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.


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 …

Today, aside from the presidential news conference, a highlight is Governor Dean's job creation plan roll-out.

A compelling economic message (beyond railing against Bush's spending and deficits) has been one of the real holes in the Dean oeuvre — and if he DOES come forward with an economic message that excites Democratic activists, he'll be the first in the field to pull that off.

See the Dean section for details, but here's a bit of the speech, courtesy of Mike Glover: ""Too many Democrats in Washington have become so afraid of losing that they have remained silent or only halfheartedly fought the very agenda that is destroying the democratic dream of America.'" LINK

"'The central goal of a President must be to speak to the core concerns of American workers and their families — adequate health care, an excellent education and the assurance that every American who wants one has a decent job at a living wage."

In today's recall news:

-- Two Democratic members of the California Congressional delegation urge Dianne Feinstein to run, indicating there may be a crack in the wall of Democratic unity.

-- Arnold turns 56 today and may have a decision about his candidacy. Richard Riordan continues to put together a possible campaign team.

-- A judge ruled to strike down a (minor) portion of the recall. A vote for a replacement candidate will now count irrespective of whether or not a voter voted on the recall matter itself.

-- the California Assembly passed the state budget plan and Governor Davis intends to sign it this week.

Senator Kerry campaigns in New Hampshire.

Senator Edwards participates in the 21st Century Democrats' Youth Leadership Summer Speaker Series today in D.C.

Reverend Sharpton is in D.C. today and will appear on CNN's "Crossfire" this afternoon.

Senator Lieberman, Senator Graham, Ambassador Braun, Representative Gephardt, and Representative Kucinich have no announced public events for today.

July unemployment numbers will be released tomorrow at 8:30 am.

California Recall:

Is the Democratic wall of unity beginning to crack?

In their must-read recall roundup, the Los Angeles Times' James Rainey and Jean Guccione report two Democratic members of California's congressional delegation are urging Dianne Feinstein to put her name on the ballot. LINK

"'It is no secret that Gov. Davis is in trouble, and I seriously doubt that he can survive the recall effort,' Dooley said in a statement. 'We, as Democrats, need to get behind a strong candidate.

"'It is unfortunate that the recall effort qualified for the ballot,' he added, but 'it is foolhardy for Democrats to gamble that Gov. Davis can pull this out.'"

"[Congresswoman Loretta] Sanchez, who was in San Francisco to take part in a meeting of Democratic strategists presided over by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, said she spoke Tuesday with Feinstein and that the senator was 'not inclined at this point to put her name in, though that doesn't mean she won't.'"

"Sanchez said she 'went through my list of reasons, that voters need a choice, and that choice would be to vote no on the recall and then vote for [Feinstein] as Plan B' in case the recall is successful."

Team Davis continues to appear confident Democrats will stay together. We wonder what it must feel like to hold your breath from now until August 9.

"'Democrats across California are as united as they can be in opposition to this right-wing recall effort,' said Peter Ragone, spokesman for Davis' campaign committee, Californians Against the Costly Recall."

The Rainey/Guccione duo also recap all of the day's recall news including: California GOP Chair Duf Sundheim laying down the law; Noelia Rodriguez may run the Riordan campaign ("'Dick is running,' said one Riordan confidant."); Bill Simon gets his nomination papers; Hillary Clinton is coming to town next week; and the federal court ruling in San Diego.

How can Gerald Parsky and Noelia Rodriguez both be mentioned in a single story about the recall and the White House continue to claim it is remaining wholly uninvolved?

Carla Marinucci and Mark Simon also write up the crack in Democratic unity for the San Francisco Chronicle. They report that Congresswoman Sanchez may be considering a bid of her own. LINK

"'We need to have a strong Democrat on the ballot. And the strongest would be Dianne . . . otherwise, I'll have to," she said in an interview. 'Stay tuned.'"

More Marinucci and Simon:

"Democratic strategist Bill Carrick — who has advised Feinstein — downplayed comments by Dooley and Sanchez, calling them 'understandable' because of party unease over the recall."

"'But people are going to recognize this is just not good for California,' he said, adding that Feinstein continues to regard 'the recall as radical and abusive.'"

They also write up the Democratic and Republican strategy sessions. And Mindy Tucker (who is very much looking forward to the president's upcoming California visit) describes Ms. Rodriguez' involvement with Mr. Riordan's potential campaign as something she is doing in a "personal capacity."

The Associated Press' Erica Werner also has Arnold's birthday as a possible decision day and looks ahead to the possibility of a recall race without Schwarzenegger or Riordan. LINK "'If Schwarzenegger doesn't run all eyes are on Riordan and the prayers of many are with him, because if Riordan and Schwarzenegger both don't run it'll be seen as a real blow to the recall,' said Kevin Spillane, a GOP strategist who worked for Riordan during his failed run for the Republican nomination for governor last year."

Rene Sanchez looks at the Schwarzenegger or Riordan dynamic on A1 of the Washington Post today. LINK

"What's clear at this point, according to Republican leaders, is that one of them is definitely going to launch a campaign against Davis, perhaps as early as Wednesday, that the other will fervently endorse. When that happens, the dynamic of the recall election, which has made California a nervous wreck, would be profoundly altered."

"Davis would no longer just be battling the firebrand GOP conservatives who have led the extraordinary grass-roots movement to oust him from office less than a year after his reelection. Instead, he and a Democratic Party that sounds determined not to lose control of the nation's most populous state will be up against a moderate, even liberal Republican with widespread name recognition, crossover appeal among voters and money to burn."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Matier & Ross report Gray Davis' campaign team is ready to take on Richard Riordan … again. LINK

The Los Angeles' Times Gregg Jones spent some time investigating the veracity of some of Darrell Issa's biographical claims. From his boasting about being "entrepreneur of the year" to claiming he had served on Richard Nixon's security detail, Mr. Issa's past statements are under intense scrutiny here. LINK

"'Gray's job is to get you to ask 30-year-old questions,' he angrily told a Times reporter Saturday at a Sacramento rally, where he accused Davis of 'felony behavior.'"

"'If you want to be a shill for Gray Davis' opposition questions, go ahead. We've moved on.'"

Mr. Jones explains his research methods including reaching out to Democrats who compiled research on Mr. Issa in 1998.

Martin Kasindorf of USA Today reports Arnold's big decision could be announced as early as today, the actor's 56th birthday. Davis strategist Garry South tells Kasindorf that going negative on Arnold wouldn't be the usual arrest and financial records of years past coming back to haunt the candidate (see above). LINK

"'The aspects of his life that will come into question are different from that,; South says. 'They're personal. I can't tell you how much of it is true and how much is not. But I can tell you that if he gets into the race, those questions are going to be asked — and in 20-foot-high letters.'"

Matea Gold takes a look at the two Huffingtons considering a race for governor.


Ed Rollins on Mr. Huffington's chances: "'I don't think he has a shot,' Rollins added. 'I think the reality is, it would take a lot of money to remind people of who he was.'"

Marc Sandalow of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at how the recall story is playing on editorial pages across the country and newspapers throughout the world. LINK

USA Today /CNN/Gallup Poll says 74% of Americans surveyed are (in theory) in favor of having the ability to recall a governor. LINK Dean Broder calls the recall "the byproduct of almost everything that has gone wrong in our political system." Don't miss a word of this Broder must-read. LINK The Associated Press reports the judge's decision to strike down a portion of the recall law that says you must vote on the issue of recall if you are to have your vote on a replacement candidate count. The Secretary of State's office will not appeal and will count the votes accordingly. LINK After a 29 1/2 hour session, the California Assembly passed the budget plan by a vote of 56-22. LINK

"'This budget is not pretty, but it could have been a whole lot uglier,' Davis said."

Gray and Sharon Davis chatted with Matt Lauer (taped yesterday) on Today. Nothing new here. However, when Matt asked Governor Davis if his strategy was to demonize this as a right-wing attempt to steal an election like in Florida, Davis responded, "Well, isn't that what they are doing?"

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

USA Today 's Susan Page writes, "President Bush might seem poised for easy re-election, given his healthy 58% job-approval rating in the latest USA TODAY /CNN/Gallup polls." LINK

"But another number from the surveys conducted over the past two weekends is giving Democrats hope and Republicans heartburn. Asked who they're likely to vote for in 2004, 47% said Bush and 41% the Democratic nominee, whoever that turns out to be."

"That's not a commanding lead, and it puts Bush's support below 50%, a threshold that traditionally divides safe incumbents from those who are vulnerable. 'It's a sign that this thing's not done,' political analyst Charles Cook says."

"Among recent presidents, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan didn't show any significant difference between job approval and re-election support, which is one reason job approval is seen as a reliable shorthand for a president's political standing. At this point in his first term, Clinton's job approval was 49%, his re-election support 46%. For Reagan, both were 44%."

And what does the president's pollster say of all this business?

"Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush strategist, calls the president's job-approval rating 'great' and says his re-election support isn't a concern. In recent years, with a more polarized electorate, most high-profile incumbents have seen their support slip below 50%, he says. He argues that the threshold signaling trouble now is closer to 40%."

The Wall Street Journal has a story on A4 that is a must-read for most of you about how Karl Rove is a senior adviser to the president who works on policy issues that sometimes have a bearing on politics.

It is a slickly written piece done with an investigative tone, regarding water and salmon in Oregon, complete with graphic timeline.

The notion of (or, really, "specter of") improper behavior comes from an (we bet) out of context Frank Donatelli quote, plus some on the record stuff from two former Interior officials, who assert Rove's "chilling effect" and "support our base" words affected policy.

We haven't a clue on this day what to make of the piece, and we bet Tom Hamburger's editors felt much the same way.

Richard Benedetto of USA Today writes, "Ed Gillespie, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Tuesday that the GOP could attract African-American voters by bypassing traditional black organizations such as the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus." LINK

" … Gillespie said he believes that President Bush can get more black votes by stressing his policies in areas such as education, home ownership, assisting faith-based social programs and improving job skills."

Noting a "drift" in black voters moving from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, Gillespie said, "'It's not in the interest of African-Americans to vote 90% for Democrats.'"

More: "He characterized NAACP ads aired in the 2000 campaign as 'abhorrent.' The ads linked Bush to the dragging death of a black man in Texas. He said the Congressional Black Caucus, which has no GOP members, spends lots of time attacking Bush."

"Although the White House has often been at odds with the leading organizations of African-Americans, it's unusual for such a high-ranking Republican to criticize them publicly."

David Shribman looks at the president's play for the suburbs (through the city). LINK

The AP's David Koenig reports, "Halliburton Co. asked a federal judge Tuesday to throw out a lawsuit charging that the company and Vice President Dick Cheney, its former chief executive, misled investors by changing the way it counted revenue from construction projects." LINK

President Bush will spend his August vacation between the Crawford ranch and fundraising events, the Washington Post 's Mike Allen reports, Noting that the meetings "combine policy with politics," allowing taxpayer dollars to subsidize the travel. LINK Pataki raises money for the CREEP. LNIK

Free trade may be the next third rail in the 2004 presidential race, the Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood writes. The Democratic presidential hopefuls are slamming President Bush for inconsistency on from education to taxes to health care, but no one wants to touch free trade for fear of alienating voters who blame NAFTA for manufacturing job loss.

"Ever since candidate Bill Clinton backed the North American Free Trade Agreement during his successful 1992 campaign, Democratic and Republican leaders alike have bet on trade expansion as the path to prosperity — and re-election — in a global economy. During the boom times of the 1990s, the bet appeared to pay off handsomely. Now politicians feel less confident."

The AP's Martin Crutsinger reports, "An administration bus tour aimed at selling the benefits of President Bush's latest tax cuts turned into a listening tour as Cabinet members heard heartfelt expressions of concern about the massive loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs." LINK

Secretaries Snow, Chao, and Evans "declared that Bush is committed to doing everything he can to get the economy humming again, but they also said increased job anxiety is probably here to stay because of the competitive nature of the global economy."

"The bus trip was scheduled to conclude with three Minnesota stops on Wednesday — a session on job training at the famed Mayo Clinic, a session with investors in St. Paul and a concluding discussion at the headquarters of retailing giant Best Buy in a suburb of Minneapolis."

The Wausau Daily Herald's David Paulsen reports, "President Bush's secretaries of labor, commerce and treasury on Tuesday ate frozen custard, talked informally with a few dozen local residents and promoted the administration's economic policies during a bus tour stop at the Culver's restaurant in Wausau." LINK

And today's Bonjean 'berry blog, from Commerce spokesguy Ron Bonjean:

"Secretaries Evans, Snow and Chao are now on the Minnesota leg of the 550 mile '2003 Jobs and Growth Tour.' Last stop: Best Buy headquarters employee town hall meeting in Richfield with the best message of growing jobs, creating better jobs and building the economy."

Meanwhile, there's a front-page Wall Street Journal story about job loss in Oregon, and the A2 headline on consumer confidence is hideous.

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

A controversial Chinese-American businessman embroiled in the much-investigated 1996 fundraising scandal has re-emerged as a donor to three Democratic presidential campaigns," The Hill's Sam Dealey reports that "a controversial Chinese-American businessman embroiled in the much-investigated 1996 fundraising scandal has re-emerged as a donor" to the Kerry, Graham and Gephardt campaigns. LINK

Another chance to take another arrow out of the Clinton '92 playbook: there's a front-page Wall Street Journal story about trade with China that will make Democrats long for those 41 pictures of American of Brent Scowcroft toasting the Chinese.

Check out the administration's get-tough quotes, and the touting of a possible Secretary Snow trip there (toasting unlikely).

New Hampshire:

John DiStaso of the Union Leader takes a very nuanced and fine look at why the undecideds seem so high in the Democratic contest in the Granite State. LINK

Jimmy Pindell looks at the same three polls, all showing Dean and Kerry tight, and the others, for now, dead in the water. LINK Ditto Kevin Landrigan in the Nashua paper. LINK

The Union Leader briefs the upcoming trips. LINK


The Register has details of Dean's "job creation plan," to be announced today in Iowa: he'd ask Congress to raise the minimum wage; "increase financial assistance to states, expand unemployment insurance to cover more low-wage and part-time workers, expand high-speed Internet service, invest in schools, and reduce the cost of health insurance to employers." LINK

"Dean's campaign spokeswoman, Sarah Leonard, said details, such as costs, will be unveiled this fall."

The AP's Ross Sneyd writes up Dean's effort "to steer attention back to the issue that got him into the presidential race: the economy." LINK

"'We're getting more attention now so more people are going to hear about the whole Howard Dean, the governor who's a doctor, who's for health care, who's a fiscal conservative, who wants a balanced budget,' Trippi said."

Governor Dean merited a very long, well-written assessment on the front page of the New York Times today. It's very long (did we mention that?) and relatively on-point, although there's nothing essential or new, and other campaigns will complain that it is more meta about Dean getting scrutiny than actually giving him scrutiny. LINK

Governor Dean is quixotic; he has a Vermont-centered, centrist record as governor; he bucked Democrats in the legislature; he has a legion of devoted supporters who aren't entirely sure what he believes in; he sounds fiery and populist; wasn't too comfortable initially about the civil unions/gay marriage question; etc.

There is, however, a rather nasty bit of invective from Jim Jordan:

"'Governor Dean is simply reinventing his own position and that of others, and that's the rankest kind of politics,' said Jim Jordan, campaign manager for Senator Kerry, Dr. Dean's leading rival in New Hampshire. "'He was an unemployed doctor with no responsibilities, and it was easy to sit there and take political potshots from the outside.'"

And this paragraph is a good description of how Dr. Dean gives his speeches:

"Dr. Dean typically speaks without notes except for the names of people he wants to thank. Instead of a formal speech, he juggles about 20 distinct paragraphs, each with their signature phrases — the most effective is the disgusted, sardonic "we can do better than that" that often punctuates his indictment of the president's performance."

All in all, another good day of press for the man, and he'll raise at least 100 bucks off of it — maybe more.

The AP's Holly Ramer reports, "Personalized letters from fans of Howard Dean's presidential bid will be filling the mailboxes of New Hampshire voters next month." LINK

"The Democrat has asked supporters around the country to write to 40,000 New Hampshire residents urging them to consider the former Vermont governor and his candidacy."

The AP counts the final weekend totals raked in by the Dean campaign versus the Bush-Cheney campaign. LINK

The Hill's Hans Nichols writes up a letter that Dean recently sent to members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"The letter mentioned his visit to Africa and his commitment, as a medical doctor, to fighting 'AIDS in Africa through our actions as well as our words.'"

"'Most importantly, as Donna Brazile has pointed out, Democrats have been failing to stand up for Democratic issues and are quick to run away from our base. We cannot afford to do so any more. As your nominee and as your president, I will never take the African American vote for granted,' Dean wrote." LINK

Bill Schneider looks at "Mr. I-Told-You-So" for The Atlantic. LINK

"What do Democrats see in Dean? A Democrat who will not be cowed by Bush."

Goodness how we love Jules Witcover columns that feature Mathew Gross in the first paragraph … LINK

"A few months ago, an Internet whiz named Matthew [sic] Gross was working on a political Web site in Utah when he came across information about Howard Dean, an obscure former governor of Vermont who was making noises about running for president. "

"The 31-year-old Mr. Gross quit his job, got into his car and drove across the country to the Dean national campaign headquarters here. Unannounced, he popped his head into the office of the campaign manager, Joe Trippi, mentioned the Utah Web site, which was familiar to Mr. Trippi, and was immediately hired on the spot."

Dear Washington Post : "Mathew" is spelled with one "t":

"Based on erroneous information from Howard Dean's campaign, a July 26 Style article about volunteers sending e-mails to news organizations said the operation was overseen by a paid Dean staff member, Matthew Gross. The campaign now says that a Montana-based volunteer, Matt Singer, runs the Web site in question, and that any money raised is turned over to the campaign." LINK

The Concord Monitor ed board warns Dr. Dean to not veer too far to the left. LINK


The AP reports, "Amid tensions between the Democratic Party's centrist and liberal factions, presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun said Tuesday that the focus should be on ousting President Bush, not internal strife." LINK


"Former Vice-President Al Gore is coming under pressure from political supporters and friends to jump into the 2004 presidential campaign even though he ruled himself out in December," The Hill's Alexander Bolten reports. LINK

" &0133; Kiki McLean, Gore's spokesperson, denied the possibility that her boss would declare his candidacy … "


The Lone Tree Reporter writes up Congressman Gephardt's "major Johnson County endorsement." LINK

Rep. Dick Gephardt picked up the endorsement of the 104,000-member International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees yesterday, but it still isn't enough to win him the nod from the AFL-CIO before next week's meeting, the New York Daily News's Joel Siegel reports. LINK

"Labor insiders told the Daily News that while there's deep affection for Gephardt in the labor movement, his viability as a presidential candidate is too uncertain to win him an early nod. "

"'The guy has a record that is so pro-labor, but winnability is a big factor,' a union strategist said."

A Wall Street Journal editorial in celebration of free trade includes a Dick Gephardt dot drawing and an attack on his protectionist ways.


Intelligence committee buddy Rep. Porter Goss (R) said Graham may be getting bad advice "from his handlers" on the war and his criticism of President Bush. LINK


Victoria Griffith profiles Teresa Heinz Kerry for Boston Magazine. LINK

"As a generous philanthropist and a senator's wife twice over, Heinz Kerry is used to satisfaction, if not downright flattery. The world she inhabits is one of both physical and emotional luxury. For every check she has written — and there have been many, many checks — there is a grateful recipient on the other end. Not surprisingly, Heinz Kerry is far more accustomed to praise than criticism. The coddling she enjoys as a wealthy donor has ill prepared her for the cold scrutiny she now faces as the wife of a presidential candidate."

The New York Observer featured a story on how John Kerry is going about molding his message. LINK


In Florida yesterday, Senator Lieberman repeated his comments about "just wars" and, when prompted, mentioned Senator Bob Graham by name.

"[T]he Connecticut senator said in an interview later that he put Graham in a 'separate category' because of Graham's reasoning: that the war in Iraq took the nation's attention and resources off the broader war on terrorism," reports Peter Wallsten. LINK

'''I disagree with his conclusion, respectfully,' Lieberman told The Herald. 'I think we're strong enough to do both. And in fact, a victory over Saddam has helped us in the war against terrorism.'"

"Graham, the only senator in the race to vote against the resolution giving President Bush the authority to go to war with Iraq, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that the positions taken by Lieberman and other war advocates have let terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the Islamic Jihad flourish."

"'I don't understand what Joe's motivations are,' Graham added. 'I understand that politics is an issue of competition, but it should be a reasoned competition.'''

The AP's Ken Thomas reports from Hollywood, Florida, where Senator Lieberman "criticized the Bush administration Tuesday for returning for prosecution a dozen Cubans accused of hijacking a boat in an attempt to reach Florida." LINK

More: "Lieberman has been a strong supporter of the embargo against Cuba, and he has enjoyed the backing of South Florida's Cuban-American exile community."

Channeling Julie Teer, the Union Leader ed board cheers on Lieberman's pile on Kerry and Gephardt, as part of a Lieberman-Dean tag team in their view. LINK


The AP reports on Senator Biden's grilling of Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and OMB Director Bolten yesterday. LINK

"'Oh, come on now,' [Biden] told the witnesses. 'Does anybody here at the table think we're going to be down below 100,000 forces in the next calendar year? Raise your hand, any one of you. You know it's going to be more than that. So you know at least it's going to be $2.5 billion a month.'"

Politics: This morning, Regnery Publishing Inc. announced that it will publish a book by House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

In a release, Regnery President Marji Ross said, "Speaker Hastert has had a unique vantage point through some of the country's most historical events — the second impeachment in history, the Republican Revolution, the closest Presidential Election in history, and September 11. Speaker Hastert has become one of the most influential political figures in America. Yet, no one has yet heard his story."

No word on when to expect the book yet. For what it's worth, The Note thinks Coach's story would make a pretty good movie too.

Jeb helped Ernie Fletcher raise money in Kentucky. LINK

It'd take a syzygy for Katherine Harris to run for Senate. LINK

"Senate GOP leaders told rank-and-file Members on Tuesday that Democrats gained ground in a new poll measuring voters' political perceptions, and instructed Republican Senators to focus their talking points on four key issues in the next month," Roll Call 's Mark Preston reports.

"In the first week of the August recess, Republican Senators are encouraged to talk to their constituents about Medicare, followed by jobs and the economy in the second week, homeland security and national defense in the third week and ending the month-long recess by championing the GOP's education goals."

Roll Call 's Ed Henry writes up some "pillow talk" between Senator Elizabeth Dole and former Senator Bob Dole about how to honor Bob Hope.

" … Mrs. Dole said that although the comedian didn't serve in a branch of the military, 'he certainly served his country and is a true American hero. For this reason, if his family wishes, I hope it can be arranged to make Arlington National Cemetery his final resting place.'"

"Her husband, a highly decorated veteran himself, has been enlisted to sell the idea to former colleagues."

Roll Call 's Ed Henry reports that "despite the ban on using official member sites for campaign work, DeLay's staff posted his entire speech (to the College Republicans)-which included four paragraphs urging the youngsters to join STOMP-on the Majority Leader's official site."

"DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella, who fessed up that the Post ing was an 'inadvertent oversight' that would be fixed quickly … "

The Denver Post's Susan Greene writes, "Florida's voting snafus during the 2000 presidential election pale in comparison to the vulnerabilities of high-tech voting machines counties throughout the nation are scrambling to buy in compliance with a new federal law, several top computer scientists are warning." LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

"Former President Clinton will be the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry and fund-raiser, a traditional political gathering in the state with the leadoff caucuses," writes the AP's Mike Glover. LINK

"The visit Sept. 13 marks the first trip by the former president to Iowa since he left office."

More Glover: "The crowded Democratic field of nine gave Harkin too many choices for a keynote speaker. The senator, who has not made his preference known in the presidential primary, decided instead to go with the Democrat who won the presidency in 1992 and 1996."

New York Senator Hillary Clinton heads to California early next week to stump for embattled Governor Gray Davis, the New York Daily News's Joel Siegel reports. And, of course, to promote her book. LINK At her book appearances, Clinton is expected to denounce the recall and publicly support Davis, but whether she attends anti-recall events or even meets Davis is still a mystery, Siegel reports. As a high profile fundraiser, stumper and lightning rod, Clinton faces the same dilemma over Davis as other Democrats who don't want to abandon California but don't want to become radioactive by proxy.

"If there are joint political appearances with Davis, they're not expected to be scheduled until just before the Oct. 7 recall vote," Siegel writes.

Texas Democrats in New Mexico:

The 11 Democrats say they'll stay in New Mexico for at least 28 more days — until the session ends — or until they secure a promise from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst that the two-thirds rule for bringing up legislation would be followed.

Republicans consider their options, including possibly declaring the Senators "missing" and trying to re-figure the quorum formula. Others want to wait and see how long Democrats hold out.

The Texas House passed a redistricting plan; it now sits in the Senate's hopper, unable to be considered.

The Houston Chronicle on the secret and rushed plans to flee … LINK

"Because state Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville had recently suffered a heart attack, she said a city with a good medical facility was essential."

"They went on the lam without toothbrushes or extra underwear. Some said they feared bounty hunters," the Ft. Worth Star Telegram says. LINK

"But far from living the outlaw life, the so-called Texas 11 — the Democratic state senators who fled from Austin on Monday to protest a congressional redistricting plan — have found sanctuary in the Marriott Pyramid North, one of Albuquerque's finest hotels. Here, the lawmakers can share cocktails at the foot of a 2-story indoor waterfall. Graceful glass elevators seem to keep time to wafting classical music."

"At the Albuquerque hotel that is their temporary headquarters, the Democratic senators on Tuesday were buoyed by a welcome and a show of support from Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat," the Austin American Statesman reports. LINK

"Texas Democrats said no taxpayer money was being spent on their flight to New Mexico. Some senators said they were dipping into personal funds or their political campaign accounts to pay for the hotel room, food and other necessities while out of state," the Dallas Morning News reports. LINK

Legislative Agenda:

PhRMA must have an internal security problem because someone keeps leaking their internal documents. LINK

The Wall Street Journal ed board defends withholding money from AmeriCorps until it cleans up its act.


Roll Call 's Norm Ornstein calls for "replacement of the hapless FEC with a meaningful agency that can actually faithfully execute the laws as enacted." Ornstein Notes that McCain, Feingold, Shays and Meehan have "recently introduced a bill to do just that. Until it is passed we at least need commissioners who don't reek of conflicts of interest and who understand their fiduciary responsibilities."

Judicial confirmation battles:

Senate Republicans fell just short of forcing a confirmation vote on one of President Bush's most hotly contested judicial nominations yesterday, the Washington Post 's Helen Dewar reports. LINK

The Roll Call was seven votes shy of the 60 needed to force Democrats to vote on the nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla R. Owen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Democratic Senators Zell Miller (Georgia) and Ben Nelson (Nebraska) voted against their party's filibuster.

Which, according to New York Senator Charles Schumer, will continue on another judicial nominee — Alabama Attorney General David Pryor, the Washington Times 's Charles Hurt reports. LINK "I have never seen the caucus stronger and more united," New York Senator Charles Schumer said yesterday.

Despite that strong union, Democrats don't have the votes to kill the nomination outright, writes Hurt.