The Note: Organize, Organize, Organize . . .

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2

The Thursday before the Tuesday of Election Day is when honest campaign pollsters who have decent relationships with their candidate clients begin to warn them that things are looking tough.

These discussions often are held in conjunction with decisions about closing advertising and other voter communication messages. In most of these instances, the question on the table is how negative on the opposition (and on which topics) the campaign should be in the final days in order to pull out a win.

The Senate battlefield is in some flux today.

Democrats are still counting on beating incumbents in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and (to some extent) Rhode Island.

The big battlegrounds remain Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia. Both parties claim to be leading in Tennessee and Virginia, and everyone agrees that Missouri is non-proverbially too close to call.

The flux comes from Montana (where Bob Novak, George Bush, and Dick Cheney perceive Republican incumbent Burns as narrowing the race), and Arizona, where Democrats are hoping a national wave might allow them to beat incumbent Kyl with a last-minute infusion of dough.

In the House, both sides have some good news. For Republicans, a handful of their embattled incumbents have climbed from too-far-down-to-win to back-in-contention, including some with biggish names (by House standards). For the Democrats, the playing field continues to expand in both Blue and Red areas, and is now above fifty and maybe above sixty.

More important analytically is the extraordinary number of seats where both parties agree the races are within the margin of error -- a phenomenal thirty or more. That is far more than anyone thought likely just a few months ago, and, obviously, not good news for the majority party, since all but three or four of those seats are Republican-held.

If you are a Rovian Optimist, you would count as few as six GOP seats lost for sure. If you were a Rahmian Cautionist, you would put the number at around twelve. A more objective look gets you closer to the second number but with a fairly small plus-or-minus.

Either way, it would be pretty amazing if more than half of the close races went to the party whose congressional wing, president, ethics, SecDef, and war all get very low marks from voters. And, make no mistake, the President's party is playing a lot of defense, including a POTUS stop in Nebraska this weekend, to save the seat in the third district, about which the DCCC helpfully points out:

— In 1992, Bill Clinton came in third place in the congressional district (achieving only 23% of the vote).

— In 1996, Clinton increased his standing but still lost the district to Bob Dole 59% to 29%.

— President George W. Bush received 71% then 75% in the district.

— Republicans have held this seat for 48 years.

Armed with these facts and others, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and First Lady Laura Bush are all out in force on the campaign trail today.

At 1:20 pm ET in Billings, MT, President Bush attends a Montana Victory 2006 rally to help boost embattled Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) in his tough reelection fight against Democrat Jon Tester.

President Bush then travels to a Nevada Victory 2006 rally in Elko, NV at 4:40 pm ET. Elko is home to the battle for Nevada's second congressional district, a seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) who is running for governor in the Silver State. The President then flies to Springfield, MO where he will remain overnight in advance of some campaigning for Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) tomorrow.

Vice President Dick Cheney is scheduled to attend the Idaho Victory Rally in Hayden, ID at 8:30 pm ET.

First Lady Laura Bush keeps up her rapid campaign season pace. Mrs. Bush delivers remarks at a Michigan Victory 2006 event at in Battle Creek, MI at 10:55 am ET. Then she speaks at an Illinois Victory 2006 rally at 12:10 pm ET in Schaumberg, IL. She continues to Waterloo, IA to address the crowd at an Iowa Victory 2006 rally at 3:40 pm ET. Mrs. Bush's final stop of the day is at a California Victory 2006 event in Rocklin, CA at 9:15 pm ET.

Sen. John Kerry has no public schedule at this writing, giving him plenty of time to read the Boston Globe's extensive coverage of his life.

Sen. Chuck Schumer holds a pen and pad briefing at the DSCC in Washington, DC at 1:45 pm ET to discuss what he believes is the expanding Senate battleground. You can likely expect some talk about Democratic polling showing Jim Pederson with a slim lead over Jon Kyl in a poll of early voters. Roughly 30 percent of the Arizona electorate has already voted. If Democrats win this seat, it would likely be net gain number seven, rather than replacing one of the others on which they are counting.

Former President Bill Clinton is making a well-timed stop in Arizona today where he rallies with Democratic senatorial candidate Jim Pederson in Tempe, AZ at 5:30 pm ET and Tucson, AZ at 8:30 pm ET.

Sen. George Allen (R-VA) attends an "Issues, Ideas, Records" event at the Wyndham Hotel in Roanoke, VA at 10:30 am ET then heads to a closed press meet and greet at the Phillip Morris Manufacturing Center in Richmond at 3:00 pm ET. Immediately following the meet and greet, Mr. Allen holds a media availability at 3:30 pm ET.

Senatorial candidate Jim Webb (D-VA) hosts a reception at 6:00 pm ET in Arlington, VA with Michael J. Fox and Gen. Wes Clark. Earlier in the day, Michael J. Fox holds a campaign event with Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD) at 2:30 pm ET in Chevy Chase, MD.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) campaigns with Jim Webb at the Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA at 12:30 pm ET. Sen. Obama also attends an event for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in Hoboken, NJ at 5:15 pm ET.

Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) hold a press conference call at noon ET to discuss military and security issues in Iraq.

NEW YORK TIMES/CBS NEWS:

Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee of the New York Times write up the latest NYT/CBS poll that shows Americans seem to believe a Democratic controlled Congress will cause the troops to come home more quickly from Iraq than if the Republicans maintained the majority. LINK

"Nearly 75 percent of respondents, including 67 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats, said they expected that Americans troops would be taken out of Iraq more swiftly under a Democratic-led Congress."

Nagourney and Thee boil the election down to one dominant issue: Iraq.

President Bush's wire interviews:

"With less than a week before the election, President Bush sought to rally Republican voters on Wednesday with a vigorous defense of the war in Iraq and a vow to keep Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in office until the end of Mr. Bush's term," writes John Broder of the New York Times. LINK

Was the POTUS statement a gaffe? A pitch to the base? A pitch to the center that likes Texas say-what-I-mean-and-mean-what-I-say straight talk? Or simply the truth, without regard to politics?

We will likely read the answer in Dan Bartlett's memoirs.

Steve Holland reports for Reuters that in an interview with wire service reporters, President Bush said that he expected Donald Rumsfeld to continue on as defense secretary after the mid-terms, despite (mostly Democratic) demands that he step down. Bush said of Rumsfeld, "He's handled all three at the same time (Afghanistan, Iraq, and the military at home). And I'm pleased with the progress we're making." LINK

The AP's Terrence Hunt reports that, in that same Wednesday interview, Bush continued to display confidence that Republicans will retain control of the House saying, "I don't believe it's over until everybody votes. . . And I believe that people are concerned about the amount of taxes they pay, and I know many people are concerned about whether or not this country is secure against attack." In the interview, Bush also said that he had not received any more troop requests and that generals in Iraq are ok with the 144,000 troops deployed in Iraq. LINK

GOP agenda:

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) tried to buck up his members yesterday reminding them of the good ole' days of 1994 and why he believes the GOP majority in the House is not in jeopardy on Tuesday.

"The American people put us in the majority in 1994 partly because they were tired of business as usual in Washington, and they wanted change. But they also saw that we stood for something. . . something they agreed with. In my mind, that's the key difference between the Republicans of 1994 and the Democrats of 2006: the Republicans of 1994 stood for something beyond simply change. The Democrats of 2006 don't," wrote Boehner.

Boehner goes on to list the GOP accomplishments since then. His second bullet point? "A balanced federal budget that led to the first budget surplus in a generation."

Howard Fineman of Newsweek looks for the positive in the White House and GOP strategy, "It's as if they don't think it's worth trying to make their case," writes Fineman. He also cites Bush and Rove's "Halloween strategy: scare the hell out of the GOP base to get them to the polls to forestall the Apocalypse." However, the strategy doesn't have as good a chance to work when "you own negatives are sky high." LINK

Democratic agenda:

Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun reports on President Clinton's outlook on the midterms, "For so long their strategy of turning us from three-dimensional human beings into two-dimensional cartoons worked for them, that they ran that old dog out of the chute one time too many." The analogy continued as he "could just see the Republicans licking their chops when Nancy got to be our leader. They love to make all those speeches about San Francisco Democrats. It's part of the shtick you know. It's part of their 'be very afraid' shtick." LINK

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was also in attendance and very blunt about her intentions, "what I'll be doing is taking the gavel from the speaker and from the hand of special interests." DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel declared, "when the enemy is in retreat, you go down and get them and make sure they know what came and hit them." He assured voters that the Dems offensive strategy has not slowed down, "they are not going to roll over and play dead so we can scratch their bellies."

2006: landscape:

In a story that wraps all of yesterday's Kerry developments, the Washington Post's Peter Baker reports that Don Imus "reflected Democratic anxieties by asking Kerry to stop talking publicly because it might 'ruin' the party's election chances." LINK

Baker also reports: the DSCC is launching $1 million in ads against Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ); the NRCC has launched a $200,000-plus ad to help Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC), the NRCC is "spending heavily in Idaho," and Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) is "also getting last-minute help from the NRCC."

As for the DCCC's national cable buy on Iraq, Baker reports that the ad buy is "small and is scheduled for CNN alone" while Noting that "more than half of Democratic candidates in close races for the House and Senate are planning ads criticizing Bush for his management of the war" in the final days before the elections.

Spending on media advertising in the nation's 210 media markets is up 90 percent this year and will reach a new record of about $3.1 billion, reports David Lieberman of USA Today. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. examines the Democratic effort to take on a "steely image while also pushing to get out of Iraq." LINK

Pelosi politics:

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times wonders about the effectiveness of Nancy Pelosi as boogey-woman. LINK

The politics of micro-targeting:

ABC News' Jake Tapper took an extensive look at the magic of micro-targeting with wisemen Matthew Dowd and Doug Sosnik explaining how political pros have taken what commercial advertisers have done for years and fine tune their sales pitches for their products -- politicians.

The Chicago Tribune: LINK

2006: Bush vs. Kerry part II: Kerry apologizes:

Under pressure, John Kerry issued a written statement yesterday saying, "I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended."

ABC News' Karen Travers reports the White House's response: "Senator Kerry's apology to the troops for his insulting comments came late but it was the right thing to do. Our military is the best and the brightest, the most courageous and professional of any in the world and President Bush is honored to be their commander-in-chief," said White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino.

Republicans continue to harp on Kerry's words, as Democrats try to find a way to put the issue to rest. "'If the issue is whether or not John Kerry can tell a joke and tell it well,' Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, who campaigned for Mr. Kerry in 2004, said in an interview with Radio Iowa, 'I could have told you the answer to that question was no a week ago,'" Notes Kate Zernike of the New York Times. LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper weighs in on the "Kerry Kerfuffle" on his "Political Punch" blog. LINK

Rick Klein news of day: LINK

Peter Canellos does the perfect Globe-on-Kerry straddle: 2 parts homer, 9 parts it's-about-competence-not-ideology savaging: LINK

Absolutely no love for Kerry from the Boston Herald ed board with the headline: "Just Sit Down and Shut Up." LINK

The Globe editorial is a little nicer to Kerry, but doesn't let him off the hook completely. LINK

Mishra and MacQuarrie of the Boston Glove run the gamut on local reax: LINK

USA Today: LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Johanna Neuman and Richard Simon pivot off of Kerry's remarks and George Allen's "macaca" moment and explorer the foot-in-mouth syndrome that political candidates often battle. LINK

"'People are running hard and very tired,' said Edward J. Rollins, a GOP consultant who ran President Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign. 'That's why the last two weeks of a campaign, I always locked my candidates in the bus and put them on a script.'"

O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa reports that Democrat Bruce Braley reacted to Kerry's comment by saying: "I believe that Senator Kerry's brief statement was inappropriate and I believe that the Bush White House and Senate Kerry need to stop their partisan bickering. The partisan back-and-forth is getting us nowhere. American citizens are tired of that." LINK

Many New Hampshire Democrats worry that Sen. Kerry's "botched" joke will hurt Democrats chanced in Tuesday's election, Notes the Union Leader's John DiStaso. LINK

If you need any further proof that Republicans play the Freak Show game better than the Democrats, ask yourself if you know about Democratic efforts to pull a "Kerry" on John Boehner yesterday. You don't, most likely, and there are myriad reasons for that.

2006: House:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum report that "indictments, investigations and allegations of wrongdoing have helped put at least 15 Republican House seats in jeopardy, enough to swing control to the Democrats on Tuesday even before the larger issues of war, economic unease and President Bush are invoked." LINK

On top of the more familiar scandals, the Washington Post duo highlight: an Albany Times Union story charging that the wife of Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) "called police late last year to report that her husband was 'knocking her around' during a late-night argument"; Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) being "confronted with media reports alleging that a 2003 trip to Qatar -- partly funded by a group loosely tied to Abramoff -- had not been properly disclosed"; Vern Buchanan being the "target of local media reports this week detailing his use of business entities in Caribbean tax havens to reduce levies on his auto dealerships"; and Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) having to "contend with charges lodged last month by a longtime former aide, Jim Shepard, that the lawmaker made dozens of illegal fundraising calls from his congressional offices."

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times follows the Washington Post's lead and heads to Manny's in Chicago to profile Rahm Emanuel's efforts at leading the House campaign committee for Democrats. Sweet scores a nice Axelrod cameo!! LINK

2006: House: FL-22:

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that there have been few early voting problems in Palm Beach, FL, where issues arose in the 2000 presidential election. There have been only a handful of voters who have complained they have had the wrong ballots show up on their touch screen machines or their vote appearing to go to the wrong candidate. LINK

2006: House: Kentucky:

Kate Zernike of the New York Times heads to the Bluegrass State to look at the competitive House races there and wonders if Rep. Ron Lewis (R-KY) may again play the role of harbinger as he did in 1994. LINK

2006: House: NV-03:

Jon Porter (R-NV) and Tessa Hafen (D-NV) held their final debate last night, focusing mostly on the war in Iraq. LINK

2006: House: IA-01:

Tom Witosky of the Des Moines Register profiles James Hill, the "pirate" candidate for the 1st congressional district. Running as a recovering alcoholic and pledging to refuse all campaign donations, Hill believes "an oath is an oath, and pirates keep their oaths. That's a lot different from politicians who get elected as Republicans and Democrats and their only real goal is to make sure they get elected again." LINK

2006: House: NH-02:

The Union Leader's Tom Fahey Notes that Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) hit one of the two GOP message pillars when he charged his Democratic challenger Paul Hodes with wanting to repeal some Bush Administration tax cuts which, he claims, would hurt small business owners. LINK

2006: Senate: Tennessee:

Per Bonna De La Cruz of the Nashville Tennessean, "Republican candidate Bob Corker poured $1.35 million of his own money into his U.S. Senate campaign this week." She adds that he has spent $2 million of his own money on the general election, in addition to the $2 million that he spent in the primary election. LINK

Note question: how many Ford donors have personally maxed out already this cycle? Bill Theobald writes about the overwhelming outside interest in deciding the Tennessee Senate race between Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) and Corker. He Notes in the Nashville Tennessean that they comprise "a confusing stew of national party committees, union and business political action committees, interest group political action committees and independent groups." The DSCC has spent the most out of the party committees, about $4.8 million. LINK

The AP's Erik Schelzig reports that Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Ford yesterday at a black church in Ford's hometown, saying: "You know what it will mean if Harold gets elected on Tuesday. It won't mean what all those columnists and commentators say. It won't mean that it's a victory of race; it will be a victory of going beyond race." Ford also campaigned with Gen. Wes Clark. LINK

2006: Senate: Missouri:

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Brendan Miniter reports that Claire McCaskill's is running not against Sen. Talent but against President Bush.

"Along the way she's even displayed a little wit: 'Talent votes with President Bush more often than I agree with my husband,' she quipped at a recent campaign rally in this small town, four hours west of St. Louis."

2006: Senate: Virginia:

In a piece that Notes that Webb plans to campaign today with Sen. Obama, Michael J. Fox, and Gen. Clark, the Washington Post's Tim Craig and Michael Shear have Webb saying: "We're going to win. These past two days, I think, this is going to happen." LINK

"Help Allen Defeat Kerry's Webb of Deceit," reads the subject line of an email from Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams in a last push electronic fundraising appeal.

2006: Senate: Montana:

Sam Howe Verhovek's Los Angeles Times story examines the inroads that Democrats have made in Montana that may give a slight edge to Democrat Jon Tester in his race to defeat Sen. Conrad Burns. And it's nicely timed to a presidential visit. LINK

The Billings Gazette takes a closer look at the positions held by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Democratic challenger Tester on taxes. LINK

Vice President Cheney was in Montana yesterday stumping for Sen. Burns. Cheney said that "The stakes are high for America's prosperity. The stakes are high for America's security, and the stakes are high for America's families." He also took the opportunity to poke at Sen. Kerry for the comment he made about the U.S. military, reports the Billings Gazette. LINK

2006: Senate: Rhode Island:

The Providence Journal reports that Sen. Chafee has put $298,000 of his own money into his campaign. Both candidates are also looking to tout endorsements they are picking up the last few days. LINK

The Associated Press reports that a staffer for Sen. Chafee sent negative e-mails criticizing Democratic challenger, Sheldon Whitehouse, from her Senate computer, a violation of Senate rules. Lammis Vargas, a staff assistant in Chafee's district office in Providence, acknowledged to the Associated Press she sent the e-mails from a personal account but used her government owned computer to do so. LINK

2006: Senate: Florida:

The Miami Herald's Lesley Clark Notes that Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) held her own last night against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the Florida Senate debate. LINK

2006: Governor: Nevada:

In what may now be the most interesting gubernatorial race in the country, Molly Ball, Steve Tetreault, and Ed Vogel write a story on Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) and his role in helping a "Reno software company that ended up getting millions in classified federal contracts and whose owner is and was a major donor to Gibbons' campaigns." Gibbons also accepted a glitzy cruise from the company's owner, Warren Trepp. The Las Vegas Review Journal has the story. LINK

2006: Governor: Iowa:

Todd Dorman of the Quad City Times reports that gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle (R-IA) wants term limits but he "isn't willing to say up front how long he would like to serve if elected." LINK

Dorman also details Nussle's efforts to use President Bush's upcoming visit on Friday to rally GOP enthusiasm. Last week, Nussle was criticized by Democrats for skipping Bush's visit, "I told you guys he'd be back," said Nussle. LINK

2006: Governor: Illinois:

Kurt Erickson of the Quad City Times remembers when Gov. Rod Blagojevich's (D-IL) was running for his job four years ago and railing against the corruption-laden Ryan administration. Blagojevich campaigned on a "clean government" platform, but now "finds himself the subject of many of those same types of stories, with his administration under federal investigation." LINK

2006: Governor: New Hampshire:

"If the election were today, Gov. John Lynch's (D-NH) victory over Republican challenger Jim Coburn would be a record-setting rout, according to a WMUR-TV poll released Wednesday night," writes the Nashua Telegraph's Kevin Landrigan. LINK

2006: Governor: Florida:

The Washington Post's Michael Grunwald gushes over Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist as an "exuberant retail politician who puts the 'glad' into glad-handing, a Reagan-style optimist with a made-for-TV tan, a made-for-TV shock of white hair and a made-for-radio baritone. He is a genial moderate who is nevertheless known as 'Chain Gang Charlie' for his hard line on crime. He is a close ally of the governor, who is far more popular in Florida than President Bush, but he has shown an independent streak by supporting stem cell research and same-sex civil unions and by refusing to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case." LINK

2008: Democrats:

"At a time when other candidates are spending the closing days of this campaign season airing attack ads and calling each other names, it was refreshing to hear an American political leader talking about bipartisan, nonideological solutions to one of the biggest problems facing the country," writes David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register of Sen. Joe Biden's plan for Iraq. LINK

Yepsen also has this in his column about John Kerry: "His presidential hopes are probably over, too. In recent times, Democrats have never given a failed presidential nominee a second chance. Many activists were already ticked at Kerry for mistakes he made in the 2004 campaigns. Now this."

". . . with one 'poorly stated joke' this week in Pasadena, Kerry not only sapped momentum from his party in the final week of a competitive election, he dealt a blow to his own White House aspirations," writes Peter Wallsten in the Los Angeles Times. LINK

Sen. Clinton is getting a little help from her celebrity friends with actor Robert DeNiro and crooner Tony Bennett making recorded calls to New Yorkers in support of her reelection bid. David Saltonstall of the New York Daily News has the story. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Yet another must-read from the Boston Globe on Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) efforts to ease concerns about his Mormon faith, including a private meeting with dozens of Christian evangelical leaders at his home. There's a pro-Romney political organization operating in the South to demystify Romney's religion and a mention of Hugh Hewitt's forthcoming book on Romney, his faith, and the White House reports, Scott Helman. LINK

Note the meetings with and mentions of Gary Bauer and Richard Land, and the last paragraph, which provides more proof, as if any was needed, that venture capitalist Romney is gobbling up a lot of talent that, for whatever reason, doesn't want to board the Straight Talk Express: "(Romney's) PAC has also been in talks with Warren Tompkins, a top-shelf South Carolina campaign consultant who helped Bush win in 2000."

We don't even need to call John Weaver to know what his reaction to that would be.

Jamie Reno of Newsweek interviews Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) about his run for the White House. As the "most conservative GOP to date" in the field, he clarifies that "while I've announced that I am preparing to run for president, I have not made a formal announcement of my candidacy. This gives me a chance to make another speech." LINK

The Victory NH event Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to headline tomorrow in Manchester, NH is officially sold out, reports one Granite State source.

Casting and counting:

In the introduction to two electronic-voting experts facing off, the Wall Street Journal reports that "more votes than ever will be cast on electronic machines in next week's election, but experts are still deeply divided on the reliability of the devices -- particularly on whether there should be paper records."

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post takes us through the networks' election plans, with lots of detail on how the exit polls will work. LINK

Bill Lambrecht writes in the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the flood of absentee ballots and the use of the new voting machines may delay counting past Nov. 7. The article includes the 10 states to watch for voting problems come Election Day. LINK

Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register acknowledges that the "stakes are undeniably high" this Tuesday when Iowa uses its new electronic voting system. LINK

Julie Carr Smyth of the Associated Press and Kimball Perry of the Cincinnati Enquirer report that Ohio courts clarified new voter ID laws and suspended all ID requirements for absentee voters. LINK

The Washington Post's Christian Davenport reports that although more poll workers have been recruited, the training is proving to be "daunting." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's McCormick Notes that Chicago and Cook County election officials have tested and made changes to new software and hardware for the voting equipment, but that the system remains messy. LINK

Political potpourri:

In a front-page story by Brody Mullins, the Wall Street Journal reports that leadership PACs, "which exist to funnel money to candidates in need of campaign cash, are increasingly being used for other things -- from lawmakers' meals to gifts for political supporters."

According to PoliticalMoneyLine, Sen. Reid's bills at "Caesars Palace, Mandalay Bay and other Las Vegas establishments have totaled more than $125,000" over the past four years.

Other Thursday schedule items:

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) delivers the keynote address at NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson's second clergy conference that is co-sponsored by the Faith Center for Community Development at the United Federation of Teachers at 9:15 am ET in New York, NY. The senator also speaks at Congressman Gregory Meek's (D-NY) community appreciation dinner at Anturi's at 8:00 pm ET in Jamaica, NY.

Sen. Clinton is also expected to join Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) for a fundraiser for House candidate Tim Mahoney (D-FL) in New York City at 10:30 am ET.

Former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) attend the "Campaign for Change Kick-Off Tour" with Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) at 12:45 pm ET at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Tonight, Klobuchar and her opponent Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-MN) participate in a radio debate in Rochester, MN at 8:00 pm ET.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is at it again today rallying grassroots voters across Missouri in High Ridge (10:00 am ET), St. Charles (11:15 am ET), St. Louis (12:30 pm ET), Camdenton (4:45 pm ET), Columbia (6:00 pm ET), and St. Joseph (8:30 pm ET). LINK

DNC Chairman Howard Dean fundraises for congressional candidate Jason Altmire (D-PA) at Café Euro in Pittsburgh, PA at 12:00 pm ET. Altmire is running against Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) in Pennsylvania's fourth congressional district.

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) attends a rally for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Martin O'Malley (D-MD), Maryland Senate candidate Ben Cardin (D-MD) , Rep. Al Wynn (D-MD), and congressional candidate John Sarbanes at Morgan State University at 5:15 pm ET in Baltimore, MD.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) campaigns for congressional candidate Joe Donnelly (D-IN) at 4:15 pm ET in Kokomo, IN. Bayh also attends the St. Joseph County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at 8:00 pm ET in Mishawaka, IN.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) heads next door and rallies with congressional candidate Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) at 3:00 pm ET. Giffords is running against Randy Graf (R-AZ) in Arizona's 8th district.

Intern for the ABC News Political Unit:

The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking full-time interns for the spring semester. There are a few requirements you should know about before applying for the internship.

— You must be either a graduate student or junior or senior in college.

— You must be able to work long days, starting early, Monday through Friday

— If your school gives credit for internships, you must receive credit.

— The internship begins Jan. 8 and runs into May.

Not only will you get to write for The Note, but ABC News Political Unit interns also are afforded the opportunity to help manage ABC's Political Radar, cover political events around town, and conduct research used by ABC News broadcasts.

If you write well, don't mind getting up early, and have some familiarity with web publishing, send a cover letter and resume to politicalunit@abcnews.com, with the subject line: "INTERN" in all caps.

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