The Note

"Owners of small manufacturing companies who generally vote Republican but have been hurt by U.S. steel tariffs threatened Monday to stay home on Election Day 2004 rather than vote to re-elect President Bush," the AP reports. LINK

Bush told the Fox Broadcast Network that he is "paying virtually no attention to the Democratic race for his job," the AP's Scott Lindlaw reports. LINK

"Bush said he insulates himself from the 'opinions' that seep into news coverage by getting his news from his own aides. He said he scans headlines, but rarely reads news stories."

Fox News has the transcript of Brit Hume's Bush interview. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

We are simple people here at The Note.

When we read our USA Today in early September that included the Lawrence/Page tour de force overview of things, we believed them when they wrote:

"Know What To Ignore: For instance, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. Give it up, diehards; political analysts believe them when they say they're not running."

And then along came Wes Clark, and now we have this whole cottage industry of people (mostly haters and, interestingly, the people closest to them!) who want to talk not about clothing hungry children and getting them health care, but about what the Clintons are up to.

Here's an e-mail we just love that we got yesterday from someone close to the Clintons:

"I think it is fair to say that the punditocracy has gotten out of hand with the Clinton-Clark business. I believe that the notion of the Clintons pushing his candidacy as some kind of stalking horse is

"(a) not true, (b) unfair to Clark and (c) unfair to the other Democratic candidates, not to mention unfair to the Clintons."

"In other words, it really doesn't make sense. There is much more sense in them being friendly with, in touch with and helpful to the candidates generally, and not play favorites (which is the reality)."

"No one, from what I have seen, has written that 'hey, wait a second!' analysis of the illogic of the stalking horse scenario; much of what's been written or said, on the other hand, comes from places on the spectrum that have an agenda above and beyond the merely speculative."

"And none of this would have any traction in the first place were it not for the fact that the weaknesses and failures of the Bush presidency are becoming more and more obvious. There is a hunger for leadership, and Democrats have ten people making the case for change; one of those ten will emerge from the pack to take that case to the country next year."

Slate's Noah exposes the conservative conspiracy that is the Draft Hillary movement. LINK

"The halting progress of the Draft Hillary movement on the left is a joke when compared to the rapid snowballing of the Draft Hillary movement on the right. To conservatives, it's a mainstream article of faith that Bill Clinton, who in the end could be stopped only by the constitutional limit on presidential terms, will come back to haunt Republicans by installing his wife in the White House. Booga-booga!"

USA Today 's Jill Lawrence writes about all the buzz surrounding what Senator Clinton might maybe possibly do. LINK

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