The Note: Ws and Ls

WASHINGTON, Sep. 7

On the first Thursday of every year, The Note gets up five minutes early and spends the extra time looking in the mirror and repeating over and over again, "The news is to be covered and analyzed; The Note is not to influence the outcome of the election."

Not that there is any indication that The Note impacts the Beltway convention wisdom (or, not quite the same things, Tammy Haddad's brain or Norm Ornstein's dining room banter). But one can't be too careful.

So it is only after substantial consideration that we say: with just about two months to go before Election Day, what this all boils down to for the two major parties is which one is able to control the five weekday news cycles in such a way as to frame the debate on the Sunday morning shows. Whichever party wins more of the nine remaining skirmishes will control the House of Representatives come January, and, thus, win the big bag of marbles.

It can be dangerous, with 2/5 of the present week left, to declare a winner, but current evidence suggests Democrats were edging ahead in the earlier part of the week, but that the President's moves yesterday could end up putting a "W" in the GOP column by the time George and the Rest bid you good morning on Sunday.

Consider:

1. The President's detainee gambit -- tactically boffo enough to bring the Los Angeles Times Ron Brownstein off of book leave for only the second time (Be the first to name the other story that did that and win a prize: e-mail the answer to thewaytowin2008@yahoo.com) -- is given universal praise by the Gang of 500 for ensuring the fall debate will be more about who can keep America safer from terrorists, and, thus, for putting the Democrats on the defensive. LINK

2. Buried in David Roger's Wall Street Journal Hilly wrap-up is this vital verbiage: "Mr. Bush met later with House and Senate leaders on the fall agenda, including a set of security-related bills he wants in relation to the war against terror. And mindful of the failure thus far to reach agreement on immigration overhaul, the administration signaled a greater openness to using emergency funds to appease voters worried about border security." (Was there a borders-only-until-the-lame-duck-session deal struck yesterday?)

3. Dean Broder of the Washington Post shames the Fourth Estate into apologizing to Karl Rove for being mean to him. LINK

4. The first canary dies, as a BushRoveMehlman friendly "independent" group (re)emerges from the shadows to begin what will be an onslaught backed by tens of millions of dollars for national security (and, then, more under the radar, social issues) messaging to voters to rev up a base that does not want Charles Rangel to chair Ways and Means.

From the creators of "Ashley's Story" (LINK), comes a new round of political advertising this midterm election year.

The conservative organization "Progress for America" is slated to have a 1:00 pm ET press conference to announce a TV ad buy, Internet campaign, and other grassroots activity reminding Americans about "the reason for the War on Terror." This comes in the wake of President Bush making major speeches on the topic this week. It should be Noted that PFA has recruited the father of Flight 93's Todd Beamer, David Beamer, as its spokesman for this announcement. The ad -- the full script has not yet been released -- is entitled, "They Want To Kill Us."

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