1. The Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein has a hard look at President Bush-as-decision maker. "As president, Bush has been far less flexible than he was as governor of Texas. At times in Washington, when faced with incontrovertible evidence he was barreling into a dead end, he's been willing to shift direction; Bush displayed that instinct in dropping his initial resistance to a Department of Homeland Security. More often, he's dug in his heels even when circumstances seemingly demand a change. He's continued to push through massive tax cuts initially designed as a response to government surpluses even after the surpluses melted into record deficits. He's displayed an equally stubborn streak in continuing to nominate aggressively ideological judges he knows are virtually certain to provoke filibusters from Senate Democrats. Far more than in Texas, Bush in Washington equates resolve with rigidity. From that overall pattern, the easiest course for Bush in Iraq would be to stay the course, or to make only cosmetic changes. This has been his initial instinct." LINK
2. The Post 's Fred Hiatt on Dean, and trade: "He speaks rapidly, as advertised, sometimes answering before a question is complete, seeming not to weigh his words with overly political caution — his trademark distinction from the programmed Washington politicians running against him. Yet at times he speaks openly of the political calculations. Some positions seem aimed at the partisan primary audience, others to shore up his general-election credentials." " … He allows that former treasury secretary Robert Rubin told him: 'I can't sell you on Wall Street if this is your position' on trade. But the former governor apparently can live with that. "I said, 'Bob, tell me what your solution is.' He said, 'I'll have to get back to you.' I haven't heard from him.'" LINK; In the Dean campaign's estimate, the sleepless summer tour's Seattle stop last night drew more than 8,000 (perhaps more than 10,000) — a Dean/2004 Vote record.LINK
3. The AP reported on Sunday that Bob Graham's "stalled" presidential run is "unnerving" Florida Democratic leaders, who are "worried that a losing campaign for the White House could tip his Senate seat to the Republicans in 2004." LINK
4. Senator Edwards will stress his rural roots in a new round of Iowa ads, per the AP's Glover. LINK; In Keene, New Hampshire, Edwards's visit drew the requisite "he'll fight for the people" coverage. LINK
Edwards advisers told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that the senator would likely announce he was dropping out of the Senate race in North Carolina some time between now and his Sept. 16 announcement. Edwards, however, would not discuss the timing or plan in yesterday's This Week on-the-road visit with him.
5. Six of the nine Democrats running for president will make a pitch for union support during appearances before the Communications Workers of America in Chicago. Gephardt, Kerry and Kucinich will address the convention Monday. Lieberman, Dean and Braun will speak on Tuesday. LINK
Please also read:
--The Wall Street Journal on the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein, one of the most powerful men in Washington.
--The Des Moines Register 's Roos on the life and political aspirations of Dick Gephardt. LINK; and LINK
--Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore's op-ed on the Ten Commandments in the Wall Street Journal .