ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

"Meantime, look at John Kerry's predicament. The Democratic presidential nominee essentially has been frozen out of campaigning in Florida because of Charley and Frances. No politician wants to be seen as exploiting a tragedy or appearing insensitive by staging a political rally while a state is reeling."

And this is the headline from the Orlando Sentinel: "Storms blow Kerry off track in Florida." LINK

Thank you, Sir, may we have another? Hurricane Ivan is on its way to the Florida coast, and the Tallahassee Democrat reports that Gov. Bush is "lobbying for more federal aid and may call a special session of the Legislature to address insurance issues and economic problems caused by the storms." LINK

And, yes, the candidates for U.S. Senate in the Sunshine State are having trouble too. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

"This year's federal budget deficit will reach a record $422 billion, and the government is now expected to accumulate $2.3 trillion in new debt over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday" writes Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post . LINK

"Making Bush's previous tax cuts permanent would nearly double the 10-year shortfall to $4.5 trillion," writes Warren Vieth of the Los Angeles Times on the latest CBO deficit numbers. LINK

Edmund Andrews of the New York Times reports that "even if the United States saved billions of dollars by withdrawing all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush would still be unlikely to fulfill his promise to reduce the federal budget deficit by half within five years," according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. LINK

The Washington Post 's Robert Samuelson looks at how both President Bush and Senator Kerry are evading the nation's largest budget problem: "controlling federal retirement spending." LINK

Big Casino budget politics: Medicare:

Robert Pear on the GAO report that faults Thomas Sculley on the Medicare data withheld from Congress. LINK

"The Department of Health and Human Services should have withheld former Medicare chief Thomas A. Scully's salary last year because Scully wrongly kept a subordinate from giving Congress higher cost estimates on the Medicare prescription drug law, the Government Accountability Office said yesterday," reports Christopher Lee of the Washington Post . LINK

The politics of guns:

Dan Eggen of the Washington Post reports that gun makers have begun to take orders for assault rifles as the ban nears expiring. LINK

From the outside:

The New York Times ' Justice and Rutenberg look at the close web of connections between Democrats and the 527s., focusing today on the Stan Greenberg shuffle. LINK

Reproductive politics:

"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's arbiter of doctrinal orthodoxy, has given Roman Catholic voters leeway under certain circumstances to vote for politicians who support abortion rights," reports the Washington Post 's Alan Cooperman. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

And the national media thinks the presidential race is heating up, well, Alan Keyes is telling Illinois voters that Jesus would oppose Barack Obama. Why? "[B]ecause of votes Obama has cast in the state Senate against anti-abortion legislation." LINK

Sen. Bill Frist has set Oct. 8 as the "optimistic" date for adjournment, in order for Senators to go home and campaign before returning after Nov. 2, according to Roll Call . LINK

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