Morning Show Wrap, by ABC News Political Unit

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HIGHLIGHT:

Note Karen Hughes' saying on "Today" that you can only conclude from Kerry saying Iraq is a "wrong war" that he would "bring our troops home immediately" and accusing Kerry and his running mate of thinking that if the US were to withdraw and retreat from Iraq that Al-Zarqawi and other Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists will return to peaceful endeavors like "opening up a produce stand or a jewelry store."

KAREN HUGHES ON NBC, CNN, FOX:

On NBC's "Today," Bush advisor Karen Hughes said that the only message voters can take from Kerry calling Iraq the wrong war is that he would "bring our troops home immediately without working for victory."

Hughes also accused Sen. John Kerry and his running mate of talking like if the US were to retreat and withdraw from Iraq that Al-Zarqawi and the other Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists would return to peaceful endeavors like opening a produce stand or a jewelry store."

"These are trained killers," she added.

Asked on NBC's "Today" if she understood why people think President Bush is in denial, Bush advisor Karen Hughes told Matt Lauer, "Matt, no, because our troops had accomplished their mission." Hughes pointed to the troops' success in the "battle over Baghdad which was supposed to be this huge battle" and their success in removing Saddam Hussein from power so he couldn't threaten the United States.

Asked about Bush's position changes on things like the 9/11 Commission and steel tariffs, Hughes said "people in the political world change their minds" but she distinguished run-of-the-mill changes with having about ten positions on the war in Iraq.

Asked about Kerry's Monday statement that he has consistently stood for holding Hussein accountable but that he wanted to do it "the right way" with "patience and maturity" to bring "allies to our side," Hughes said, "that would have meant not doing it at all" because some of these other countries would never have gone along with it.

On CNN's "American Morning," Hughes sought to lower expectations for Bush on the debates despite a Time Magazine poll showing more people expect Bush to do better. "I think [Kerry] may be [the favorite], Bill. Remember Sen. Kerry began debating in prep school," she said to CNN's Bill Hemmer.

On "Fox and Friends," Hughes quipped that Bush's debate team has "had to prepare over and over and over again" because "every time we've met [Kerry's] had a new position on Iraq."Asked on "Fox and Friends" how Bush has changed since 2000, Hughes refused to get off message: "I still see the same person… But he's become more so. He's always been disciplined, now he's more so. He's always been focused, now he's more so… He is absolutely focused on preventing another attack..." Regarding Ted Kennedy's claim yesterday that Bush policies have made a nuclear attack more likely, Hughes said there is a "Note of desperation starting to creep into some Democrats' voices."

ELIZABETH EDWARDS ON FNC:

Elizabeth Edwards delivered some very pointed critiques of the Bush Administration's policies in Iraq during a pleasant interview on "Fox and Friends" with E.D Hill.

She appeared with the DNC's "Moms on a Mission," a group of mothers of active duty troops who oppose the President's policies in Iraq.

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