The Note

Do see Mr. Harwood for a discussion of what Dems are doing with the economy numbers and why their roll-back-the-tax cut strategy just might be "a gamble worth taking."

Al Hunt loses the "just might" and finds Clark as maybe the candidate in the best position to make the most of sagging Bush poll numbers.

Keying off its poll, the Wall Street Journal heads west to Independence, Missouri, gauges the mood of "wary on the economy" Show Me State voters, and offers Glen Bolger's assessment that "Mr. Bush has until June 2004 to turn around the economy because it takes months of good news to convince voters the improvement is real."

The politics of national security:

The New York Times ' Mr. Hulse, writing on Democrats' increasing comfort in the crouching-for-attack position regarding the president's $87 billion request, reports, "Top Democratic aides said public unease with the Iraq aid request as well as some slipping in the president's support reflected in polls is certainly making it easier to take on the administration. They said the criticism was not being orchestrated, though Senate Democrats met this evening to plot strategy on the spending request." LINK

The Republican wagon-circling is also chronicled.

Roll Call follows up by Noting that after making their political hay, Democratic leaders, "with a close eye on the political waters heading into the 2004 elections," are "likely to back the White House's $87 billion Iraq spending request even in the face of a split in their Caucus and internal polling showing problems with President Bush's credibility on the topic."

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

No, they don't protest too much — the Clintons really aren't heading Wes.

The New York Times says:

"Former President Bill Clinton has called at least three Democratic presidential candidates in recent days to assure them that he is not favoring former Gen. Wesley K. Clark in the party's presidential contest and would help any Democrat who wants to run against President Bush, officials familiar with the discussion said today." LINK

The front page of the New York Post screams: "Hill's Poll Shock: 69% say don't run for prez." LINK

Keying off the Marist College survey, the New York Daily News reports that New Yorkers are conflicted about a Hillary candidacy: "Democrats would stampede to a Clinton candidacy but at the same time (they) don't want her on the ticket." LINK

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

The AP's Sharon Theimer reports that Howard Dean is "setting a torrid pace in the contest for dollars … but it's still President Bush who is proving to be the superstar in raising campaign cash overall." LINK

"Bush is expected to have taken in a record of roughly $43 million by the time the third quarter ends Tuesday, bringing his total this year to $78 million or so, Republican Party officials said."

"Dean, raising millions on the Internet, will probably take in $13 million to $16 million this quarter, a campaign insider said. That would lift him to at least $23.5 million for the race so far and probably make him the Democratic money leader for the year."

As the story makes clear, no one else will break $6 million most likely and there are a lot of candidates out there who would be delighted to break 5 (not to mention: 4).

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