ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The New York Times ' Johnny Apple says Kerry's chances of winning Iowa depends largely on the number of absentee voters, which as of last Wednesday was more than 140,345. LINK

The Kerry camp responds today to an Iowa ad questioning his security credentials. He refers to the ads as "despicable politics." Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register reports. LINK

Knight Ridder's Scott Canon writes, "Iowa politics remains mostly a candidate-to-voter proposition." LINK

Jonathan Roos of the Des Moines Register reports on a bungled GOP mailing in Iowa. Democrats respond with laughter. LINK

William Petroski reports on security at Iowa polling places. LINK

Absentee ballot confusion strikes Iowa. State Democrats blame the Republican party for rushing ballot entries. Lynn Campbell of the Des Moines Register reports. LINK

The Washington Post 's David Broder says New Hampshire is now in play, "joining West Virginia and New Mexico on the short list of low-population states so closely contested that both Republicans and Democrats believe they have no choice but to battle for a narrow advantage." Broder provides a brief and fantastic outline of New Hampshire politics, and the changes in economics and parties that have brought New Hampshire the spotlight beyond the primary this year. LINK

Thomas Oliphant writes a mini-profile of Nevada and Notes a certain third-party candidate, Libertarian Party candidate, Mike Bednarik, is causing some problems. As he ledes: "For those who adore the oddities of politics, this place may be ground zero." (Note to Oliphant: based on the bumper sticker, it's spelled BAdnarik.) LINK

The Associated Press reports on Senator Byrd's stumping for Senator Kerry in West Virginia and denouncing the recent RNC mailing. LINK

At an address to the Portland Regional Chamber, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said the debates would not change the outcome of the election, Joshua Weinstein of the Portland Press Herald Writer files. LINK

John Kerry's stepson Chris Heinz talks to students at the University of Southern Maine, recruiting them to vote, Justin Ellis of the Portland Press Herald reports. LINK

Tom Bell of the Portland Press Herald reports on Maine schools failing to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind. LINK

If you didn't think Senator Kerry had even the slightest chance in Arizona, read the Arizona Republic's Jon Kamman's in-depth and detailed look at whether the Senator from Massachusetts could possibly have a teeny tiny chance in this historically Red state. LINK

Craig Welch of the Seattle Times continues his five-part environmental series by slamming President Bush on his failure to reduce pollution from cargo ships. LINK

Welch also writes a piece praising some of the president's diesel fuel revisions. LINK

Terrorism and the election:

Now that the Olympics and national conventions have passed, all eyes are focused on the five weeks between now and Nov. 2 as a time period for a possible terrorist attack. LINK

The politics of intelligence:

"Counterterrorism authorities would be granted unprecedented access to law enforcement and commercial databases containing billions of records about private citizens under a bipartisan bill to restructure the intelligence system that the Senate began debating yesterday," reports the Washington Post 's Robert O'Harrow Jr. LINK

Senator Lieberman declares the House version of the intelligence reform bill "weak." LINK

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