The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—8:00 am: Senator Joe Lieberman attends a campaign breakfast fundraiser, New Haven, Conn. —8:30 am: Reverend Al Sharpton participates in the second part of his endorsement interview with the National Education Association, D.C. —9:40 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan —11:00 am: Congressman Dennis Kucinich has a breakfast meeting with the members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, Westwood, Calif. —12:00 pm: Reverend Sharpton speaks at the Baptist Minister's Convention, D.C. —12:00 pm: Senator Lieberman attends a campaign fundraising reception, Bridgeport, Conn. —12:00 pm: House convenes for a pro forma session —12:15 pm: On-camera White House press briefing with Scott McClellan —1:00 pm: Senate convenes for morning business —2:00 pm: President Bush meets with members of the 2003 Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils, White House —2:30 pm: Senator John Kerry holds an event with the International Association of Fire Fighters, Manchester, N.H. —2:30 pm: Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar holds a press conference to discuss the Iraq supplemental appropriations, Capitol Hill —3:00 pm: Maria Shriver speak to local businesswomen, Santa Barbara, Calif. —3:15 pm: Governor Gray Davis discusses California's healthy families program with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Santa Monica, Calif. —3:25 pm: General Wesley Clark greets supporters gathered for "The General's Assembly" at Woolridge Park, Austin, Texas —3:30 pm: President Bush signs the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act, White House —5:00 pm: Governor Howard Dean participates in "Dr. Dean's National House Call," Los Angeles —5:00 pm: Senator Lieberman attends a campaign fundraising reception, Danbury, Conn. —6:30 pm: Senator Lieberman attends a campaign fundraising reception, Old Greenwich, Conn. —8:00 pm: General Clark speaks at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas —8:00 pm: Senator Lieberman attends a campaign fundraising reception, Stamford, Conn. —8:00 pm: Arnold Schwarzenegger holds an "Ask Arnold" town hall forum, Fresno, Calif. —10:00 pm: State Senator Tom McClintock speaks to the Sun City Republican Club, Roseville, Calif. —11:00 pm: Governor Davis participates in a town hall forum sponsored by Univision, Los Angeles

NEWS SUMMARY

Everyone take a deep breath.

The Bush people will say "you don't really mean it," and the Clinton people will say "oh, NOW you say that," but before every member of the Gang of 500 collectively decides to which noun to attach to the suffix "gate," let's slow down and evaluate how you BosWash elites can do the right thing on this Wilson story.

Back when The Note was young, we used to get all jazzed up whenever we saw shoe-is-on-the-other-foot hypocrisy by one party or the other on Washington/White House scandals.

But, over the years, as we have become as wizened as Ed Walsh's pinkie, we raised the bar for what outrages us.

Still, every so often we trot out our "imagine if Clinton did that … " question, and this is such a case.

Remember — revealing the names of agents has been a Daddy Party/Mommy Party split for years, as part of the "national security versus civil liberties" debates of the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

Imagine if a major newspaper reported that the CIA wanted the Clinton Justice Department headed by an attorney general whose former political consultant is now the president's top political adviser to investigate if the White House improperly revealed the name of an agent for apparently political purposes.

We are in the phase of the story in which reporters are mostly going to the Chuck Schumers of the world to let them express moral outrage.

But what happens when the press goes to the Duncan Hunters of the world (long-time defenders of the importance of protecting the names of agents)?

What will Rush Limbaugh say about this?

And will the Democratic Party see this as a "when your opponent is shooting himself in the foot … " situation? Or will they pile on?

It's probably going to remain irresistible to end-of-quarter fundraising presidential Democrats.

As we all know, there are two kinds of White House scandals: those in which the president's party circles the wagons, opposes any investigation, and downplays every aspect of the controversy, and ones in which a Howard Bakerian "what did the president's men do and when did they do it?" question makes it a bipartisan horse of a different color.

If you haven't read the original Wilson/ Washington Post story that escalated this from NBC's Web report on the referral to Justice to the mega position it is in now, read the entire Mike Allen/Dana Priest extravaganza — one of the most memorable pieces of White House journalism produced in the Bush era. LINK

The keyest parts:

"Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."

"'Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge,' the senior official said of the alleged leak. … "

"The official would not name the leakers for the record and would not name the journalists. The official said there was no indication that Bush knew about the calls."

"It is rare for one Bush administration official to turn on another. Asked about the motive for describing the leaks, the senior official said the leaks were 'wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson's credibility.'"

There is more, of course, than the Wilson matter going on. But there is lots more on that below.

There's other trouble brewing for the administration on Iraq, as they try to get the $87 billion approved.

There's that letter from House Intelligence saying we need more humint, broken by the Washington Post ; there's the Washington Post today taking yet another whack at the Cheney Prague-Atta claim; and Doug Jehl's lead New York Times story (which we are sure Judy Miller will read with great interest) suggesting some of the U.S. government Iraqi dissident sources haven't been so accurate.

And on the Democratic side, the kind of bickering to which we have all become inured had quite a weekend.

Gephardt and Kerry versus Dean on Medicare and consistency.

Edwards versus Clark on the profit motive.

Dean versus Clark on Democratic bona fides.

Clark's spokespeople versus Clark's spokespeople on criticizing other candidates.

More on all that below too.

The Democratic National Committee meets in D.C. from Thursday to Saturday, and the presidential candidates are expected to make appearances.

President Bush will meet with members of the 2003 Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils and sign the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act in separate events at the White House today.

On Tuesday, he travels to Chicago for a lunchtime fundraiser and a meeting with business leaders. He also has a another fundraiser in Cincinnati on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, the president meets with the prime minister of Pakistan and later signs the appropriations act for the Department of Homeland Security at the White House.

On Thursday, the president will make remarks at the White House to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.

On Friday, the president will make remarks on the economy and attend a fundraiser in Milwaukee. President and Mrs. Bush will attend the 2003 National Book Festival Gala at the Library of Congress in D.C. on Friday evening.

General Clark campaigns in Austin, Texas, this morning, where he will attend a fundraiser at the home of advertising executive Roy Spence.

Clark also greets supporters in Woolridge Park in Austin, and he later speaks at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Clark campaigns in D.C. on Tuesday, meeting with congressional members on Capitol Hill.

He campaigns in Los Angeles on Wednesday, attending a fundraiser at producer Norman Lear's house co-hosted by comedian Larry David. He also will campaign with Governor Davis on Wednesday, and possibly appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Senator Kerry holds a press event this morning with members of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Manchester, N.H. He campaigns with nurses in D.C. on Tuesday. He fundraises on Wednesday in Austin, Texas.

He campaigns in Iowa on Thursday. He's back in D.C. on Friday.

Governor Howard Dean participates in "Dr. Dean's National House Call" in Los Angeles today.

He campaigns more in California tomorrow in Riverside and Los Angeles. He is scheduled to be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday. He begins a four-day, eight-city "Generation Dean" tour on Friday.

Congressman Gephardt participates in "Gephardt Parties Across America" on Tuesday.

Senator Edwards attends a breakfast fundraiser this morning in Austin, Texas. He attends a meet-and-greet in New York City on Tuesday.

Senator Lieberman fundraises in Connecticut today, in New York tomorrow, and on Thursday in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. He will attend the DNC meeting in D.C. on Friday.

Senator Graham attends fundraisers in Los Angeles today. He will attend what the campaign calls their largest dinner fundraiser of the campaign so far later in the week at the Biltmore in Miami.

Congressman Kucinich has breakfast this morning with members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Westwood, California.

Reverend Sharpton meets with the National Education Association this morning and addresses the Baptist Minister's Convention this afternoon in D.C. Sharpton celebrates his birthday on Thursday and attends the NAACP of South Carolina meeting on Friday.

Ambassador Moseley Braun is in Chicago today and has no public events announced yet for the week.

In the recall:

Governor Davis meets with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to discuss California's healthy families program this morning in Santa Monica. Later, he participates in a town hall forum in Los Angeles sponsored by Univision.

Lieutenant Governor Bustamante has no public events scheduled for today.

Arnold Schwarzenegger holds an "Ask Arnold" town hall forum today near Fresno. He campaigns in San Francisco on Tuesday.

Maria Shriver will speak to local businesswomen in Santa Barbara today.

State Senator Tom McClintock speaks tonight to the Sun City Republican Club in Roseville, California.

Wilson is more than a volleyball:

This morning, ABC News producer Andrea Owen happened to find herself near Karl Rove (who was walking to his car), and an ABC camera.

Owen: "Did you have any knowledge or did you leak the name of the CIA agent to the press?"

Rove: "No."

At which point, Mr. Rove shut his car door as Ms. Owen asked, "What is your response to the fact that Justice is looking into the matter?"

At the White House gaggle, Scott McClellan said that disclosure "particularly of this nature is a serious matter," and it should be pursued to fullest extent possible. The Justice Department, he said, is the appropriate agency to do that. No information has been brought to the attention of the White House beyond press accounts.

"Should the leaker be fired?," he was asked. On third inquiry Scot said "If a source leaked information of this nature, yes."

As of this morning, the White House hadn't heard from Justice.

It might not be fair and it might not be right, but 480 members out of the Gang of 500 have the same theory about what happened, and The Note's strong belief in the First Amendment makes us duty bound to tell you about this operating premise.

Based on the original Novak story; on the language in yesterday's Washington Post story; on the "kind" of people Novak talks to; on the prophetic warnings of Wayne Slater; and on the fact that CIA agents have memories and the capacity to hold grudges nearly as long as the Bush family — based on all that, here's what people are thinking:

Two White House officials lashed out at Wilson, hoping to smear him in the minds of enough elite reporters to discredit him before his platform grew. They didn't want his wife's name out there in the public domain, so much as they wanted it in the brains of gatekeeping reporters.

Again, it might not be right or fair, but we dare you to find a member of the Gang who doesn't think the Post 's source was someone familiar with George Tenet's thinking.

No one was able to (or probably will be able to) match the Post quotes — so news organizations this cycle were left either ignoring them or quoting them. But make no mistake — it is those quotes that set this story on fire.

Since several of you have asked: the THEORETICAL reason the White House would have had to try to nip Wilson stories in the bud by putting out the fact that his wife is a CIA operative would be to try to discredit Wilson by saying he only got the assignment because of his wife, and that he would have been too captive to the CIA mindset on (read: against) the war.

Wilson on Good Morning America admitted that he got a bit carried away in his froggy speech in naming Rove.

One veteran of the Clinton legal controversies asks all these questions, some of which were addressed at the gaggle:

Has President Bush made clear to the White House staff that only total cooperation with the investigation will be tolerated? If not, why not?

Has he insisted that every senior staff member sign a statement with legal authority that they are not the leaker and that they will identify to the White House legal counsel who is?

Has Bush required that all sign a letter relinquishing journalists from protecting those two sources? Has Bush said that those involved in this crime will be immediately fired? If not, why not?

Has Albert Gonzalez distributed a letter to White House employees telling them to preserve documents, logs, records? If not, why not?

Has Andy Card named someone on his staff to organize compliance? If not, why not?

White House officials who might have legal or political exposure on this are going to have to decide whether to hire lawyers or not, and the White House counsel's office is going to have to decide what legal help they can and should provide to officials if and when the DOJ wants to talk to them.

That means that the '90s practice of every Washington bureau of calling members of the bar to see who has hired whom is about to heat back up. The first one to report someone hiring a criminal lawyer wins a prize, as does the first person who develops that lawyer as a source on all this.

A reminder that students of recusal politics will have to consider the Rove-Ashcroft history: LINK

Note to MSNBC on TV and Nightly producers who were on duty on Saturday: You really should check out the MSNBC Web site — it has good stuff, and sometimes breaks news.

All of today's stories, eating the dust of the Post 's Sunday story:

New York Times : Carl Hulse and David Sanger LINK

Washington Post 's Mike Allen, taking a second-day victory lap with a phony lead. LINK

Howie Kurtz on the media angle. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Cloud, Hamburger and Fields have a very balanced story.

The Los Angeles Times' Richard Schmitt doesn't advance the story any, but he brings his Los Angeles Times readers up to date. LINK

USA Today : Barbara Slavin LINK

Boston Globe : Mary Leonard and Bryan Bender LINK

Dictionary.com: frog march. LINK

The politics of national security:

Washington Post 's Dana Priest and Glenn Kessler report that Vice President Cheney, "the administration's most vociferous advocate for going to war with Iraq," continues to suggest that an Iraqi intelligence agent met with a 9/11 hijacker in Prague, "the single thread the administration has pointed to that might tie Iraq to the attacks." LINK

"Neither the CIA nor the congressional joint inquiry that investigated the assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon found any evidence linking Iraq to the hijackers or the attacks. President Bush corrected Cheney's statement several days later."

"The vice president's role in keeping the alleged meeting in Prague before the public eye is an illustration of the administration's handling of intelligence reports in the run-up to the war, when senior officials sometimes seized on reports that bolstered the case against Iraq despite contradictory evidence provided by the U.S. intelligence community."

The Boston Globe 's Mary Leonard and Bryan Bender write that the White House "scrambled yesterday to answer fresh attacks on the credibility of its case for toppling Saddam Hussein … " LINK

"The CIA defended itself against charges by two congressional critics that there were 'significant deficiencies' in the intelligence community's ability to gather information on Iraq before the U.S.-led war," the AP reports. LINK

The New York Post 's Deborah Orin argues that the Iraq war has strengthened U.S. credibility around the world. LINK

USA Today 's Kathy Kiely previews what's expected to be some heated debate this week on the Iraq reconstruction costs. LINK

"The White House defended its proposal to spend $87 billion on Iraq and Afghanistan, while disputing assertions by leaders of the House Intelligence Committee that President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq on the basis of outdated and vague information," the AP reports. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The New York Times ' Stevenson and Nagourney turn for the Right Guy on the Bush-Cheney '04 strategy and find:

-- Campaign officials said they are likely to report more than $80 million raised since late June (Yes, that is an eight in the tens place for all you Dems out there … ) -- Bush's senior advisers find the Democratic crowd "unusually weak and divided." -- Karl Rove says when the nominee is finally selected, "our expectation is that it could be a close and hard-fought race." -- The re-elect folks are gathering a "pile of cash for a blanket advertising campaign expected to begin around the time Democrats settle on their candidate early next year." -- Ed Gillespie says of the field of aspiring Democratic nominees: "They're all Howard Dean now." LINK

Newsweek's Howard Fineman and Tamara Lipper give us a look at the Bush-Cheney campaign plan that will center on "state-of-the-art, precinct-by-precinct ground game to get out the base; a flag-waving defense of Bush's 'doctrine of pre-emption' and the Patriot Act; an equally stout defense of tax cuts, with the parallel dare to Democrats to "raise" taxes; finally, a depiction of Bush as a decent, resolute man of faith-a rock in parlous times."

Despite news over the last few weeks that could pose significant problems for the re-election campaign, "a sense of reality is setting in here, but no sense of panic," a Bush aide said.

Fineman and Lipper also give us an exciting and shorter way to refer to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign which is "known on the inside as 'BC04.'" LINK

Howard Fineman admitted on Imus that he hasn't read the "Friends" cover story that bumped his Bush piece off of the cover.

The Los Angeles Times on the politics of steel from yesterday: LINK

In today's Baltimore Sun, Robert Novak lists reason after reason, after reason that Bush's re-election chances continue to swan dive to levels not seen since 2000, countering the Newsweek article. LINK

"But failure marks current efforts of the president and his vaunted political team, headed by Karl Rove. This judgment was made to me by a well-known Republican operative experienced in two presidential campaigns: 'For the first time, there doesn't seem to be a plan.'"

We await Novak's next column (presumably about Topic A); we urge you to read the last paragraph of today's; and you should laugh along with the finance staff on the column's premise that BC04 is having fundraising problems!

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Mercer Reynolds, BC04 Finance Chairman. Reynolds, an investment banker, former Ambassador to Switzerland and a Bush Pioneer in 2000, will oversee what is expected to be the largest fundraising haul in presidential election history but is "eager to cool down such expectations." LINK

The Union Leader's Jack Kenny looks at the price of access at BC04 fundraisers, where an additional $1000 often gets you a photo op with the president or vice president. LINK

More from the Granite State: GOP officials are excited about the possibility of an upcoming presidential visit. PoliticsNH.com reports that President Bush might kick off his campaign in New Hampshire sometime this month, "his fourth trip to New Hampshire since the 2000 election and his first since the presidential primary campaign has officially begun last week." LINK

Vice President Dick Cheney was in Manchester last week and raised $175,000.

The Hill's Dick Morris pushes a four-point plan on Karl Rove in order to "resurrect this dying presidency." LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Helen Dewar's Saturday Washington Post story on the Republicans probably having to defer more tax cuts and the Democrats more spending (and vice versa) is the ultimate Big Casino budget story. LINK

The economy:

USA Today 's Peronet Despeignes reports, "Sales are rising, profits are growing, investment is picking up and the stock market has rallied. After three years of financial implosions, terrorist attacks and wars, the U.S. economy is coming out of hibernation and could soon expand at a pace not seen since the boom years of the 1990s." LINK

And, presidential candidates take Note, Despeignes writes, "Even if joblessness lingers long enough to give Bush the worst jobs record since Hoover, that's no sure end to his re-election chances."

"Comparisons to President Franklin Roosevelt, not Hoover, might be more appropriate … "

The economy grew more in the second quarter than had been previously estimated — with a GDP of 3.3%, as opposed to the earlier assessment of 3.1%, the Wall Street Journal 's Lagomarsino and Crane report. Buw while businesses scaled down inventories and home building increased, consumer confidence is slightly down.

Keying off a Census Bureau report released Friday, the AP reports: "Poverty rose and income levels declined in 2002 for the second straight year as the nation's economy continued struggling after the first recession in a decade." LINK

"Even before the data was made public, House Democrats charged the Bush administration was trying to hide bad economic news by releasing the numbers on a Friday when people are paying more attention to the upcoming weekend. In previous years, the estimates were released on a Tuesday or Thursday."

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Today is the day … the Hillary for Senate (that is Senate … not some office that starts with "P," all you gossip hunter and gatherers out there) luncheon organized by one Mr. Fred P. Hochberg.

We hear it sold so well they are taking the joint over (Eleven Madison that is --LINK)

Exclusively here … some Notes on the $1000-a-plate* gathering:

Special guest: Robert E. Rubin (who we hear will take to the mic).

Among the hosts: Fred P. Hochberg, Bob Kerrey, Bill & Sheila Lambert, Anne Hess, Craig Kaplan.

And how about the co-hosts? Among the ranks: Hillary Rosen, Andy Tobias, Mike Berman … and more!

Eats exclusively Empire State: Local duck appetizers, local green market tomatoes, striped bass from Montauk.

Guests of Note: Evelyn Lauder, Virginia Fields, Denny Farrell, Howard Wolfson, Dan Canter, Jack Lew

Maureen White … and more!

We love the table names (no numbers, because that is SO 2000)

A sampling:

Seamus (as in the dog, not the writer) Empire State The Shuttle Living History It Takes a Village Senate House Treasury Armed Services Environment Health Education (for her committees)

(But where is Table 1600? we'd ask?)

Why such an early start?

Well, the invitation tells the tale:

"Senator Clinton remains a lightning rod for hostility and fundraising from the far right. And she has been conspicuously targeted by the Republican Party for a major challenge to her re-election."

"That's why your early support of the Senator's re-election fund is so critical. New York needs her. The Democratic Party needs her. America needs her."

*For a mere three grand more, guests will "be seated at either Senator Clinton or Secretary Rubin's table."

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary: The Washington Post 's Sabrina Jones rounds up the Democratic firms and consultants who are benefitting from booming business, complete with Evan Tracey's estimate that a whopping $100 million has been spent on issue ads across the country. LINK

Dems charge hard against the surge of Campaign Clark and the New York Times Notes, "The new focus on General Clark, who shook up the campaign and the polls when he entered the race this month, suggests that he may no longer sail easily through the fray as he did in Thursday's presidential debate, where most candidates focused their criticism on Dr. Dean." LINK

Ron Brownstein points out that many Democratic presidential contenders complain of President Bush's foreign policy bravado, but employ similarly toned rhetoric when talking about trade. LINK

"Virtually every other Democratic contender [in addition to Dean] is simultaneously promising to mend fences with our allies and to get tough with them over trade."

"There are good arguments for both positions. But taken too far, the pledge to crack heads on trade could undermine the promise to smooth relations with the world on everything else."

Note to the RNC "They Said It!" staff: If you haven't already started on Brownstein's column, get busy.

So much money needed, only so many Democratic donors. With the end of the third quarter only hours away, Democratic presidential hopefuls (besides Dean) are frantically shaking the money tree and counting on their own versions of "rangers" and "pioneers" to help them stay viable in the race, reports the Wall Street Journal 's Jeanne Cummings.

In the face of an insurgent who's taken the Internet by storm and rounded up thousands of small donors, not to mention an incumbent who's expected to report raising $40 million for the quarter, the others are hoping to come up with more modest numbers — around $6 for Senator Kerry and $4 million for Congressman Gephardt, Cummings writes.

"The Democrats' problem goes beyond the primary. While they are beating each other up, President Bush, unopposed in his primary, will use his war chest to boost his image. The eventual Democratic nominee very well could emerge from the primary broke, but the president probably will have plenty of money until the two parties' nominees begin receiving taxpayer funds for their general-election campaigns around Labor Day."

If you're looking for a front-runner in the Democratic pack, Mr. Lightman urges you to reconsider and offers these quotables:

-- Lieberman backer Rep. John Larson: "Everyone, with the exception of Dean, is struggling with regard to money."

-- International Association of Firefighters President Schaitberger on Dick Gephardt and his failure to lead the Democrats back to a House majority: "He has to take some responsibility for what's happened there." LINK

The Washington Post 's Kurtz reports that Americans don't like "gotcha" reporting anymore; at least that's what Joe Trippi thinks. LINK

And Kurtz also thinks things are pretty boring right now with these presidential hopefuls. LINK

"Organized labor has yet to organize when it comes to choosing a Democrat to challenge President Bush. Late entrant Wesley Clark is shaking up the process even further, with some key unions delaying endorsement plans to see if he energizes voters," the AP's Leigh Strope reports.

AFSCME, the AFT, SEIU and IBEW are all contemplating delays in their endorsement decisions. LINK

Hall and Oates, Peaches and Cream, Clark and Dean? Salon on the cordial relations between the Dean and Clark movements, with a slight emphasis on Clark as the more electable of the duo. LINK

And yes, you gotta check out the accompanying art: LINK

Gephardt and Kerry versus Dean on Medicare and consistency:

Howard Dean did a sit-down with the Associated Press on Friday and the resulting Fournier write-up filled with classic Dean moments was immediately labeled a must read by the Googling monkeys working the weekend shift.

So The Note was minding its own business Saturday morning, monitoring Arnold and Clark in New Hampshire, when our inboxes started to fill to bursting with missives from campaign staffers who were enjoying Fournier with their morning coffee mugs in one hand and Blackberries in the other.

Beyond the now familiar Elmo/Jordan tag team attack on Dean's doctorly fondness for the Medicare program, the Kerry camp took delight in picking through each Dean utterance, spending the next hours spamming the pack with their commentary on line after line — one by one — slicing and dicing the alleged waffles and displaying their indignity throughout the afternoon.

We always love to hear from you, and your research teams, but the monkeys — well, they prefer to get this stuff all at once.

Per the AP, "The Howard Dean-Dick Gephardt feud intensified after the two men appeared on the Sunday talk shows, and Gephardt repeated his claim likening Dean's views to those of Democratic nemesis Newt Gingrich." LINK

"The comparison drew a sharp rebuke from Dean."

"'I'm not going to put up with that,' the former Vermont governor said on CBS' 'Face the Nation.' 'I'm just simply not going to take any guff from Washington Democrats who are part of the problem and not part of the solution.'"

The Boston Globe reports the latest in this "feud." LINK

The Des Moines Register 's Tom Beaumont writes, "The dispute over Medicare [ … ] demonstrates the competition for support from senior citizens in Iowa … ." LINK

More: "Dean said [Gephardt's] attack is a dirty political trick aimed at cutting into his lead in Iowa. Recent polls show Gephardt running second to Dean."

And here's your Newt moment of the day: "'In 1995, Governor Dean was with Gingrich, and I was with Bill Clinton,' Gephardt said Sunday by telephone from Hampton, N.H., where he was campaigning."

Edwards versus Clark on the profit motive:

In his very well-done town meeting Friday night in New Hampshire (Thank you, Brian Lamb.), Clark talked fleetingly about his work after leaving the Pentagon on behalf of companies seeking government contracts.

General Wesley Clark's time out of the Pentagon and in the private sector is stirring criticism from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Wall Street Journal 's Sara Schaefer reports.

Senator Edwards took a shot at Clark's involvement with database management company Acxiom Corp. yesterday on Fox News Sunday, saying his work with them shows a possible disregard for people's privacy rights.

Axicom and JetBlue Airways are under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission based on a complaint that they "improperly shared information about passengers with a company working for the Defense Department."

The nature of Clark's business dealings are sure to get more scrutiny in the days ahead, but it's important to remember that one person's sleazy lobbying is a wire service's "business success." LINK

Saturday, the Washington Post had a story on Clark's work for Axicom. LINK

Edwards is tough on this. LINK

Dean versus Clark on Democratic bona fides:

The AP also reports that Dean "took aim Sunday" at Clark by "questioning his credentials as a Democrat." LINK

(Dean) "called Clark's campaign a desperate move by inside-the-beltway politicians to stop the former Vermont governor's unexpected role as front-runner. 'Now that their candidates are not doing so well, they've gone out and found another one,' said Dean."

Clark's spokespeople versus Clark's spokespeople on criticizing other candidates:

Both Mark Fabiani and Kym Spell had awesome Lehanian "let's hope voters and reporters have attention spans so short they can't connect the beginning of the sentence with the end" quotes:

The AP says, "Clark spokesman Mark Fabiani answered back: 'I think Senator Lieberman is an increasingly desperate candidate and it's unfortunate that instead of articulating a vision for the future as General Clark has with his "New American Patriotism," Senator Lieberman is attacking other Democrats.'" LINK

"'Senator Edwards's year-old campaign has barely registered on polls, so we understand his frustration, but we do not see any value in criticizing other Democrats,' said Kym Spell, a spokeswoman," says the New York Times .

To the Raleigh paper's Wagner, she even called the candidate, for whom she used to work, "John." LINK

And Mr. Fabiani, who apparently worked on the Gore-Lieberman campaign, wants the world to know that he says he has received numerous e-mails from alums of that campaign wondering why Joltin' Joe didn't show this fighting spirit when he was dealing with that complex military ballots questions.

Over to you, Jano.

District of Columbia:

Washington's plan to have a delegate-less primary in January before Iowa and New Hampshire is a fabulous idea that many of the presidential campaigns have gotten excited about, ensuring that the diversity and dynamism of the District's wonderful citizens and vibrant Democratic Party will be at the center of everything important and good for the foreseeable future in American life.

How's that?

The Washington Post 's Monte Reel and Hamil Harris report that both Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton visited local churches in an attempt to secure the African-American vote in the January 13 nonbiding Washington, D.C. primary. LINK

Still, it's Dean that's getting the endorsements from community and African-American leaders.

Clark:

Wow, Clark's getting some boffo coverage, wowing crowds and maybe converting some Dean voters. LINK and LINK

Will she or won't she? The she: Rosa DeLauro The it: A big ole leap from La Vida Lieberman to Camp Clark.

The clue?: A Tuesday night dinner the Nutmeg State Congresswoman is hosting for The General. LINK

What do Stan and Rahm think about this?

The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page looks at the many flip-flops of everyone's favorite Democratic General with presidential aspirations and asks, "Will the real Wesley Clark please stand up?" LINK

The Boston Globe has the knocks on Clark from his peers on the Sunday shows. LINK

The Washington Times ' Ralph Z. Hallow furthers the Clark-as-placeholder-for-Hillary theory, Noting that given Clark's popularity, if he was encouraged to run as a placeholder or possible running mate, there's little incentive or chance to get him to step down. LINK

With echoes of Eisenhower's vow to go to Korea, General Wesley Clark told a New Hampshire audience that if he were elected president he would "go to Iraq myself personally and I would develop an exit strategy that gives us a success and lets us downsize our commitment there." LINK

Asked what would he do about Iraq if elected president today, Clark said he would "change the Secretary of Defense."

The Washington Post 's Bradley Graham reports on Clark's new book, in which he "accuses the Bush administration of carrying out a wrenching turn in U.S. foreign policy away from traditional American principles." LINK

The Washington Times ' editorial board calls Clark another tax-and-spend Democrat. LINK

From ABC News' Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton:

"It's been a weekend of "firsts" for General Clark The Candidate: his first trip to New Hampshire where he gave his first town hall and held his first real rally; his first trip to Washington DC; his first visit to his new campaign headquarters in Little Rock; and his first introductions to many of the people working on his budding staff."

"The grace period on Gen. Clark's 'up from the bootstraps' campaign is coming to an end. The once personable, press-friendly General is holding back from the press, presumably under advice from his advisers and press secretary. And many people-press and citizens-alike are wondering when will he be available for questions?"

"Only once was there a press availability this weekend after the town hall forum Friday evening, but it only allowed for three questions before The General was ushered into his three-car caravan."

"In other inaccessible campaign moments … The General attended a house party hosted by Mary and John Rauh in New Castle --a popular stop for many candidates who are invited to briefly explain their platform. While most other candidates speak for 30 minutes and then take questions from the audience of about 60 people, The General spoke for only 20 minutes and walked off the patio to shake hands. It was only after a few people complained to him that he took questions. And, at one point, a reporter raised his hand to ask a question and General Clark gently refused to answer, saying he was hearing from 'the people.'"

With the amazing (some say: "sexist") subhead "C.L., This Is Not About You," the Washington Post 's Sunday Pol Notes column had this:

"Only a couple of weeks after former Gore strategist Chris Lehane quit the Kerry campaign, Lehane's wife, San Francisco lawyer Andrea Evans, has agreed to work for Wesley K. Clark's campaign. Evans will serve as a liaison between the communications and policy shops in Clark's nascent campaign in Little Rock; there, she'll join Mary Jacoby, who quit her job with the St. Petersburg Times's Washington bureau last week to be a Clark spokeswoman." LINK

This creates a Lehane-as-Macauley-Culkin situation, as he tries to learn how to walk the dog, open soup cans, and open the car door, all without assistance.

Note to Andrea: Doe's chicken sandwiches (available at lunch only) with the spicy cheese; Community Bakery; and any dinner invitation you get from someone who lives in The Heights. That's pretty much all you need to know.

Dean:

The New York Post 's Deborah Orin reports that Howard Dean "blasted" Wesley Clark on Sunday as a "Republican until 25 days ago" who has become the 'desperation" candidate for establishment Democrats. LINK

In an interview with the Associated Press, Howard Dean said he would like to balance the budget in his first term even if it means limiting spending on domestic programs dear to Democrats. LINK

But Dean said "he might have to keep the budget in the red beyond four years to fund his plan for mass transit, renewable energy, road construction, broadband telecommunications and school building."

"'I am determined to get rid of the deficit,' Dean said in an hourlong interview with reporters and editors from The Associated Press. Later he added, 'I am willing to run a deficit longer than I'd like to in order to create jobs.'"

Deanie babies from the Lone Star state flew to New Hampshire and Iowa over the weekend to go door-to-door for Dean. LINK

The New Hampshire Sunday News questions the impact Jeanne Shaheen will have on Kerry's campaign. LINK

"Despite her skills, Shaheen's impact on Kerry's campaign could be negative in New Hampshire. Shaheen is an establishment Democrat, so she is not likely to bring along large numbers of the young, angry Democrats who are drawn to Dean. During her Senate campaign last fall she vocally supported President Bush's tax cuts and his leadership in the war on terror. The last thing Kerry needs in New Hampshire is to turn off liberal voters by making himself look more moderate. By adding Shaheen to his team he risks doing just that."

From ABC News' Dean campaign reporter Marc Ambinder:

"At a senior center in Dubuque, Howard Dean proposed a 'new partnership' between government and care providers to improve long-term care for the elderly, just as the advanced to a new marker."

"Dean's proximate and ultimate audience was Iowa seniors, who have heard for weeks Congressman Dick Gephardt's charge that Dean once favored deep reductions in Medicare."

"The speech and its timing were broadly directed to answer Gephardt's salvos by re-emphasizing his commitment to federally-managed long-term care for older Americans."

"Outside the Dubuque senior center where Dean spoke, a half dozen staffers for Gephardt handed out a packet of mimeographed quotations and transcripts aimed at convincing a reader that Dean was no friend of the federal health care program for the elderly and repeatedly disparaged it in the 1990s."

"The newest wrinkle: that Dean allegedly refused to admit he sided against Democrats and with Newt Gingrich in 1995 when the then speaker-of-the-house was leading the fight to slow Medicare's growth rate."

"Sunday morning, Dean told CBS's Bob Schieffer that 'what I supported was what Bill Clinton signed which saved $200 billion dollars out of Medicare … .Bill Clinton signed the bill and Medicare is still solvent because of that.'"

"Countered Gephardt spokesman Bill Burton, 'Bill Clinton didn't support the cuts in 1995.' And Dean was on record then as speaking favorably about slowing the program's rate of growth."

"Trish Enright, Dean's communications director, called the charge 'ridiculous.'"

"'What Dean supported was what Bill Clinton eventually signed,' she said."

"Dean told reporters later that he was 'farsighted' to support the type of budget trimming in 1995 that Clinton signed two years later."

"'I believe Medicare had to be saved, and I believe … I … supported the plan that ultimately saved Medicare,' he said."

"Over the weekend, Dean's Iowa staff members and several of his supporters discussed whether Gephardt's Medicare charges — what Dean called 'Medi-scare' — would seed doubts in the minds of older Iowans."

"'Iowans don't buy ghost stories from desperate candidates,' Sarah Leonard, Dean's Iowa communications director, said of Gephardt."

"But State Senator Joe Bolkcom, an influential politician in Iowa City who Saturday endorsed Dean, said it was 'too early to tell.'"

"'If the attacks don't work,' he said, 'the governor is successfully appealing to the populist instinct in people.'"

"'That core message is going to trump what he said about Medicare previously.'"

"One prominent Iowa Democrat who supported Dean wondered 'when the statute of limitations' for what Dean said years ago would run out."

"David Redlawsk, a political scientist at the University of Iowa, said that while Iowa is still an 'older' state in demography and temperament, 'it's also a more urban state than it was.'"

"'New economy questions,' Redlawsk said, 'are starting to connect more than more.'"

"But, he said, 'for the last two years, we've been really put upon by the Medicare re-imbursement [system], and it's one thing that people really care about.'"

"Dean's campaign would not say what their internal polling on the question shows."

"And despite that polling shows, no one really knows who'll turn out for the caucuses."

"A copy of the speech given to reporters Saturday night did not contain a reference to the SEIU; a glowing phrase about the union found a prominent place in what Dean delivered. The governor, in fact, was introduced by an SEIU nurse."

"Never forget Steve Rosenthal"

"The title of the health care policy speech was 'A New Partnership For America's Families.' Take 'A New' away and you've got the name of Steve Rosenthal's GOTV outfit for working families."

"Dean met privately this weekend with Reg Weaver and some officials at the National Education Association. A crew filmed an interview with Dean, which will be distributed among top NEA members for the purposes of considering an endorsement."

"Dean told ABC News Sunday that the campaign would decide 'by' November whether to accept federal matching funds (and thus, abide by spending limits) for the primary."

"And finally:"

"Maybe it was the second-hand smoke from the nearby riverboat casinos, but a Saturday night rally outside of Union Station in Davenport, Iowa attracted what the campaign thinks was its first streaker."

"Luckily for everyone, he was young and handsome."

"A few minutes before Dean spoke, a young man in the crowd began to take of his clothes. First, he stripped off his shirt and began to dance with a gaggle of students from the University of Texas at Austin. Then, he took off his pants and boxer shirts, did a full circle with an improvised conga line, threw his hands in the air, screamed 'wahooooo' and then literally ran off into the night."

"And just as Dean finished speaking at said rally, as if on cue, the Union Pacific railroad, as much a symbol of Americana as you can get, lumbered up to railroad tracks nearby and very loudly blew its horn. The crowd cheered."

"'The irony is,' remarked a young Dean volunteer from Davenport, 'that train is full of coal that's going up to Chicago to be burned.'"

Correction: On Friday we incorrectly Noted that Governor Dean did not speak at the DNC dinner following last Thursday's debate in New York City. Governor Dean did in fact speak first. The Note regrets the error.

Gephardt:

Congressman Dick Gephardt was in New Hampshire over the weekend touting his health care plan and continuing his attacks on Bush and Dean. LINK

PoliticsNH.com writes up Gephardt's visit with senior citizens in New Hampshire and his continuing stands at Dean. LINK

From ABC News Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins, who asked Gephardt about the alleged leak blowing the cover of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife:

"'Bush should be held accountable,' Gephardt said. 'He needs to get all his people to cooperate with the Justice Department. It is a violation of federal law and whoever's involved with it should be properly punished. This is a very serious matter. In addition Congress should launch an investigation into this. I don't think we can just have the justice department investigating our own administration. This is a serious matter. The president said he was going to change all that and he needs to be held accountable.'"

"More Gephardt: 'It is a violation of federal law. Obviously if someone in the administration did this, they ought to be punished including stepping down.'"

Kerry:

"Looking to score with party liberals, John Kerry enlisted fellow Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy to join him here Saturday and join in a fiery call for broadened health care and an equally sharp attack on President Bush," the AP's Mike Glover reports. LINK

Patrick Healy in yesterday's Boston Globe had some really lovely Kerry/Kennedy stuff. LINK

"The Kennedy-Kerry tensions are a thing of the past, both men say, but that doesn't mean the senior senator is quietly stepping offstage to give Kerry the spotlight. Kennedy was in full-throated, liberal lion mode yesterday, and he made Kerry look a little like a cub."

"For all the gravitas that gives him a presidential sheen, Kerry doesn't seem to fire up hard-core Democrats the same way a Ted Kennedy, or for that matter, a Howard Dean, can. Kerry drew audiences in the hundreds yesterday, while Dean's crowds often number in the thousands."

"Kennedy acknowledged Dean's impact on Democrats this season. ' Dean has done an incredible job at energizing a very important new constituency, ' he said. ' You have to give him credit for being a very significant figure in this whole prenomination period.'"

Just the way the Kerry campaign would describe it!!

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

"In Boston's Fleet Center, candidate Kerry set aside his stump speech and laced up his skates for the Fourth Annual Celebrity Hat Trick charity hockey game benefiting the Leary Firefighters Foundation. The lone politician on the roster, Kerry glided along the ice with Hollywood stars and hockey legends including event host Denis Leary, Michael J. Fox, Tim Robbins, 'Mr. Hockey' Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Phil Espisito, Cam Neely and Ray Bourque."

"A boisterous portion of the hometown crowd of 15,000 puck-crazy fans booed as Senator Kerry took the ice. Though, if comparative receptions are any indication of the crowd's party allegiance, the hearty booing of activist actor Tim Robbins may shed some light on the subject."

"The crowd and announcers did seem to give Kerry a little something for the effort; at one point, Kerry attempted to feed the puck out front but none of his teammates were there to take the pass. ABC Sports/ESPN anchor John Saunders quipped, 'Kerry passes out front, there's nobody there … kind of like when Joe Lieberman gives a speech.'"

"At a post-game press conference, Leary urged people to vote for candidates who support firefighters and increased funding for all first responders. Robbins agreed, though neither entertainer pointed to the man to their left as the answer. Kerry, who has received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters, committed to restoring full funding, delivering his usual line, "If we can open fire houses in Baghdad, we can keep them open in New York and Boston and everywhere else."

"Of his performance, Kerry asked, "Can anybody take me home?" Sounding very much like a hockey player, he later added, "I just couldn't find the net."

Edwards:

Fox News has a transcript from Edwards' appearance on Fox News Sunday, including his comments calling into question Clark's "regard for individual privacy rights" given the General's "involvement with the database-management company Acxiom Corporation." LINK

From ABC News' Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Riviera:

"Friday morning Senator Edwards attended a breakfast fundraiser at the law firm of Brown, Rudnick Berlack Israels in Providence, Rhode Island. The audience was a mixed bag of Providence professionals. Suggested contribution: $250.00. According to members of the host committee over 100 RSVPs came in with checks attached, actual attendees numbered around 70 including former Rep. Bob Weygand."

"As for South Carolina, it's simple, according to South Carolina state senator Robert Ford. 'We're going to win so big in South Carolina it means the rest of the south is going to follow suit, which means we'll get the nomination. Then all we have to do is win California.'"

"On fundraising, the Edwards campaign says this third quarter will be their lowest yet. They attribute the low third quarter number to the difficulty of raising funds in the summer but more importantly, to their strategy that this third quarter has been one of introduction and in the fourth quarter people will actually get to know Edwards. They say they have never focused on the raising money on the internet. They raise cash by putting John Edwards out in front of people and that is what they will continue to do going into the fourth quarter."

Lieberman:

From ABC News' Lieberman campaign reporter Talesha Reynolds:

"The countdown ticker and the pop-up window on the Joe2004 Web site say it all. The focus for Senator Lieberman in the next two days is money. He will spend the time fundraising in Connecticut and New York, states that are sources of his greatest financial support."

"With such a wide field of candidates fundraising has been difficult, despite Lieberman's name recognition and high status in national polls. If Lieberman takes in the expected $4 million this quarter, he will have made in three quarters what Howard Dean has made so far since July."

"Although Lieberman has been putting on a brave public face, Mark Pazniokas of the Hartford Courant reports that Lieberman is concerned about filling his campaign coffers." LINK

"'I continue to be in the top tier' of candidates in the polls, Lieberman told an audience of campaign donors over coffee. 'The money really is the biggest worry I have. Howard Dean is raising a lot of money on the Internet.'"

Paul Hughes has a write-up on Lieberman's home stretch fundraising effort. LINK

Graham:

From ABC News' Graham campaign reporter Tarana Harris:

"In keeping with the campaign's southern strategy, this weekend Graham attended the football game in South Carolina, spoke at the Young Dem Derby and attended service Sunday at the Brookland Baptist Church. Graham returns to South Carolina for fundraisers on October 8."

"Responding to last week's reports on Graham's poor fundraising situation, Marvin Rosen, Graham's finance chair, acknowledged that summer was slow. According to Rosen, the campaign is just now getting its fundraising operation in to place, and the biggest events will take place in the coming weeks. A dinner at the Biltmore in Miami this week will be the largest to date. Rosen said Graham's speech at the DNC dinner last week, in which he criticized the Bush administration for being driven by one thing, 'O-I-L,' was a hit and produced commitments from major fundraisers. But Rosen doesn't expect major dollars for the third quarter because totals from upcoming events won't be reported until next quarter."

In weekend coverage, Peter Wallsten unravels Graham's strategy, which includes the campaign's low aim for fourth place in Iowa. LINK

Frank Cerabino writes a profile of Graham. LINK

Kucinich:

From ABC News' Kucinich campaign reporter Melinda Arons:

"Progressive liberals are alive and well in California, and they are angry. Angry at Bush, angry at the mainstream media, and REALLY angry at the Democratic Party."

"Kucinich waded in friendly waters this weekend as he made a fundraising sprint in San Francisco and Los Angeles, starting with a fiery speech on his legislation to repeal the Patriot Act to a packed room of supporters at a San Francisco breakfast overlooking the Golden Gate bridge. The highlight came when spiritual guru (and Oprah fave) Marianne Williamson took the mic and implored the crowd to contribute the full $2,000 they're allowed. In a departure from supporters' normal confidence that Kucinich will be the nominee, Williamson addressed the elephant in the living room of these events … .whether he's electable. She proclaimed that she'll 'be in love with' whoever wins the nomination the morning after the convention, but even if it's not Kucinich she wants to keep his voice in the race so that the nominee cannot afford to avoid his positions."

"From the breakfast it was on to a town hall meeting at a community college followed by a panel discussion at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual Center in the Castro (requisite for Democratic candidates making a stop in San Francisco) where Kucinich reiterated his support for gay marriage and an open policy for gays in the military. But by far the most Kucinichian event of the day was his participation Saturday night in the 'Representin'' panel of hip hop and youth personalities at an Oakland community theater. Panelists included local rapper G-Stack, Asian rapper Shingo 2 and a Native American activist wearing turquoise sweatpants and a bumper sticker showing the Cleveland Indians mascot with a strike through it proclaiming 'No red sambos, racism is racism.'"

"After a radio interview in Berkeley Sunday morning Kucinich attended a yoga convention in Los Angeles, a vegan festival in Van Nuys and spoke at a peace rally in Hollywood just outside the Kodak theater. Two fundraisers at private homes in Santa Monica and La Verne followed, where he gave short speeches and took questions, followed by staffers imploring attendees to contribute 'till it hurts.'"

"Two themes that kept being raised over the weekend: his supporters' disgust with the Democratic party, whom they feel has sold out its liberal roots by getting in bed with corporations, and his electability. On the first Kucinich says, 'Sometimes in the Democratic Party I feel like I'm doing missionary work. Right now we just have one party, the Demublicans, which is why a Democrat who challenges that has a very big constituency … .I consider myself a Green Democrat. When people blame the last election on the Greens I say blame the Democrats who didn't adopt Green policies.' Kucinich is also looking into states where he can run as both a Democrat and a Green. Could his campaign take on a Nader-esque spoiler quality for the nominee? Unlikely since it took him so long to get in the good graces with the party, he's unlikely to ruin his relationships in the Congress, but a Green party line would give him a big boost if he could pull it off in some states."

Sharpton:

From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

"On Friday, the New York Daily News reported that Sharpton has serious intentions of using the political might he hopes to gain from his candidacy to oust Mayor Bloomberg." LINK

"Bloomberg's rather light-hearted reaction came along Saturday in the New York Times ." LINK

"Sharpton, after preaching at a church in Raleigh, N.C., reacted to Bloomberg's response: 'I think that everyone that is talking about running clearly said that I would have a lot of influence. I think that if I was Bloomberg, I'd respond the same way — try to whistle my way through the political cemetery, so to speak.' When asked if he was thinking of running for mayor (assuming he doesn't get the nomination, of course), Sharpton said, 'No, I would not run for mayor. I'm talking about supporting someone else. I rule that out — definitively I will not be running for mayor.'"

"Sharpton was absent from the CBC's gala on Saturday night, as he spoke in Wendell, N.C., at the local NAACP chapter's 59th Anniversary. He did however, have some mighty strong words for those candidates who did attend the gala. 'They're trying to practice how to eat soul food and look black for the night.'"

"Sharpton later got choked up while giving a tribute to his mother, who turned 78 on Sunday. There wasn't a dry eye in the place."

"'I'm here tonight because there's a woman who believed that you can be what you want to be. She never went to college, never finished high school. But somewhere along the way, she believed that if God before you, that's more than the whole world against you … She used to scrub floors, was a domestic worker. She used to get on subways in New York with runs in her stockings so I'd have matching socks to go to school. My mother believed against odds. My mother held on when others would laugh. But tomorrow she'll be 78 years old and those that laughed at her ain't laughing no more 'cause her son is running for the presidency of the United States of America.'"

More on his visit to North Carolina: LINK

Iowa:

On Sunday, the Des Moines Register 's Jonathan Roos reported on a new Iowa poll showing "a diminishing majority approve of [Governor Vilsack's] performance" and "forty-five percent believe the state has gotten off on the wrong track, compared with 43 percent who think it's headed in the right direction. That's a change from May, when optimists outnumbered pessimists, 46 percent to 44 percent." LINK

The Des Moines Register 's Jennifer Dukes Lee writes, "Western Iowa Democrats say they're finally getting the attention they deserve." LINK

The Boston Globe 's Patrick Healy writes that the caucuses look pretty normal compared to recounts and recalls. LINK

On Saturday, Dean and Kerry were in Iowa criticizing the failures of Bush and "stressing the need to mend a divided nation with a Democratic president," the Iowa Press-Citizen reports. LINK

Arizona:

The Arizona Republic touts Arizona's growing clout. LINK

California recall:

CNN/ USA Today /Gallup poll:

63% in favor of the recall, 35% opposed.

Schwarzenegger garners 40% compared to Bustamante's 25% and McClintock's 18% on the second portion of the ballot.

And all the (combat) coverage flows from there, even if the poll might be off.

A classic example of broadcast and print coverage being dominated by a poll — amazing.

Mitchell Landsberg, Matea Gold, and Daryl Kelley deliver the mustest must-read of the recall in today's Los Angeles Times. LINK

"Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared to pick up momentum Sunday in his drive to unseat Gov. Gray Davis, with a new poll showing his candidacy on the ascent, and the campaign director for state Senator Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) all but conceding that the actor and fellow Republican was likely to win."

"The poll caught the McClintock campaign flat-footed, and campaign director John Feliz all but conceded that Schwarzenegger may be too far ahead to catch. In fact, he said that private polls — though not one by McClintock's campaign — had shown Schwarzenegger moving up after the candidates debate Wednesday, with Bustamante falling back and McClintock receiving a slight immediate uptick, then stabilizing."

"'That's what we hear,' Feliz said. 'Arnold is moving and Tom has settled down, but Tom's not dropping. I still contend when this is done, Tom will beat Bustamante. He'll come in second.'"

"'I think this whole thing about Tom being a spoiler has created the movement for Arnold. The voters are taking their second choice; Tom's their first choice.'"

The Los Angeles Times team also has Arianna Huffington "reconsidering her role in the race" and Peter Camejo understanding why his supporters may want to vote for Cruz Bustamante.

The poll lands Arnold on the cover of both New York tabloids: LINK and LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci reports that it's getting ugly out there. LINK

"The recall election took a sharper tone Sunday as Gov. Gray Davis' campaign released another ad blasting Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Republican actor-turned-candidate returned fire, calling the frenzied final full week ahead 'hand-to-hand combat.'"

Congressman Dreier sounding so very 2000: "'I've had a front-row seat to see what (Davis) has done to our state,' he said. 'Gray Davis has had his chance. He hasn't led, and Arnold will.'"

Ms. Marinucci also gets the Davis team to do the "we told you so" thing.

"'Bustamante is falling like a rock,' South said. 'His debate performance was weak, his campaign has been weak, and he's not setting the world on fire.'"

"But Richie Ross, Bustamante's political consultant, defended Bustamante, saying 'We didn't create the circumstances where Davis could be recalled. We filed to give Democrats a good alternative.'"

"'It's a little early for the blame game,' he said. 'We're doing the very best we can, and we think Cruz has done a terrific job of mobilizing Latino voters and giving Democrats a very responsible alternative in the event that they are not successful in defeating the recall.'"

"Promising deliverance without sacrifice and a balanced budget without tax increases, Mr. Schwarzenegger made it clear that he considered the recall race in its final days to have boiled down to two choices: himself and Mr. Davis." LINK

USA Today 's John Ritter surveys the scene in light of the new USA TODAY /CNN/Gallup poll. LINK

"California voters are ready to fire Gov. Gray Davis and replace him with actor and political novice Arnold Schwarzenegger, a USA TODAY /CNN/Gallup Poll finds."

Robert Salladay of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the ballot's format may give rise to the "strategic voter." LINK

"For years, political junkies have been stalking the slippery "strategic voter," someone who views elections more like chess than checkers. They vote against a candidate instead of for their favorite, pick weak opponents in open primaries and leave parts of ballots blank to make a statement."

"But while this type of voter is considered rare, the two-part recall election is opening up new arenas for strategic thinkers."

More Salladay: "But going to the polls Oct. 7, voters may face several questions in their own minds. What if the Republican-backed effort to oust the state's leading Democrat ended up electing the state's second most prominent Democrat? Should the GOP vote against the recall in that case, as Issa briefly recommended?"

"If Bustamante does well in the home stretch, will Democrats be more inclined to vote "yes" thinking the party is safe? Will hard-core Bustamante supporters be more likely to oust Davis, even though Bustamante is encouraging people to vote "no" on the recall?"

Yes, it's true, there's a reference to thong underwear in the New York Times piece on archiving recall campaign memorabilia. (We don't make this up, folks, we just write about it … ) LINK

The increased "car tax" takes effect this week. LINK

California recall, Arnold:

Mark Arax of the Los Angeles Times spent a lot of time talking to Arnold's gym-mates from 1970s and dug up some stuff that may belie Schwarzenegger's claim that he was making a lot of stuff up simply to promote body building. LINK

"Bit by bit, Arnold Schwarzenegger chips away at his myth. The stories he told in the 1970s of orgies and pot smoking and cruel tricks were fantastic fibs, he now says, a way to draw attention to himself and his beloved sport of bodybuilding."

"But the men who sweated beside him in those years — fellow Mr. Olympias and Mr. Universes — say Schwarzenegger is tidying up his past as he eyes a new crown, the California governorship. The Schwarzenegger they knew was extreme in everything, from the weights he pounded to the anabolic steroids he consumed, from the merciless tricks he played on lesser men to the women he stole from friends."

Everyone in Southern California (and we mean everyone) seems to have an outrageous Arnold story, but will enough of them break through in the next 8 days to have a real impact on the outcome of the race?

California recall, the governor:

Team Davis calls the CNN/ USA Today /Gallup poll a "joke." Art Torres doing battle on Today this morning with Duf Sundheim says the Democrats' internal polls are far more accurate. We're not quite sure how Mr. Torres is determining the accuracy prior to seeing the election results.

Governor Davis' campaign is pleased with many of the newspaper editorial boards across the state urging their readers to vote no on the recall. But as far as we can tell the Schwarzenegger surging poll numbers seems to get much more prominent play.

Here are some of yesterday's ed board clips: LINK; LINK; LINK

California recall, the rest of the field:

The Los Angeles Times on casino Indian tribes' influence in the recall campaign. LINK

"In no time at all, they have established California's fastest growing industry and have become a powerful force in statehouse politics. Now the state's fabulously prosperous casino tribes are the major players in a historic campaign drama: the gubernatorial recall."

"Having contributed or spent $11.1 million in the recall campaign, the tribes have much at stake in the contest to determine who sits in the Capitol's big corner office."

The Los Angeles Times' George Skelton credits Arianna Huffington for bringing the issue of campaign finance reform to the table. LINK

Politics: If The Note had a bookclub … while continuing to rake in the rave reviews. LINK

American Woman extraordinaire Gail Collins is now receiving televised gushing as she tours the airwaves to discuss her book America's Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines. LINK

USA Today 's Susan Page thinks that General Clark and Arnold Schwarzenegger share at least two things in common: inexperience and appeal. LINK

In the Boston Globe , Cathy Young compares the "hatred" for 43 versus the "hatred" for 42. LINK

In the Boston Globe , E.J. Graff Notes that California "recently leapfrogged the rest of the United States in protecting lesbian and gay pairs." LINK

Salon reports the group charged with creating a technical standard for electronic voting machines "is paralyzed by bitter infighting. Members of the body can't agree on the substance of a proposed standard for voting machines, nor can they even come to a consensus on a fair process for determining such a standard." LINK

The New Haven Register on the political piggy bank that is the Constitution State. LINK

The Scripps-Howard News Service looks at the ways in which FedEx flexes its political muscle. LINK

Bush administration personality/strategy:

James Billington, Librarian of Congress, and Karen Hughes were spotted entering the White House grounds this weekend to accompany the First Lady to Paris.

Hughes went along on Laura's first solo trip to Europe as well.

Media:

Lloyd Grove's debut column for the New York Daily News leads with an item about flatulation devices owned by President Bush's uncle. LINK

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