The Note

1. Dan Balz says Lieberman "continued his battle with the Democrats' liberal base tonight" and found a foil mainly in Governor Dean. LINK; USA Today 's Jill Lawrence does a Larry Merchant-like wrap-up of the big night. LINK ; "Their appearance came as one of them, Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, struggled to win the support necessary to gain the organization's endorsement, a critical aspect of his nomination strategy," The New York Times ' Nagourney reports. LINK; The AP's Leigh Strope recounts how the "nine contenders played to labor leaders" LINKand that "Gephardt has gambled his fight for the nomination on the support of organized labor and had the most at stake in the forum." LINK; Note this quote from SEIU's Andrew Stern: "'There's only one issue here: Dick Gephardt,' said Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, the largest in the federation. 'Dick Gephardt has the greatest and most passionate labor support of any candidate. The question is how broad is that support.'"; The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny writes, "Technically, the 90-minute meeting was not a debate. The rivals were not allotted time to directly engage, question or otherwise puncture one another. But moments into the session, several contenders set the rules aside and began to point fingers in a frenzied attempt to break out from the leaderless pack." ">LINK; The Chicago Sun Times' Scott Fornek writes, "Gephardt had the most riding on Tuesday's gathering." LINK; The New York Post 's Orin says "Dean looked relaxed, but Kerry looked tired and sounded hoarse." LINK

2. Dean wins part of the John Harwood primary: "Every Democrat has an electability problem against George W. Bush … . Mr. Dean's issue vulnerabilities are only marginally different from those of other Democrats; the party is increasingly homogenous ideologically, just as Republicans are. And any reasonable analysis must consider the very real assets that only the one-time medical doctor has yet demonstrated." … "Because the country remains so polarized, Mr. Bush's strategists have concluded that their core task in 2004 is mobilizing the Republican base, not persuading a diminishing pool of swing voters. To win, any Democratic nominee will have to generate intense support within the party to match that Republican fervor. The only candidate who can claim that capacity so far is Howard Dean."

3. The New York Times on the bifurcated housing market: "The cost of homes in the most expensive cities is now about six times that in the least expensive, up from a ratio of three to one two decades ago." LINK ; the Times ' Pear on proposed cuts in Medicare payments to doctors for cancer drugs. LINK; the Journal's Rogers on a drug card: "House and Senate negotiators announced a tentative agreement on a Medicare prescription-drug discount card that the Bush administration hopes to have in place by April 1, and which will provide $600 a year in aid for low-income beneficiaries."

4. The Orlando Sentinel blares: "As Senator Bob Graham seeks to boost his presidential campaign by leading his entire family on a weeklong summer tour of Iowa, a new survey back home in Florida shows his personal popularity sliding to a record low." LINK

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