But despite the day's decision, the candidate and his campaign say all is far from lost.
"I'm not going to tell you it's a good thing that they decided not to endorse but we're pleased that about 60 international affiliate unions are now freed up to endorse the candidate they choose," said Gephardt spokesman Erik Smith. "We're moving ahead. We're going to nail down as many unions as possible and plan to keep building winning organizations in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond."
Unions backing Gephardt tell ABC News they plan to put together a "Labor for Gephardt" group that will mobilize on the congressman's behalf. Stay tuned to The Note for more on this effort.
Per the AP, the AFL-CIO is delaying an endorsement decision making it "less likely" that Gephardt "will boost his flagging campaign" with labor's "most coveted prize." LINK
Meanwhile, AFSCME's Gerry McEntee met with The General in Washington yesterday. No word from AFSCME on an endorsement but it is duly Noted that the union was the first to back Bill Clinton in 1991.
The New York Times writes up the story with comment from the candidate himself.
"I've got 14 and we're going to get many more," Mr. Gephardt said in a telephone interview from Philadelphia. "It's like anything in politics. You go at it a day at a time. I think we're really in a great spot. Whether or not we get to the two-thirds, we're going to have the lion's share of union support." LINK
And reaction from Howard Dean in the same Times story:
"I think it's good for the labor movement, good for the Democrats," Dr. Dean said in Los Angeles, while his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, said, "This gives us another month or two to go out and continue to build our support."
Jeff Zeleny writes up the story with this from Steve Elmendorf.
"We've always thought that it was hard to do," said Steve Elmendorf, the Gephardt campaign chief of staff. "We're running against nine other candidates who are trying to stop us." LINK
The Washington Post 's Dan Balz writes the AFL-CIO's Sweeney said "labor could revisit the endorsement issue, although Democratic sources said that is not likely." LINK
Kerry and Joe Biden plan to offer an amendment that would "repeal tax cuts for individuals making more than $300,000 a year," the AP reports. LINK
In a bit of sound used on CNN's "American Morning," Kerry went after President Bush on the Wilson matter: "'President Bush's father called those who expose the names of national security sources 'traitors,''' Kerry said. 'And this President Bush needs to start going after any traitors in his midst — and that means more than an inside once-over from his friend — and Karl Rove's client — John Ashcroft.'" LINK
Senator Kerry has an editorial in the Des Moines Register today about Iraq. LINK
Slate's Saletan covered Kerry's speech at Brookings Tuesday and came away thinking:
-- No candidate does "loose and funny" worse than Kerry — and this includes Gore and Dean.
-- Kerry's speeches are "invariably pointlessly ornate."
-- A "defensive mentality" now consumes Kerry. LINK
Kerry's got Hart. LINK
But will he get a star on the Walk of Fame? The New York Times on the Hollywood Phenom that is Wesley Clark.
(Note to Fabiani: We gotta ask, does The General still have time for weekly cell phone chats with Hollywood producers?) LINK
The New York Post reports that Clark "remains a registered Washington lobbyist." LINK