The Note: The Note for America

And here's a bit more from Marinucci's story: "Garry South, a leading Democratic strategist, said of Dean, 'The only thing we can hope is that he understands the difference from being a shadow president to being the head of the party when we're out of office.'"

"His job is to 'get the Democratic Party ready for the next election,' South said. But 'if he views himself as the public face of the Democratic Party, then we have a problem.'"

Just asking: why would Howard Dean appear on "Today" and therefore nationalize what had been an inside-the-Beltway curiosity?

On "Today" this morning Matt Lauer wasn't having any of Dean's attempts to move the conversation back toward Democratic talking points.

Dean began his first answer to Lauer by reading John Danforth's recent musings about the power the conservative Christian movement has within the Republican Party.

"I think it is pretty hard to deny that that is what the party predominantly looks like," said Dean as he refused to back away from his remarks.

When Lauer asked if Dean's chairmanship is in jeopardy, Dean reasserted how closely he works with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and protested that the Republicans were trying to divert the national political conversation to Howard Dean instead of focusing on issues important to Americans.

We wonder if Reps. Sensenbrenner or Tancredo will have any response to Dean's citing their immigration views.

Roll Call's Erin Billings and Paul Kane report that Chairman/Dr./Gov. Howard Dean heads to the Hill Thursday to be the featured guest at the weekly Senate meeting of the Democratic Policy Committee on the Hill, "where he'll have a chance to rebut some of his critics in the face of a controversy regarding comments he made about the work habits of GOP leaders." If we excerpted everything you should read, we'd reprint the whole thing here, so just be sure to take it all in.

The Hill writes up Steny Hoyer on Howard Dean: LINK

"'I don't agree with those comments, and I share the view expressed by Mr. Edwards,' Hoyer said in response to a question from The Hill at his weekly press briefing. 'I don't think they express the views of our party . . . and I think probably, upon reflection, they don't express . . . Mr. Dean's views. I think they were overstated.'"

Former President Jimmy Carter also appeared on "Today" to discuss child eye care. At the end of the interview, Matt Lauer snuck in a question about Dean's most recent comments. Carter backed Dean up a bit, saying that he understood the DNC Chairman's comments to be directed at Republican leaders, and not Americans who may vote Republican.

Linda Feldmann of the Christian Science Monitor takes a macro look at Chairman/Dr./Gov. Dean's approach. LINK

At the DNC . . .

An addition to Team Dean, busily planning for a 50-state field and recruitment capacity: Pam Womack, a respected fixture of the Democratic Governors Association, has been officially appointed the DNC's political director.

We say "officially" because she's been overseeing the field and grassroots effort since Dean's transition to chair.

Dean wants to put DNC staff field operatives ("organizers") in all 50 states by the end of the year.

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