The Note: Too Close to the President

WASHINGTON, August 10

The alleged disrupted terror plot will likely dominate cable coverage today and lead all the network broadcasts this evening, perhaps causing American midterm voters to ponder whether they feel more or less safe than they did two years ago.

The two major American political parties (sorry, Mr. Brooks, we ain't including the McCain-Lieberman Party just yet) will certainly provide different takes on the breaking news today and, perhaps somewhat unlike cycles past, be sure to Note how BOTH sides will be eager to talk national security today. How/if independent candidate Lieberman plans to use today's events against his Democratic opponent Ned Lamont remains to be seen.

If you want help connecting up yesterday's big political story with today's, read Peter Wallsten's masterwork in the Los Angeles Times, particularly these two paragraphs:

"Republicans also sought to use the Lieberman loss as an opportunity to drive wedges in the Democratic base -- following White House advisor Karl Rove's strategy of energizing conservatives while trying to make certain Democratic voters question whether they should vote with their party. . . ."

"The Republican response Wednesday was highly coordinated, tightly matching a set of GOP talking points distributed to activists and strategists. The effort also paralleled an internal strategy memo, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, that laid out the party's intent to mobilize its base for the election by highlighting Bush's actions in Iraq and the notion that Democrats were weak in their approach to 'foreign threats.'"

President Bush, who was already planning to interrupt his vacation today for a political travel, is expected to speak at some point to cameras on the road about the alleged terror plot. The original plan called for an 11:55 am ET presidential tour of Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis., where Mr. Bush had been expected to make a statement on the economy upon the conclusion of his tour. At 1:00 pm ET, he attends a closed press reception for Republican congressional candidate John Gard at a private home in Oneida, Wisconsin, after which he returns to the "Western White House" in Crawford, TX.

John Gard is running for the House in WI-08 -- an open seat being vacated by four-term incumbent Mark Green (R), who is running for governor against Gov. Jim Doyle (D). Bush won the lean-Republican district by 11 points (55% - 44%) in 2004. Democrats have a three-way primary to sort out.

Don't miss Mark Silva's look at the Campaigner-in-Chief in the Chicago Tribune. LINK

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) join Campaign for America's Future co-director Roger Hickey and Democratic pollster Guy Malyneux to participate in a teleconference discussing "the risk the midterm elections pose to the future of Social Security." The conference call begins at 11:30 am ET.

Sen. Clinton continues her New York City campaign tour today. The Senator first began her day with an official event as the keynoter at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast at 8:30 am ET. She then heads to a 10:45 am ET campaign event where she plans to meet with children and staff from the William Osborn Day Camp. At 3:00 pm ET Candidate Clinton is scheduled to meet with Bronx leaders and community residents at the New York Public Library, Bronx Library Center.

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