The Note

ByABC News
February 12, 2004, 5:23 PM

W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 23&#151;<br> -- TODAY SCHEDULE AS OF 9:00 am (all times ET):

7:30 am: Sen. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah share a "Cup of Joe" at Logo Loc, Manchester, N.H. 8:00 am: Gov. Howard Dean attends a town hall meeting about jobs at the Londonderry Lions Club Hall, Londonderry, N.H. 8:30 am: Sen. Lieberman and his wife stop at Bagel Works, Concord, N.H. 8:45 am: Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference, Arlington, Va. 9:00 am: Sen. John Kerry greets voters at Mary Anne's Diner, Derry, N.H. 9:00 am: Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives a presentation at Heritage Heights, Concord, N.H. 9:30 am: Gen. Wesley Clark attends a "Conversations with Clark" event at Rivier College, Nashua, N.H. 9:30 am: Sen. Lieberman hosts a town hall meeting at Jefferson Pilot Securities, Concord, N.H. 9:45 am: Off-camera press gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan 10:30 am: President Bush speaks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors at the Hilton, Washington, D.C. 10:30 am: Sen. Kerry tours and speaks to workers at PolyVac, Manchester, N.H. 10:30 am: Sen. John Edwards visits Page Belting, Concord, N.H. 11:30 am: Gov. Dean attends a town hall meeting at Martha's Exchange, Nashua, N.H. 12:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a town hall with veterans at the Jewish Federation of Greater Manchester, Manchester, N.H. 12:00 pm: Sen. Lieberman and his wife Hadassah greets local residents at Cafe Brioche, Portsmouth, N.H. 12:15 pm: On-camera briefing by Press Secretary McClellan 1:00 pm: Politics Live on and AOL 2:30 pm: President Bush participates in a photo opportunity with the 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins, The White House 2:30 pm: Republican National Chairman Chairman Ed Gillespie addresses the CPAC conference, Arlington, Va. 2:30 pm: Sen. Lieberman participates in the National Health Policy Forum, Manchester, N.H. 2:30 pm: Sen. Edwards addresses the Voter Education Project at Margarette H. Miller Cosmetology Center, Columbia, S.C. 3:00 pm: Gen. Clark attends a national health policy forum at the Palace Theater, Manchester, N.H. 3:00 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a forum about health care at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, N.H. 4:15 pm: Sen. Kerry skates at the Newport Town Green, Newport, N.H. 4:30 pm: Rep. Kucinich attends a "Primary Palooza" concert at Keene State College, Keene, N.H. 6:15 pm: Gen. Clark attends a House Party, Windham, N.H. 6:30 pm Gov. Dean attends a town hall meeting at Keene Middle School, Keene, N.H. 6:30 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a chili feed with Gov. Jeanne Shaheen at Disnard Elementary School, Claremont, N.H. 7:30 pm: Gen. Clark attends a rally at Pinkerton Academy, Derry, N.H.


The Note -- normally a relentless scold when it comes to the political press' poll-driven-we-can't-wait-for-the-voting-before-passing-judgment mentality -- is filled to bursting with pride for our profession today.

Given the Gang of 500's IV drip (read: "flood") of daily tracking polls, we hereby salute our colleagues for (so far) resisting doing the following stories:

-- the stylistic melding of Teresa Heinz and Elizabeth Edwards: Can Chris Black save this marriage?

-- the potential conflicts of interest posed by Dewey Square clients and Pentagon contracts

-- Jill Alper: the new It Girl?

-- how stormy will Richard Holbrooke's confirmation hearings be?

-- Marylouise, when was the last time you saw your hubby?

-- can a huge turnout of veterans -- and sons and daughters of millworkers -- turn Ohio from red to blue?

-- Chris Heinz's potential primary challenge to Senator Clinton

Now: here are some questions that we think SHOULD be answered:

How do Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, and other members of the unalligned congressional and party Establishment feel about a Kerry nomination?

And if he wins New Hampshire, how soon will the ranks close?

And has anyone considered lately whether Kerry as nominee could adopt Howard Dean's "$100 from 2 million people" challenge, and/or use that catsup money in the general election?

Also: Will John Kerry have a bad news cycle between now and next Tuesday?

If he does, it appears it won't be because he is forced into it by his opponents (who are variously playing, it seems, for second and/or survival), or by the press (who are, it also seems, unlikely to drop any investigative bombs that detonate before the primary).

And it won't be because of bad staff work -- don't underestimate the number of "adults" who are surrounding John Kerry now, and the extent to which their vast campaign experience is likely to shield him from scheduling snafus or political landmines.

After a "relentlessly civil" debate; another day of NO new newsmaking television ads; and another day of apparent Kerry upward movement (with no one else seeming to make substantial gains) -- after all that, we are looking at another day today of "routine" campaign events throughout New Hampshire.

It is of course too soon to say if Howard Dean's remade strategy and Primetime and Letterman appearances will do anything to put his numbers back on track.

It will be interesting to Note how our colleagues on cable will handle the first New Hampshire poll (regardless of the source) which shows Clark or Edwards surpassing Dean for the number two slot in the Granite State race -- if such a thing happens.

It ISN'T too soon to say that deanforamerica won't get any solid tracking poll data to gauge the effects until the weekend, at which point they will be flying blind (with the rest of us) about whither Howard Dean's image in the Granite State.

It also isn't too soon to say that the expectations for the Feb. 3 states and the candidates on the road out of New Hampshire will be largely derivative of:

A. whether Kerry wins New Hampshire and by how much, and

B. IF Kerry numerically wins New Hampshire, how many other candidates are seen by the Gang of 500/19-person subgroup to have gotten a "win" there as well.

At this point -- given how absolutely unsettled the Feb. 3 and money situations are -- any of the four other leading candidates still have the potential to leave Manchester in the hunt.

Starting now, we'll be looking for the final changes in advertising strategy; the beginning of "robo" calls that might be carrying a negative message; and the beginning hints of on which states the candidates will focus their resources after New Hampshire.

If you are looking for the fun parlor game of the day and want to keep very busy perhaps you might consider counting how many times the word "Halliburton" is invoked by the candidates out on the Democratic campaign trail today.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "Halliburton Co. has told the Pentagon that two employees took kickbacks valued at up to $6 million in return for awarding a Kuwaiti-based company with lucrative work supplying U.S. troops in Iraq."

"The disclosure is the first firm indication of corruption involving U.S.-funded projects in Iraq and raises new questions about Halliburton's dealings there. The company's work already is being scrutinized because of accusations that the U.S. government was overcharged for gasoline under another controversial contract."

And so begins the day.

President Bush speaks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and meets with the Florida Marlins today in Washington, D.C. He is in D.C. over the weekend.

Vice President Cheney is in Davos, Switzerland and Rome this weekend to speak to the World Economic Forum and the Italian Senate. He meets with Pope John Paul II on Tuesday.

BC'04 campaign manager Mehlman and RNC Chairman Gillespie both speak to the CPAC conference today.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman, Gov. Dean, Gen. Clark and Rep. Kucinich are in New Hampshire today and through the weekend. Sen. Kennedy will campaign with Sen. Kerry this weekend, and Sen. Kerry will appear on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday night.

Sen. Edwards is in New Hampshire this morning and this weekend but is visiting South Carolina this afternoon. Go, Tiger, go.

Rev. Al Sharpton has no public events today or over the weekend.