The Note: A Ballet Being Fought Out in the Alley

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17

Eleven things to remember with three weeks to go:

1. There are no network/AP exit polls in House races on Election Day.

2. As the Washington Post reminds us with numeric precision today, most House Republican candidates in tough races are better funded than their Democratic rivals. LINK

3. Bill Clinton is more popular than George W. Bush and most Republicans don't know why that is.

4. Five people you should assign tails to if you want to know what is actually happening: Sara Taylor, Michael Whouley, Tom Reynolds, Ron Brownstein, and everyone from POS. LINK

5. No one can possibly know how well Big Labor will do in turning out the vote on November 7.

6. The Old Media is totally unqualified to track robo-calls, direct mail, radio ads, and church fliers (and campaigns know this).

7. Someday, someone will explain why George W. Bush's Justice Department is engaging in investigations that are deleterious to the chances that Republicans will retain control of Congress.

8. Every case of malfunctioning voting machines or voter fraud is a serious matter, but not every case of malfunctioning voting machines or voter fraud is part of a conspiracy directed by trial lawyers or Karl Rove.

9. At some point, President Bush will stop doing fundraisers and start doing huge crowd events (but when and where? The Note wonders. . . ).

10. Saying "I won't get Swiftboated!!!" is not the same thing as not getting Swiftboated.

11. There are (still) no network/AP exit polls in House races on Election Day.

Today's consensus snapshot of where things stand, courtesy of Roll Call: "One GOP consultant familiar with fresh polling conducted last week said it showed Republicans in districts across the country in the worst shape yet this cycle." "'If it doesn't get any better than it was last week, it's going to be a bloodbath,' the consultant said. 'We'll see if it gets worse, or stays the same or gets better.'"

The conspiracy of silence among the Gang of 500, which is NOT to be shared with anyone else: the name of the current House member who just might have his own page problem.

(Pause for anger, confusion, shouts, murmurs, and demands.)

As for today:

President Bush signs the "Military Commissions Act of 2006" -- a bill that establishes guidelines for the interrogations and trials of terrorism suspects -- at 9:35 am ET in the East Room at The White House. Mr. Bush then participates in a ceremonial swearing-in for Transportation Secretary Mary Peters at 1:20 pm ET at the Transportation Department. The President's final public event on his schedule is at 2:30 pm ET when he meets with Prime Minister Ivo Sanader of Croatia in the Oval Office in Washington, DC.

ABC News' Karen Travers reports, "White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said there will be no signing statement to go along with the bill signing because Congress 'did a really good job this time' on the legislation and the White House is satisfied with it."

Today's Wall Street Journal has a letter to the editor from House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), arguing that the Military Commissions Act is "not tough enough on terrorists because there is no certainty the act will withstand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court. If the act is tied up in litigation and eventually struck down, convicted terrorists could have a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card."

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