Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):
—9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —9:45 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan —10:00 am: House convenes for morning business —10:40 am: President Bush meets with the president of Colombia, White House —10:45 am: Senator Joe Lieberman holds a media availability at Vanderbilt Caterers, Plainview, N.Y. —11:25 am: President Bush meets with the prime minister of Pakistan, White House —11:30 am: Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun participates in Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit, Scottsdale, Ariz. —12:15 pm: On-camera White House press briefing with Scott McClellan —1:30 pm: Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at the Memorial Auditorium about his plans for the first 100 days of a Schwarzenegger administration, Sacramento —2:10 pm: President Bush signs the appropriations act for the Department of Homeland Security, D.C. —2:30 pm: Senate Intelligence Committee holds a closed meeting on pending intelligence matters, Capitol Hill —2:45 pm: Maria Shriver speaks to female business leaders, Eureka, Calif. —2:45 pm: Senator John Kerry holds an environmental press event, West Dallas, Texas —3:00 pm: Governor Gray Davis campaigns with General Wesley Clark at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum, Los Angeles —3:25 pm: President Bush has a photo op with members of the International Space Station Expedition Crew Six, White House —5:30 pm: Governor Davis is joined by Arianna Huffington to announce California's acquisition of the 2,960-acre Ahmanson Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, Calabasas, Calif. —5:30 pm: Senator Bob Graham attends a private campaign fundraiser, Coral Gables, Fla. —6:00 pm: State Senator Tom McClintock holds a press conference about power contracts, Pasadena, Calif. —7:00 pm: Democratic campaign strategists participate in "What it Takes to Win NH" forum at St. Anslem College, Manchester, N.H. —7:30 pm: Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante campaigns with General Clark at the Century Plaza Hotel, Century City, Calif.
Step off of Wilson Lane for long enough to:
-- Read the latest Los Angeles Times poll on the recall, which validates the Gallup trajectory, if not velocity. LINK
We like to let the voters decide, unaffected by end-game media coverage being dominated by the results of polling, but The Note can't hide from the reality that widely disseminated polling creates a reality of its own, and the Democrats better figure out how to deal with that.
Mike Finnegan's aggressive/understated lead: "A solid majority of likely voters favors removing Gov. Gray Davis from office in the recall election Tuesday, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has surged ahead of his rivals in the race to succeed him, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll."
-- Recognize that Howard Dean's fundraising is going to give him, at a minimum, a lot more flexibility than any other Democrat running (and, yes, we meant the double entendre there).
As USA Today points out (and at least one Web-based political tip sheet has been saying for months), the fact that all the other Democrats running believe that one of them will emerge as the Dean Alternative, and the fact that none of them is setting the world on fire in raising money, mean that none of them really "has to" get out of the race because of weak third-quarter numbers. LINK