The Note: The Future Usually Goes Up and Down

WASHINGTON, Apr. 13

Say you are White House press secretary Scott McClellan and you come back from your office after one of those why-are-they-now-so-much-longer-than-they-used-to-be-? meetings and on the top of your stack of pink telephone message slips is one that catches your eye.

It says, "Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, she says it is *super* urgent." So you say to yourself, "Huh. Nedra doesn't call up here much any more (what with our having broken her spirit, like everyone else's), and when she does, she never says it is 'urgent.' So something must be up."

So then you go on kinkyfriedman.com for a while, just to browse around and laugh at the latest campaign video.

Then, after watching a Robert Pear speech replay on C-SPAN for a bit, you call Pickler back.

Now, with that set-up, our regular Thursday Note quiz.

If you are McClellan, what do you guess, as you dial, is the topic of Ms. Pickler's call?

A. "Do you have any reaction to this latest retired general calling for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign?"

B. "Do you have any reaction to the latest indictment in the Abramoff case?"

C. "Do you have any reaction to the latest report about various top officials, including the President, citing claims about Iraq's pre-war weapons of mass destruction capability that the intelligence reports at the time said were overblown or false?"

D. "Do you have any reaction to the latest rise in gas prices?"

E. "Do you have any reaction to the latest indictment in the Plame case?"

F. "Do you have any reaction to Tom Tancredo's very existence?"

G. "Do you have any reaction to the Gang of 500's widespread belief that you yourself are moving on to greener pastures?"

H. "Do you have any reaction to Senator Clinton's vision for a new American economy?"

I. "Do you have any reaction to David Sanger's story on Iran?"

J. "Do you have any reaction to David Sanger's story on North Korea?"

K. "Do you have any reaction to what Senator Hagel said?"

Luckily for you, it is none of those. Instead, it is a question to which your response is clear and sweet.

Pickler: Do you have any reaction to the latest poll showing the President's approval ratings in the toilet?

McClellan: The polls will go up, the polls will go down. The President is going about his hard work on behalf of the American people. The only poll the President cares about is the one on Election Day.

If that last point is true, then the President should be awfully glad that Election Day was not conducted last Saturday through Tuesday, which are the precise dates of the new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll, which shows that if the election were held those days, things might not have turned out so well for Mr. Bush.

According to the poll, Massachusetts Senator John Forbes Kerry (distinguished war hero, former prosecutor, loving husband and father, owner of homes in many nice places, the man who caught Noriega with his bare hands and on his own passed several vital fishery and hatchery laws -- that John F. Kerry) would beat George Walker Bush in a rematch by ten points. LINK

"One final question offered perhaps the most dramatic expression of the nation's discontent with Bush's second term," writes the Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein.

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