The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:45 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan

—10:00 am: Supreme Court hears arguments in McConnell v. FEC

—10:30 am: Senator John Kerry addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—11:00 am: Senator Joe Lieberman addresses the AFSCME meeting, D.C.

—11:20 am: Senator John Edwards addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—11:40 am: Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—12:00 pm: Senator Kerry addresses the AFSCME meeting, D.C.

—12:35 pm: Vice President Cheney makes remarks at a fundraiser for Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Congressman Ernie Fletcher, Cincinnati, Ohio (open press)

—1:00 pm: Congressman Dennis Kucinich addresses the Spiritual Dimensions in Global Public Policy Series at the United Nations, New York City

—1:00 pm: Senate convenes for legislative business

—2:00 pm: Congressman Dick Gephardt addresses the AFSCME meeting, D.C.

—2:30 pm: Maria Shriver attends a fundraiser for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Redding, Calif.

—2:40 pm: Governor Howard Dean addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—2:45 pm: President Bush makes remarks on education, Nashville, Tenn.

—3:35 pm: Congressman Gephardt addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—4:00 pm: Governor Dean addresses the AFSCME meeting, D.C.

—5:00 pm: Congressman Gephardt appears on CNBC's Marketplace with Ron Insana

—5:30 pm: Vice President Cheney attends a private Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser in Roanoke, Virginia (closed press)

—6:00 pm: Senator Joe Lieberman addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—6:05 pm: President Bush attends a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser, Nashville, Tenn. (open press)

—6:15 pm: Senator Lieberman addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—6:45 pm: Governor Dean addresses a rally at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md.

—6:55 pm: Congressman Kucinich addresses the SEIU conference, D.C.

—7:00 pm: Maria Shriver helps to register voters at a Wal-Mart, Sacramento

—7:00 pm: Senator Edwards holds a town hall meeting, Merrimack, N.H.

—8:00 pm: Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a town hall meeting at Chapman University, Orange, Calif.


History will record that one of the great inventions of the late 20th century (at least in political journalism) was Newsweek's creation of the Conventional Wisdom Watch.

That front-of-the-book feature allows the magazine to, in a breezy, graphicky, short-hand manner, encapsulate who's up and who's down (and who's going sideways) in American politics.

With so much going on over the weekend, this very day, and all week, The Note — which has an Alterian world view — is tempted to give the entire political universe sideways arrows.

Clearly, some people deserve down arrows, if for no other reason than inconsistency or obvious trouble.

We're thinking of the political press's ability to resist treating Howard Dean like the Second Coming; the foreign press's unwillingness to let California reporters ask any questions at Schwarzenegger press conferences; and all these Democratic strategists wringing their hands about how and whether to attack Howard Dean.

We are too grumpy and bewildered to bestow any up arrows just this minute, but talk to us after the SEIU meeting and tout le Washington's shock over the president's mind-blowing request for $87 billion.

And thus we bring you today's schedule and the chock-a-block full week ahead.

In the recall:

-- Absentee voting begins today in California.

-- Arnold Schwarzenegger will hold a (seemingly semi-stacked) town hall meeting in Orange County — thoughtfully planned for after the evening news broadcasts. His wife, Maria Shriver, will register voters in Sacramento.

-- Be on the lookout for the latest Field Poll numbers.;

-- Governor Davis is expected to hold his latest forum in his "Conversations with Californians" series.

The historic four-hour oral arguments on campaign finance reform are underway at the Supreme Court. It's the first time the justices have come back for a special session since Watergate.

The president visits a tutoring center and makes remarks at Kirkpatrick Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee, today. Later, he goes to a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville. On Tuesday, the president attends a lunchtime Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida and a dinner fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. In between those fundraisers, he'll make remarks on education at a Jacksonville elementary school. On Wednesday, he meets with the Prime Minister of Kuwait at the White House and makes remarks on homeland security at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. On Thursday, President and Mrs. Bush will attend a memorial service at St. John's Episcopal Church in D.C., observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn, and visit with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. On Friday, the president makes remarks at Fort Stewart in Georgia, makes remarks at a fundraiser for Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour in Jackson, Mississippi, and makes remarks at the Power Center in Houston, Texas.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks at a lunchtime fundraiser for Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Congressman Ernie Fletcher in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also attends a private Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser in Roanoke, Virginia, tonight. He attends a fundraiser for North Carolina senatorial candidate Congressman Richard Burr on Friday in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Senator Edwards addresses the SEIU conference this morning. He heads to New Hampshire tonight for a town hall meeting in Merrimack. He campaigns some more in New Hampshire tomorrow in Bedford and Derry before coming south to address the AFSCME meeting in D.C. and go to the debate in Baltimore. He has no other public events announced for the week until Senator Harkin's Steak Fry in Indianola on Saturday.

Senator Kerry speaks to the SEIU conference and the AFSCME meeting this morning. He visits a child care center in Baltimore tomorrow before attending the debate. On Wednesday, he's in Boston with Moby. On Friday, he campaigns at Morgan State University in Columbia, South Carolina. He'll be at a tailgate in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday morning before heading to Indianola for the steak fry.

Congressman Gephardt addresses the AFSCME meeting and the SEIU conference today. He also appears on CNBC Marketplace with Ron Insana. He has no other events announced yet for the week, but he will be at the steak fry on Saturday.

Congressman Kucinich addresses the Spiritual Dimensions in Global Public Policy Series at the United Nations today in New York City. He speaks to the SEIU convention tonight in D.C. He'll be at Baltimore on Tuesday for the debate. On Saturday, he keynotes the Federated Democratic Women of Ohio's meeting in Columbus and then goes to Indianola for the steak fry.

Governor Dean addresses the SEIU and AFSCME meetings in D.C. today. He will speak at a rally at the University of Maryland in College Park tonight. He'll be in Baltimore for the debate on Tuesday, and campaigns in New Hampshire on Wednesday and Friday. He will be in Indianola for the steak fry on Saturday and campaign some more in Iowa on Sunday.

Senator Lieberman speaks to the SEIU conference today and attends a dessert fundraiser reception at a private home in D.C. today. He's in Baltimore tomorrow for the debate. He hits pairs of fundraisers in New Jersey and Florida on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, and also addresses the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City on Wednesday. He will not go to the steak fry on Saturday, but instead campaign in New Hampshire over the weekend and come back to the capital for a fundraiser reception on Sunday night in Potomac, Maryland at a private home.

Senator Graham will be in the Bronx on Friday to watch the Yankees play the Devil Rays.

Ambassador Moseley Braun will address the SEIU meeting today and the AFSCME meeting tomorrow in D.C. She will be in Baltimore for the debate on Tuesday. On Friday, she addresses the Chicago Women in Government Relations meeting at the East Bank Club in Chicago.

Reverend Sharpton was scheduled to be in St. Louis today to participate in the boycott of the public schools there. On Tuesday, he addresses the AFSCME meeting in D.C. and attends the debate in Baltimore.

Tuesday brings us the Congressional Black Caucus presidential debate in Baltimore and the tax referendum vote in Alabama.

Saturday is Senator Tom Harkin's Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa.

In the recall:

Governor Davis' campaign says he will hold a town hall meeting in Los Angeles County some time today, but they are not giving details yet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a town hall meeting tonight at 8:00 pm ET at Chapman University in Orange. Maria Shriver will help to register voters at a Wal-Mart in Sacramento today. She will also attend two fundraisers today in Redding and Yuba City.

State Senator Tom McClintock does an interviews with Oakland KTVU television San Diego KFMB radio today.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announces today where the polling places for the recall will be.

Lt. Governor Bustamante has no public events scheduled for today.

Peter Camejo will meet with third-strikers serving life sentences for non-violent offenses in South Los Angeles today.

The second gubernatorial debate takes place Tuesday morning at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Los Angeles. Bustamante, McClintock, Huffington and Camejo will take part.

The Game Show Network's "Who Wants to Be Governor?" premiers Wednesday at 9:00 pm ET/PT.

The Politics of National Security:

First-blush reaction to the speech can only be said to be pretty cautionary and negative. We are forced to invoke the even-Judy Keen-rule in surveying the coverage and seeing a lot of media hand-wringing and gloom-and-doom.

The press in the coming days will surely pick over all the political and practical implications of this huge amount of money, with the Ron Brownsteins of the world in line to keep demanding that the president rescind some of his tax cuts to pay for all of this — ignoring yet again the supply side orthodoxy that guides this President's economic recovery plan.

Brownstein's column in the Los Angeles Times explores President Bush's realization (or Brownstein's assumption of such a realization) that he didn't have the means to achieve the desired ends in Iraq. LINK

"Given all the political and ideological arguments against changing direction, it's reasonable to assume that Bush only returned to the U.N. because he believed he had no other viable option for obtaining the troops, and money, he needs to stabilize Iraq. In other words, in Iraq, reality trumped ideology."

Brownstein ponders if perhaps a similar change in direction is required here at home.

"The conclusion is becoming unavoidable that Bush's repeated tax cuts are leaving Washington without the means to meet its ends. Next year, the federal government is projected to take in revenue equal to just 16.2% of the economy. That's the lowest level since 1959 — long before Medicare, Medicaid and large-scale federal aid to schools, much less a massive obligation to strengthen homeland defenses and rebuild Iraq."

"Surely it wouldn't be easy for Bush to acknowledge that his tax-cut agenda has left Washington without the funds to meet his other goals. But could it really be more difficult than rattling the tin cup for Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder?"

Dan Balz's must-read analysis in the Washington Post casts Bush's speech as an acknowledgement at last by the White House that post-war efforts in Iraq aren't resulting in a good kind of shock and awe for either U.S. troops or Iraqis. LINK

Balz Notes Bush's shift from unilateral efforts to calling — not asking — for allies in the United Nations to share the duties of rebuilding post-war Iraq, and the conspicuous lack of discussion by the president on weapons of mass destruction last night.

Iraq is a vulnerability, though not yet necessarily an Achilles' heel for Bush right now, Balz says, on top of ongoing problems with the economy. And Democrats are acting like they smell blood in the water.

"Just how vulnerable Bush may be is not clear, but the tone and timing of the speech indicates nervousness at the White House. Although it was never said explicitly, Bush's speech last night represented an important turn in his administration's approach to Iraq. Bush must now hope that it produces results that the current policy has not."

The Washington Post 's Dana Milbank and Mike Allen call President Bush's speech "a stark acknowledgment that the occupation of that country has been more difficult and costly than anticipated." LINK

Bush "described America's mission in the region as open-ended, and came up with his own echo of John F. Kennedy's famous inaugural phrase that the United States would 'pay any price, bear any burden' to defend liberty. LINK

" … while Mr. Bush is getting more specific about the numbers, he has yet to really tell Americans that they will have to make sacrifices to pay the bill," the New York Times editorial page says. LINK

The criticism keeps on coming — the Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny rounds up the reaction of Democratic presidential candidates to the speech. LINK

Horrible, Horrible Double Standards Section:

1. In the Bernie Goldberg category, Terry McAuliffe's "Meet the Press" riff on Willie Horton, John McCain, and the two Bush campaigns was so infused with irresponsible and inaccurate language that it marred what was otherwise one of the Macker's stronger big-time TV appearances to date.

Imagine how the press would treat an RNC chairman who said such things.

2. Another one in the Bernie Goldberg category: Even as Cruz Bustamante re-jiggers how he plans to spend his Native American money, the press's level of outrage and scrutiny over what this special interest is expecting in return for the cash is nothing like what a Republican interest group and politician would get.

3. We have no clue what will cause Howard Dean to ever be held to the same standard for consistency, clarity, and accuracy as the other leading Democratic presidential candidates, but whatever it's going to take hasn't kicked in yet.

Saturday, standing side by side with Gray Davis, Dean asserted that the White House was involved in orchestrating and pushing the California recall effort. Later, under questioning, Dean admitted that he had no evidence but that it simply was the kind of thing he believed the White House habitually does.

The Note is breathless.

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary: A new WBZ/ Boston Globe poll write-up fronted the Boston Globe yesterday, but the Globe's tetchy online redesign and broken archive search engine prevented us from bringing you the original. So here's the AP story: "While Howard Dean continues to lead Senator John Kerry in the New Hampshire Democratic primary race, likely Democratic primary voters are closely divided over which of the two leading candidates would be the strongest candidate against President Bush, according to a Boston Globe /WBZ-TV poll." LINK

Roll Call 's Stu Rothenberg doesn't think the key to 2004 is mobilizing the base; for him, it's a necessary, but not sufficient condition to win in presidential years.

" … the 2004 electorate will be filled with casual voters who turn out only for presidential elections, pay less attention to politics, have weaker partisan attachments and vote less on issues than on personality. In short, it will include more non-core voters who require both persuasion and GOTV messages. Even if independents make up only 12 percent to 20 percent of next year's electorate, they will constitute a larger number of voters than the alleged 'core voters' who are turned out by 'red meat' appeals and additional get-out-the-vote efforts."

"And there is this: If base voters can't get excited by George W. Bush versus Howard Dean, Bush versus Senator John Kerry (Mass.) or Bush versus Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.), are they really base voters?"

"Unless the Democrats pull a fast switch and nominate Senator Joe Lieberman (Conn.) or Senator Evan Bayh (Ind.) for president, the 2004 fight for the White House looks as if it will have enough ideology and partisanship to mobilize most members of each party's base. "

Governor Dean and the Des Moines Register chatted Saturday, and by the shakes of the article, the only thing the doctor seemed to talk about was Senator Kerry.

"Dean said Kerry's comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" this week show Kerry is mimicking Dean's position on postwar Iraq … ..Dean said Kerry is simultaneously criticizing Dean's foreign policy background, although their positions are similar … … Although Dean claimed Kerry stole a line about the American flag from his June 23 campaign announcement speech in Burlington, Vt., there's evidence Kerry had made the comment before Dean's speech." LINK

Mort Kondracke didn't like the "weakness" he heard from Democrats last Thursday: "In their latest joint appearance last Thursday, not one Democratic presidential candidate said that America's purpose in Iraq should be to 'win,' 'prevail,' 'establish a democracy' — or even 'persevere." The message the Democrats sent is that the best the United States can do is to turn responsibility for Iraq over to others — the United Nations, NATO, the Iraqis. Some candidates made clear the purpose was not to succeed, but to get out. "

Senator Lieberman and Governor Dean are in the midst of a back-and-forth about Israel and the settlements, but we're pretty sure that the two are substantively at the same place … but are explaining differently to different audiences. LINK (We've heard Dean say many times that the first step to peace is to stop terrorism against Israelis.). (Yes, Deborah Orin wrote it up, too. LINK)

Per Adam Nagourney … the personal candidates: Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry. The political candidates: Dean, Lieberman.

"A striking stylistic divide has emerged among the Democratic candidates as they struggle to determine the extent to which they can — or should — build candidacies on often intimate details of their lives, in an era that celebrates the public airing of the most personal of tales." LINK

The Washington Post 's Howie Kurtz looked at the personal-story-versus-record dynamic in campaign ads on Sunday. LINK

California recall:

Let the voting begin! The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Simon reports on all things absentee. LINK

"Starting now, any of the state's 21.4 million registered voters can walk into the offices of his or her county elections official, ask for an absentee ballot and cast the first votes."

"The growing popularity and political significance of absentee voting has prompted both recall-related campaigns and replacement candidates to expend time and money targeting absentee voters who will be making their decisions in the five weeks before the Oct. 7 election."

Matea Gold and Joe Matthews of the Los Angeles Times lead their Sunday recall wrap-up with Cruz Bustamante moving farther and farther away from that "no on recall" position. LINK

We wonder if the Bustamante campaign staff will soon change the way they answer the phones.

The Associated Press' Brian Sokoloff heard a similar strategy shift. LINK

We'll all be on the lookout for the latest Field Poll numbers despite what the Associated Press' Tom Chorneau reports. LINK

California recall, Arnold:

Congressman Darrell Issa tells USA Today 's Kathy Kiely that unless one or more Republicans drop out of the race, GOP front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger can't win. Issa says it's simply "pure arithmetic." LINK

"'Pure arithmetic destroys the ability to win,' Issa said during an interview in his congressional office here. 'Three Republicans, one Democrat; you can't win. That's the situation we have right now. It is statistically almost impossible for Schwarzenegger to win unless we reduce (the field) at least by one.'"

"Issa's blunt comments come when GOP leaders appear to be ratcheting up the pressure for back-of-the-pack candidates to get out. In a telephone interview from his Sacramento office on Friday, state Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, a key party strategist, echoed Issa's remarks. "

"'Three candidates dividing the vote lose to one candidate not dividing the vote,' Brulte said."

We expect to see a lot more of the California GOP's field-clearing strategy leading up to next weekend's party convention.

The media savvy Maria Shriver didn't grant an interview for this Los Angeles Times look at her emerging public campaign role, but was kind enough to provide the names of people who would speak about her. LINK

"Now, after several weeks of being the offstage actor — nowhere on the campaign trail but a constant presence at her husband's campaign office, weighing in on key decisions including the hiring of senior staff — Shriver is embarking on a more public role."

The Los Angeles Times explores how Hollywood demographics are playing into the Schwarzenegger fundraising strategy. LINK

"'Hollywood North' — the high-profile cluster of show business players in Santa Barbara and neighboring Montecito — has turned into a surprising pocket of strength for the Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign, while would-be industry supporters in Los Angeles still are getting their act together."

We're not sure what is so surprising about it, but nonetheless reporters assigned to the Schwarzenegger campaign must be looking forward to the $5,000 per head fundraiser at Ivan Reitman's Montecito home. And for those of you wondering what's up with that Oprah interview …

"Meanwhile, another Montecito dweller, TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, has been courting Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, both longtime friends, for a possible September appearance on her program. A mid-campaign turn on "Oprah" might rival the effect of Schwarzenegger's bombshell launch on Jay Leno's late-night program: It would let him speak directly to a largely female audience at a time when his behavior toward women has become a hot-button campaign issue."

"'We're in discussions with Arnold and Maria about coming on the show, but we have nothing to announce at this time,' Winfrey spokeswoman Lisa Halliday said Friday."

The New York Daily News' Jane Furse reports which way Hollywood money is flowing among the replacement candidates. LINK

"Hollywood's dollars have gone instead to political columnist Arianna Huffington, who pocketed $2,000 and $5,000 from 'Mad About You' star Paul Reiser and 'West Wing' creator Aaron Sorkin, and $21,000 or more from Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein and 'Seinfeld' co-creator Larry David."

The New York Post describes an "angry Arnold Schwarzenegger" responding to Governor Davis' making fun of his accent. LINK

California recall, immigration, race, and accents:

The Los Angeles Times' Teresa Watanabe on the constant theme of immigration issues in California politics. LINK

"Nine years ago, California politics featured a raging debate over excluding illegal immigrants from public schools and hospitals. Today, the divisive question is whether to give them driver's licenses."

"The gap between the two issues underlines a central fact of the state's politics: Immigration and its consequences remain topics of intense debate, but the ground has moved."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the candidates' efforts to court the Latino vote. LINK

"With a month to go before the election, Davis and candidates on the replacement ballot spent Sunday making carefully scripted pitches about immigration and other racial issues as they sought to attract support from Latinos and other minority groups that could swing the outcome."

The New York Times writes up the impact ethnicity, race, and immigration are having on the recall race without mention of Governor Davis' mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent. LINK

Governor Davis says he was "just joking" when talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger's pronunciation of "California." LINK

USA Today takes a look at the candidates' positions (and the ramifications of those positions) on Proposition 54 including Schwarzenegger's opposition to it and Cruz Bustamante's pumping $4 million into the anti-Prop 54 effort. LINK

California recall, the rest of the field:

Over the weekend, Peter Ueberroth unveiled his first 30-second campaign ad. Campaign Manager Dan Schnur will not reveal the total cost of the buy, but tells ABC News' Schifrin that it is a "significant one." Schnur adds: "It's a buy to move numbers. I wouldn't call it saturation, but pretty close."

The ad will begin to air statewide early this week. It will run for a couple of days and then shift to a second spot — featuring Ueberroth facing the camera.

Schnur pointed out that whereas most candidates shore up their base and move outward, Ueberroth is starting "inward" (at the ideological center) and moving out in both directions as he goes along.

The Los Angeles Times' "Ad Watch" on Mr. Ueberroth's first campaign commercial. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Just how much did the White House cooperate on that Showtime DC 9/11 film? LINK

The Jacksonville Times-Union on the president's visit to their fair city tomorrow. LINK

Bob Novak wonders whether/when the president will admit the "mistake" of steel tariffs. LINK

USA Today 's Laurence McQuillan reports on the logistics of the president's request. LINK

The economy:

Everyone should read Greg Ip's story in the Wall Street Journal , even those of you who fear heavy, trend-tracking economy stories like some of the Googling monkeys do. Ip writes, "One of the biggest remaining obstacles to U.S. economic recovery is fading as industries are finally starting to whittle down ruinous overcapacity."

Ip continues by identifying what there's been "too much" of in recent years, and why there won't be too much more of "too much."

"For the last three years, the U.S. economy has been hobbled by too much supply: too much fiber-optic bandwidth, too much vacant office space, too many empty airplane seats. That is beginning to change. Demand is picking up throughout the economy, and companies aren't increasing capacity to fill that demand. As a result, the imbalance is receding. That will help firms boost profits and resist pressures to cut prices."


The New York Times ' Neil Lewis on how some interest groups are benefiting from the rule changes at the expense of the parties. LINK

In his Washington Post op-ed today, Robert J. Samuelson decries the bad aftertaste and long shadow of BCRA on the First Amendment. LINK

Tomorrow night's debate:

Hey Fox … Thanks for hosting tomorrow night's second democratic debate. We're sure y'all are thrilled to be able to cite the Congressional Black Caucus's sponsorship as proof that your news network is fair and balanced. No conservative network would team up with liberals to produce a debate, right?

Yeah, though it's a little too cute by half. Wouldn't Roger Ailes be the first one to complain if MSNBC teamed up with the Congressional Black Caucus for a debate? Can you just imagine how much play that'd get on your network? Because doesn't a debate sanctioned by an interest group lend implicit credibility to the views of that interest group? Not to mention that Fox is effectively giving the CBC the free production costs and national distribution for the event.

Ailes would tell Steve Doocy to say that John Siegenthaler looks like his dentist … Fox would interrupt programming with regular Fox News Alerts to showcase MS's manifest liberalism. Fox's dynamic primetime would consist of an hour of present-tense verbing from Shepard Smith (we remember you from WCPX in Orlando, Shep!) "MSNBC … showing their biasing … according to some … teaming up with the Congressional Black Caucus to do a debate … "; Bill O'Reilly, "I wish MSNBC would just shut up and admit how liberal it is. That's ridiculous."; Hannity: "MSNBC is driving the nation down a moral sewer"; Colmes: "I disagree."; Greta Van Susteren: "Up next, more on the Laci Peterson case … ""

But we digress. You get the idea.

The debate begins at 8:00 pm ET with a short statement from CBC chair Rep. Elijah Cummings. The moderator, Brit Hume, will introduce the panelists: Ed Gordon, Juan Williams, Farai Chideya. Hume will NOT ask questions … but will keep things moving.

No opening statements. Questions will focus on foreign policy and within the 5 CBC policy areas specified …

Questions will last 30 seconds; candidates will get a minute to respond; depending on the answer, Hume can allow the journalists to ask follow-ups; follow-up answers are a minute in length. Depending on the answers, other candidates may get rebuttals. Or maybe not.

There will be three rounds and two commercial breaks; one at 8:40 ET; the other at 9:20 ET, followed by one-minute closing statements.


The Associated Press notices Senator Lieberman's 'Tidal Wave Tuesday' strategy. Of the February 3 primaries: "Lieberman, Connecticut's junior senator, will have to win several of the tidal wave states to stay afloat, and that won't be easy. Dick Gephardt has a solid hold on his home state of Missouri; no one is concentrating on South Dakota; and Dean and Kerry are ratcheting up their races in South Carolina and Arizona. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, has run television ads in most of the Feb. 3 states. North Carolina Senator John Edwards has run ads in South Carolina. But Lieberman has yet to hit the airwaves. There are 334 delegates up for grabs in the seven states, four times as many in Iowa and New Hampshire combined. And the states are more representative of the nation, with greater racial diversity and more moderate political philosophies than the whiter and more liberal Democrats who live and vote in Iowa and New Hampshire." LINK

David Lightman says Lieberman's views on defense may not hurt him in many of those post Iowa and New Hampshire states. LINK


"Republican Party officials and political advisers to President Bush admit that they underestimated Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and say they now consider him a formidable potential adversary," USA Today 's Judy Keen reports. LINK

"Some Bush allies say he reminds them of another insurgent candidate who once bedeviled Bush: Arizona Senator John McCain. His wins in Republican primary elections in New Hampshire and Michigan rattled Bush's 2000 campaign. 'There is something going on there, and I tell you, if we don't pay attention . . . we're making a big mistake,' says Tom Rath, a Republican strategist and Bush adviser in New Hampshire."

"No top Republican Party, White House or Bush campaign official wanted to be identified talking about Dean, but he's as hot a topic inside the Bush camp as he is among his Democratic rivals."

"How worried is the Bush team? One campaign official notes that Dean is renting lots of cars in Iowa. The comment reveals that Bush supporters in Iowa are keeping an eye on him and his campaign spending."

There's also an Oliphant column about Dean you need to read, but, again, blame the Globe's online redesign, because we can't find the link.

Dan Balz on why Dean took fewer hits than expected last Thursday:

" … the hesitation of his main rivals in Iowa and New Hampshire to challenge Dean more directly in Albuquerque is a reminder that the art of the negative campaign is not always straightforward and obvious. Dean's rivals eventually must challenge him directly, but picking the time and place is part of what they and their advisers are now debating." LINK

The New York Times ' Wilgoren said the two candidates with the "least to lose" — Congressman Kucinich and Senator Lieberman — were the ones most likely to go after Dean. LINK

Joe Klein writes that the debate "illuminated a critical decision the Democrats now face-between principled opposition to the Bush Administration and populist demagoguery on the two main issues of this election, the war and the economy. This is a particularly crucial choice for Howard Dean, who wants to build his candidacy past Internet insurgency toward a broader audience. Indeed, Dean's subdued and awkward performance, and his slipperiness on both issues, seemed a rare moment of indecision in what has been a steamroller campaign. The Democrats were more united than they had ever been on the war." LINK

"Dean turns out to be a flagrantly political anti-politician. As his campaign gains altitude, he seems to change a position a week. In the debate, he changed two-first on American troops in Iraq, then on American labor standards on trade. Before that, he trimmed his honorable position on raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and his support for lifting the embargo on Cuba. Dean still proudly struts his pro-gun stance in the anti-gun Democratic Party, but as often as not he points out the political efficacy of that position in the red states. The question is: How many of Dean's positions are negotiable? As victory becomes a possibility, how much integrity will he compromise to win? Another question: How long before Dean's tough talk-the apparent candor that propelled his charge-begins to seem arrogant, uninformed, unpresidential?"

In yet another case of a good Dean oppo story landing in no man's land (remember Jim VandeiHei and the flip-flops?), the Boston Globe 's Michael Kranish's piece on Dean and campaign finance decisions appeared in Saturday's paper. LINK

Dear Marvin Kalb and Nick Lemann: is it wrong for journalists to agree to accept oppo on deepest background only if they give in to a campaign demand that the story not run in Saturday's paper? And would it be wrong to ask?

Watch your feet, Gov' nuh. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Lee Gomes writes about that Internetin' stuff the Dean campaign likes so much. He Notes, "Of course, candidates have been using the Web for as long as the Web has been around, and everyone running for president next year has a home page by now. The Dean Web efforts, though, are vastly more complex than the position papers and candidate pictures that make up most other political Web pages."

Jo Mannies went to a MeetUp! LINK


Labor leaders who support Dick Gephardt have sent a letter to congressional Democrats urging them to stick in the Missouri representative's corner, Roll Call 's Ethan Wallison.

"The letter, which is circulating on Gephardt campaign letterhead, amounts to the second instance in the space of a week that the candidate's supporters have sought to head off possible defections within the Congressional ranks. Just days earlier, Gephardt strategist Steve Murphy sent a memo to lawmakers arguing that the candidate remains the strongest challenger to President Bush."

Well, it's not like it's a primary. The Gephardt campaign had some trouble with its forward motion this weekend in New Hampshire — on Naticook Lake in the Merrimack Public Library Cardboard Boat Festival, the Nashua Telegraph reports. LINK

Check out the photo, which shows staffer Claire Wilker of Manchester cheerfully sinking into the drink. For those of you keeping score in hard copy, Ms. Wilker's grimace, we're told, graced Saturday's Nashua section.


If you didn't know any better, you might think Ret. Gen. Wes Clark's two biggest backers were Joe Trippi and Howard Dean. LINK


Dennis Kucinich's shifting views are costing him local votes and throwing off his congressional campaign in Ohio, the Des Moines Register says. LINK


On Iowa Press Friday, Senator Graham urged President Bush to apologize to the nation. LINK


Is it an announcement phone call or a rock concert? You decide. When Senator John Edwards told his staff over the weekend that he would bow out of the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, he did it by conference call. All satellite offices tuned in, campaign sources tell us, and both campaign manager Nick Baldick and the fully decided presidential candidate were announced to the troops over the rollicking strains of John Mellencamp's "Small Town." Edwards told his cheering staff that he was fully committed to the race for the presidency.

We can't wait to hear the musical selection at next week's formal announcement.

The Raleigh News & Observer began its four-part look at Edwards yesterday, looking at the "iron will to win" behind a guy in whom, as a kid, "no one saw greatness." The piece, which includes a great football photo and one of our favorite quotes from a classmate ("'Johnny was pretty close to being a redneck'"), casts Edwards as a determined lawyer and politician who saw possibilities for himself.

The Edwards announcement made the New York Times : LINK

And got the Balz treatment in the Washington Post .LINK

And will the likely contenders for the seat (as listed by Balz) please step up: "former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine B. Bowles, who lost to Dole in 2002, and former state House speaker Daniel T. Blue Jr., who lost to Bowles in the Democratic primary last year."


The Post 's Dana Milbank tries to blame Rev. Sharpton's travel agent for his debate cancellation.. LINK


On October 3, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will join Rep. Barbara Lee and Senators Boxer, Lincoln, Mikulski and Murray for a gala dinner to benefit Women Senate 2004, a joint fundraising committee to help re-elect Democratic women senators.

According to a copy of the invitation, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Angela Menino and Victoria Reggie Kennedy are honorary co-chairs.

To which we say, cool!

We know hearts are breaking over at the Department of Justice today, but oh what a gain for Blank Rome LLP. Chief DoJ spokeswoman Barbara Comstock is leaving to join the ranks at Blank Rome Government Relations LLC, specializing in lobbying and communications strategy. Comstock, who served as Director of Research and Strategic Planning at the Republican National Committee and contributed mightily to President Bush's 2000 victory, is also a Hill veteran with tours of duty as Chief Counsel/Chief Investigative Counsel and Senior Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and worked for Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.).

Washington Times ' Audrey Hudson was the only person we saw quoting RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie on "Meet." LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Looking at HILLPAC's munificience, the New York Post 's Orin/Morris write: "Last night, the New York senator was already looking to 2006 as she kicked off her re-election bid with a posh party feting deep-pocketed donors of campaigns past — and, hopefully, future. A steady caravan of BMWs, Lexuses and Mercedes pulled up around 6 p.m. to the tony Chappaqua home Clinton shares with ex-president hubby Bill. The guests were immediately greeted by valet workers dressed in white dinner jackets and quickly whisked inside." LINK