The Note

The Hartford Courant's David Lightman calls Dean the star of the party and sizes up what two-way races would look like between Dean and each of the other top contenders. LINK

"In the Lieberman camp, for instance, strategists think that early next year, someone will emerge as the Democrats' liberal favorite — right now it's Dean — and someone will be the moderate choice. 'Once those two get picked, the moderate wins,' a campaign source for the Connecticut senator said."

"Does a strong Dean hurt Edwards, who has tried to position himself as the fresh-faced alternative to Bush? Does Dean create problems for Kerry, who has to win the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary? Do Washington insiders such as Gephardt, Graham and Lieberman stand a chance against an anti-establishment movement?"

"Kerry campaign manager Jim Jordan was unworried. 'His challenge,' Jordan said of Dean, 'is to expand his vote beyond the ultra far left of the party.'"

"He welcomed a Kerry-Dean showdown, as did other camps. Graham spokesman Jamal Simmons, for instance, said his boss was eager to compare his executive experience to Dean's — Graham was governor of Florida for eight years."

"The Edwards camp also said it could do well against Dean. 'If Dean wins Iowa and New Hampshire, a moderate would do well, because you could then have a moderate-liberal matchup,' an Edwards official said."

"Dean forces contend they are not at a disadvantage in a one-on-one scenario. Campaign manager Joe Trippi said the survivors 'are not about ideology.' They survive, he said, for a host of reasons, including personality, regional or ethnic appeal and other factors."

USA Today 's Jill Lawrence has "Mighty Joe" Trippi gloating that "The old game is gone. It's new politics time, baby," in her write-up of Dean's "bucks and buzz." LINK The Washington Times ' James G. Lakely quotes Uber-Democrat Donna Brazile saying "This is Dean's moment." LINK Meanwhile … ..

The Bush campaign's low-balling of its second-quarter number (outperforming their $27 to $30 million figure with over $34 million) was deftly done. (Yes, yes, they were still counting … )

Of course, this is one campaign that doesn't need to generate next-quarter momentum by showing big numbers, what with no nomination opposition and the checks out there waiting to be harvested.

The AP's Sharon Theimer was the dominating press on yesterday's conference call with Reynolds, Mehlman, and Oliver. LINK "There is great enthusiasm and broad support for the president on many levels, and finance is one of them," said Marc Racicot, Bush's campaign chair.

Bush Finance Chair Mercer Reynolds said that 95,000 separate donors had contributed.

During the past two weeks, President Bush attended seven fundraisers; First Lady Laura Bush went to three; and Vice President Cheney hosted four. Those events added about $21.7 million to the account.

Direct mail contributions totaled $4.5 million.

Internet numbers were NOT Deanlike — $700,000. (Dean raised $800,000 in a day).

We know the Dean campaign took some satisfaction in having outraised President Bush on the Internet by more than 4 to 1.

At this point in 1999, the Bush campaign had raised a record $37.2 million, but started sooner.

Campaign manager Ken Mehlman re-affirmed their intention to take federal matching funds for the general election.

Someday, of course, issues WILL matter, both in determining the Democratic nominee and in the general election.

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