The Note: Budgeting Time

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has assured party leaders that if he's elected to head the Democratic National Committee next week, he will focus aggressively on raising money and winning elections, party officials, and Dean advisers have told ABC News.

Dean has also said he'd allow members of Congress and Democratic governors to set the party's policy agenda, the sources said.

Dean has started planning a transition that would make his mark on party operations, but he is also trying to calm a chorus of Democrats who believe his polarizing image will hurt the party. Dean has assured Democratic strategists and supporters he will choose deputies they will find credible.

If elected, Dean plans to embark on a national tour to rally supporters and meet with his detractors in an attempt to get them on board for his four-year chairmanship.

His first orders of business will be to unify the party and communicate to Democrats that he views his tenure as a partnership with them, Democrats said.

The Republican National Committee has an extensive file of Dean's colorful quotations and a Republican official said GOP officials will work to brand Democrats nationwide as temperamental and cultural allies of Dean's.

Read more exclusve details on here. LINK

The New York Times' Todd Purdum on Dean's re-re-invention. LINK

New York magazine makes the case that Howard Dean will be (could be?) a successful chair, despite all the concern. LINK

Bob Novak's Sunday column speculates about the "Dean file"-- see our article above -- (and also says the GOP will go nuclear, re: a filibuster of Judge Janice Rogers Brown; says that the House may not wait for the Senate on Social Security, and knocks Mitch Daniels). LINK


The New York Times' James Rutenberg Notes that Mayor Bloomberg's decision to affirm his support for gay marriage while appealing a ruling that promoted it straddles the partisan divide, makes his supporters and enemies crazy, but gives him more time to maneuver. LINK

New York Post headline: MAYOR IS 'BI' ON GAY NUPS: CRITICS


Reports Fred Dicker in the New York Post: "Add the names of Port Authority Commissioner Bruce Blakeman and former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer to the small group of "B" team Republicans interested in challenging U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton next year. Blakeman, the former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, was the GOP's losing candidate in 1998 against then-incumbent Comptroller Carl McCall. Spencer was courted by Pataki to take on U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in last November's election, but said 'no' after realizing he didn't have a chance." LINK


Ron Fournier on 2008, including Bayh's almost-open striving, Richardson's declaration, a Vilsack meeting later in the month, and Allen's staffing up. LINK

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) argued Sunday in a Washington Post op-ed that the goal of training Iraqis to take control of their own security should be the standards of training, not just the number of people who've gone through it. LINK

New York magazine has an item about a purported $10 million Arthur Finklestein campaign to "swift boat" Sen. Clinton. We would ask Mr. Finkelstein to e-mail us about that, but we think the chances we would get an answer are de minimus.

The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont on Saturday wrote up the new Iowa Poll that shows 55 percent of Iowans say it's a bad idea for Gov. Tom Vilsack to run for President. LINK

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