The Note

While the White House continues to share our amazement that Democrats aren't talking in a more focused way about the economy, national security looms out there.

Sure: one day, the president could stride into the briefing room and announce the joint captures of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and the anthrax culprit.

But, until and unless that happens, there is no doubt that the RIGHT Democrat can surely dream of making general election hay even on Mr. Bush's perceived strength.

The Dow Jones trio of Harwood, Robbins, and Barrionuevo* has a surprisingly downbeat story about how a possible Iraq quagmire could hurt President Bush politically.

The story (found nestled on A4 of your Wall Street Journal ) echoes Mr. Russert from Today today in saying that "strategists for Mr. Bush and Republican Party" believe that "the combination of casualties and difficulties in restoring stability in Iraq pose a potential problem that extends beyond the unresolved search for weapons of mass destruction."

Bob Graham and Howard Dean get to pound on the president's credibility, and Kerry pollster Mark Mellman is shockingly (and, some might say, with grand tone deafness) open about what the "focus groups" are showing about public attitudes on American spending in Iraq.

As for this very day, it's a huge one for Dean Meetups across the country. About 50,000 supporters are expected to participate. Deanies will be asked to "adopt an Iowan" for the purposes of political persuasion.

Meetup's Myles Weissleder says about 260 cities and towns will host the events, which begin at 7 ET.

Also today, Congressman Gephardt campaigns in Oklahoma. Senator Kerry continues his long march through New Hampshire. Congressman Kucinich campaigns in New Mexico. Senator Graham is in South Carolina. And Governor Dean flies from Iowa to New Hampshire.

President Bush has no scheduled public events.

In today's California Recall headlines:

--30-year-old weapons charges against Darrell Issa resurface in the San Francisco Chronicle today.

--Congressman Issa plans on greeting signature collectors who have gathered more than 5,000 pro recall signatures at the San Diego County Fair.

--Recall organizers claim 794,000 signatures have thus far been submitted to county elections officials and express optimism about exceeding their goal of 1.2 million by July 16th.

See our section below for full details.

Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Raleigh News & Observer's Rob Christensen warns Senator Edwards that Mrs. Bush is coming to town. LINK "First lady Laura Bush is expected to launch the president's re-election effort in North Carolina this month with a fund-raiser in Raleigh. The White House was not releasing details of the trip Tuesday. But the fund-raiser was being planned for a private West Raleigh residence in a couple of weeks."

Say it Loud: I'm a Fundraiser and I'm Proud: a Washington Post editorial today challenges the presidential campaigns — and the FEC — to give up the names of their major fundraisers as they disclose their cash hauls. Not naming the names, the Post argues, makes money disclosures all but meaningless. LINK We've read a lot of editorials about campaign finance before, but this one is as insane as they come.

The Boston Globe 's prickly Robert Kuttner posits a Rove/DeLay conspiracy for policy making. LINK

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:

That's Play-ah — With a Capital "P"

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