Morning Show Wrap, by ABC News Political Unit

On CNN's "American Morning" McCurry previewed one of Kerry's responses to the flip-flop charge, saying "If you want to know who's been the flop, it's the President with his policies on Iraq and the economy." Shown the results of the Time poll in which the majority of voters expected Bush to "win" the debates, McCurry noted that "it's always good to go into one of these high profile debates as an underdog." And McCurry praised Al Gore's editorial today in the New York Times, saying "That is right on from somehow who knows. … I think Vice President Gore would be the first one to say that President Bush did quite a number on him" during their debates in 2000.

On "Today," Matilin defended the President's description of progress made in Iraq, saying Bush "is going off the information he's getting from Prime Minister Allawi and his generals on the ground." Matilin claimed that "75% of that country is peaceful and could be holding elections today" and that over 10 million people had registered to vote in Afghanistan, a number that Human Rights Watch is saying is inflated by as many as 5 million.

Shown a clip of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards' saying "If George Bush is asked what time it is, he'll talk about how Saddam Hussein had to go" on "American Morning," Matalin replied without missing a beat that, "Well, Saddam Hussein was a bad man and had to go." Practically chided in response by Bill Hemmer, Matalin shrugged her shoulders and said, "I presume she's saying that as a compliment."

On "Today" Matilin quipped that under former President Bill Clinton McCurry "had to defend the indefensible" and now he has to "explain the inexplicable."

On CBS' "Early Show," McCurry's critique of Bush's handling of the Iraq war moved Kerry back into the "wrong way" rather than "wrong war" line of attack.

COCKINESS OF BUSH CAMP:

ABC's Terry Moran reported that while the Bush-Cheney campaign is working to lower expectations but that behind the scenes their body language indicates they are cocky.

FROM THE OUTSIDE:

CBS' Jim Axelrod looked at two 527 ads – the ad attacking Kerry as not tough enough to take on fanatic killers like Osama Bin Laden and a "real voices" ad featuring the mom of a deceased Army specialist attacking Bush. Sound was taken from Edwards attacking the Osama ad as an effort to "exploit one of the great tragedies in American history." Cheney SOT bashing Kerry's vacillations opened the piece.

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