The Note

And check out this quote on domestic-vs-international spending from one GOP Senator guaranteed to delight the White House.

"'I'd like to see a public-works project in our country,' says Senator Voinovich, after a closed briefing with administration officials on the $87 billion request. 'It's hard to say we don't have the money for sewers, roads, and schools here, but we are able to put money over there.'"

Senator Kennedy told the AP that the Bush administration has "failed to account for nearly half of the $4 billion the war is costing each month. He said he believes much of the unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send in troops." LINK

In the Boston Globe , H.D.S. Greenway examines the Bush Administration's strategies and the influence of the neoconservatives. LINK

Krauthammer on the Democrats and national building. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Knight Ridder's John Walcott reports on comments from anonymous Bush Administration members who said that Karl Rove "was concerned about new polls that suggest sinking support for the president's handling of Iraq." LINK

One official said that "the entry of retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark into the race this week gives the Democrats a candidate who opposed Bush's policy in Iraq but has strong national-security credentials."

The Boston Globe 's Derrick Jackson really lets Vice President Cheney have it. LINK

California recall, the courts:

We expect to hear from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today and even though we don't like to be in the predictions game, we think they will take the case and schedule a hearing for early next week. Nearly 500,000 absentee ballots have been received by county elections officials and more than 2 million have been shipped out to Californians.

Jackie Calmes of the Wall Street Journal keys off the potential for delay and chaos in California to ask what happened to all of that post-2000 talk about election reform.

"The nationwide movement for election overhaul that Florida's ballot chaos sparked in 2000 crested long ago, short of its promise amid big deficits and small attention spans."

"But now California's recall fight suggests a new development as the 2004 presidential election nears: The prospect of lawsuits against cities, counties or states that may be out of step with the changes. The plaintiffs' ammunition: The U.S. Supreme Court's same Bush v. Gore ruling that gave rise to the movement itself."

"Though that decision to stop Florida's presidential recount was 5-4, seven justices agreed that hand-counting ballots violated voters' equal-protection rights, since counties used different standards to judge disputed ballots. Citing that ruling, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco Monday postponed California's Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election to perhaps March, saying the use of antiquated punch-card machines in just six heavily minority counties would breach voters' rights there."

The uncertainty caused by the 9th Circuit's decision has slowed absentee voting to a "dribble," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. LINK

The Los Angeles Times looks at the 2004 implications for slowly arriving elections reforms. LINK

USA Today 's John Ritter surveys the recall scene and realizes there are some big questions to be answered regardless of when the recall actually happens. LINK

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