ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei reports on Kerry's criticism of President Bush yesterday and says campaign advisers are calling Kerry's speech in Detroit on Wednesday the "biggest economic speech of the fall." LINK

The Washington Post 's E.J. Dionne writes that "it was heartening to see Kerry challenge Bush on the president's failure to push for a renewal of the assault weapons ban. Here is a chance to move the gun debate away from the vague terrain of 'pro-gun' vs. 'anti-gun' to a concrete discussion of a measure that 57 percent of those with a gun in their household and 32 percent of NRA members support." LINK

The Washington Post 's Richard Cohen thinks Sen. Ted Kennedy has something to say — and that Sen. Kerry should listen. LINK

Juan Gonzalez Notes grumbling among key Democratic black leaders (many of whom he was glad-handing with at the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner on Saturday night) and union officials who are growing worried about the direction of John Kerry's presidential campaign with a familiar refrain that he is playing too much to the middle. LINK

Edwards pushes the KE04 health care plan in New Mexico: LINK

The New York Times ' Sharon Waxman reports that George Butler "took a hatchet" to his "Going Upriver" documentary after the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads attacked Kerry's Vietnam service record. LINK

Page Six has the scoop on Teresa Heinz Kerry's conversation with Kenneth Cole for the upcoming issue of Harper's Bazaar. LINK

"[People] think that if you have money you have no feelings or conscience. But when people get to know me, if I was any of that, they wouldn't dare hug me, kiss me and speak to me in personal terms," says Heinz Kerry.

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

The New York Times and the Washington Post take us in two different directions today; The Post furthers the investigative angle, while the Times dishes with unnamed (and named) CBS News correspondents like, oh, say, Mike Wallace.

The bottom line of this story has not changed: CBS News broadcast charges against the president of the United States in an election year based at least partially on documents that many leading experts believe to be forgeries.

If an IBM Executive or Selectrix Composer could reproduce the documents faithfully, that might settle some of the questions. But we have yet to see evidence that either machine could do so — or that such machines were used by the Texas Air National Guard in the early '70s.

The Washington Post 's Dobbs and Kurtz report:

"The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves." LINK

"'There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them,' Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are 'copies' that are 'far removed' from the originals."

"Meanwhile, Laura Bush became the first person from the White House to say the documents are likely forgeries. 'You know they are probably altered," she told Radio Iowa in Des Moines yesterday. 'And they probably are forgeries, and I think that's terrible, really.'"

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