The Note

Mark Z. Barabak and Joe Matthews of the Los Angeles Times go deep inside the Schwarzenegger camp and write how the organization and strategy would likely change if the election is postponed until March. LINK

"In interviews, campaign aides and others familiar with the Schwarzenegger operation who spoke on condition that they not be identified described a bureaucratic organization, riven with disputes and slow to make strategic decisions."

"Aides have long predicted a certain amount of tension would occur, given the sudden start of Schwarzenegger's candidacy and the candidate's desire to include nonpolitical advisers in the campaign."

And it's not only Gray Davis who gets high-profile allies to come out and endorse him. The Boston Globe 's Frank Phillips and Rick Klein report that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may head to California to lend his star power to fellow Mike Murphy client Schwarzenegger. LINK

Ronald Reagan's letters:

Yes, folks, you still have two days to run out (if you haven't hoarded everything in your local Safeway already), grab some orange juice and champagne, and settle in for this Sunday's exclusive interview with former First Lady Nancy Reagan on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

George shared some thoughts about the interview with the Note as the storm prepared to barrel down on the Washington area.

The Note: Any surprises?

Stephanopoulos: The sheer volume. The man must have been writing for hours every day to produce these kinds of letters.

We always knew he was a great talker, I never realized what a wonderful writer he was. And as George Shultz says in the forward, you can't be a good writer without being a good thinker.

The clarity of thought, the consistency of thought, his intelligence and humor, just shine through.

The Note: How is Mrs. Reagan?

Stephanopoulos: Mrs. Reagan looked great. She looked terrific. We talked on- and off-camera, and despite the fact that she is caring for him full-time, she is fully engaged and on top of a lot of different issues, she tries to get out as much as she can. Obviously this was a labor of love for her because I think she really felt it would show people a side of Ronald Reagan they didn't expect.

We have been working with them for several months, they've been discovering more and more letters as we go along. They think eventually the collection will be around 10,000, if not more.

The Note: Did it inspire you to write more letters?

Stephanopoulos: It did inspire me to write more letters. As I was in California, it was my daughter's first birthday. I read this wonderful letter Ronald Reagan had written Patty when she was 21-months old. I could always get her another toy, another dress, but I thought if I write her a letter on her first birthday, she'll always have that.

Bush Adminstration strategy/personality:

With the President facing a steel tariff decision soon, the Washington Post's Mike Allen and Jonathan Weisman get on the front page with what Karl Rove would call (under different circumstances...) a FANTASTIC story about the history and results of the President's anti-free trade posture. LINK

Our only quibble with this must-read piece (which includes the rarest of 43-era tick-tocking of Administration deliberations!) is that the phrase "legacy costs" doesn't appear anywhere in the whole thing.

Politics: The Washington Post 's Al Kamen assigned former Perot aide Russ Verney to try to get Mr. Perot to comment on the state of affairs in America.

Verney came up empty, but who knew he was "now southwestern regional director of Larry Klayman's Washington Legal Foundation"!!

Even the Palm was a desert Thursday. And Bob Stevenson is our weather-braving hero. LINK

In a flag flap sure to continue … The Daytona Beach Journal reports Gov. Jeb Bush "left open the possibility Thursday that Florida could offer a license tag that includes the Confederate battle flag." LINK

One Michael R. Bloomberg is the 36th-richest American. LINK (Ten slots ahead of one Henry Ross Perot!)

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