ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

USA Today 's Martin Kasindorf writes that "Kerry went after Bush with the same aggressiveness that he has shown since the Republican convention in condemning Bush's handling of Iraq and in countering Republican attacks on his Vietnam War service." LINK

The Detroit headlines for Kerry's Wednesday speech read: "Kerry: Bush's term full of excuses" LINK and "Kerry attacks Bush's 'excuse presidency.'" LINK

The Boston Globe 's Ellen Goodman deconstructs the Democrats' "September anxiety attack" over the Kerry campaign by focusing on the calm eye of the storm: Mary Beth Cahill. LINK

After mentioning questions of whether or not she is nasty enough to lead the campaign, Goodman brings this moment of Cahill Zen: "If the Kerry campaign hasn't taken the low road, it is partially because, she says, 'win or lose, and my deep belief is he's going to win, you run a campaign you live with for the rest of your life. George Bush Sr. is forever tarred by the craven way he went after Dukakis.'"

The New York Times ' David Halbfinger provides a DEEP look into the new Kerry campaign message machine and reports that Kerry is happy and that Shrum, Devine, and Mellman have been pushed somewhat aside by Joe Lockhart and Company. LINK

Absent from this story: the words "Joel Johnson" and "Mike Donilon."

Donald Lambro of the Washington Times on Tony Coelho's remarks on the disorganization of the Kerry campaign: LINK

George Will shakes his head at Kerry, examining why a focus on nuance, while helpful in the Senate, doesn't make for a great presidential candidate. That and not talking about a 20-year Senate record. LINK

The New York Times ' Archibold and Nagourney report on the "less belligerent and lower-profile" Sen. John Edwards, and get an unnamed adviser to admit "he doesn't make for the most effective attack dog." They also report Edwards was not at all involved in the recent staff shakeup. LINK

Mark Kornblau's response: "I don't think people in Marietta, Ohio care about what Adam Nagourney thinks about John Edwards' strategic development within the campaign. They care about George Bush's choices that have led to their losing their jobs."

The debate about debates:

The Commission on Presidential Debates to the campaigns in a letter yesterday: let's light this candle. LINK

In USA Today , Michael Crow, president of proposed third debate host Arizona State University, writes about the hardships and blessings of raising tuition at his institution. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: The Big Four: Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin:

ABC News' Jake Tapper profiled the battleground of Pennsylvania on Wednesday's "World News Tonight," and found independent voters who, concerned about both the economy and national security, are tough sells for the candidates. LINK

And . . . the hotly anticipated ABC News Pennsylvania poll! Proclaiming that the state is "as close as it gets."

Voters in the Keystone State are concerned about the economy which is good for John Kerry, and national security and leadership, which is good for George W. Bush, ABC News' poll found. The head-to-head matchup is basically tied, with 49 percent of likely voters supporting the president and 48 percent supporting the Senator. Add Ralph Nader into the mix, and the numbers become 49-46-2, respectively. LINK

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