The Note: Son of Note-libs

WASHINGTON, Sep. 29

In the midterm-defining debate ("Are the Democrats winning -- or, at least, neutralizing -- the national security contest?"), the two best newspaper pieces of the day are by Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal LINK and E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. LINK

After reading their closing paragraphs (Henninger: "The Democrats' problem is this: They are trying to beat policy with politics and weaken belief with polls. This may work for Social Security. I don't think it works with war. Don't be surprised if come November, Democrats are still on message--Iraq as failure--and still in the minority." and Dionne: "A genuinely sober and moderate view would recognize that it's time the scales of history were righted. Propagandistic accounts need to be challenged, systematically and consistently. The debate needed a very hard shove. Clinton delivered it."), it is clear that __________ (name of clear-thinking but ideologically-oriented columnist here) is more correct.

The President's tough national security rhetoric in Alabama yesterday represents just the __________ (clich├ęd metaphor) of the attacks he will launch on this topic through Election Day.

The White House is counting on __________ (soon-to-be-released economic statistics) to get another chance at touting the Bush-Evans economic record, while direct mail on ____________ (hot-button social issue) will actually help the GOP save ___________ (name of endangered incumbent Senator).

Bob Woodward had ______ (number) "secret" interviews with Colin Powell for his new book, while Dan Bartlett has presided over ________ (slightly smaller number) meetings to discuss how to discredit the book.

Andy Card's apparent cooperation with Woodward can be be described as __________ (adjective).

When Simon & Schuster's David Rosenthal found out that the New York Times had been able to buy an early copy of the book because a store carelessly put it on display before Monday's formal release, he said ______________ (two-word barnyard curse).

Despite said curse, the extra buzz and frenzy is only _________ (synonym for fanta$tic) for Woodward Inc.

"At retail price" is the new _____________ (common Washington expression).

Jack Abramoff's instruction to the Signatures dude to send Karl Rove a bottle of wine on him, when everyone knows Rove doesn't drink, makes Abramoff look like a(n) ___________ (noun speaking to professional competence) and casts __________ (noun) on how tight he really was with the presidential adviser.

As anyone in the Gang of 500 could have told him, Karl Rove's instruction to Abramoff to just reach him "through Susan" was a ___________ (noun), not a(n) _________ (adjective) embrace.

The number of Clinton and Bush Administration officials not named "McLarty" who have never let a reporter or lobbyist buy them a meal costing more than $20 is _________ (number between zero and eight).

Jackie Calmes' Wall Street Journal joint profile of Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel will make Schumer feel ______________ (intense emotion), and Emanuel feel _________ (nothing).

When George Stephanopoulos broke the news last night on "World News with Charles Gibson" about the House report (out today) on Jack Abramoff's ties with the Bush White House, Ken Mehlman was in Maine on ____________ (type of vessel).

With no public events on his schedule as of this writing, Mehlman is expected to depart Portland, ME in the late morning to return to Washington, DC.

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