ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Laura Bush is in Charleston, WV; Columbia, SC; and East Stroudsburg, PA.

This Sunday on "This Week," George Stephanopoulos interviews Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi from London, and Sens. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) will talk politics and Iraq.

This weekend, President Bush heads to Maine for a down day before pulling out his trump card: yet another visit to Florida (and Alabama) to look at Hurricane damage.

On Saturday, Senator Kerry does a (closed press!) taping of "Dr. Phil" in Boston, followed by a DNC fundraiser at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center. He's down in Boston on Sunday until traveling to New York Sunday night.

On Monday, both campaigns find themselves in New York City for fundraisers and mainstream media interviews (Kerry appears on "The Late Show" with David Letterman and "Regis and Kelly," which President Bush will appear on Wednesday.). This will not be a preview of the Al Smith dinner, however, which will not feature either candidate this year: LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:

The Washington Post 's Dana Priest and Jim VandeHei report on Kerry's criticism of Bush's Iraq policy yesterday with a focus on the new National Intelligence Estimate. "The National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, representing the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community and written in July, said Iraq's prospects for stability and self-governance over the next 18 months were, at best, 'tenuous,' according to U.S. government officials who have read it." President Bush did not talk about the intelligence estimate on the stump Thursday in Minnesota. LINK

The back-and-forth each day seems to kick things up a notch almost every news cycle. Yesterday's was complete with a "fantasy world of spin" and the standard Bush-Cheney mantra that Senator Kerry is an indecisive flip-flopper in every possible way. Pat Healy of the Boston Globe fills us in on the details. LINK

Healy nugget of the day: "Sasso sits in Kerry's cabin more than any other aide and is known among a few staff members on the plane as 'the quarterback.'"

AP's Tom Raum wraps Bush and Kerry sniping over Iraq yesterday. LINK

Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe explains today in his column how President Bush has had a better few weeks as he actively shapes public opinion while Senator Kerry does not. LINK

An interesting Lehigh observation reveals what Democrats see as the president's secret weapon: "He is dismayingly willing to say things that are either blatantly false or clearly designed to create a misleading impression."

AP's Nedra Pickler on Kerry's criticism of Bush yesterday. LINK

Neither Bush nor Kerry were invited to this year's Al Smith dinner because "issues in this year's campaign could provoke divisiveness and disagreement and could detract from" the spirit of the dinner, Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling tells the Associated Press. LINK

In announcing that neither presidential candidate will be invited to attend the Al Smith dinner this year, the usually unflappable Zwilling doesn't explain why this year's presidential election could "provoke divisiveness and disagreement" and how that differs from the issues in 2000. LINK

Mahoney and Standora of the Daily News report who's not coming to the Al Smith dinner, "New York's marquee political event." Given the choice between a Methodist and a pro-choice Catholic, Edward Cardinal Egan has decided to "snub" both. LINK

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