ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The Note asked FLOTUS spokesguy Gordon Johndroe what Mrs. Bush based this on and whether others in the campaign or White House agree, and here's what he told us:

"Mrs. Bush was asked her opinion and she shared it."

Dana Milbank on Dan Bartlett's handling of Bush's National Guard documents. LINK

"The expert chosen by CBS to check Dan Rather's disputed National Guard documents got his start as a graphologist analyzing 'Spirituality in Handwriting' and lacks recognized document training, The Post has learned," writes Deborah Orin of the New York Post . LINK

The New York Times ' Rutenberg and Zernike get a CBS "network correspondent" to say the the staff in "deep concern . . . not panic — we all want it to be right . . . Dan really put himself on the line and I can't imagine him knowingly defending something he knew not to be the case" and another "longtime" correspondent to declare, "I'm distressed." LINK

Joseph Newcomer, the computer typography expert of the hour! LINK

The New York Post 's Ian Bishop chats with him too. LINK

"Newcomer's analysis concluded that the chances the documents were written in 1972 are 'so vanishingly small as to be indistinguishable from zero.'"

Who is CBS News expert Bill Glennon? LINK

John Podhoretz uses his New York Post column to argue for the removal of the question marks and declare the documents forgeries. LINK

Alan Murray on the red/blue media, entrenched by Dan Rather's sticking behind his National Guard memos reporting. LINK

The New York Sun on the bloggers who started it all. LINK

In a Note section on Friday about the blogosphere's role in the Bush/National Guard document story, we wrote that Buckhead, a poster on Free, posted a critique of the "60 Minutes II" story at 8:59 pm ET . . . which lead us to suggest that he posted it before the broadcast was over. Mr. Buckhead, an Atlanta lawyer, has since informed the world that he saw the show at 8:00 pm ET and posted his response at 11:59 pm ET.

The time stamp incorrectly suggested he had 50 minutes, rather than more than two hours, to look at the documents.

Web sites we'll check today: LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, and LINK

The debate about debates:

AP's Scott Lindlaw reports: "In late July, Bush began practicing with Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., inside the White House residence, officials said Monday. Gregg also played Al Gore in debate preparation in 2000 … In practice sessions, Gregg challenges Bush directly, according to a former official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the debate plans have not been completed. Gregg tries to knock the president off balance, the former official said." LINK

"Candidates Unplugged" is good for the public interest. Thomas Oliphant looks at the significance of the presidential debates in terms of showcasing the candidates in a real way for the voting public. LINK

"After dithering in '92 and getting hurt (remember Chicken Man?), Bush's dad did the right thing; after dithering in 2000 and getting hurt (Gore was ahead), Bush Jr. did the right thing. This time, with interest high, it would seem clear that debating is smarter than dithering. It's also in the public interest."

Washington University's student newspaper Student Life takes front-page Note of the legacy of the "High-profile, down-to-the-minute debate negotiations have only multiplied in recent years." LINK

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