The Note

--"it was a minefield. i think dean did well considering the loaded questions russert asked. some of this answers were fantastic and some were lacking in smack-it-out-of-the-park clarity."

--"I think Dean did ok. I think that he mnight nopt have been fully prepped due to his taking time off to deal with family matters. He did a lot better on Charlie Rose."

It's those opinions — not ours — that have defined the Dean candidacy.

Dean, more than any other presidential hopeful,

# stumbled onto the war as a way to cut into the vein of anger at President Bush that courses through many liberal Democrats;

# sounds like a real person when he speaks;

# sounds like a real liberal when he speaks, even though he's not;

# managed to attract a gaggle of loyal, star-struck staff for whom Dean is truly godlike and inspiring;

# had the time to travel to New Hampshire and Iowa early and often;

# went for months without the Establishment taking him seriously, which allowed him to adopt a McCain-like truth-telling veneer and not be challenged when it would occasionally tarnish

# got early gay and lesbian money

Other campaigns realize that if THEIR candidate performed as Dean did yesterday, their announcement day would be ruined. And they think it is just a matter of time before Dean is held to the same standard as their horses are.

But that day won't be today.

No new news of Note seems to have come out of the various multi-candidate Democratic events over the weekend.

The Doctor has his Day mostly to himself, though Congressman Gephardt will get his fifth union endorsement today--from the Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

Tonight in New York, President Bush may shatter the $5 million fundraising barrier erected by a single Phil Gramm event in 1996. There may have been a change to the pool-press only policy.

Tom DeFrank and Joel Siegel raise the curtain: LINK Vice President Cheney raises money in Hopkington, Massachusetts and Richmond, Virginia, today —.

At this writing, Washington is braced for various Supreme Court decisions and/or retirement news, with potential political implications.

As you know, the Bush administration is trying to reap credit for drug benefits and other changes in Medicare.

On Monday, four top health officials are to embark on a three-day "better benefits tour," visiting cities from Miami to San Diego to tout such improvements. President Bush had favored the idea, rejected by House and Senate leaders, of offering drug coverage only to Medicare patients willing to join a private health plan, but Administration officials have sought to play down that rebuff.

( The Orlando Sentinel's Mark Silva suggests that any drug benefit President Bush can sign will aid his Florida re-elect effort in 2004.) LINK

Voting begins in the MoveOn primary on Tuesday and continues Wednesday. The winner will need more than 50% to gain the coveted endorsement, or else MoveOn will schedule another round of voting. (The Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein either buys into it, or gets it, depending on your point of view: "This New Age plebiscite could mark a significant turn in the 2004 race and a milestone in the development of the Internet as a political tool." LINK)

President Bush meets with Pakistan's president tomorrow at Camp David and returns to the White House for a celebration of Black Music Month. Wednesday, he has a joint press avail with EU summit leaders at the White House. Thursday, he has three international-ish events in DC.

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