ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

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47 days until Election Day 14 days until the first proposed presidential debate 19 days until the proposed vice presidential debate 22 days until the second proposed presidential debate 27 days until the third proposed presidential debate

NEWS SUMMARY

President Bush rocks the people of Minnesota with a focus on health care and national security.

John Kerry takes his turn at the tables in Vegas with the National Guard.

Laura Bush becomes a Jersey girl.

And it turns out that the relentlessly optimistic Bush Administration hasn't necessarily been fully reflecting all of the intelligence it has on the likely future of Iraq.

All of which perfectly sets up some questions we want answers to as soon as possible:

Will the alchemy of continued deaths in Iraq and today's boffo New York Times lead by unportly pepperpot Doug Jehl looking at the pessimistic classified National Intelligence Estimate about the conflict lead to a press and public re-focus on the president's conduct of the war? LINK

Who among us has figured out the best way to filter from "registered voters" to "likely voters" in this presidential year of unprecedented bipartisan efforts to sign up new people and turn them out on election day?

Which does the average suburban Columbus, OH housewife spend more time thinking about: the difference between the words "authentic" and "accurate" or the relative influence of Joe Lockhart versus Bob Shrum? (On such things are presidential races won and lost . . .)

Besides the following sentences, what better evidence can America find for the fact that the Associated Press' Ron Fournier is a cross between Ernest Hemingway, John King, Larry King, Solomon, and Gandhi: "For Kerry to prevail, issues need to matter more. Or voters need to think better of Kerry's character and less of the president's." LINK

Did President Bush's debate-about-debate strategy change, and, if so, how come?

Can Mike McCurry sprinkle enough of his charming bonhomie fairy dust to induce a little Stockholm Syndrome in the Kerry traveling press?

Can Steve Schmidt stop that from happening?

Are DNC interns afraid of Michael Whouley?

Can weather news completely blot out "the most important presidential campaign of our lifetime"?

Does John Kerry's decisive win in the most recent news cycle matter in the minds of an Ivan-flooded viewing public?

What the heck is happening with Ralph Nader in Florida?

Will Mark Mellman and Frank Newport ever make up?

Aside from their huge absentee and registration pushes, what other music is BC04RNC orchestrating behind the scenes?

Who taught CBS News' spokesgal Sandy Genelius to have so much grace under fire?

Has the DNC's obsessive National Guard focus worked, backfired, or had no effect?

Are the presidential campaigns and their respective national party committees at all concerned that the political press corps is on the verge of completely tuning out and deleting without reading their e-mailed press releases (with the exception of scheduling information)?

Will Sens. Kerry and Edwards completely avoid being reeled back into the Senate well in the next 40 days?

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