The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:30 am: Senator John Kerry officially announces his presidential candidacy, Charleston, S.C. —9:30 am: Senate convenes for legislative business, D.C. —9:45 am: Off-camera White House press gaggle with Scott McClellan —10:00 am: First Lady Laura Bush meets with the New York City Teaching Fellows, New York City —11:00 am: Senator Joe Lieberman unveils his health care plan, Silver Spring, Md. —12:00 pm: Congressman Dennis Kucinich speaks at the University of Iowa, Iowa City —12:30 pm: On-camera White House press briefing with Scott McClellan —12:30 pm: Secretary Tom Ridge delivers remarks on reorganization at the Department of Homeland Security, D.C. —1:00 pm: Californians Against the Costly Recall holds events to preview its new television ad featuring Senator Dianne Feinstein, West Hollywood and San Francisco —1:35 pm: President Bush participates in the presentation of the first game football of the 2003 National Football League season, D.C. —3:00 pm: Congressman Kucinich speaks at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa —6:15 pm: Senator Kerry officially announces his presidential candidacy, Des Moines


Since there's that whole Labor-Day-kick-off thing, and it's the beginning of a very big month, let's clear the air with a very big a-hem of reality: the three biggest figures in American politics for the next five weeks will be George W. Bush, Howard Dean, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sure, John Kerry (who meta-announces today) and the other Democratic presidential candidates matter mucho; as do Gray Davis, Senator McClintock, and Dan Schnur; and there are plenty of kings and queens of the Hill who will make a lot of noise. (And Rep. Bill Janklow's court appearance is scheduled for 2:30 pm ET today).

And world and national players who have any piece of the Iraq story, other international hotspots, or the economy are sure to be big players too.

But no matter what happens in war and peace and prosperity (and The Note will do its level best to cover those things as they intersect with politics), our Big Three are going to be the Boys of September and into October, after which, we bet the political world looks so different we will all be recalibrating.

Bush, because he's the commander-in-chief, because he's wrestling with the changing politics of Iraq, and because he has that budget deficit to deal with as he looks to get Congress moving on a legislative agenda headed by energy and Medicare.

Oh, and also he is the best political fundraiser of all time.

Dean because he is likely to raise twice as much (and maybe three times as much!) as any Democrat in the third quarter — which we'll know come mid-October, and that will be a political earthquake.

The Note is a big believer in the nearly iron-clad rule of modern American politics: the person who raises the most money in the year before the voting always wins the nomination (and Howard Dean will be that man).

Not to mention that come January, when everyone else runs out of time to raise money the old fashioned ways, Joe Trippi (after Dean is — inevitably — attacked) will put up the bat, says there are three weeks to go, and the money will pour in — whether Dean has decided to take the match or not.

And Dean matters lots because no one can give a linear explanation of how he's denied the nomination — he might not get the nomination, but can anyone write a simple sentence explaining why?

And Arnold Schwarzenegger matters lots because from Mary Hart to Peter Hart, he is an irresistible story.

For the next five weeks, we will struggle every day: do we lead with recall or do we lead with presidential politics?

Today, with John Kerry's announcement, let's go with the latter, and why should we be any different than the rest of the political herd: let's lead our Kerry coverage with thoughts about … . Howard Dean.

If Howard Dean stood 6 foot 4 tall, was the former two-term governor of Georgia and had even the barest of military backgrounds — and kept his exact message, he would be the odds on favorite to be his party nominee and would likely prove a strong challenger to George Bush in his general election.

Howard Dean can't raise his height, can't redo the past, and can't retroactively move to Atlanta.

Now that the biggest real poltick doubt about Dean has been put to rest — that he couldn't raise the money — the press has moved onto put other things to rest as well.

That his grassroots support was limited to cyberspace. That his staff wasn't professional enough to run a credible national campaign. That the candidate was undisciplined and unlikable. That he has no momentum outside Iowa and New Hampshire.

What remains is the electability question, which agitates the deep emotional cortices of Democratic voters and 49 percent of the Gang of 500 who share the party name.

Is Dean making progress on the electability front? More and more … It's not just that his stump speech is flashing its centrist blinkers. It's in simple accoutrements, like, say, a steady drumbeat of (somewhat) important, (semi-)resonating endorsements.

And in the dirty little (actually: "massive") secret of this stage of the campaign, the national political press corps is nearly united in its views that Dean (a) CAN be the nominee and (b) just might be the most fun to cover in the general.

In the face of all this, the once-upon-a-time frontrunner, Senator John Kerry will formally introduce his candidacy in Charleston, South Carolina, and, in doing so, launch a campaign to make the Democratic Party activists forget everything they like about Howard Dean and focus on one of the biggest issues of 2004 — which Democrat can present a credible alternative to Bush's leadership on national security matters.

Kerry's message to voters today is (sometimes) in many ways, an aircraft carrier is (not) just an aircraft carrier. And Howard Dean is what he is, too — simply not up to being commander in chief. Kerry is hoping that biography is destiny.

Including today, this next five weeks will see, to quote the Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny: "three televised debates, three ceremonial announcements and, most important, a telling 30-day period for candidates to prove their viability before the third quarter of fundraising closes Sept. 30." LINK

Indeedy-do, September will flood your daybooks with debates, court hearings, announcements, conferences, meetings, fundraisers, big speeches, Web shindigs, and other electoral activity that's sure to make you forget whatever vacation you just had.

Some highlights are: the first two DNC sanctioned presidential debates in Albuquerque on the fourth and in New York City on the 25th, another Democratic candidate debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus on the ninth, the Alabama tax referendum vote on the ninth, the Harkin Steak Fry, Senator Edwards' official announcement, several key recall dates, and so much more that you really should just plan to study our futures calendar at least four or five times a day.

This week alone brings some crucial developments in the Invisible Primary, most notably the first DNC sanctioned presidential debate this Thursday in Albuquerque, New Mexico. All nine declared candidates are scheduled to attend this event, hosted by Governor Bill Richardson and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The debate, parts of which will be in both English and Spanish, is expected to be a conversational affair on domestic and international issues.

ABC News' Tzemach reports that the Teamsters are celebrating their 100th anniversary this coming weekend in D.C. with a string of meetings and events which will be topped off by a dinner Saturday night at the Washington Hilton keynoted by Congressman Gephardt. Former President Clinton and Senator Clinton will be speaking in the afternoon prior to the big dinner, and/but they likely won't be there at the same time. Teamster organizers say they expect between four and five thousand people at the afternoon session, and slightly less for the dinner.

In the Recall State, voters will receive information in the mail from Secretary of State Kevin Shelley beginning today.


-- Governor Gray Davis' campaign unveils its first television ads to reporters in Los Angeles and San Francisco today. (See below for an exclusive preview.)

-- The debate over debates ramps up with Schwarzenegger's opponents urging him to show up to more than one debate.

Arnold Schwarzenegger does a pair of radio interviews on the Michael Medved show on KRLA and the John and Ken Show on KFI. He will also hold closed policy meetings with advisers.

Neither Governor Davis nor Lt. Governor Bustamante have any public events scheduled for today.

State Senator McClintock appears on KPRL's "Sound Off with Joe Benson."

Peter Ueberroth will also do a couple of radio interviews today. He's on KFI with Bill Handel and KTKZ with Eric Hogue.

This week, we'll see the first Kerry and Gephardt ads of the cycle.

On Wednesday, there will be a candidate debate without Schwarzenegger sponsored by the Contra Costa Times/KTVU-TV/KQED-FM. The Contra Costa Times reports that Governor Davis will answer questions about the recall for the first half-hour of the forum from local Fox anchor Dennis Richmond, a panel of journalists and a select group of audience members. Davis will then leave the stage and at least five candidates — Camejo, Huffington, McClintock, Bustamante and Ueberroth — will face questions from journalists and the audience for 90 minutes.

President Bush is in D.C. today. He'll host NFL leaders at the White House today to officially kick off the start of the 2003 professional pigskin proceedings. On Wednesday, he hosts Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands for breakfast at the White House. The president goes to Kansas City on Thursday and Indianapolis on Friday to talk about the economy. First Lady Laura Bush will attend a Bush-Cheney 2004 fundraiser in Florence, South Carolina, on Thursday.

On Friday, Vice President Cheney attends a fundraiser for Senator Murkowski in Dallas.

Senator Kerry begins his official announcement tour today in Charleston, South Carolina, and Des Moines, Iowa. In Charleston, Kerry will be joined by former Georgia Senator Max Cleland and other fellow veterans in front of the U.S.S. Yorktown. On Wednesday, he goes to Manchester, New Hampshire and Boston.

Governor Dean has no public events scheduled for today. He campaigns in Santa Fe Wednesday. He's in Albuquerque for Thursday's debate, after which he'll attend a party with supporters. He campaigns in Phoenix on Friday.

Senator Lieberman presents his health care plan today in a speech at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He attends a fundraiser luncheon in Denver on Wednesday. He'll be in Albuquerque on Thursday for the debate.

Congressman Gephardt campaigns some more in New Hampshire today. He meets with some teachers and in Manchester and then goes to Bedford to speak at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast. He'll be in Albuquerque for the debate on Thursday.

Congressman Kucinich delivers speeches at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University today. He'll be in Albuquerque Thursday for the debate. On Saturday, Ani DiFranco and Willie Nelson headline a benefit concert for the campaign. On Sunday, Kucinich will attend Farm Aid in Columbus, Ohio.

Senator Edwards will be in Albuquerque for Thursday's debate. He then goes to western Iowa to campaign for the weekend.

Reverend Sharpton has no confirmed plans for today, but he racks up some serious frequent flyer miles for the rest of the week. He is in South Carolina on Wednesday, in Albuquerque for the debate on Thursday, and in San Francisco for the SEIU convention on Friday. He'll be back in New York Friday night for his daughter Ashley's 16th birthday. Over the weekend, he's in Richmond, Baltimore, and St. Louis.

Today is national Carol Moseley Braun day. She will attend the Albuquerque debate on Thursday.

Senator Graham has no public events announced yet for this week, but he is expected in Albuquerque on Thursday.

John Kerry announces:

ABC News Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe says that due to poor weather, the Kerry entourage arrived pretty late in South Carolina, around 8:30; there was not a large crowd present … .mostly staffers. There were 72 people onboard including Kerry's wife, and his two children from a previous marriage. Daughter Alexandra, currently in film school, is traveling with Kerry and shooting a documentary, behind the scenes with the candidate type film (just like Alexandra Pelosi!). The highlight: when Teresa Heinz Kerry came around with homemade brownies, her husband in tow. "They weren't bad brownies," O'Keefe says.

The AP's Mike Glover writes up the announcement tour, pointing out, "While Kerry has sought to focus attention on his war-hero background, some have urged him to broaden his appeal. With a distinctly martial theme for his announcement, there was little evidence he was taking that step." LINK

Glover also reports on the senator's Clintonesque (Gore-esque?) last-minute tweaking of his announcement speech. LINK

The AP's bio box on Kerry. LINK

The Boston Herald's Andrew Miga Notes the "Southern twist." LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Shesgreen reports that Kerry will begin to air television ads in Iowa and New Hampshire this week. LINK

Deborah Orin writes in the New York Post that Kerry's decision to launch his campaign in South Carolina is "widely seen as a move to create a fallback position in case he loses New Hampshire." LINK

Kerry got lots of chat time on the morning shows … but made no news. Soledad O'Brien let Kerry talk and talk and talk and talk …

Yesterday's Washington Post curtain-raised the announcement, with VandeHei and Balz making the dreaded Gore comparison. LINK

Glen Johnson yesterday was one of the few to write up Kerry's "Meet" appearance, but his editors forced him to give short shrift to Kerry's declaration that he might not take the matching funds (We knew there was a reason for our summer-long recurring nightmare about talking again and again to Robert Gibbs about whether the Senator can use the ketchup money … ), and Johnson failed to mention that Kerry basically forbade Jim Jordan to ever trash-talk Dr. Dean again. LINK

The Register's Tom Beaumont remembers Kerry's enormous 500 person crowd last January, the momentum it generated, and creates a from-then to today narrative. LINK

The Politics of National Security:

Ron Brownstein's Monday column got the role Dean's war opposition has played in his candidacy just right, and this blind quote is a keeper of potentially historic significance: "'I think the war right now is a total negative for anyone who was for it,' says a senior strategist for one of the Democrats who backed Bush (on the Iraq war). 'And the only thing that changes that is conditions improving on the ground in Iraq. If things continue to deteriorate, we are swimming upstream.'" LINK

The AP's Ken Guggenheim reports that lawmakers who may have been reluctant in the past to criticize the president's handling of Iraq are now "shedding their inhibitions." LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

We will not underestimate the political consequences if the New York Times ' story on China turns out to be true. LINK

Goodness help the president if the international economy job loss and trade become central issues in the presidential campaign, because David Sanger's New York Times front pager pegged to labor day's POTUS event is positively brutal — with its mocking of the president's announcement that he is creating a new Commerce Department assistant secretary for manufacturing as a solution to what ails Ohio workers. And with its generally downbeat assessment of things starting with its lead: "Since the last time President Bush addressed a Labor Day picnic — with carpenters in Pennsylvania — the economy has lost 700,000 jobs, most of them in manufacturing." LINK

Deborah Orin of the New York Post writes up President Bush's effort "to put a positive spin on both the economy and the war on terror." LINK

Mike Allen says life is good Chez Fleischer, where presidential fund-raising and five-figure speaking fees are now the norm: LINK

"Fleischer, in his seventh week away from the White House podium, is scheduled to headline five more Republican fundraisers over the next two months, with plans to speak at more Bush-Cheney events later. He is scheduled to give more than 50 paid speeches to colleges, corporations and trade associations by next Memorial Day, earning five figures for each. "

Paul Krugman throws a FERC log on the fire. Hear that crackle. LINK

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

USA Today 's Jill Lawrence and Susan Page do the political calendar for Dummies, and we mean that in a good way. LINK

No, seriously — the Nation's ladies do a fine job of trying to get their editors and all of ours off everybody's back — pissing on polls at this point and dismissing the notion of a Gore or Senator Clinton entrance.

The Boston Globe 's Glen Johnson, apparently deciding not to brand a big-think Kerry announce piece, ably runs down all of the Labor Day remarks by the Democratic candidates. LINK

"Labor Day is supposed to kick off the Democratic 2004 presidential race, but this year it marked the kickoff of the frantic race to catch up with anti-war front-runner Howard Dean," reports Deborah Orin of he New York Post . LINK

The New York Post rates the Democratic field's chances of capturing their party's nomination: Howard Dean, 2-1; John Kerry, 4-1; Joe Lieberman, 15-1; Dick Gephardt, 5-2; John Edwards, 12-1; Wesley Clark, 10-1.

The New York Times twins a Kit Seeyle look at the Democrats labor day in Iowa and New Hampshire with a Randy Archibold Iowans-on-the-street round-up of a bunch of Hawkeyes undecided and unimpressed with the Dem field. LINK and LINK

In Iowa, "Edwards and Kucinich appeared to have the most vocal supporters at Monday's events. While Braun participated, no one held signs for her. She spoke last, and her speech was poorly attended. Those holding signs for Kerry stuck around and clapped politely for her," the Des Moines Register reports. LINK

Labor day in Manchester had a health care, Andy Stern-esque tinge. LINK

The AP looked at candidates and labor unions in New Hampshire but only mentions one union:

'Nobody is picking up union support like Gephardt,' said Duane Woerth, president of the International Air Line Pilots Association. 'There is no question Dick Gephardt will get our endorsement.'" LINK

According to Lschuyler Kropf of The Post and Courier, labor leaders are hoping for a specific message from Democrats as they urge union members to vote in South Carolina. LINK

The AP's Jennifer Holland writes, "Democrats in South Carolina don't sound a whole lot like Democrats in many other parts of the country, and it's not just because of that venerable Southern accent." LINK

America's newspaper leads with a Tuesday morning White House campaign season kick-off (no Britney or Aretha, though, we must report — for that you gotta wait til Thursday) that proves once again some people see the glass half full while others keep drinking … LINK


With former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt predicting he will abandon his race for the Senate, John Edwards remains silent, says Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer. LINK

President Bush takes a beating as John Edwards emphasized the loss of textile jobs in South Carolina, citizens, says Lee Bandy of The State. LINK

Meet Ed Turlington. LINK


ABC News Dean campaign reporter Marc Ambinder says that this September, the Dean campaign won't rest on the crest of the enormous wave of positive publicity and sky-high poll numbers that ended the summer. To the contrary: they will step up their efforts to broaden their volunteer base, to nationalize their candidacy and to convince the Democratic establishment that Gov. Dean is electable.

The campaign calls it "September to Remember." The month has three main elements. First, to meet their goal of 450,000 online activists by the end of the month.

Second, to make themselves increasingly visible in the community, by completing "Dean Corps" community projects and by old-fashioned campaign stand-outs.

Third, to up the pressure on undecided elected officials to endorse Dean; activists will write letters and send e-mails to their Democratic office-holders.

In Iowa, the campaign will to treble its volunteer base. The campaign will continue its major, behind-the-scenes push to prevent labor unions from endorsing Dick Gephardt.

And look for a steady stream of personal endorsements for Dean, including a couple of big names. (The campaign picked up former Iowa House Democratic leader Richard Myers this weekend.)

They will also fundraise. An "on day" for Governor Dean is typically about 14 hours long, but it includes built-in respites for fundraising and political calls. No one in Burlington will speculate about their 9/30 haul, fearing they'll jinx the numbers that eventually come in. Other campaigns, trying to raise expectations about Dean, are throwing around a figure of close to $15 million. We still think anything greater than $10.3 million, the publicly announced goal, is sort of spectacular.

At the advent of this busy month, the already understaffed Dean press shop will be a person short this week. Courtney O'Donnell, Dean's deputy communications director, was rushed into surgery Saturday after a night of severe stomach pains. Doctors performed an appendectomy. On Sunday, O'Donnell awoke from a post-surgery nap to see the concerned face of her boss, Governor Dean, hovering over her hospital bed.

"All the sudden I looked up and there was Gov. Howard Dean, who came in to do a house call," O'Donnell said.

The famously doctorial Dean, who demands a lot from his fiercely loyal staff, talked about the procedure and told O'Donnell to take some rest time.

Needless to say, O'Donnell, who typically works 14 hour days for the Dean campaign, says she'll follow the doctor's orders.

We wish her a speedy recovery.

Thomas Beaumont's well-written Dean bio strikes the usual chords. LINK

Did Trippi write these letters under a pseudonym? LINK

Extending the Dean campaign's normal luck, the Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei had the most comprehensive Dean flip-flop story ever — buried on the Saturday before Labor Day. LINK

And how many Note readers read this Saturday New York Post editorial attacking Dean for being pro-graffiti? LINK

Brownstein is just one of many who sees Dean as maybe pulling away. LINK

The two Kerry aides who miraculously were struck enough by the same line in the Vande Hei story to e-mail a bunch of political reporters about it seem not to realize that Dean's supporters LIKE his win-at-all-cost attitude.

"We'll do whatever it takes to win the nomination," Dean told VandeHei. The Note says: big deal, even if it did "jump out" at a duo of Kerry aides.

Time Magazine's Tumulty has a perfectly good Dean/Kerry story, but there's an argument to be made that she overstates the role war has played in Dean's rise. LINK

John McClaughry, a former Vermont state senator who ran for governor against Dean in 1992, accuses Dean in a Wall Street Journal op-ed of raiding the state's education fund, shifting health-care costs to providers and raising taxes on sales, rooms, meals, liquor, cigarettes, electrical energy, corporations, telecommunications, bank franchises, gasoline and property values.


Perhaps the worst development of the long holiday weekend for any Invisible Primarian developed for Bob Graham who was unceremoniously clustered with Sharpton, Kucinich and Moseley Braun by the firm of Balz & Nagourney.

We look forward to his fighting his way back to tier 2.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Shesgreen reports that Gephardt will also air television ads in Iowa and New Hampshire this week. LINK


While Kerry announces, Lieberman counterprograms with health care.

ABC News' Lieberman campaign reporter Talesha Reynolds says the Senator's health care plan aims to "cover 3/4 of currently uninsured Americans," including "all children, whom he defines as between birth and age 25. The plan would be free for all 'children' living under the poverty line and charged on a sliding scale for those above 'a certain income level.' There is also a plan for the working poor, who would have the option of buying insurance through the government at a cheaper rate than private plans. The programs will be called MediKids and MediChoice."

"Ken Thorpe, a professor at Emory University priced Lieberman's plan. (He's the director of Emory's department of Health Policy and Management) Lieberman said his plan is "much less expensive" than Gephardt's but didn't say by how much."

The Courant's David Lightman sees careful calculation in the proposal:

"Lieberman is doing what his colleagues have done: addressing the issues that seem to be most troublesome to voters." LINK

"One is the price tag — the cost both to consumers and to the government."

"People are wary of any plan that will cost them more money. And they probably will be reluctant to back anything that will cost the government billions more dollars — dollars that could eventually come out of their pockets as taxes anyway."

"Lieberman has been reluctant to get into what aides have called a bidding war on health care; he would help pay for his plan by axing some of President Bush's tax cuts."

"'It will do more for less,' he said Monday in a statement, 'insuring more Americans at a lower cost than any other Democratic candidate's plan.'"

Lightman also Notes: "Lieberman also has to defend, more than most of his opponents, his own record. He is late in coming to this topic, and it has never been a signature issue of his Senate career.

The Senator's health care plan merits a top story in the Quad-Cities Times. LINK


"In an unannounced appearance Saturday at the Islamic Society of North America's annual convention at McCormick Place, former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun compared the civil liberties struggle of Muslim Americans today to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s," reports Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun Times. LINK


The Boston Globe 's Joanna Weiss writes about the suspense and excitement Clark supporters feel as they await the big decision. LINK

EJ Dionne looks at Wesley Clark's chances of capturing Democrats' imagination … and their nomination LINK

D.C. Primary:

We aren't burdening you with to many stories from the holiday weekend, but if you are students of either the D.C. primary's place in the world or of Jano Cabrera's time-capsule quotes, you need to read this story and savor the last two paragraphs. LINK

Legislative agenda:

Sheryl Gay Stolberg nicely opens up the busy Congressional term. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook did a great job of setting the table for Congress' fall agenda. LINK

As did Eilperin and Dewar in the Post . LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

The Wall Street Journal 's June Kronholz writes about how the impact of HHS's low ratings for Head Start combined with the start of school may impact Congress' pending reauthorization for the program. Kronholz writes, "As in the Medicare overhaul debate, President Bush sees in Head Start a chance to remake a prominent Lyndon Johnson Great Society program in his more conservative image — in this case, taking power away from the Washington-funded bureaucrats and giving states more discretion to run Head Start and blend it with their own preschool initiatives."

The WSJ's Tom Hamburger writes, "President Bush's push for action on his legislative priorities — a Medicare drug benefit, an energy bill and increased funding for Iraq — is complicated now by a growing and increasingly politicized federal budget deficit."

The WSJ's David Rogers and Sarah Lueck write that "there is a growing consensus among those closest to the [prescription drug benefit] talks that Mr. Bush must become more involved or risk collapse of the effort."

California recall, the Democrats:

ABC News' Apton has exclusive details on Gray Davis' first television ads of the recall campaign:

"Governor Davis' media campaign kicks off today when 'Californians Against the Costly Recall' previews its first TV ads for the special recall election featuring California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Each ad runs 30 seconds and will begin running on Wednesday. Senator Feinstein, in the ad: 'The recall is creating uncertainty and instability — it's bad for our economy, it's bad for jobs and it's bad for California. I'm going to vote against it — I hope you will too.' Senator Feinstein defending the Governor saying: 'The governor deserves the chance to keep working on issues we care about: like education, health care and important new privacy legislation.'"

The deliberately scheduled near miss of Governor Davis and his lieutenant governor/replacement candidate Cruz Bustamante at a Labor Day event caused a spate of Davis v. Bustamante stories in today's papers.

The Los Angeles Times duo Michael Finnegan and Matea Gold produce an analysis of Lieutenant Governor Bustamante's "No-Yes" strategy and wonder if Mr. Bustamante may have forgotten about the "no" portion of his campaign. LINK

George Gorton is more than happy to offer a quote on something other than Oui magazine, debate ducking, or a lack of specific policy positions.

"'They're hurting each other, and they know it,' said Schwarzenegger strategist George Gorton. 'The more they build up Bustamante, the more likely people are to vote 'yes' on the recall.'"

More Finnegan/Gold: "Davis strategists have long feared that Bustamante's presence on the ballot would make it harder for the governor to survive the election. But Steve Smith, director of the governor's anti-recall campaign, said Monday that Bustamante's candidacy, in the end, could 'energize Democrats.'

"'Frankly, I'd like to see the lieutenant governor do well,' Smith said."

"As for Bustamante's telling national television viewers that he 'took on Gray Davis' on Proposition 187, Smith said, the lieutenant governor 'provides a little separation between him and the governor, but he doesn't hurt the governor.'"

Gregg Jones and Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times write up the Labor Day activities of a "contrite" Governor Davis and an "aggressive" Cruz Bustamante. LINK

"Although the two men crossed paths, they rather conspicuously did not appear together — underlining the continuing tension between their overlapping campaigns."

If Governor Davis defeats the recall, Californians can expect to see some more of the Clintonesque Gray Davis evident on the campaign trail.

"The governor took the podium to the strains of Sister Sledge's disco hit, 'We Are Family,' clapping and mouthing the words as the music blasted."

"Davis later told a small group of reporters that, if he retains his job, he would hold regular town hall meetings as a means of staying in closer touch with Californians, extending a practice that he began recently on his campaign."

Speaking of FPOTUS, ABC News' Apton reports, "on a private jet ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Governor Davis told a handful of press that former President Clinton 'will come out' to California 'and do events for us. We haven't nailed down the precise events, but he's coming out in part to campaign with me.' This is the first time somebody in the Davis camp has confirmed Clinton's campaigning with the Governor in mid-September. President Clinton is scheduled to be in California from September 15 — 17, but there is still no confirmation of any scheduled Davis campaign events for the former President."

The New York Times ' Dean Murphy on the "awkward minuet." LINK

"Both men addressed a union-sponsored picnic held at county fairgrounds here southeast of San Francisco, but they did not appear together and they did not mention each other in their formal remarks. In a careful staging of their appearances, Mr. Bustamante followed Mr. Davis to the lectern by a few minutes, with a mariachi band sandwiched between them."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Marc Sandalow takes a look at what every conservative loves to hate: "the right-wing conspiracy theory" LINK

California recall, Arnold:

ABC News' Schifrin reports on Arnold Schwarzenegger's debate decision:

Schwarzenegger decided over the weekend to skip tomorrow's Contra Costa debate (and all other offers), choosing instead to attend exclusively a debate sponsored by the California Broadcasters Association. The CBA's event is distinctive in two ways: questions will be submitted in advance by voters and made available before the debate to the candidates, and the debate will be made available to any and all media who want to air it live. Arnold's campaign rejects accusations that it chose the debate for its format, pointing instead to the guaranteed worldwide coverage.

The date? The CBA posted Sept. 17 on its website, but Arnold's campaign says the debate will occur the fourth week of September. Did Arnold demand a date change? The campaign says no; the CBA could not be reached yesterday.

Reaction to the debate announcement is turning into yet another salvo from the increasingly hostile press army which follows Arnold around. The growing bandwagon of media critics are pressing the campaign on extensive fundraising plans, on avoiding all in-state political reporters, and about being very unspecific in general. Frothing at the mouth has begun.

But why has the frothing not reached a rabid level as of yet? Perhaps it has something to do with some reporters' reluctance to criticize the CBA format since the CBA represents and is run by their journalistic brethren. The question may be asked why Mr. Schwarzenegger is only doing one debate, but that is an age-old tradition among front-running(ish) candidates. The more important question may be how did this format opportunity put forth by the CBA come to be?

Los Angeles Times Columnist Patt Morrison writes that she thinks that when Arnold Schwarzenegger does answer a few questions, his answers simply produce more questions. LINK

The L.A. Times gives a rundown of Arnold's Labor Day event and criticisms leveled at him from fellow Republicans McClintock and Ueberroth. LINK

The article also Notes how in this election, politics are extremely local:

"At the state fair, hundreds of admirers shouted for Schwarzenegger's attention, tried to shake his hand and thrust pens and pieces of paper at him. It was his first trip to the fair, a two-week event that draws as many as 100,000 people a day. Schwarzenegger sounded themes similar to those that former Gov. Pete Wilson, now Schwarzenegger's campaign chairman, talked about when he was in office during the recession a decade ago. At that time, Wilson appointed Ueberroth to study the causes of the recession. Now that the economy once again has slowed, many of the Ueberroth commission ideas are being recycled by Schwarzenegger[.]"

Mr. Schwarzenegger has said he hasn't lived his life in preparation for running for political office, but he is beginning to sound more and more politician-like. The New York Post 's David Li heard him express a bit of regret over those 26 year old comments published in Oui magazine. LINK

"'Now, thinking back on it, they were probably the wrong statements to make,' he said. 'But these were the '70s, and you can't turn the clock back.'"

California recall, at large:

As the California recall campaigning heats-up this Labor Day, The Washington Post likens the media coverage of the recall election to that of a presidential campaign. They aren't the first to make this point, but they do it very very well. LINK

La Opinion says that no matter who ends up governor, California's television stations will be the big winners. The Davis camp is on record as estimating its television ad spending in the $12-$15 million range. The paper says there's speculation that the recall could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the broadcast industry, some of which is expected to go to Spanish-language outlets such as Univision. LINK

The AP wants to know who the Hollywood celebs are rooting for in the recall race. LINK

While the San Jose Mercury News reports that the special recall election will probably not have many young voters flocking to the polls. LINK.

Politics: The New York Times has a long, literary, not-terribly favorable profile of Baltimore's Martin O'Malley. LINK

Monday's New York Times had a must-read Adam Nagourney opus on how wise-guys and -gals in both parties see even presidential contests as base elections, in some ways more than fought-in-the-middle events. LINK

Leaders in the Muslim community vow to make their voices heard come November: LINK

Christie Whitman says no one in the White House told her to lie about Gotham air quality post-9/11: LINK


On Monday, September 8, The U.S. Supreme Court will devote four full hours to oral argument on the constitutionality of BCRA, the new federal campaign finance law. Tentative start time is 10 am ET.

The justices will hear from a who's-who of the Washington legal elite: former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, current solicitor general Ted Olsen, former solicitor general Seth Waxman and First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams are among the notable names who'll be arguing.

The Washington Post 's ed board says "just say yes" to McCain-Feingold: LINK

"To put it bluntly, for the court to strike down significant parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, it will have to say — in effect, if not explicitly — that the Constitution requires federal impotence in the face of the all-but-overt culture of influence peddling that now dominates U.S. politics."

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

"Thousands of revelers urge Hill to run for prez," The New York Post reports. LINK

The "flood of support" at Monday's West Indian Day Parade "came a day after former Gov. Mario Cuomo told The Post he would back Clinton if she pursues a presidential run and believes she would steamroll President Bush."

Bush Administration strategy/personality:

The New York Post 's Deborah Orin Notes Karen Hughes' presence on the stump last week when President Bush made his first big speech about Iraq since declaring major combat over May 1 and finds it not surprising that "Bush is suddenly putting renewed stress on the liberation of Afghan women and girls, as well as the hardships faced by U.S. military families back home." LINK

USA Today 's Kevin Johnson reports that Attorney General Ashcroft likes his job and doesn't plan to literally campaign for another one. LINK