The Note: Catoctin Cacophony

WASHINGTON, June 12

President Bush departed the White House for Camp David at 8:15 am ET. At 9:30 am and again at 2:00 pm ET, he meets with top military and civilian advisers to discuss military strategy in Iraq. On Tuesday, the sessions conclude with a joint meeting via videoconference with Bush's Cabinet and top ministers in al-Maliki's new government.

"By helping them succeed, we succeed, we get out," is how one senior Bush Administration official described the importance of this week's Camp David meetings, reports ABC News' Geoff Morrell. This carnival of substance will dominate cable and broadcast life today.

While we wait for the white tufts of smoke, please join us in mastering the following great works of American political journalism:

1. In a Sunday must-read, the Los Angeles Times' Ron Brownstein wrote that this year's low turnout, the results in CA-50, and a recent Stan Greenberg poll which warned that Democrats are at risk of underperforming in November if the party does not provide a more compelling alternative send a clear message: "Discontent with Republicans in Washington is widespread, but it isn't yet translating into consistent support for Democrats." LINK

2. In another Sunday must-read, the Washington Post's David Broder had Bernadete Budee, the "longtime political brains" of the Business Industry Political Action Committee, saying, independents and ticket-splitters will be "the key" in November and that the things that have "complicated" the President's agenda --Iraq, Katrina -- will "inevitably" be an issue for Republicans in the midterms. LINK

3. Twenty years after Democrats convened at West Virginia's posh Greenbrier Resort to recuperate after Regan's landslide reelection, Dan Balz of the Washington Post reports that the party is in the same position today: still looking for a "unified product," a "frame," a "brand." LINK

4. In the first poll of consequence, the Des Moines Register has former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) with 30 percent support among likely Iowa caucus participants, Sen. Clinton with 26 percent, Sen. Kerry with 12 percent, Gov. Vilsack with 10 percent, former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) with 3 percent, Sen. Feingold with 3 percent, former Gov. Warner with 3 percent, Sen. Bayh with 2 percent, and Gen. Clark with 2 percent. LINK

(See below for much more)

Elsewhere in these United States, Karl Rove raises money for the New Hampshire GOP dinner at 6:00 pm ET in Manchester, NH. C-SPAN 2 will carry his speech live.

Rove's trip to the Granite State comes at a time when New Hampshire Democrats are seeking to depose national Republican figures in charge of party operations in 2002 when a phone jamming scheme was employed by the New Hampshire Republican Party in an alleged attempt to disrupt Democratic turnout efforts during the very closely contested Senate race that year. Protesters are expected outside the Rove event.

Back in Washington, DC, there will be a status conference on the Scooter Libby case in Judge Walton's courtroom.

The "Take Back America" conference gets started today with a little "Straight Talk" progressive style. Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg joins Campaign for America's Future co-director Robert Borosage at a 10:00 am ET press conference to release "Straight Talk," a manual for candidates and activists that outlines how best to argue the progressive case on the economy, security, energy, health care, and other issues.

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