The Note

The Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei thinks a storm is brewing for things to really get nasty among the candidates with "several [who] are looking to protect or improve their standing by hitting their nearest rivals — sometimes using questionable charges or remarks made nearly a decade ago." LINK

Ron Brownstein says the economic slump and organized labor's political potency explains the Democratic candidates' moves away from Bill Clinton's free trade positions. LINK

And, boy, are those Dems loving these three numbers: 527. LINK


Ms. Seelye writes on Clark's Tuesday domestic policy speech, Noting that "after his short outing," The General "secluded himself with some of the Democratic Party's most seasoned political operatives in a Manhattan office building in preparation for a Democratic debate today in New York." And Gen. Barry McCaffrey goes toe-to-toe with Gen. Shelton on the subject of Gen. Clark. LINK

We are too demure to print the names, but would you believe a certain Brookings scholar, a pair of brainy brothers, a Brooklyn-based member of a certain Society to which Bill Safire belongs, and many others were rounded up by intellectual Rahm Emanuel and bookish Joel Johnson to give The General some serious debate prep staffing?

"Clark said he would take the money that Bush gave the wealthy in tax cuts and create three funds: for homeland security, business tax incentives and relief for state governments," the AP reports. LINK

From ABC News' Clark campaign reporter Deborah Apton: "General Clark stood in East River Park yesterday morning amongst his supporters to give his first major policy speech since he announced his candidacy. Before General Clark arrived, the remnants of the Draft Clark campaign loomed. One volunteer handed out Clark candy bars and at the same time checked to make sure that supporters had the new Clark for President pins, rather than the Draft Wesley Clark ones. General Clark came and went without answering reporters' questions, but both times he did stop and talk to his volunteers and supporters."

The AP's Ron Fournier reports that two rivals are "questioning Clark's commitment to the Democratic Party." LINK

"Kerry said during a brief news conference … that Clark will have to answer for his past support of Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan."

"Dean told ABC he was surprised Clark voted for Republicans. Asked if Clark was a true Democrat, Dean replied, 'I think that we have to find out about that.'" And on the Hill:

"Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) is the latest House Representative to endorse General Wesley Clark for President. And his name, along with nine other House Representatives (Arkansas Democrat's Rep. Marion Berry, Rep. Mike Ross, and Rep. Vic Snyder; New York Rep. Charles Rangel; Illinois Rep. Rahm Emmanuel; New York Rep. Steve Israel; Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum; Utah Rep. Jim Matheson; and California Napa Rep. Mike Thompson) appeared on 'An Open Letter to the Democratic Caucus' distributed today around the Hill encouraging colleagues to 'endorse [Clark's] candidacy for President of the United States.' They also mention the Tuesday, September 30th 4:30pm meeting at a private residence as the day for Hill colleagues to come meet General Clark 'so that he can share directly with you his vision for the future.'"


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