ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Today, Kerry speaks to the National Guard Association that received President Bush with overwhelming applause on Tuesday. And it's a sucker's bet that a large amount of the Kerry coverage today will focus on comparing the reception Kerry gets today with President Bush's.

Kerry, who will appear with Gen. Wesley Clark, will not pull his punches; according to the campaign's preview he will tell the "real situation in Iraq":

"More than a thousand Americans have been killed. Instability is rising. Violence is spreading. Extremism is growing. There are now havens for terrorists that weren't there before . . . " (We'll see if the candidate delivers the message that precisely and with passion, and, perhaps, with some references to Doug Jehl.)

In his speech to the group President Bush promised Guard and Reserve members he was "working" on their concerns about the length of and advance notice before their mobilizations. Kerry's campaign promises that he will, as he often does, call the Guard's 40 percent share of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan a "burden" and "talk about the need to strengthen our military so that the men and women of the national Guard are not bearing so much of that burden."

Kerry does not speak to the Guard Association until 3:30 pm ET. He then flies to New Mexico for an 8:15 pm ET rally in Albuquerque with Gov. Bill Richardson.

President Bush will deliver the message that the United States is winning the war on terror, including the war in Iraq, during a bus tour through Minnesota — but not without holding a health care-only event in the early afternoon.

Bush comes to the state that Gore won by only 2 percentage points in 2000 with some momentum — Republicans think Bush has a small lead in the state compared to a slightly larger deficit before his convention. Bush sandwiches a 10:35 am ET St. Cloud rally and a 5:05 pm ET Rochester rally with a 1:40 pm ET health care event in Blaine.


First Lady Laura Bush holds the campaign's first event in New Jersey, which only the most hopeful have so far cited as a battleground, when she speaks at an 11:15 am ET rally in Hamilton.

Vice President Cheney is in Albuquerque and Reno.

Edwards is in Portsmouth, OH before raising coin in Louisville, KY.

Teresa Heinz Kerry is in Pittsburgh.

Elizabeth Edwards is in North Carolina.

After a morning pro forma session the Senate adjourns until Monday afternoon, when it will vote on the military construction appropriations bill.

According to the Labor Department, consumer prices increased just 0.1 percent in August, below consensus estimates of 0.2 percent — which means we'll expect to hear that inflation is being held in check in the BC04 talking points — and that the Fed may not raise rates in a couple of months, reports ABC News' Daniel Arnall.

Full report: LINK

President Bush and the National Guard: the politics of the documents:

On Wednesday night, just as the first feeds of the evening news broadcasts were ending, CBS released a lengthy statement that: — named another document examiner: James J. Pierce — said Pierce and Matley still think the documents are authentic — acknowledged unspecified "contradictions" in the evidence — employed an even-if-the-docs-are-fake-their-content-is-true argument

The statement said, "Numerous questions have been raised about the authenticity of the documents. CBS News believes it is important for the news media to be accountable and address legitimate questions."

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