston. LINK

Clark appears to be gaining with Latinos in Arizona. LINK

"Clark emerged at the top candidate among Latinos surveyed last week in the Behavior Research Center's Rocky Mountain Poll," while Dean placed second. Clark and Dean were chosen by 13 and 10 percent of respondents, respectively."

"Nine percent of those interviewed favored" Lieberman, "with 8 percent in favor of" Gephardt. Edwards "had 5 percent."

With the GOP tripling their cash stockpile, the DNC fear they will be sorely outspent in 2004 LINK


The Boston Herald's Andrew Miga reports, "Kerry's campaign confirmed [former Ambassador Joe] Wilson was a contributor and an informal foreign policy adviser who has met with Kerry staffers." And the Senator was not happy about the accusations of Wilson's bias. LINK

The Fort Worth Start Telegram covers Kerry's offensive against the White House on the Wilson case and the environment. LINK

Hey, Kerry takes on Howard Dean, too. LINK

And Tricia Enright doesn't like that at all. LINK

Jill Alper — who has informally advised Kerry for more than two years — is joining the campaign full-time to help plan and implement strategy," the AP reports. LINK

"Kerry has missed 61 percent of the 370 roll-call votes in the Senate this session," the Lowell Sun reports. LINK

Per the AP: Kerry on Thursday "will become the first of the 10 Democratic presidential candidates to open a campaign office in Michigan." LINK

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

"Deep in the heart of the president's home state, Senator John F. Kerry took his sharpest shot yet at the Bush administration's involvement in leaking a CIA operative's identity to the press."

"When asked about the brewing controversy following environmental remarks at a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Dallas, Texas, Kerry at first responded mildly."

"But shortly after the on camera portion of the event, Kerry locked and reloaded, pursuing New York Times reporter David Halbfinger to deliver, 'It's like the 1970s when Nixon would just throw names out, throw out accusations, play political games and dirty tricks.'"

"The Senator continued, 'It's complete in its Orwellian dissembling. It's part of a pattern; you know, they name something 'Healthy Forests' and they chop down the trees; they call something 'Clear Skies' and the skies are going to be dirtier than if you didn't do anything. It's part of a whole pattern, but here it's more abusive, more significant impact on people. But I think people are tired of, they're angry about it.'"

"Prior to his stronger statements, Kerry was asked about the revelation that Ambassador Joe Wilson contributed to his presidential effort, to which he responded, 'I see, so the White House is saying because Joe Wilson supports someone for president, that is was, therefore, justifiable to release the name of his wife as a CIA agent and break the law? That's a very interesting logic.'"

"Incidentally, Kerry added that he had never met Wilson until Tuesday night at an 'event' in Virginia."

"Meanwhile, in Dallas, Kerry squeezed in a visit to a formerly contaminated housing project now revitalized by Habitat for Humanity in between several closed press fundraisers in Dallas, Austin, and Houston."

"While using the Texas landscape to criticize his desired opponent, President Bush, Kerry focused largely on the $15 million man standing in his way: former Vermont Governor Howard Dean."

"Citing a 1993 agreement between then-Governor George Bush and then-Governor Howard Dean to ship nuclear waste from Vermont and Maine to Sierra Blanca in Texas, Kerry cited Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), who called the decision 'classic environmental injustice.'"


The Los Angeles Times' Nick Anderson on independent lobbyist Wesley Clark. LINK

The New York Post 's Brian Blomquist Notes that Clark "was registered as a lobbyist when he jumped into the presidential race, but he has yet to actually register as a presidential candidate — or even enroll as a Democrat." LINK

The FEC "said yesterday it still hasn't received a statement of Clark's candidacy, although the rules say a candidate must file a declaration within 15 days of spending or raising $5,000."

"Clark announced his candidacy Sept. 17 — exactly 15 days ago — and his aides say they've already raised more than $2 million."

Blomquist gets the Gephardt and Lieberman campaigns to go on the attack.

From Erik Smith of the Gephardt campaign: "'The only question is whether (Clark) is a Democratic lobbyist or a Republican lobbyist."

From Jano Cabrera of the Lieberman campaign: "'I cannot believe that this party is even considering nominating someone who's not only not a Democrat, but is a registered Washington lobbyist.'"

USA Today 's Jill Lawrence writes, "The registration news surprised some close to Clark. George Bruno, a top adviser to Clark, said he talked to Clark 'a couple of weeks ago, and it was my understanding that it was changed.' Bruno said Clark's GOP past does not disturb him: 'I saw him on the stump the other day in New Hampshire, and he seemed like a very committed, take-no-prisoners kind of Democrat to me.'" LINK

Lawrence also Notes, "Fabiani said Dean and others sought Clark's advice over the past few months and all said 'positive things' about him. Their criticism now 'is a sure sign of politicians feeling the heat,' he said."

John DiStaso looks at the mystery of Clark's party registration. LINK

"Last Friday in Manchester, we conducted a one-on-one interview" with Clark.

"We asked Clark: 'How long have you been a registered Democrat?'

"Clark answered, 'About, um, oh, I think it was maybe the third of September. Prior to that I wasn't anything … ."

But DiStaso has learned from BusinessWeek that "'according to the Pulaski County (Ark.) Voter Registrar's Office, the former four-star general remains a registered independent.'"

"What's up with this? we wondered."

"Clark spokesman Kym Spell told us last night that Clark was mistaken about his registration in his Union Leader interview. 'He had filled out the paperwork but it never got down to the office,' she said."

Professor Ross Baker does the "Clark and Ike" thing in USA Today . LINK

From ABC News' Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton:

"The who's who of Hollywood showed up at a fundraiser for General Wesley Clark Wednedsay evening, hosted by actors Mary Steenburgen (Arkansas native and FOB) and Ted Danson at their Los Angeles home. An attendee told ABC News that about 300 people showed up to the party and The General received two standing ovations during the course of the evening. Who showed up? Actors Tobey Maguire, Dennis Hopper, Danny DeVito, and Bradley Whitford (of the "West Wing" — called the "Wes Wing" in many of Clark supporter posters); actresses Helen Hunt, Laura Dern, and Morgan Fairchild; singer Sheryl Crow; and comedian Larry David.

Barbra Streisand was among those who attended another fundraiser for The General at the home of financer Norman Lear."

"Meanwhile, The General made the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Thirteen days after Clark stood in front of a crowd of supporters to announce his presidency, the once-regarded political outsider stood confidently among political insiders. Sixty-five Congressmen showed up in response to an open letter to the Democratic Caucus sent by 10 fellow Congressmen that included Congressmen Marion Berry (D-Ark.) and Rangel (D-N.Y.), asking them to come hear General Clark 'share his vision of the future' (The subliminal message? Endorse Clark)."

"On The General's way out, a reporter asked Clark, 'You're supposed to be an outsider … Why are you here with all these insiders?' The General joked: 'I'm an insider, I'm an outsider, I defy labels, OK? I never fit very well in any kind of a label and I don't fit in that one.'"

"The Clark campaign confirmed The General's stop Tuesday afternoon at AFSCME's headquarters in D.C. to meet with union president Gerald McEntee. The campaign would not comment on details from the meeting, but they did say that there was no formal endorsement. Note: AFSCME was the first union to endorse Bill Clinton, coming out for the Arkansas Governor in December of 1991."

"ABC News has also learned that the General also met with Senator John Breaux (D-La.) Tuesday, one of a few Senators on the Hill to meet with him. Breaux did not endorse, but he said General Clark is someone who 'would do well in our part of the country.'"


The New York Times chronicles the high impact of Dean's low-dollar donors.

(We particularly love the reference to ramen noodles … and trust that by now the junior Senator from New York has been briefed on this culinary wonder. The Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei writes that some of Dean's "words are coming back to haunt him on the campaign trail" and "are becoming an unwelcome distraction for his campaign." LINK

Quoteth Peter Wallsten of Jeb Bush as he went on the offensive against Howard Dean:

"The Florida governor chided Dean for having led a tiny state 'half the size of Miami-Dade County,' labeling him a candidate for 'hot, angry people that aren't rational.'"

"'The hot, angry people that aren't rational and are screaming and hollering, they may be drawn toward the Dean candidacy because he's focused his campaign on trying to connect with that anger, which is a small part of the population of our country.''' LINK

Sounds suspiciously like Jim Jordan to our ears.

The Boston Globe 's Sarah Schweitzer reports that Judicial Watch has requested Dean's records as governor. LINK

The Wall Street Journal editorial board congratulates Dr. Dean on discovering "Mediscare," yet warns that his backing away from his record on Medicare won't help him.

"The Gephardt-Kerry attack offered Dr. Dean the perfect opportunity to establish himself as a genuine outsider when it comes to the 'rules' of Washington debate. He might also have shown he isn't a paint-by-numbers liberal. By grasping instead for the Mediscare Democratic party line, the good doctor is missing a chance to lead."

ABC News' Dean campaign reporter Marc Ambinder:

"Some Notes from the trail:"

"Jay Carson, currently a press aide to Senator Tom Daschle, will join the Dean campaign next week as a national spokesman."

"CBS's Dan Rather will interview Dean this morning for a planned "60 Minutes 2" take-out on the campaign."

"Dean appeared briefly last night a Burlington, Vermont, MeetUp, where participants were encouraged to write letters to Al Gore, Bill Bradley, Jesse Jackson and other political notables asking them to endorse Dean."

"'Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana … is raising the 'grade' it is giving to Howard Dean in its voter guide, based on what it describes as his recent 'positive statements' about medical marijuana,'" the Forward reports. LINK


The Boston Globe 's Glen Johnson was at last night's forum at St. Anselm's, where "Gephardt's top adviser in New Hampshire, lobbyist Jim Demers, set an exceptionally high bar for his own candidate." LINK

"'The fact is that Dick Gephardt has to win Iowa if he's going to go on,' Demers said near the end of the hourlong discussion … "

The Wall Street Journal 's editorial board digs deep into the drama over who will get the AFL-CIO endorsement, tick-tocking why labor hasn't yet come through for "its old and true friend, Dick Gephardt."

ATU endorsement? Check. LINK

From ABC News' Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins:

"The Amalgamated Transit Union announced Wednesday that it would endorse Gephardt. General counsel Robert Molofsky said the union's executive board, which consists of 21 members (18 internal vice presidents and three executive officers) voted unanimously to give the nod to Gephardt on Monday morning before the AFL-CIO decided not to endorse a candidate this month."

"Molofsky said the ATU decision to postpone the announcement was not strategic, but rather logistical; the group is holding its semi-annual general executive board meeting in Palm Springs, California, this week."

"ATU board members were surprised to learn that the AFL-CIO was not going to endorse Gephardt, Molofsky said, and they were disappointed that the October 15 meeting is not going to happen. He said he is still optimistic that Gephardt could get the two-thirds needed for an endorsement and is sure that more individual unions will back Gephardt. He called Gephardt a good friend to transportation for decades and said the Congressman has helped move important legislation for the industry through Congress."


Lieberman met yesterday with Nassau Democratic leaders to shore up his base of support in New York. LINK

"Lieberman said Clark … needs to clarify his position on a number of issues, including the war with Iraq, for which Clark has been criticized for wavering."

Lieberman is leading the pack in Ohio. LINK

"Laura Bischoff of Cox News Service reports that Senator Lieberman leads the Democratic candidates in Ohio according to a new poll." LINK

"But the latest New York poll shows Lieberman losing his lead in that state. Newsday has this write-up of Lieberman's visit to Long Island yesterday." LINK

"Sarah Marberg of the Yale Daily News says Lieberman staffers were at the senator's alma mater last night trying to 'drum up support.'" LINK


From ABC News' Graham campaign reporter Tarana Harris:

"Last night about 200 people attended a $1,000-per plate dinner for Senator Graham at the lavish Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. The event, which the campaign says is the biggest yet, comes at the end of what Graham called his most successful fundraising month."

"Graham reminded the crowd that Florida is a crucial part of his strategy for winning the nomination, 'Of all the candidates in the Democratic primary, I'm the candidate who will bring the greatest potential of carrying this state.'"

"Supporters were aware of the second prong to Graham's strategy: a good performance in Iowa that will enable him to hang on until primaries in the sunbelt states. Graham's pastor, Jeffrey Frantz who opened the dinner with a prayer for Graham and his staff, said: 'We're hoping his showing in the polls is going to improve, and we're hoping that things will start picking up in Iowa.'"

"The campaign will not say how much Graham raised in the third quarter."


Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call discusses just why John Edwards hasn't caught on: LINK

From ABC News' Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Riviera:

"Senator Edwards was back in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and will remain there until he starts a swing through New Hampshire this Sunday before moving for an Iowa trip Tuesday through Thursday. Edwards voted against 'giving President Bush a blank check for Iraqi reconstruction funds.' He supports the $66 billion emergency appropriation for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but voted in favor of an amendment that would require greater accountability for an additional $15 million in reconstruction funds.

In a Senate office press release, Edwards stated, 'We used to talk about this money as a blank check. Well, now we know it's not really a black check. We know the president is writing it out to Joe Allbaugh and Halliburton, and it's all endorsed by Vice President Cheney'"

"Edwards and his wife Elizabeth will appear with Paula Zahn on CNN's NOW tonight. Pre-tape in D.C. to air at 8 pm ET."


From ABC News' Kucinich campaign reporter Melinda Arons:

"Early third quarter figures for Kucinich point to something between $1.5 and $2 million, but for now they will only say it's more than the $1.53 they raised last quarter. The campaign says they won't release firm numbers until October 15 to make sure to account for any late incoming checks."

"The campaign is energized by a showing they feel is stellar for a grassroots effort, especially compared to his rivals' advantages (Dean and Kerry's personal wealth and head starts in the race, Kerry and Gephardt's use of congressional campaign funds). But they are frustrated that the media portray Kucinich as a lower-tier candidate, lumped in with Sharpton and Moseley Braun, who have raised significantly less. Their figures seem to solidify the perception of Kucinich as stuck in the middle, a couple million ahead of the symbolic candidacies, a couple behind the top tiers."

"Kucinich is spending the week in Washington, working to rally House members to vote against the president's request for $87 billion for Iraq. Kucinich prides himself on being a leader who can rally the troops behind even the most unpopular initiatives, and uses the Iraq resolution as an example in almost every campaign speech he makes. Corralling another large Congressional contingent to vote against the $87 billion would be another notch in his belt, and another example he could use to show voters his influence within Washington."

Moseley Braun:

From ABC News' Moseley Braun campaign reporter Monica Ackerman:

"Right smack in the Sonoran Desert, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun spent yesterday morning at The Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona — first Fortune Summit invitation. She spoke along with women including Goldie Hawn, Arianna Huffington and Paramount Pictures Chairman Sherry Lansing. She said they discussed everything from globalization to the California recall."

"What does it take to be a powerful and successful woman? 'A successful woman is one who is comfortable within herself in having achieved whatever it is her spirit leads her to.'"

"Does that include passion? Moseley Braun said she has been told to be more passionate in her speeches and pound on the table. It's a matter of style; I don't pound on the table much, but I am passionate about what I say on the campaign trail.'"


From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

"'I am delighted to bring such an able and experienced campaign professional on board to manage my campaign,' Sharpton said of his new campaign manager, Charles Halloran, Wednesday. 'Charles Halloran will take over my bid for the Democratic nomination by conducting a full audit of our operation while ramping up and refocusing our national grassroots effort. We have already doubled our last quarter's FEC filing for contributions and are securing new fundraising dates daily including the Gala Birthday Celebration October 14 hosted by Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, and P. Diddy at Jay-Z's new club 40/40.'"

"While Halloran is not yet ready to jump in to the campaign full force, he is taking control of the fundraising effort. He says he believes his business savvy will be an asset to a campaign for which business hasn't been so good. He has been focused on the Sharpton Birthday fundraiser, but even if there's a huge turnout, it will be virtually impossible to know whether it means Halloran is a fundraising rock star or if attendees just want to hang out with rap stars."

"Sharpton talked to about Schwarzenegger, Mrs. Sharpton, the war and running mates this week. He also told Playboy that he believes the media is not taking his campaign seriously, and that he will prove a point to the media with the outcome of the February 4 South Carolina primary. (Note: This interview took place before Sharpton lost Kevin Gray, the invaluable South Carolina coordinator.)"

"'Most polls have me in the middle,' Sharpton told Playboy. 'The guys behind me take me seriously, and the guys ahead of me take me seriously because we are gaining momentum. I think [the media] are being dismissive of people on the left in general, particularly people of color. The good news is that because they do that, they are going to wake up shocked when I come in with the vote. I bet a lot of pollsters are going to lose their jobs when we get finished with these primaries.'"

"I asked Sharpton if he thinks some find it impossible to take him seriously in part because of his 'one-liner' approach to the debates. He said, 'I think that when others say something, it's witty. When I say other things it's dismissive. I think that when you look at the fact that I'm in their polls ahead of people like Bob Graham and John Edwards-well financed people. How do you minimize that … when no one can win without the black vote?'"


The Des Moines Register 's Tom Beaumont reports on the latest Iowa maneuverings, including Graham's new Des Moines apartment and Dean's 50 new staffers. LINK

David Yepsen speculates on Governor Vilsack's future — if he really doesn't run for a third term. LINK

And The Note to the Governor: some of your "friends" in the national media are waiting for you in Los Angeles, and while there is no Latin King Restaurant here, there is some good food. LINK

Democratic National Convention:

The Boston Globe 's Yvonne Abraham reports on how the DNC is catering to big donors in Boston — and we mean more than just the food! LINK

California recall, Arnold:

Splashed across the front page of the Los Angeles Times is this headline: "Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them"

Printing this story five days before the election will only add to Schwarzenegger's argument that the Los Angeles Times' coverage of this recall is somewhat slanted. However, these kinds of investigative pieces take time to come to fruition. Lots of t's to cross and i's to dot.

ABC News' Schifrin reports that Schwarzenegger campaign staffers don't expect the candidate to answer any questions related to these charges. We wonder if the first-time candidate will be able to handle today's frenzied press corps with the same ease he handled that egg throwing incident.

Gary Cohn, Carla Hall, and Robert W. Welkos have the byline on what will certainly prove to be the story of the day in recall land. LINK

"Six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets, in studio offices and in other settings over the last three decades say he touched them in a sexual manner without their consent."

More Cohn/Hall/Welkos: "According to the women's accounts, one of the incidents occurred in the 1970s, two in the 1980s, two in the 1990s and one in 2000."

"'Did he rape me? No,' said one woman, who described a 1980 encounter in which she said Schwarzenegger touched her breast. 'Did he humiliate me? You bet he did.'"

And still more: "None of the six women who gave their accounts to The Times filed any legal action against him."

"Schwarzenegger's campaign spokesman, Sean Walsh, said the candidate has not engaged in improper conduct toward women. He said such allegations are part of an escalating political attack on Schwarzenegger as the recall election approaches."

The paper claims to have not learned of any of the women from Schwarzenegger's opponents in the recall campaign. However, a story such as this one certainly plays directly into the Davis campaign's strategy of casting this election as Davis v. Schwarzenegger and continuing to hammer away at the uncertainty Californians may have about hiring the movie star for Sacramento's top job.

Joe Matthews and Gregg Jones of the Los Angeles Times write-up Schwarzenegger's unveiling of his plans for his first 100 days in office. LINK

"All but declaring himself California's next governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday triumphantly announced a 10-step plan for his first 100 days in office and declared that if legislators don't follow his lead, he'll seek approval for his proposals through the initiative process."

"'I am not here today to talk about campaigning,' Schwarzenegger, hoarse from the campaign, told an audience of several hundred local Republicans at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium. 'I'm here today to talk about governing.'"

The Washington Post 's William Booth and Rene Sanchez write that criticism of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a "rookie campaign" with little specifics hasn't stuck to the actor.LINK

The Washington Times ' James Lakely looks at Schwarzenegger's plan for his first 100 days in office, including an angry response to the Los Angeles Times poll by state Senator Tom McClintock. LINK

The poll shows that if he were the only Republican in the race, he would beat Bustamante by the same margin as it shows Schwarzenegger winning, McClintock said.

"'The frustrating thing is, if everyone who thought I was the better person voted for me, we'd win the election,' Mr. McClintock said, lamenting that 'people are voting according to somebody else's political calculations instead of their convictions.'"

Margaret Telev and Aurelio Rojas of the Sacramento Bee report about the questions surrounding a Schwarzenegger campaign loan. LINK

"Supporters of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante plan to file suit today alleging Arnold Schwarzenegger violated state laws by taking out $4 million in loans for his gubernatorial campaign."

California recall:

Mark Z. Barabak reports that national Democrats aren't worried about a political sea change in California even if Arnold Schwarzenegger emerges victorious in the recall. LINK

California recall, the governor:

Robert Salladay of the San Francisco Chronicle portrays an upbeat Gray Davis despite the poll numbers. LINK

The results of the Los Angeles Times poll and the view that the race is tightening is pushing some reluctant Davis allies into the fore. Gloria Molina of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors tells La Opinion that despite previous chilly relations with the Davis team, she is now going to join the anti-recall campaign in its last days because "it is obvious an important percentage of the Latino community hasn't gotten the message that it is necessary to vote against the recall." LINK

California recall, the Democrat:

The speculation as to whether or not Cruz Bustamante is planning on withdrawing from the race gets some play in the California Political Review. LINK

"Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is 'highly likely' to drop out of the race to replace Gov. Gray Davis tomorrow barring a last minute change of mind, according to a Sacramento source close to the lieutenant governor's campaign."

"As panic over a looming Republican capture of the governor's office has spread from the Davis camp through the ranks of Democrat elected officials and donors, Bustamante has been subjected to enormous pressure to withdraw his candidacy. Top level Democrats believe Bustamante now has no hope of overtaking Arnold Schwarzenegger on the candidate portion of the ballot, and that he is, in fact, sinking so fast he could finish third, behind both Schwarzenegger and state Senator Tom McClintock."

"Many Democrats now believe their only chance of retaining the governor's office is to defeat the recall. They hope Bustamante's withdrawal will convince enough of the 27 to 30 percent of registered Democrats now supporting the recall to change their minds once they see no chance of replacing an ousted Davis with another Democrat."

California recall:

Ah, man, much as these California guys try to do it their way, politics' conventions have a way of winning the day. The New York Times ' Ruttenberg on the still-true modern campaign truth, the television ad is king. LINK

The Los Angeles Times on the McClintock faithful: LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Martin writes up the Sacramento scuttlebutt of the nuts and bolts ramifications if Governor Davis is recalled. LINK

"Firing the 192 state employees who work directly under Gov. Gray Davis will cost taxpayers $600,000 in vacation buyouts."

Politics: The Washington Post 's Eric Pianin reports on the Democrats (and Senator Jeffords') decision to block Governor Leavitt's nomination to head the EPA. LINK

USA Today 's Kathy Kiely reports on the new TV ads on prescription drugs by Main Street Republicans. LINK

USA Today 's Kathy Kiely takes a look at the political influence (and money!) of American Indian tribes. LINK

USA Today 's Debbie Howlett reports that Cook County, Ill., has become the latest "local government to sanction an alternative to same-sex marriage." LINK

Per the AP, "Andrew Young, the former mayor and ambassador who told Georgia Democratic leaders he planned to run for U.S. Senate next year, is now telling close friends that he is leaning toward skipping the race." LINK


Reuters reports on the possibility of Gore TV, which "could potentially emerge as a competitor to Fox News Channel." Gore and a group of investors "are close to buying a small cable news channel from Vivendi Universal for $70 million." LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports on the third suit filed over the Clinton Library site in Little Rock.

Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter "called the suit 'meritless' and said his office was prepared to fight the Clinton library battle for the third time in five years." LINK