ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

"That flailing-out was done more in anger than in calculation. Millions of Americans of draft age in the 1960's who are voters today were deferred from service by virtue of student status or fatherhood. They do not appreciate having their deferment attributed to lack of patriotism. Now Kerry has unnecessarily upset a lot of non-veteran swing voters."

The AP's Loven does a little campaign staff v. campaign staff action, with mini-profiles of Karl Rove and Mary Beth Cahill. LINK

Washington Post Polling Director Rich Morin takes a fantastic look at how undecided voters think, sitting down with a focus group in Erie, PA, over the weekend, who said they want to hear less negativity, see fewer ads, and focus less on Iraq and 9/11 — and hear more about the economy and health care. Morin essentially offers a blueprint for reaching out to undecided voters and touching on the ideas that could motivate them at the polls. LINK

" . . . they see a campaign that, at best, has paid lip service to the issues that affect them more directly than either Iraq or terrorism. So they remain on the sidelines, confused, conflicted and bored."

Time magazine's Karen Tumulty writes up the latest Time poll — conducted during the Republican convention, before President Bush's acceptance speech — which shows Bush leading Kerry, 52 percent to 41 percent. LINK

Newsweek's poll, written up by Brian Braiker, shows President Bush and Sen. Kerry in the same position — 52 percent to 41 percent, respectively. Braiker Notes that the survey took place both before and after Bush's speech, and that those polled on Friday gave him a 16-point lead over Kerry. LINK

Gossipy Newsweek has Kerry mad at Cahill for un-Swiftness in response time.

On Sunday, the Washington Post 's David Broder and Dan Balz described the challenge that John Kerry faces going into the fall, trying to turn toward issues when safety and national security are at the forefront of both voters' minds and the president's message strategy. The Kerry camp is focusing on a state-by-state strategy, tailored to audiences in each one. The Bush campaign, on the other hand, is taking a more national focus, relying on the idea that states will follow national trends. Either way, the county-by-county GOTV ground game is vital to both. LINK

On Saturday, Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times wrote that though President Bush is leaving his convention with a lead in the polls, he's also facing a new, energized, angry John Kerry, which means "a contest that remains fundamentally close, increasingly bitter and, ultimately, still unpredictable." Bush has momentum on his side — at least for the moment — and both Andy Kohut and Bill McInturff agreed that it may not be for keeps. And what's happening down the stretch is a campaign not about the candidates' strengths, but about their weaknesses, and about who can convince voters that the other is worse. LINK

On Sunday, the Boston Globe 's Pat Healy and Anne Kornblut took a look at the Bush and Kerry strategies going into the home stretch, with the Kerry camp shrugging off new poll numbers showing that President Bush picked up a healthy bounce out of his convention to focus on jobs and Iraq, and the Bush camp's aim to keep Kerry on the defensive so that he loses ground in the battleground states. LINK

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