The Note: The Politics of Gustav

And two (or more) can play this game: "Political strategist Karl Rove, freed of his White House role, is encouraging major Republican donors to give their money to organizations that operate independently of the Republican Party and are poised to spend upwards of $100 million trying to elect conservatives this fall," the Washington Times' (new hire) Jeffrey Birnbaum reports.

"Mr. Rove, the architect of President Bush's election victories, has been telling Republican benefactors across the country that giving to official Republican Party fundraising committees will not be enough this year, according to people familiar with his pitch over the past few months," Birnbaum writes.

As for what IS happening Monday:

Cindy McCain and some family members plan to visit with the Louisiana convention delegation at 9 am CT Monday in Minneapolis.

Laura Bush is in St. Paul -- with time to squeeze in an appearance, surely. "I know everybody was hoping they could have the big celebration that they wanted to have around the nomination of Senator McCain and Governor Palin from Alaska," the first lady said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "But, on the other hand, everybody understands."

Obama and Biden campaign solo on Monday, and his schedule says Labor Day.

Obama will host a morning "Rally for America's Workers" in Detroit, featuring the Teamsters' James Hoffa and the AFL-CIO's John Sweeney.

Then comes a barbeque with more labor folks in Monroe, Mich., and appears with Wisconsin bigwigs at the annual Laborfest rally in Milwaukee.

Also in the news:

From the annals of catharsis: A must-read op-ed from former Clinton campaign communications direction Howard Wolfson: "Once we ran out of states and the campaign ended, we were like Rip Van Winkle. We awoke to a world transformed by political currents we had stood against," Wolfson writes in The Washington Post.

"Then came Thursday night at Invesco Field. During the campaign, we scoffed at events like this, mostly because we were not capable of producing them. A cross section of voters waited for hours to enter the stadium and take their seats. As one friend put it, it looked more like an American convention than the convention of any particular political party," Wolfson continues.

"For 18 months, I listened to Obama on television, sometimes intently, often just barely -- background noise to a running series of conference calls and meetings and e-mails," he writes. "In person, my attention undivided, I saw something of what so many others had seen for so long."

As for the new ticket -- is it possible they actually, honest-to-goodness like each other? (Don't fret -- people said the same thing about Kerry-Edwards.)

"As the two barnstormed through the Rust Belt on their first campaign swing together over the holiday weekend, it was clear that they also possessed a more elusive political quality: chemistry," Shailagh Murray writes in The Washington Post. "So far, Biden's role has been part father figure and part foil. He picks loose threads off Obama's jacket and warms up crowds with wisecracks and aphorisms. On Saturday morning, he and his wife, Jill, had French toast for breakfast with the Obamas. His grandkids hit it off with Obama's daughters and have already had one sleepover. At every event, he and Obama embrace and backslap each other, like a pair of long-lost brothers."

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