The Note: A Ballet Being Fought Out in the Alley

And/but in increasingly polarized America, it is also quite possible -- with the right formula -- to produce a book about American politics that is savaged by both sides.

Get out your Google and see why The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008, by Mark Halperin of ABC News and John F. Harris of the Washington Post, is causing such a stir on both ends of the spectrum. LINK

Of course, there must be some reason why both Bill Clinton and Karl Rove (not to mention Dick Cheney and scores of top political operatives in both parties) agreed to do interviews about campaign strategy for the book.

See what all the fuss is about by buying your copy here. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg reports on a private, off-the-schedule meeting President Bush had last month with several prominent conservative talk show hosts that "was part of an intensive Republican Party campaign to reclaim and re-energize a crucial army of supporters that is not as likely to walk in lockstep with the White House as it has in the past." LINK

President Bush's latest electronic appeal to the GOP grassroots through the RNC email list begins thusly, "In 2004, you were part of a historic nationwide organization that propelled my campaign to victory. Together we delivered a clear message to the American people about the need to keep our Nation safe and secure, the need to keep our taxes low to continue creating jobs."

Four of the six paragraphs in the letter utilize nostalgia for his successful 2004 reelection campaign as a motivating tactic.

"Like a rock star coming to town," is how one person describes Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Topeka, KS to the New York Times' Mark Leibovich. Topeka is just one of many stops that has allowed the Vice President to raise $40 million so far this year. LINK

Front-Page Leibo's anecdotal lede is to die for.

GOP agenda:

House Majority Leader Boehner sent his members some messaging advice yesterday in a "confidential" memo obtained by The Note. Boehner declares the Foley matter behind them and his party as back on offense. The three top line messages Boehner encourages his members to sell on the stump:

"- Republicans are resolute in our efforts to give the President the tools he needs to combat terrorism. Democrats are divided and have no national security strategy, except to relent and retreat in the face of adversity. Obstruction is not an agenda."

"- Republicans are the Party of secure borders and strong enforcement of our immigration laws. Democrats are the Party of open borders that will only lead to more illegal immigration."

"- Republicans are the Party that works to keep taxes low and exercise fiscal discipline. Democrats are the Party addicted to tax hikes forever scheming to raid taxpayers' wallets to fund more massive government programs. Their voting record proves it."

Harry Reid and the GOP oppo machine:

John "Shoe Leather" Solomon of the AP writes that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) used campaign funds for the Christmas bonuses he gave to employees at the Ritz-Carlton where he has an apartment, breaking the FEC regulation baring candidates from using campaign money for personal use. LINK

Reid preemptively announced yesterday that he intended to reimburse his campaign with his personal money.

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