The Note: The State of Our Union Is . . . Confused

Tom Beaumont gave some Sunday Des Moines Register play to Sen. Daschle in which the former Senator from South Dakota said Democrats must focus on appealing to the "soul of our country" in order to win national elections again. LINK

Note Daschle's stating that he is not preparing a 2008 presidential run.

On his east coast book tour, Gov. Bill Richardson warns Democrats not to take the Hispanic vote for granted. Richardson is in Washington, DC and New York over the next two days promoting his book, "Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life." LINK

While campaigning in the Granite State for Manchester Mayor Bob Baines, John Kerry gave an interview to the New Hampshire Sunday News in which he pledged his respect for New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status. LINK

2008: Republicans:

When John McCain sat down with Katie Couric on NBC's "Today" show this morning, two perceptions about the Arizona Republican were reinforced -- one by McCain and one by Couric -- suggesting perhaps past will indeed be prologue for his potential 2008 presidential run.

Perception 1: The bipartisan approach: McCain reminded Couric that recent congressional approval ratings aren't reflective of just one party. "That disapproval isn't just confined to Republicans. . . I think we've got to sit down and work together," said McCain.

Perception 2: The straight talkin' media darling: When asked about his previous critical comments about Donald Rumsfeld, McCain said he was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer. ". . .which is so refreshing, by the way," replied Couric.

Two other things we learned from the interview:

1. McCain would not go as far as calling for Rove's departure from the White House, but he did say, "I think obviously we have to change the image to a degree, but I can't tell the President what he has to do in regards to his advisors."

2. McCain has begun polling book signing crowds about the "bridge to nowhere."

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) had this to say to "This Week's" George Stephanopoulos: "The President should be, in my opinion, reviewing and analyzing and putting some deep perspective into who's around him at the White House. And if I was the President, I think I'd want to enlarge and widen that group, and start making some serious review and inventory of what has happened in the last five years that's gotten him into so much trouble." LINK

In his Sunday column, Bob Novak wrote that many of McCain's New York contributors from his 2000 campaign were "reluctant" to attend a Nov. 7 fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel. "The fact McCain will be 72 for the 2008 presidential campaign was cited to explain lack of enthusiasm, as was the senator's support for the Iraq war." LINK

McCain adviser John Weaver responded to the Novak column by saying that McCain's PAC will receive $1 million-plus in donations this week between the event in New York ($650k+) and DC ($350k+).

"Hardly a tepid response," said Weaver. "In fact, I want more tepid responses like these. . ."

"I know this would shock you, but of course Mr. Novak didn't bother to contact any McCain representative prior to writing his rumor or planted item. Just shocking, isn't it."

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