As the awesome shock of Governor Dean's second-quarter numbers starts to wear off (or, at least, starts to become a comfortable part of the Invisible Primary furniture), the Big Think period begins, as we all try to figure out the myriad strategic and tactical implications of Howard Dean's rise.
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While most pundits and reporters this cycle struggle to simply count the dollars and change, two journalistas rush to the head of the "what it all means" pack: the Los Angeles Times' Z. "Mark Z." Barabak and the Washington Post 's Howard Kurtz.
They both have penned must-reads, suggesting that the Doctor is In … .both good shape AND potentially looming trouble.
First, Mr. Productivity, Herr Barabak, says that Dean's stock is still rising, and one judges Dean by conventional standards at one's peril:
"The best illustration of Dean's appeal — and the concern it has sparked among leading Democrats — may have been provided by his appearance two Sundays ago on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'" LINK
"Such interviews are a political rite of passage and must-see TV for the insiders who frame Washington's prevailing wisdom. And by most accounts, Dean performed miserably. He bickered with the host, Tim Russert, evaded some questions and equivocated in response to others. Most egregiously, in the eyes of critics, he could only guess at how many U.S. troops were on active duty around the world and incorrectly estimated the number in Iraq."
"No matter, at least to some. In the days that followed, contributions to the campaign skyrocketed, according to aides. (The period also included Dean's formal announcement speech and efforts to build support through an online straw poll conducted by MoveOn.org, a left-leaning group. Dean won 44% of the roughly 300,000 votes cast, easily finishing first.)"
"'People watched [Dean's appearance on 'Meet the Press'] and said, 'Hey, there's a guy who admits he doesn't know the answer. You never see anybody in Washington do that,' ' said Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager."
"But as the appearance also demonstrated, Dean has managed to avoid much of the critical analysis that attaches itself to a candidate thought to have a serious chance of winning the nomination."
"The Dean campaign, for its part, pushed ahead with its next unorthodox move — an Internet-based effort to gather tens of thousands of backers across the country Wednesday and have each pen a personal note asking a Democrat in Iowa to support Dean."
For the other candidates, it's not so clear how big a deal this whole Dean thing is, as evinced by two distinct views from within one campaign:
Gephardtian Bill Carrick shows Dean some respect via Barabak:
"'It's obvious that he's going to be a durable, long-standing player in this campaign,' said [C]arrick, a strategist for Democratic Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri … 'It's still a long way out. The challenge now is for [Dean] to raise up his game another notch or two and show he can stay competitive.'"
But in an East Coast paper, Gephardtian Steve Elmendorf is nearly dismissive: Dean's success is a "'problem for Kerry, rather than for us'" and later adds "'I think you can overanalyze this … If Dean raises $15 million on the Internet in the next quarter, then we'll reevaluate.'" LINK
Howard Kurtz says Dean is starting to get more scrutiny from the press, and gets a covey of journalists (Brownstein, Russert, Tapper, etc.) to talk on the record about their views of the Doctor's bedside manner (We are getting all the childish medical wordplay out of our system today … .). LINK
But Dean campaign guy Joe Trippi is laughing all the way to the bank at the Washington/New York media types, who think their opinions of the candidate can stand between Dean and the back-taking of the country.
Howie then unreels three paragraphs so lusciously delicious that The Note mind staggers at their beauty:
"All this is a far cry from last year, when a New Republic cover story likened Dean to John McCain, or even February, when Meryl Gordon wrote a New York magazine cover piece describing Dean as a Jimmy Stewart figure. Gordon says she got along well with Dean, who drove her to the airport in Burlington, Vt., but there was a certain distance."
"'He's blunt, but that didn't bother me,' Gordon says. 'He is not a touchy-feely guy. With John Edwards, John Kerry, even Joe Lieberman, you'll get the hug and kiss as a female reporter. You don't get that with Howard Dean.'"
(Note Note: kissing aside, how much time should a candidate have to spend on relations with the Fourth Estate? Ask Bill Bradley. Or John McCain.)
"Trippi concedes that Dean 'is not your backslapping pol, he's just not. That's with everyone, whether you're a voter or a press person.' For instance, he says, Dean likes Newsweek's Howard Fineman but walked right past him at a recent political gathering. 'He won't do the gratuitous, "Hey Howard, how ya doing?"'"
Kurtz lists some of the tougher media shots Dean has taken, but the standards he is being held to are still lower than those faced by the other top-tierers.
When, how, and if that will change, and when, how, and if it will matter, is for now the dominant dynamic of the whole Invisible Primary (and if you are wondering if this is our nut graph, it is).
But the growing reality (known in Burlington forever) is that, for what Howard Dean needs to accomplish politically in 2003, it simply might not matter what the BosWash media Establishment has to say about him.
While (by our estimate) approximately 7,000 people ponder Dean's place in the meta-political world, in the REAL world, state budget crises, affecting the real lives of real people, are marching forward.
"Most Americans will escape major tax increases as 46 states begin a new fiscal year Tuesday by borrowing record amounts to address what the National Governors Association calls the worst financial crisis since World War II," USA Today Notes on the front page. LINK
"Arkansas, Nebraska and New York raised income taxes. Idaho, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Vermont increased sales taxes. Eight states were still debating their budgets late Monday. Four other states begin their budget years on different dates."
New Jersey: the $24 billion deal is done. LINK
The Washington Post 's Rene Sanchez and Dale Russakoff chronicle the tick-tock negotiations. LINK
The fight over Democrats' tax and Republicans' spending cuts ended in down-to-the wire pacts in North Carolina, Nevada, Missouri and Rhode Island as well. As for the third consecutive year that California begins without a new federal budget, Sanchez will talk all about it today on washingtonpost.com: LINK
California, done in In CalPeeky style.
Up all night; no agreement yet: LINK
BUT — they are close … and arguing over a few billion (out of a $71 billion budget).
Republicans released a list of things they'd cut. Gray Davis responds: no way.
The Sacramento Bee has a short look at the repercussions:
"Without a new budget, the state is unable legally to make millions of dollars in on-time payments to schools, community colleges, courts, state suppliers and others." LINK
"The salaries of the governor, the legislators, state appointees and about 1,000 non-civil service employees will also stop Tuesday, although most of the state's 200,000 workers will continue receiving their full pay at least for now."
"State Controller Steve Westly says the state only has enough cash to get them through mid-August."
Political consequences: no budget = more hay for GOP recall effort. But some think the strategy could backfire, making Republicans in the legislature look like obstructionists.
In the recall story, the rest of the latest can be summed up like so:
Budget impasse continues; effect on Davis unclear;
Green Peter Camejo says he'll run to replace Davis;
Both sides staff up on election lawyers.
Richard Benedetto writes up the new USA Today /CNN/Gallup Poll showing confidence in the war slipping but support for President Bush still strong. LINK
"As the search for weapons of mass destruction continues with no major finds in Iraq and U.S. troops continue to suffer deadly attacks, confidence in the war effort is declining, a USA TODAY / CNN/Gallup Poll shows."
"Most Americans say things are going well for the United States in Iraq, but that answer has fallen to 56% from 70% a month ago and 86% on May 7, a week after President Bush declared combat largely over."
"The poll finds most people have confidence in the president's leadership and character, but there is erosion on those questions, too. His scores on being 'honest and trustworthy,' 65%, and 'cares about the needs of people like you,' 57%, are still strong, but both are down 8 percentage points from a poll in April."
"Analysts suggest that if the search for weapons drags on for months without success, if the U.S. death toll continues to mount and if Saddam Hussein is not found, critics will grow louder, support will drop and the public might begin calling for U.S. troops to leave Iraq."
Today, Senator Kerry heads to New Hampshire to begin a four-day swing.
Senator Graham is scheduled to have private meetings in Columbia, South Carolina today. Governor Dean has events in Iowa.
Danger, Will Robinson (and we mean the Democratic organizer, not the "Lost in Space" character): The Note writes about both redistricting AND the alternative minimum tax in today's editions — proving we are more about education than entertainment.
Finally, a saintly one of you Noticed we've been using the past tense of "beget" improperly. Beget begets "begat" only when wrestled into the past. Our apologies.
ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary, the money:
Although we don't have the final numbers for the second-quarter by any means, it is safe to say that there is
-- one (huge) political story: Inspiring protest candidate plus + Internet obsessed campaign manager = $$$
-- one other (possible) winner: Dennis Kucinich (if the $1 million plus figure quoted is correct)
-- one somewhat energized liberal Democratic base
-- one somewhat nervous gaggle of Democratic "centrists"
-- two (biggish) losers: Joe Lieberman and Bob Graham (in that order)
-- two still-dancing-as-fast-as-they-can-and-avoiding-a-bullet placeholders: Dick Gephardt and John Edwards
-- one largely-unscathed-on-money-but-where-is-everything-else? meta-frontrunner: John Kerry
-- a new mental picture of the field, with the "top tier" replaced by two top tiers
The Washington Post 's Von Drehle and Faler detail the stunning show of fundraising prowess of insurgent-turned-top-tier-turned-possible-frontrunner Howard Dean — which, according to the campaign, brought in more than $800,000 from contributors on the Internet yesterday. LINK
"Thanks to a wide-open field and the power of the Internet, Dean has gone from dark horse to serious contender at a time when many Americans are only vaguely aware that a nomination battle is underway."
The Tribune's Jeff Zeleny allows Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi to explain why Dean did so well:
"'They want someone who doesn't speak Washington talk,' said campaign manager Joe Trippi, explaining the money rush that has even taken Dean loyalists by surprise. This guy is totally different from any other candidate.'" LINK
The Boston Globe 's Ann Kornblut gets out her abacus and reports on Dean's lucrative "late online donations," forcefully writing that the Governor "appear[s] likely to outpace the other Democratic presidential candidates in his fund-raising in the latest three-month period, raking in more than $7 million in a surprising surge that could alter the dynamics of the race." LINK
Kornblut includes the Kerry-centric spin on Dean's new status and his claims to "greater legitimacy" from three select rivals.
Jim Jordan suggests if the Kerry campaign can't beat the presumption of Dean's eminence, then they'll just join a two-man race: "'The conventional wisdom, at least, dictates that he's now a top tier candidate … I think it makes it more likely this is turning into a two-man race, and that's a prospect we welcome.'"
A mysterious, shrouded John Edwards aide, "speaking on condition of anonymity", shrugged off concern altogether: "'He's not a threat to us. Howard Dean and John Edwards are not going after the same voters; Howard Dean and John Kerry are.'"
The Boston Herald's Andrew Miga's Dean story is all about the "blow to bitter rival" John Kerry, writing "Dean's surprise fund-raising surge jolted Kerry (D-Mass.), with whom he is dueling in New Hampshire, a must-win primary for the Bay State senator." LINK
Miga Notes Kerry's struggle for momentum following the Edwards triumph last quarter, his expected $11 million coffers, and the Kerry "two-man" spin, this time from Kelley Benander: "'Howard Dean's money reminds observers that the top tier in this campaign can only be so big and this may mean that we are moving closer to a two-man race.'"
We also get an explanation of Dean's fortune, and a satisfied quote from Dean aide Matthew Gardner: "'Dean's message is connecting with people who have felt disenfranchised for a long time.'"
The New York Post 's Deborah Orin and Stephanie Gaskell dispatch with the rolling-in-dough President Bush and go right to Governor Dean. LINK
Localizing it with the "native New Yorker turned Vermont governor," they quote Dean thusly:
"'It's a lot of money … What's happening here is not about really so much my campaign … This is an opportunity for people to get into a political process they've given up on.'"
The pressure on Kerry is Noted, and the story concludes: "Dean's cash stash means that he, Kerry and Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) appear to be the top trio of Democratic contenders."
The New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy, per usual, takes no prisoners: LINK
"'He'll [Lieberman] have to pull up his stakes soon,' said an adviser to a rival campaign. 'The TV stations in Iowa and New Hampshire don't give airtime on credit.'"
(Sounds suspiciously like an on-the-record Robert Gibbs quote in the Washington Post to us … .)
"Lieberman's campaign spokesman, Jano Cabrera, said his man is not thinking of quitting."
David Lightman leads his Caucus Column in today's Hartford Courant with Dean bursting through the $7 million mark and then moves on to measure that against Senator Lieberman's money chase. LINK
"Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, is 'aiming for $4 million,' according to a campaign source, and hoping not to finish last among the six major Democratic presidential candidates."
"Dean conducted an Internet pep rally Monday. Lieberman stayed out of public sight."
"Lieberman's math grew grimmer: The Connecticut Democrat raised $3 million in the first quarter. If he gets only another $4 million, that could mean it took twice as long for the Democrats' 2000 vice presidential nominee to raise what the former Vermont governor did."
"'Money can neither buy you love nor an election,' said spokesman Jano Cabrera. And, he reminded, 'this is the second quarter, not the fourth.'"
We wonder if Jano agrees with Mr. Lightman's description of his remarks as respectful and sober.
A key difference between the Dean campaign and Lieberman campaign is evident by an e-mail sent out on Lieberman's behalf.
"The last few hours have brought a record number of donations through our website. Now, with only 4 hours left before the end of the second quarter, I need your help again to put me over the finish line. Our campaign is within thousands of reaching our goal for this quarter. If we weren't so close to our mark, I wouldn't ask you with such urgency. We must meet this goal by 12 midnight (Central time) tonight.
All well and good, but as any social psychologist will tell you, this type of appeal usually works only when people share information about the goal at hand.
We'd love to know, pace BlogForAmerica.com, what Senator Lieberman's goals actually are!
Incidentally, if there is a better email subject line this cycle than Joe Liebeman's "Put Me Over the Edge" that we got last night at 10:14 PM, we can't imagine what it will be.
And, we have learned, it was penned by the one and only Adam Kovacevich.
FEC commissioner Scott Thomas brings a crunchy textbook's point of view to the debate about money and politics.
"More than three decades ago, Congress devised a pretty good way to insulate whomever gets elected president from the influence of wealthy special interests. After the ravages of Watergate, the law was amended to create the program we have today." LINK
He and a GOP FEC commissioner want to add $2 to the $3 public financing check-off on your tax return (and somehow convince more people to support it), thereby increasing the pool of funds available for a federal match.
ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary, the money: one person's story:
One Note reader and staunch Democrat dipped into the fascinating realm of web-based political giving and the party's candidates yesterday, and here's what he found in real time:
"I had promised (two campaign officials) that I would give $199 to (their) campaigns by 6/30 filing so I did so on-line today."
"I got curious about the other sites and how they might be different from one another and decided to give $25 to the other campaigns as well."
"Here is what I … learned:"
"Everyone but Edwards sends you a nice email thanking you for your contribution — Edwards was also one of the few without a pop-up urging you to contribute. Omission or Southern manners?"
"No one else has the real time contribution clicker like Dean — Howard Dean was also the only candidate that invited me into a chat room or suggested he might call and personally thank me for my contribution. Dr. Dean kind of scares me so this was not an incentive. In any case, the Dean site was so busy that it took me several tries to donate my money."
"The Graham campaign was the only one that asked me for my three digit security code (the one of the back of the credit card). If there more credit card fraud in Florida than in other states?"
"The top story on Kerry's campaign website was: 'At NALEO Kerry Offers Plan to Reduce Costs of Money Transfer.' First thing you read on the Bush site — 'In all these days of promise and all these days of reckoning we can be confident..our faith is sure, our resolve is strong, and our union is strong.' Strangely, nothing there about the cost of transferring money."
"Rev. Sharpton's site is the only one that gives the contributor the option of giving cash — provided that the amount is under $100."
"What would Bob Bauer advise?"
"His site is also the only one that employs PayPal to transfer funds. While at the PayPal site I begin looking at Ebay for Al Sharpton memorabilia. I was hoping to find an autographed picture of the Reverend and Ed Koch but came up empty-handed."
"Bob Graham wants to know the name of my Bobcat, which sounds vaguely shamanistic. Do each of us have our own magical Bobcat?"
"His site is the only one that invites the contributor to give countries other than the United States as a place of residence. Florida is indeed a cosmopolitan place, but just how many Bobcats does Bob Graham believe are living in Antartica?"
"On the other hand, Dick Gephardt's site defaults first to Missouri when the contributor is asked for his or her home state — did Joyce Aboussie insist on this?"
"Visiting the Kucinich or Moseley-Braun websites feels like you are walking through a graveyard, or at best, a deserted office building after hours-- by contrast, with its regular fundraising updates and skyrocketing totals, the Dean site feels like a hot, crowded party."
"I want to be the lucky contributor that puts Dr. Dean over the 7 million dollar mark!"
"I just received an email from John Edwards asking me to make a contribution to his campaign — this despite the fact that he never thanked me for the contribution I made 10 hours ago."
ABC 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times followed along on the president's fundraising day, clearly sick of the George-'n'-Jeb show, but delighted to see the POTUS confuse two local officials and pose with Dr. Ruth. LINK
The AP's Vickie Chachere reports, "Dr. Ruth Westheimer says everyone knows she's a Democrat, but that didn't stop the diminutive sex therapist from bringing a big dose of star power to President Bush's fund-raiser Monday." LINK
Ok, so Dr. Ruth was at the Tampa fundraiser, and Don King was the lunch in Miami. Is the campaign, not by its own doing, slowing inching towards becoming a traveling version of Hollywood Squares?
Who plays Bruce Vilanch?
A quality day with mi grande hermanito. LINK
The AP's Sharon Theimer writes: "President Bush and his GOP running mate netted $4 million in four stops for his re-election campaign … ." LINK
The New York Times ed board editorializes about the Republicans' edge in hard dollar donors, and it seems that they almost — just this once — almost get the point that small contributors represent and reflect grassroots support. LINK
The head of the St. Petersburg, Florida NAACP and President Bush had some quiet time together. LINK
The AP's Jennifer Loven previews the president's visit to the "Key Academy in Washington, a college prepatory middle school." LINK
Loven writes, "Visiting a public charter school in Washington on Tuesday, Bush planned to push Congress to pass legislation that would create a $15 million voucher program for District of Columbia public school students, spokesman Scott McClellan said."
Loven also Notes that "since the collapse of his voucher proposal early in his administration, Bush has generally avoided the bitterly contested topic of school choice. One of the last times he mentioned vouchers was a year ago Tuesday, when Bush praised a Supreme Court ruling upholding government funding of private school education and hailed the ability of vouchers to improve public schools."
ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary:
Said a staffer from one rival campaign, "The people who are supporting Dean and showing up for his events are the ones that would otherwise be out protesting the WTO in their turtle outfits." LINK
Raising $7 million in three months time is no doubt exhausting work. Governor Dean arrived at his final fundraiser of the quarter last night at the famed Roxy nightclub in New York City looking ready for a rest.
Before taking the stage, Governor Dean entered the VIP room upstairs to make his first of five phone calls to randomly selected contributors who donated to his campaign over the Internet yesterday.
Governor Dean's trusted aide, Kate O'Connor (more from her in a moment), dialed the phone and connected Dr. Dean with insurance agent Sara Heller of Snellville, Georgia.
After the phone call, Governor Dean was asked if he now considered himself the frontrunner for the nomination. He demurred saying, "No, no, I'm just a governor from a small state."
As we have Noted above, Governor Dean may/will soon be held to the same top-tier standards as his fellow serious contenders.
And that is apparently not lost on Governor Dean. Last night before nearly 1,000 supporters at the Roxy, Dr. Dean made one remark concerning his fundraising prowess. He claimed to have raised $1 million in the "last 36 hours." (Pregnant pause here) … "For the fact checkers here, it may have been in the last 3 days, not 36 hours."
When he concluded his speech, Governor Dean opted out of shaking hands and working the crowd and instead headed for his car for the drive back to Burlington.
Offering another perspective on the event is Dean adviser Kate O'Connor, who provided this wirelessly-filed Note exclusive and who is a Leibovich-profile-waiting-to-happen (Note to Mark: must we do EVERYTHING for you?).
"It's been all about the numbers today for the Dean campaign, but I don't mean the $7 million everyone is talking about. Tonight at the Roxy in New York City over 1,000 people came to hear Gov. Dean speak. Today over the internet 11,000 people contributed to the Dean campaign — 8,900 contributing for the FIRST time. Over the last few weeks Gov. Dean has spoken to large crowds of people around the country: 1,200 in Seattle, WA, 3,200 in Austin, TX, 5,000 in Burlington, VT and 2,500 in Santa Fe, NM."
"Gov. Dean ended his speech at the Roxy tonight by telling the crowd that the power to change this country rests in their hands. The crowd cheered as he repeated the line, 'YOU have the power!'"
"A year ago, Gov Dean and I began traveling around the country — just the two of us. Tonight I stood behind the stage and watched 1,000 people chant his name."
"Today, I think the Governor was proven right, this is a PEOPLE powered campaign."
The AP reports, "On Sunday, a Dean campaign volunteer was bitten on the rear by a dog while she was going door-to-door in Nashua, N.H., according to campaign spokeswoman Dorie Clark. She asked Dean about her wound, and he offered advice on how to treat the bite." LINK
"Two-time Democratic congressional nominee Martha Fuller Clark will endorse John Kerry's presidential campaign tomorrow in front of the Old North Church in Portsmouth," PoliticsNH.com's Pindell news-breaks. LINK
"Four of the state's six Democratic state senators have endorsed — three of them support Kerry. Last week, House Democratic Leader Peter Burling said he was for Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt. Deputy Democratic House Leader Sharon Nordgren is for North Carolina Senator John Edwards."
In an A1 story, The Washington Times ' Charles Hurt reports that Senator John Edwards "is single-handedly blocking Senate action on legislation all but unanimously supported by the House to ease the student-loan burden for soldiers fighting overseas." LINK
"'It's frustrating when something has such overwhelming support and then it gets held up like this,' said the bill's sponsor, Rep. John Kline, Minnesota Republican."
"Told last week that everyone involved with the legislation adamantly said that Mr. Edwards put the hold on it, Edwards spokesman Mike Briggs replied, 'They're adamantly wrong.'"
"Yesterday, however, Mr. Briggs acknowledged that his boss was stalling the bill."
"'We support this bill, but Senator Edwards wants his amendment voted on,' he said. 'He wants to make a good bill better.'"
"The Edwards amendment would waive interest accrued by soldiers while engaged in military action and would cost about $10 million per deployment, Mr. Briggs said."
"As written, the HEROES Act would extend key elements of current law, which gives the secretary of education the authority to waive student-loan payments for soldiers fighting overseas. The law expires Sept. 30, and the new bill would extend those provisions until 2005."
We aren't taking sides, but we don't have time to adjudicate this, but here's what Edwards' campaign spokesgal Jennifer Palmieri has to say:
"In a shocking development, the Washington Times ' Charlie Hurt has written a 'story' that is factually wrong. Senator Edwards does not have a hold on this bill. Plain and simple. I leave it to Mr. Hurt to explain why he chose to report the story as he did."
Elizabeth Edwards has garnered rave reviews for her recent campaign swings in Iowa. LINK
The man with whom Dick Gephardt sang "Shipoopi" on "Lateline" — Buddy Hackett — died last night. LINK and LINK
(As affecting as Hackett's death is, those of us at The Note are equally saddened by this obit: "Robert McCloskey, the writer and illustrator whose classic children's books — among them 'Make Way for Ducklings' … - captivated generations of young readers and their parents, died yesterday on Deer Isle, Maine. He was 88." LINK)
How to run for President: run like a mayor, if you're Bob Graham. LINK
"U.S. Senator Bob Graham quietly tapped campaign donations at two Jacksonville fund-raisers yesterday while President Bush made a hoopla raising millions during visits to Miami and Tampa," the Jacksonville Times-Union reports. LINK
"'Everybody knew he could raise a lot of money, that's what an incumbent president will do,' Graham said."
"Graham's presidential campaign had a $400-per-couple reception at Marco Opthalmic, a Southside vision-diagnostic business, and another event at Democratic Party fund-raiser Steve Pajcic's home for $1,000 a couple. Graham spokesman Jamal Simmons refused to say how much Graham, a Democrat in a nine-way race for the party's nomination, would raise at the private events. But it was not close to Bush's take."
The AP reports on Senator Graham's debate challenge to the president while he was in the Sunshine State. LINK
The Boston Globe 's Tom Oliphant gives credit to Joe Lieberman as the lone presidential candidate who "voted" for the Medicare bill, and suggests this is the story on which to focus rather than the Dean fundraising brouhaha: "For those of us who suspect that the Democratic nominee is more likely to be selected on the basis of his thinking than his fund-raising, Lieberman has stuck his neck out for a worthy cause." LINK
This augurs poorly for Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: the Cincinnati Enquirer's Randy McNutt writes on how Ohio is the home state for eight presidents, "But after administrations marked by scandal, tragedy and mediocrity, the rest of the nation said eight is enough, and it's been eight decades since the last Ohioan occupied the White House." LINK
And even if Kucinich were to go all the way, Ohio's presidential record would be none too bright: "Four Ohio presidents died in office, two had scandal-marred administrations, and one — Cincinnati's William Howard Taft — is often remembered as the nation's heaviest president, so big that a special bathtub was needed for him in the White House."
It seems, though, that this isn't expected to be a problem; the article does not make a single mention of this year's presidential candidate from Ohio.
Tom Beaumont's web-only column Notes Carol Moseley Braun's repeated vows to visit Iowa … and says that staffers for Dennis Kucinich won an impromptu bowling tourney. LINK
AmeriCorps programs in New Hampshire face "a perfect storm" full of woes. LINK
A Concord Monitor column Notes the busy 4th of July campaigning weekend and a not-very-covert, covert operation by the Dean campaign. LINK
Who says the fun of redistricting should come only once a decade?
Texas Democrats are braced for Round 2 of the fight to re-draw the state's congressional boundaries, called back into session by Gov. Rick Perry, with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and White House uber-strategist Karl Rove staring from the wings. The Washington Post 's Lee Hockstader says a second run for the border is not an option. LINK.
A Post editorial tsk-tsks the investigation into the Texas lawmakers' flight (LINK), while an op-ed from Steven Hill and Rob Richie of the Center for Voting and Democracy calls it a travesty for the voting process. LINK
The New York Times ' Halbfinger uses the Colorado Legislature as a cautionary tale and warns about potential fights in New Mexico, Illinois, and California. LINK
And The Post 's Juliet Eilperin notes the Supreme Court getting in on the act in Pennsylvania. LINK
Now if we could only remove those pesky voters from the process …
Big Casino budget politics, taxes:
If the president were the kind of president who had press conferences, maybe some reporter would ask him what he plans to do to fix the alternative minimum tax without drastically increasing the deficit.
Particular after reading Shailagh Murray's story-after-The-Note's-own-heart on the topic in the Wall Street Journal .
(But even we were bored; it's a boring — but important! — topic … .)
Big Casino budget politics, Medicare:
The New York Times ' Robert Pear on the lobbying of the private health insurers. LINK
The Note won't allege that the AP's Deb Reichman is superstitious, but she shows that that lots of things happen in threes. LINK
"Leading his party's charge to take credit for a Medicare prescription drug benefit, President Bush urged the House and the Senate three times in three speeches Monday to reconcile their differences and send him legislation he can sign into law."
… .all while he raised $3 million on the very same day. Whoa.
Under an ominous headline that reads "Budget hole may swallow Davis," USA Today 's Martin Kasindorf gets George Gorton to go on the record about the mindset of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. LINK
"The nation's political establishment is speculating about which other Republicans — or Democrats — will jump into a race for governor if the recall measure lands on the ballot. The hottest name in the hazy gossip: actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is a moderate Republican who favors abortion rights, gun control and gay rights. He had been considering a run for governor in 2006."
"Schwarzenegger is 'leaning toward' running, although his wife, TV journalist and Kennedy family member Maria Shriver, 'isn't thrilled,' says George Gorton, the movie star's political adviser. 'He thinks he can (win), and so do I.'"
"While publicizing his latest film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger has sounded teasingly like a candidate. Last week, he told Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show that he'll be in Iraq on Friday to show his movie to U.S. troops. Iraq, he quipped, has "no leadership — pretty much like California.'"
"Bob Mulholland, a consultant to the state Democratic Party, says a GOP takeover via recall could set off tit-for-tat moves by Democrats. 'You end up creating a Governor of the Month Club,' says Carroll Wills of the pro-Davis group Taxpayers Against the Recall."
The San Jose Mercury News reports former Green party candidate Peter Camejo is going to put his name on the recall ballot as a possible replacement for Governor Davis. LINK
"Camejo, who won 5 percent of the vote last fall, said Democrats have signed a 'political suicide pact' by pledging not to put their names on the recall ballot in a show of support for Davis. So, he said, he's running as an alternative to Republicans who decide to run."
Carroll Wills of the Taxpayers Against the Recall offered this vaguely familiar spin:
"'It suggests the possibility, at least, that Mr. Camejo is doing this more to draw attention to his own profile,' Wills said. 'It's strange that somebody like Peter Camejo would give aid and comfort to a process that is being driven by people who stand for just about everything he stands against.'"
The Mercury News also reports that Representative Issa is committed to running for Governor irrespective of when the recall question might go before the voters.
Those organizing the pro and anti recall efforts have armed themselves with teams of elections lawyers and it looks as if those lawyers are soon going to be earning their keep. A battle over interpretation of the state law dictating how and when signatures get verified appears headed for the courtroom, according to the Sacramento Bee. LINK
"In a letter released late in the day, the secretary of state's office told elections supervisors in all 58 counties that while they must keep a continuous count of signatures submitted in support of the recall, they can wait a month before validating those signatures."
"Some recall supporters threatened to sue, saying Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's interpretation is misguided and could delay until March an election that recall supporters hope to hold by late October or early November. A March election could give the Democratic governor the political advantage of a higher Democratic turnout expected for the presidential primary."
"'A judicial clarification appears to be required,' said James Sweeney, a lawyer for the Recall Gray Davis Committee, one of three groups trying to remove Davis."
It is difficult to find a film review of T3 which doesn't mention star Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial aspirations, and A.O. Scott's New York Times review is no different. LINK
Yes, yes, John Conner, blah blah, female Termanatrix (It is also difficult to find a review which doesn't mention her nude entrance … ), ho hum, rise of the machines, yadda yadda, end of the world, but the real meat is in the sly anticipation of He-of-the- "familiar Austro-Californian monotone['s]" campaign designs rather than T4 plans, as Scott offers a curious analysis of the aging Terminator dry intonations:
"He also says, 'You're terminated' to his robot rival, perhaps testing out a slogan intended for poor Gray Davis. But that's the next sequel."
Scott's assessment of the star's cinematic technique also comes with a political tinge: "Mr. Schwarzenegger, whose main contribution to American culture has been inspiring wicked parodies on 'Saturday Night Live' and 'The Simpsons,' acts (if you can call it that) with his usual leaden whimsy, manifesting the gift for uttering hard-to-forget, meaningless catchphrases that is most likely the wellspring of his blossoming reported desire to seek elective office in California."
Even Variety, which offers a detailed, highly positive review of the film, poses the question "Could 55-year-old political aspirant Schwarzenegger still climb into his black leather Terminator duds?" (The answer: Yes.).
Politics: The New York Post 's Fredric Dicker addresses the ''real long shot'" that Georgette Mosbacher will challenge Chuck Schumer next year, and the suggestion she might not want to go in like a businesswoman and come out like a (sacrificial) lamb. LINK
The AP's Jim Abrams writes about the small, but significant number of Arab Americans in Congress. LINK
Just as they have a slight majority edge in the chamber, Senate "Republicans have a slight edge over their Democratic counterparts in early campaign cash, raising about $14.1 million in the first half of the year compared to about $10.6 million for the Democrats," reports the AP's Sharon Theimer. LINK
"The picture was far different for the parties' national committees. The Republican National Committee raised nearly three times as much as its Democratic rival. The RNC took in about $54.8 million so far this year, while the Democratic National Committee raised about $18.4 million."
Was "Rendellican" one of the new words added to the dictionary? Probably not, but read here to find out who's trying to make the word less spoken. LINK
The man who produced the Collision in Columbia — that's Jon Banner — was named the executive producer of ABC News "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" and, if you are running for president right now — trust us — you should Note well that fact. LINK
The New York Times ' dishy Jennifer Steinhauer completely smashes the New York Post 's coverage of the announced Andrew Cuomo/Kerry Kennedy Cuomo separation announcement. LINK
Jennifer's narrative details are too choice to summarize.
The New York Daily News' Joel Siegel also has the key element — the statement from M.Cuomo lawyer Harriet Newman Cohen. LINK
The "amicable" separation gets a few lines in the Boston Globe . LINK
Read the New York Post version only to see what all the editor yelling will be about. LINK
Bush Administration strategy/personality:
The New York Daily News' Tom DeFrank quotes some Bush advisers about the polling popularity of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, despite its ultimate unlikelihood. LINK
The AP's Jim Abrams reports, "Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge could move up to eighth in the line of presidential succession, leapfrogging 10 other Cabinet members in a congressional effort to better prepare for a catastrophic attack on Washington." LINK
"Under legislation approved by the Senate and now pending in the House, Ridge would move from 18th to eighth, behind Attorney General John Ashcroft and in front of Interior Secretary Gale Norton, in the line to succeed the president in a disaster."
"Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice, the two most prominent women in the Bush White House, make appearances this week in the administration's Web chat series," the Associated Press reports. LINK
Mrs. Bush chats today at 1:30 pm ET, and Ms. Rice chats tomorrow at 11:10 am ET.