The Note

We'll also cover the Democrats' on-going search for an economic message to take advantage of these bad times, and the Los Angeles Times Mark Z. Barabak might be a good guest for us (handsome, snappy dresser).

Barabak has a take on the Democrats and taxes, which mentions 1984, repeats Democratic assertions that, somehow, 2003 is worse than 1984, and even quotes a guy named "Robert G. Beckel." (Note to Producer: Let's super him as "Bob Beckel" if we have him on!) LINK

"The effort by the party's presidential candidates — who favor repealing all or part of President Bush's tax cuts — turns years of political experience on its head.

Republicans have long championed lower taxes, and Democrats have largely shrunk from the fight, fearing the dreaded tax-and-spend label. But now, Democrats are attempting to move off the defensive and recast the tax debate as a matter of choices."

"Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean put it this way during a campaign stop last week in San Francisco: 'Would you rather have the president's tax cuts, or would you like health care that can never be taken away and is affordable? Would you rather have the president's tax cut, or should we fully fund special education, so your public school system will be stronger? Would you rather have the president's tax cut, or would you rather start to balance the budget?'"

"Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts plays off a line Bush has used to press for lower taxes. 'It's your money,' Kerry tells audiences."

"The key — and it is tricky, party strategists acknowledge — is turning the tax debate into a discussion of fairness and making voters feel the pain that Democrats anticipate from a downsized federal government."

"'It's going to require somebody that can get that message down and make it clear and not make it geeky,' said Robert G. Beckel, who managed Mondale's 1984 campaign and believes the budget deficit was too abstract an issue then to resonate with voters. 'It can't be policy wonkish, and it can't be overly political. It has to be a statement of facts and it has to be provable in some real examples.'"

"GOP strategists relish a debate on taxes with Democrats," Barabak Notes.

And the candidates, we would Note, can't talk about the economy until they get this taxes thing down pat.

We'll also remind viewers that we are as a nation in the midst of the primary, with most of the campaigns not named "Dean" questioning how the process is working. There is still skepticism that Dean will get to the 50% threshold, but no one really knows. See the "MoveOn" section below for more on that.

While the other Democratic candidates are mostly Invisible this week, as they focus on raising money, once again today's news cycle is being dominated by former Vermont governor Howard Dean, what with a major address to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, which will have taken place by the time you read this.

And Dean doesn't stop there this cycle. There's a traffic change in the Hawkeye State.

"With a new TV ad and a major foreign policy address, the former Vermont governor is portraying his stance against President Bush and the U.S.-led war as an act of political courage," AP's Fournier writes.

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