LAST NOTE!

34 Days Until Inauguration Day

Welcome to the final Note of 2004.

We want to thank all our loyal readers (including Wolf Blitzer © ), our semi-loyal critics (including Rush Limbaugh © -- sorry we didn't get a chance to meet you at the White House last night!!), and our VERY loyal sources (including . . . well, you know who you are).

We will be back in 2005 -- and we are certain that the year after the widely-described "most important election in a generation" is bound to be pretty important too.

We will have some Note changes next year that we think many of you will just positively love more than a barrel full of (Googling) monkeys.

With the chaos, rivalry, indecision, and lack of clarity of the race for DNC chair serving as a perfect metaphor for a party with little power and almost no sense of what it believes in or how to achieve it, the Democrats surely have a lot of reflecting and thinking to do over the next few weeks.

But most of them (even the "leaders"!!) will probably coast and assume someone else will handle it.

Meanwhile, at Casa Blanca and back at the ranch, they are taking the people's business -- and the President's agenda -- very seriously.

So, with no rest for the weary or Dan Bartlett, here are the Eight Simple Rules for Being President the rest of the month:

1. Come to terms with the fact that the President "has not fully explained how he would sharply reduce the deficit while also absorbing the costs of his Social Security program, pursuing new tax cuts and paying for the war in Iraq." (Courtesy jolly Dick Stevenson of the New York Times -- who is no supply sider.)

2. Come to the realization that -- with the election over -- Republicans are going to be increasingly critical of the war in Iraq and Secretary Rumsfeld, and figure out what to do about that.

3. Solve the DC baseball crisis.

4. Get the House to stop talking on background about queuing up tax reform before Social Security reform.

5. Find an intelligence czar and a secretary of Homeland Security, after reading this sentence from the New York Times' latest Kerik story: "White House officials have said they relied in part on the assumption that Mr. Kerik had already run a gantlet of city background checks before becoming police commissioner," and remembering the classic "Odd Couple" line. LINK

6. Do the regression analysis to determine how many more vigorous bike rides it will take to be able to go back to desserts from vegetables.

7. Figure out what to think of Secretary Snow's progressivity remarks in a Los Angeles Times interview touching on tax reform.

8. Convince Andy Card and Karen Hughes to allow the dream of going to Mars back in the State of the Union speech again.

At 9:55 am ET, President Bush signs S. 2845, better known as the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan gaggles in the press briefing room at 9:30 am ET, and holds his briefing at 12:330 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney has no public events scheduled.

Nor does First Lady Laura Bush.

Outgoing NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe holds a 10:00 am ET news conference in Washington, DC.

Hot on the heels of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell and Q&A session at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies takes a closer look at the UN with a forum on reforms in 2005 at 10:30 am ET.

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