The Note

"'I do not accept that a candidate's national security credentials should be considered suspect for opposing the war in Iraq at the time it was initiated with the limited level of international support we had, the lack of postwar planning that had been accomplished and the failure to make the case that the threat was imminent enough to justify' war, Dean said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington." LINK "Dean also was telling the group that his anti-war position demonstrates his toughness and strength to lead on foreign policy, according to a summary of the speech provided by his campaign."

"The address comes as Dean is trying to broaden his underdog candidacy after getting off to a surprisingly strong start, largely due to his opposition to the war. The stance excited Democrats eager to attack Bush even as their party leaders shied from confrontation."

(And we should say that we love and respect Fournier, but we totally disagree with him about that "largely due" part.)

"He's addressing the issue in another way, by casting his opposition to the war as an example of how he'll take tough stands, even when unpopular. Dean is now promising to fight special interests and corporate America with the same vigor he opposed the war."

"It is no accident, aides said, that Dean was introduced for a Tuesday night speech as 'Give 'em hell, Howard Dean.'"

"A new television ad airing in Iowa, site of the first voting of 2004, shows Dean striding purposefully toward the camera as he declares 'the only way to beat George Bush is to stand up to him.' Deans then trumpets his opposition to the war. "

The AP's Glover has more lines from the ad:

'''As governor, I made sure that every child in my state had health insurance,' said Dean. 'We added jobs, we raised the minimum wage and we balanced budgets.'''

'''I opposed the war with Iraq when too many Democrats supported it,' said Dean."LINK See our "Dean" section below for the full text of the spot. (Our graphics department is working up a groovy 2004 "ad box" to put it in for the show.)

Seven of the nine Democrats running for president (sans Lieberman and Kerry) will be at a DNC fundraiser in Washington tonight. Senator Kerry talks to voters in Laconia, New Hampshire. And Senator Lieberman plans to spend the day in California.

With the end of the second-quarter fundraising period just 5 days away, the candidates are all working hard to have their best showing.

(The Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood has a must-read on the dangers of spending too much of what is raised, complete with John Kerry opening offices; Shari Yost's big salary; and the legacy of Phil Gramm '96.)

As for Republican cash, Mrs. Bush has two events and two Bush-Cheney re-election fundraisers today. Her events — promoting reading in Philadelphia and Cincinnati-- are open to the press. The fundraisers, held at private homes, are not. (ABC's Ann Compton says the Cinci fundraiser will held at campaign money-meister Mercer Reynolds' home.)

And to prove that our show will cover more politics than just what happens inside the Beltway, we will go out west to the Golden State, where there are multiple big doings in the effort to recall Governor Gray Davis.

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