The Note

ByABC News
May 25, 2004, 9:10 AM

W A S H I N G T O N, May 24, 2004&#151;<br> -- NOTED NOW




While ordinary Americans are putting the finishing touches on their summer vacations and looking under the sofa cushions for extra pennies for gas money, the Gang of 500 the crème de la crème of the Chattering Class is busy asking each other questions.

Many of these questions or, rather, their answers can only be known after tonight's presidential address on Iraq.

Bush's appropriate theatre is the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. The speech begins at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Still, there is a whole day to kill before POTUS Speaks, so if you don't already know, here's what's being batted around:

1. Will President Bush rise to the occasion with tonight's Big Moment speech (a la the 2000 convention speech and the post-9/11 address to Congress) or fall below "where he needs to be," as in this year's State of the Union and his last press conference?

2. How much of the speech will be taken up by (or overshadowed by) news of violence out of Iraq today?

3. Any live broadcast network coverage?

4. How perfectly timed is the new ABC News/Washington Post poll and just how hard will it impact in the next several news cycles?

5. How much will the Establishment press wring its collective hands over the question of whether John Kerry is being "overshadowed" by Iraq and is having "trouble getting his message out," this week as if he has one (yet)?

6. When will the Kerry campaign learn that how they handle breaking news stories whose timing they don't control could make the difference between winning and losing? And does the candidate even understand the concept?

7. Did Howard Dean really come up with the delay-the-formal-nomination strategy, as Time reports?

8. Did those Kerry bio spots work or not? (Kerry folks say "yes," Bush folks say "no.")

9. Is the U.N. resolution on Iraq on a fast track or a slow burn?

10. Would you please repeat after us: "Don't alienate the mayor of the city hosting your convention." (Say it, then repeat, oh, 500 times .)

11. Are both campaigns really changing their ad traffic this week or next? (Bush to bash Kerry on Patriot Act, Kerry to go from bio to issues )

12. Which interests you more David Sanger's Nostradamusing on North Korea or Adriana's death? LINK

13. Isn't Elisabeth Bumiller due for a White House Letter in the New York Times that quotes Parsky, Freeman, and Betts explaining how in touch with real people the president is, rather than another one quoting Hagel, Chafee, and Lugar saying how much 43 is in the bubble?

14. Will the President find out that Speaker Hastert told the New York Times that, in dealing with Mr. Bush, "You have to get through a little Texas cocky ."?

15.Will the President find out that Time magazine reports that during last week's pep talk on the Hill, members "checked e-mail on their BlackBerrys or read newspapers on their laps while Bush rambled"?

16. If we gave the Wall Street Journal editorial board a big sign that says "President Bush signed McCain-Feingold-Shays-Meehan into law," would they post it in their conference room and remember to cite it whenever they write about the measure?

17. Does Newsweek believe in "innocent until proven guilty"?

18. How big and loud will the Zinni echo chamber be?

19. How significant is it that Ralph Nader supported two pro-Iraq war Democrats for Kerry's veep on "This Week"?

20. Will anyone truly mind that The Note will be taking a final 2004 pre-election fishing trip and publish our last issue of the week on Wednesday, and take Memorial Day off? Look for some Mini-Notes during that time!!!

President Bush today welcomes the WNBA Champion Detroit Shock to the White House and speaks about Iraq and the war on terror this evening in Pennsylvania.

Sen. Kerry is in Washington and spends time at campaign headquarters, with no scheduled public events.

Vice President Cheney speaks at a reception for the 2004 State Victory Committee in Little Rock, Ark.

Ralph Nader is in New York City today to speak against the construction of new sports stadiums and to attend a campaign fundraiser in the evening.

The Senate is in recess until June 1.

On Tuesday, President Bush meets with Iraqis receiving medical care in the United States at the White House. In the afternoon he travels to Youngstown, Ohio, where he will participate in a conversation about health care.

Per ABC News' Ed O'Keefe, the Kerry campaign will unveil the Senator's official campaign plane on Tuesday at Reagan National Airport. The white, Boeing 757 painted with "John Kerry" on the front section and a "Real Deal" logo on the engine features power in every row a front cabin for Kerry, a staff section, the press section in back and a stand-up bar. Kerry travels on the plane to Portland, Ore., to campaign and ends the day in Seattle, Wash.

Also on Tuesday, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) speaks at the Portland Rotary Club in Portland, Ore., and the state of Idaho holds their presidential and state primaries.

On Wednesday, President Bush meets with the president of Gabon in Washington. Senator Kerry campaigns in Seattle.

The National Archives will also on Wednesday, release some material from the White House files on John Kerry and 20,000 pages of transcripts of Henry Kissinger's telephone conversations from 1969 to 1974.

In Cincinnati, Republican Governors' Association Chairman Gov. Bob Taft hosts a Governors Forum.

On Thursday, President Bush meets with the president of El Salvador in Washington. In the afternoon he heads to Nashville, Tenn., where he takes part in a conversation on health care and attends a RNC Victory 2004 fundraising reception.

Sen. Kerry will be in Seattle again campaigning, before ending his day in Green Bay, Wis. A major foreign policy speech is planned. The Kerry campaign also celebrates "National John Kerry Meetup Day."

In addition, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak at the Arizona Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner Thursday evening.

On Friday, the President makes remarks with the Prime Minister of Denmark in the Rose Garden. Sen. Kerry campaigns in Green Bay and ends his day in Washington.

Bush-Cheney Chairman Gov. Marc Racicot will speak at the Washington state Republican convention on Friday night.

On Saturday President Bush attends the National World War II Memorial dedication and makes remarks. Sen. Kerry will also attend the WWII Memorial dedication. Will they pull a 'Brown' and miss each other? Or will they be at the same place at the same time?

Saturday also marks the ninth wedding anniversary for the Senator and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

On Sunday, President Bush welcomes Rolling Thunder Leadership to the South Lawn of the White House.

On Monday, Memorial Day, President Bush participates and makes remarks at the wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The politics of Iraq: the President's speeches:

The Washington Post's Robin Wright previewed the major White House PR blitz on Iraq Sunday commencing with President Bush's big speech. LINK

"In the first of at least six presidential speeches on Iraq before June 30, Bush will particularly try to counter growing criticism that Washington has lowered the goal posts for its year-long occupation, U.S. officials said."

"'He will talk about the importance of not lowering our sights and sticking to our goals of a free, peaceful, democratic Iraq, of adhering to our commitment to the June 30 transfer of sovereignty, and of an election in a January time frame,' said a White House official who insisted on anonymity."

Steven Weisman of the New York Times reports a UN draft resolution detailing the organization's role in a post-occupation Iraq could begin making the rounds as early as today. LINK

And here's the curtain-raising graph on this evening's speech: "An administration official said Mr. Bush would outline a plan of action to dispel 'this idea that we don't know what we're doing' on Iraq. Mr. Bush will explain to Americans and people around the world that the United States has a plan to overcome the security problems and the political impasse in Iraq, this official said."

William Safire used all of his best lines from his column today on Meet yesterday, but here's the link in case you missed it. LINK

Kerry nomination delay?:

Note that Stephanie Cutter is quoted in Time this weekend as saying that a decision re: the acceptance of the nomination at the convention is at least weeks away so we wonder how the campaign will handle the chatter in the meantime.

Per ABC News' Ed O'Keefe, Sen. Kerry boarded his charter flight and immediately apologized to the press corps for being 45 minutes late.

The press corps returned the favor with several questions on the Boston convention.

"Boston will be open for business," Kerry said. "People will make a lot of money we're going to have a great convention. All this talk about reduced this and that. No decision has been made but we're going to have a full fledged convention. And people are going to have a fantastic time."