ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

USA Today 's Jill Lawrence and Judy Keen sound like they're channeling Dr. Emmett Brown (LINK) when they write, "The outcome may hinge on whether the contest focuses on the past, the present or the future." LINK The Chicago Tribune's ed board writes, "It will be interesting to see how Americans react to Kerry's bleak prognosis. One crucial task will be to make sure he doesn't come across as a prospective commander in chief who, having long defended his war authorization vote, now thinks insurgents have made the fight too tough." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Pearson and Torriero write about the focus on Social Security by both candidates on Wednesday, making new mention of the windsurfing battle. LINK

Vince Morris of the New York Post writes up the "Windsurfing" ad, and we're almost embarrassed for him for the way he writes about how much Kerry's outfit and accessories cost in the video in the commercial. LINK Morris obviously hasn't seen VH1's Bling Off between Bush and Kerry because then he would know that Bush and Kerry are pretty evenly matched in the "oh-my-god-that's-so-expensive" category. (LINK)

Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman has a memo (wink, wink) from Karl Rove to John Kerry. (And The Note just wants to make sure that Chapman is prepared for all of the yahoos out there who will write on their blogs about the amazing and demoralizing words that Rove has for Kerry and wonder how he managed to acquire such a key document!) LINK

The Washington Post looks at why women view Bush as stronger than Kerry on national security. LINK And the gender gap isn't just getting play on the national stage.

"In a brief interview Wednesday during a stop in Cleveland, it was easy to get the impression that [Planned Parenthood's Gloria] Feldt would like to grab Kerry by the shoulders and tell him to start talking about these issues," reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. LINK

"'He has an excellent agenda on women's rights issues, and I'm sure if he were to talk about that agenda, it would be helpful to him,' she said.

The Media Fund, an anti-Bush 527, will launch two ads Thursday that seek to link President Bush with the Saudi royal family and that will "suggest that President Bush suppressed a report to hide what his critics say was evidence that the Saudi government financed the terrorists who carried out the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001," according to the New York Times ' Kit Seelye. LINK If a television ad was announced yesterday, you can be sure you'll find mention of it in Nick Anderson's latest Los Angeles Times dispatch on what many Americans will be seeing on their television screens this week. LINK

Anderson includes Karen Hughes defense of the windsurfing ad as "'a lighthearted way of making a very serious point. [Kerry] may have a case of selective amnesia when it comes to some of the things he's said.'"

"Sponsors of the nation's latest campaign finance law, outraged over the millions of dollars being spent by independent "527" organizations on this fall's elections, joined forces again yesterday to propose legislation barring the groups from raising and spending unlimited sums on federal campaigns," the Washington Post reports. LINK This Jim Jordan quote courtesy of the Los Angeles Times is actually referring to his current capacity with America Coming Together, not (as some may think) a remembrance of his days with the Kerry campaign. (Insert rim shot here.)

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