The Note: Literally in Denial

One man's courage of conviction is another man's stubbornness, writes the Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes in a look at President Bush's resolute style that according to polls, both appeals to and concerns voters. LINK

"In February strategy sessions, as it became clear Mr. Kerry would be the Democratic nominee, Bush advisers, knowing that presidential elections historically are a referendum on the incumbent, decided their strongest card was to promote the president with the slogan: 'A steady leader in times of change.' That conclusion led to the decision to attack Mr. Kerry as the opposite — a flip-flopper — instead of going with the predictable strategy of lambasting the senator as another liberal from Massachusetts. The contrast between a decisive candidate and one labeled a flip-flopper had another benefit for the Bush team. It neutralized the president's negatives among voters who were beginning to fear he was too hard-headed — stubborn to a fault."

Here's a story that will make Phil Singer downright giddy! Cabinet Secretaries out on the campaign trail. LINK

President Bush talks about the "complicated mess" that is the tax code but the Boston Globe 's Rick Klein reports that "Bush's own policies have made the tax code more complicated than ever." LINK

AP's Steve LeBlanc reports that the Bush-Cheney campaign is sponsoring live radio traffic reports in Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. "An announcer reads 'this traffic report is paid for by Bush-Cheney '04' and then launches into the traffic update." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn reports, "In his 20 years in the Senate, Kerry has accumulated a voting record that puts him almost smack in the middle of his Democratic Senate colleagues, according to an authoritative analysis of congressional votes by professors Keith T. Poole of the University of Houston and Howard Rosenthal of Princeton." LINK

Bob Novak writes about the "loosely connected national network" of Catholics opposing Kerry. LINK

Al Hunt writes in his Campaign Journal that while the Kerry campaign is thrilled that the Big Dog is coming out to run (to be clear, we mean no disrespect to President Clinton; we've just been waiting to write that sentence for a long time), there's been some back-and-forth over where he'd campaign for John Kerry. Hunt calls his impending Philadelphia stop "puzzling."

The Washington Post 's Paul Farhi and John Harris offer more details. LINK

New York Daily News Headline: "Bill puts his heart into the final push for Dems." LINK

Where will Bill Clinton campaign after Philadelphia? Put your money, if you're a betting kind of Note reader, on South Florida . . . .

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that in an interview with an Ohio University journalism student Kerry "backed off his recent assertion that there was a 'great potential' that President Bush would reinstate the draft." LINK

"'What I said was it's possible because I don't know what he's going to do,' Kerry said in an interview published in Monday's Ohio University Post."

Remember those pre-convention police picket lines before the Democratic National Convention? Well, maybe Senator Kerry's refusal to cross them paid off. The Boston Globe reports "Boston's police patrolmen's union yesterday voted overwhelmingly to endorse John F. Kerry for president." LINK

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