The Note

Today's Schedule (all times Eastern):

—9:00 am: Senate convenes for legislative business —10:20 am: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has private meeting with Vice President Cheney, D.C. —10:30 am: President Bush holds press conference, White House —11:30 am: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge addresses the American Legislative Exchange Council, D.C. —12:00 pm: Senator John Edwards addresses the 21st Century Democrats' Youth Leadership Summer Speaker Series, D.C. — 2:30 pm: Governor Howard Dean proposes job creation plan, Des Moines, Iowa —2:45 pm: President Bush makes remarks on the 38th anniversary of Medicare, White House —4:00 pm: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gives closed briefing on Iraq to senators, Capitol Hill —7:00 pm: Senator John Kerry holds Fresh Air Forum in Dover, N.H.

NEWS SUMMARY

The oldest rule in politics is "you can't beat someone with no one."

President Bush and Gray Davis are both vulnerable — the latter much more than the former.

What has those who want to beat them crying (and kept their supporters dee-lighted) are the current weakness of their current opponents.

The Democrats want a Clinton-without-a-zipper. The Republicans want a Reagan-who's-like-the-Gipper.

But/so on this day when the president (presumably to let off some political steam) is having a news conference, windows of opportunity are open.

Witness President Bush's re-elect number in the new USA Today /CNN/Gallup poll. It's at 47 percent.

And Roger Simon ponders as only he can: can Bush be beat? LINK

Witness the excitement the average Iowa Democrat will likely feel when hearing Howard Dean give it to ya real for the first time on the economy.

Witness Clinton himself, preparing for his first trip in a while to Iowa two weeks from now. (Oh, to watch him shake his billowy arms, wrap them around an Iowan and squeeze their shoulders … )

Witness the goose bumps Democrats got from listening to Joe Biden lay the smackdown on Bolten and Wolfowitz.

But Biden isn't a candidate. (Yet).

Clinton can't be a candidate again.

And Gore isn't running (yet) although The Hill teases him in a bit. LINK

Per Mark Penn's poll, Democrats have lost the tenuous trust they once built with white male voters.

And the excitement Iowa Democrats feel about Howard Dean is probably exceeded by the sheer joy Karl R. and Company take at witnessing the same thing.

The candidates Democrats seem to like aren't that well-known nationally.

And Bush's re-elect number exceeds that of any Democrat.

In California, all eyes are on Richard Riordan (okay: some eyes are on Senator Feinstein too), but let's see what kind of team he puts together, and what kind of campaign he is able to run this time.

Witness the visceral dislike even many Democrats feel toward Governor Davis

Witness the bare-bones budget deal struck yesterday, which will cut favored programs and which won't likely solve the problem.

Witness the gaggle of candidates — some with attractive names, some with attractive faces, some with attractive resumes — that want to get in.

But many of those candidates are (a) Democrats who won't buck Mr. Davis or (b) flawed, either in political character or in qualification level, or in other ways. (See the recall section).

The California Republican Party is less rudderless than it was before but still lacks a commanding presence to unify various factions.

The White House is tepid about a recall …

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