The Note

"'I believe the position that I take on Israel is exactly the position the United States has taken for 54 years,' he said on the show. But he acknowledged that saying there should be an 'evenhanded policy' toward the Israelis and the Palestinians may have been a poor choice of words."

"'I have since learned that is a sensitive word to use in certain communities,' he said. 'So perhaps I could have used a different euphemism. But the fact of the matter is, at the negotiating table, we have to have the trust of both sides.'"

The AP's Ron Fournier reports that from "the Middle East to race, Social Security and campaign finance reform, the former Vermont governor is getting singed by nearly every hot-button issue he touches." LINK

Fournier dissects Dean's Middle East comments: "It was not, by any stretch, an anti-Israel position. But his use of colloquial terms — 'enormous numbers' of settlements that 'have to come out' — was a stark contrast to measured replies most politicians give, and was at one point inconsistent with Dean's long-held position."

"Dean has repeatedly said the first step toward peace is a secure, terror-free Israel and true negotiations cannot begin until then. Aides couldn't explain why he seemed to send the opposite signal in New Mexico."

"In saying the United States can't take sides, Dean is preaching the evenhanded approach that has guided presidential diplomacy for decades. However, with the spate of terrorist attacks in Israel, its supporters are skeptical about any presidential candidate who doesn't come clearly down on Israel's side."


K Street In Burlington? The executive producer of the new show, Henry Bean, confirms that several prominent presidential campaigns have been asked about appearing on the likely hit Carville-Matalin-Clooney vehicle.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the show may take a trip to Burlington.

At Tuesday's debate, a mock TV crew "interviewed" a K Street actor who recently "joined" the "Dean campaign" as a consultant. Bean wouldn't speculate about story lines, but might they be working on a Dewey Square/firewall arc? Who would be the Whouley character?.

If the K Street crew does go to Burlington, how they would explain the CNN Presents producer following Joe Trippi's every move … is anyone's guess.

The show premiers this Sunday at 10:35 ET.on HBO.

On CNN, Dean was grilled by Middle East uber-journalist Wolf Blitzer:

--Should Israel dismantle settlements? "That's going to be left up to the negotiations between the parties." "The question is, how many … "

--Primacy of Israel in American Middle East diplomacy: "No one is challenging that."

--Targeted assassinations: He favors peace, but "[t]hey [Hamas] are going to be casualties if they are going to make war [against Israel]."

--Expel Arafat? "I wouldn't recommend it because … [he'd] become a martyr."

--"I have called on George Bush formally to swallow his pride and ask Bill Clinton to go to the Middle East."

We reported yesterday that the Dean staff claimed that the candidate's Baltimore debate line about Trent Lott and Martin Luther King was an off-the-cuff candidate creation. The staff has since been alerted to the fact that Dean got in the line from raconteur/party host/television mogul/Democratic strategist James Carville. Our sources, and ourselves, regret the error.


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