"A Rare Public Appearance"

35 Days Until Inauguration Day

Day two of both the President's economic conference and the Harvard University's 2004 presidential campaign managers symposium.

Highlights of the economic conference:

-- 9:30 am ET: Session on financial challenges for today and tomorrow, with Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons, Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab and Co., Dean William Roper of the UNC School of Public Health, former Rep. Tim Penny, others.

-- 11:00 am ET: Session on preparing for 21st century jobs, with Kati Haycock of Education Trust, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, others. Moderated by Labor Secretary Chao.

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-- 1:30 pm ET: Closing remarks, President Bush.

It's the second day of talk, talk, talking about the campaigns' strategies and tactics in "Campaign for President: The Managers Look at 2004" at Harvard University's Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government -- starring Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign manager Ken Mehlman, Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill, and many other key players.

This morning features sessions on the Democratic nomination fight and convention and Republican early strategy and convention, then a discussion of the general election in the afternoon.

The Boston Globe's Ann Kornblut reports Cahill conceded a campaign mea culpa on the way it handled attacks on Kerry's war record in a "rare public appearance" at Harvard Wednesday night. "In hindsight, maybe we should have put him out earlier," she said, while Ken Mehlman admitted they should have put down allegations about a reinstatement of the draft. LINK

As of tomorrow, there are only nine shopping days left until Christmas -- a fact not lost on chocolate-amped, tinsel-stringing Googling monkeys. So while they -- and we -- will be intently following the transition, the Democratic Party's search for leadership, the Washington governor race, and Inauguration preparations, we're going to take a little time away for the holidays. Friday, Dec. 17 will be the last Note of 2004. The Note will return revved and modeling holiday gifts on Monday, Jan. 3.

In other news . . .

At 8:30 am ET, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds a conference on the 2005 economic outlook, with a panel including Kathleen Cooper of the Commerce Department, American Express Co. Chief Economist Daniel Laufenberg, American Petroleum Institute Chief Economist John Felmy, National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Seiders, and others.

At 9:10 am ET, Secretary of State Colin Powell holds a closed-door bilateral meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

At 10:00 am ET, the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University hold a joint news conference and discussion on "The 527 Phenomenon: Its Impact on the 2004 Election" at the National Press Club. Participants are Charles Lewis, executive director, and Aron Pilhofer, database editor, of the Center for Public Integrity; and David Magleby of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.

At 11:00 am ET, the National Governors Association holds a press conference to release the biannual Fiscal Survey of the States.

Economic figures out this morning:

--The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims figures -- the number of Americans making initial jobless claims fell by 43,000 to 317,000 last week -- the steepest decline in three years, Reuters reports;

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