The Politics Junkie: Your Move, Gore

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Papers take a day to set up veep's veep day Tuesday, and press needles are lurching toward G. The NYT holds a dignified pep rally: Bill Daley, suddenly, "in his short time here... seems to have significantly revived the once flagging morale of the Democratic campaign, both in Nashville and beyond." Gimme an A, Kevin Sack. WP leads section with another in "The Life of Al Gore" series — a Nakashima/Maraniss tale of Gore's near-obsessive responsiveness to his Tennessee constituents.

USAT lays out the expectations and the strategy in its good Gore piece, which features this wake-up call: "'The next two weeks are the potential for an open window for Al Gore,' Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster, says. 'Voters will open their windows and say, 'I'm willing to look again, and I'm willing to listen again.' '" But the window, she closes soon after. WSJ lays out the choices with a weekend wrap-up, and this about "consensus choice" Kerry: "But being viewed as the safe choice mightn't be helpful since Mr. Gore is under pressure to generate excitement." Guess there's no hope.


NYT balances with a spin-heavy Cheney piece, in which Cheney "acknowledged in an interview that House Republicans bore some responsibility for the 'partisan bickering and backbiting' in Washington that he criticizes in his speeches." That was very triangular of him.

WP lets its natural choice, the Goreveep story, fall to three in favor of a Broder: The Republican base is already energized. Now the GOP is sending out a $100 million Turnout Squad coming for the wallflower undecideds.

USAT, whose top three were all on Gore, chronicles Al's heavy workload coming into Los Angeles. Third one of course being Goreveep. However, the bounce is duly noted.

WSJ does an unexpected thinker on the Catholic vote: It's up for grabs. Who knew?


Off in the distance, a tiny war: NYT checks in with the Reform party with an up-to-the-minute "battle for the soul of" piece. The showdown will go down in Long Beach this weekend, and the gathering "promises some sharp skirmishes." Hope it's not another bum steer.


The penultimate veepstakes roundup

NYT: "Speculation continued to center on four Democrats in the Senate — John Kerry of Massachusetts, John Edwards of North Carolina, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Evan Bayh of Indiana — although Mr. Gore raised the possibility last week that he might pick a 'wild card.'" (Katharine Q. Seelye)

WP: "Democratic sources continued to focus most heavily on Sens. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, John Edwards of North Carolina and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. But there was talk today that either Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri could become alternative options." And Gore himself "tantalizingly raised the prospect of an 'out-of-the-box' wild card contender." (Ceci Connolly and Dan Balz) So, what's the style for "wild card"?

USAT: "Even so, Bush's selection has affected Gore's thinking, as can be seen in the people campaign officials say are the three finalists: Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and John Edwards of North Carolina. Gone from the list of serious candidates are names like former Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell of Maine, who turns 67 this month, and Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who will be 64 in November. Those political veterans would tend to mute the campaign's claim that the GOP ticket reflects the party's 'old guard' thinking." (Lede story leans toward Kerry.)

WSJ: "House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen are no longer under consideration since they have said they don't want the job, a person familiar with the selection process said yesterday. Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh also is no longer in contention for the post, a source familiar with the deliberations said. Barring a late entry by a surprise contender, that leaves three senators in the running for the post: John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, John Edwards of North Carolina and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut." (Jeanne Cummings and Jackie Calmes)

This Bayh business. Is he on or is he off? Is he Gore's "out of the box"? Could Gore be that boring? It'll be a good story on Wednesday.

Buchanan Reviews the GOP Convention

"There wasn't a single voice up there for the unborn. There was nobody that got up and spoke about right to life." (NYT, via "Face the Nation")

"Affirmative action, quotas, racial preferences are wrong. They're unjust discrimination against white folks because of the color of their skin or where their ancestors came from, and I don't care if General Powell gets up and says they're right. For heaven's sakes, why did not a single Republican get up and say, 'That is wrong?' " (NYT, via "Face the Nation")

"What that party is doing is not just moving traditional-values folks to the back of the bus, it kicked them off the bus up there in Philadelphia." (WP)

Buchanan in "Reform Party Smackdown"

"I think you will see at Long Beach the fact that this is a Buchanan party, a conservative party, Reform party and populist party, and you will be surprised at the unanimity." (NYT, via "Fox News Sunday")

"The only thing they have got is about eight or 10 people in positions of power and influence who are former Perot folks who simply want to derail our nomination... They simply want to destroy the party. We're there to build it." (WP)

"We're going to dominate the convention in terms of the delegates overwhelmingly... I think we're going to win the vote." (WP)

Buchanan on Why He Can't Get a Running Mate

"No Democrat or Republican wants to risk a rising career if he figures he, you know, that this is going to go down the chute." (WP)

Least Artful Feature Lede

"Most great presidents have highly assertive personalities, are enthusiastic thinkers and are striving constantly to achieve. A lively intelligence and openness to feelings are also associated with presidential greatness." —Washington Post's Marc Kaufman

Scariest Lede

"Grafting the town hall format to a national convention, Democrats plan to hold a series of 'American Dialogues' between working people and a prominent Democrat during the Democratic National Convention, which opens in Los Angeles a week from today." —WP's Mike Allen

Won't you come home, Dana Milbank?