The Note

David Broder, to torture Trent Duffy and Paul Begala (and, frankly, us) proposes that (and we aren't kidding) Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Sandy Weill, and Bob Rubin fund time for Warren Rudman and Leon Panetta to go on TV with Perot-like charts and explain and denounce the defict. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: It's hard to know if Ron Fournier is only quoting the pessimists he talked to, but he finds plenty of Republican leaders from around the nation "alarmed" about the president's poll numbers, the economy, the war, and the Bush honesty-and-trust gold standard. LINK

Speaking of alarmed, was that man outside Penn Station talking into his cell phone about the "collapse" of the president's "internals" and saying he had to get on the phone with "Rove" any former governor we know?

The Wall Street Journal 's sushi-loving John Harwood takes his turn at the "Can Bush transform America and the political balance of power?" story by saying the trouble in Iraq threatens both the president's national security bona fides and his reputation for candor, and that could tilt the answer towards "no":

"It challenges Mr. Bush's twin pillars of 'honesty and competence,' ex-Speaker Gingrich notes in an interview, and 'anytime either of those starts to get threatened they have real problems.' After Mr. Bush passed up the opportunity to accept personal responsibility for disputed words in his State of the Union address, one of his 2000 campaign strategists put it more bluntly: 'I'm toying with the idea that it's time to panic.'"

"Mr. Bush's poll standing hasn't receded to pre-Sept. 11 levels. But another month of bad news and 'his numbers are going to be … very ordinary,' says Democratic pollster Geoff Garin."

New York Post 's Orin writes up the Gillespie's memo we touted in this space yesterday, on the eve of his "Victory Starts Here" summer meeting. LINK

ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect, the money: Brody Mullins and Michael Grass write in Roll Call that "some of the nation's biggest industries were among the top supporters of President Bush, while trial lawyers gave generously to the leading Democratic presidential candidates."

"According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 12 of Bush's top 20 contributors are on Wall Street, such as Merrill Lynch, whose employees gave more money to the president's re-election efforts than anyone else."

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

Harold Meyerson has a must-read op-ed in the Washington Post saying that Dick Gephardt's war support and failure to craft an economic agenda for 2002 basically created Howard Dean, but that John Kerry is best able to win wide support in the party. LINK

Meyerson has perfect pith on his last two sentences:

"In message and manner, Kerry often still fails to connect with his listeners. But if he can put his own house in order, he's the candidate best positioned to unite a party that's not been this angry at itself since 1968."

Tom Edsall jumps the gun by a day in curtain-raising the FEC decision on conventions and soft money. LINK

According to Alexander Bolton of the Hill, "The Federal Election Commission is poised to ban presidential candidates from using their leadership political action committees (PACs) to subsidize their campaigns." LINK

Dean: Governor Dean was followed through New Hampshire yesterday by a van full of press stragglers … and, per a campaign aide, managed to draw 500 people in Portsmouth and a big crowd in Manchester.

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