ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

"For the moment, momentum seems to favor Bush. Members of his inner circle said yesterday that they envisioned a tantalizing possibility: seizing the lead and refusing to let Kerry regain ground in the 58 days left, and running an offense through at least the end of September to widen gains in battleground states such as Missouri, West Virginia, and Arizona."

"If Bush can move those states into his column, he can concentrate on states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, which Democrat Al Gore narrowly captured in 2000."

In Sunday's New York Times Week in Review, James Dao looked at how the focus on the Rust Belt states as the campaigns focus on the battlegrounds has changed the debate on politics from national to regional — which could alienate voters whose states are more solidly red or blue — or at least a little less purple. LINK

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten and Matea Gold wrapped the weekend's campaigning in Ohio, where Medicare took center stage, with Bush defending his plan and Kerry slamming it for hiking premiums. LINK

Time magazine's Jyoti Thottam compares the Bush and Kerry economic plans. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

President Bush is in Poplar Bluffs, MO, today, where he will focus on his small business agenda as part of the Post -convention "Opportunity Tour." Vice President Cheney hits up Minneapolis for a town hall meeting and then heads on to Clear Lake, Iowa for a Labor Day picnic. No Republican presidential candidate has won Minnesota since 1972 or Iowa since 1984 but BC04 campaign Notes "the race in both states is within the margin of error today."

The Washington Post 's Mike Allen wraps this weekend's comments by President Bush, indicating that a flat tax and a national sales tax could be part of his second-term tax overhaul plan. LINK

Revenue neutral, to be sure, but what about those distribution tables???

Bob Hillman of the Dallas Morning News observes that when President Bush calls the tax code a "complicated mess," it's "a guaranteed crowd pleaser, drawing hoots and hollers everywhere. LINK

But, Hillman Notes, Bush "offered no details Sunday during a re-election campaign rally at the Parkersburg High School football stadium. Nor have his aides offered more than a two-page fact sheet of tax reform priorities and principles" since the RNC.

The New York Post 's Ian Bishop leads with the president's claim that John Kerry would raise taxes on 900,000 "small businesses," but neglects to include Phil Singer's at-the-ready response. LINK

Despite the fact that there were no obvious Kerry supporters at his rally in Parkersburg yesterday, Joe Curl of the Washington Times reports that President Bush reached out to Democrats and independent voters there, saying they were "welcome." LINK

The AP's Laura Meckler Notes that Vice President Cheney "will be key to turning out the Republican base this November." LINK

But campaign officials tell Meckler that Cheney will also be deployed to persuade undecideds.

Meckler reports that "[o]ver the next two months, Cheney plans to travel as many as five days each week to battleground states. He will go to conservative areas where President Bush runs strong, and to some areas where the race is tighter," according to chief strategist Matt Dowd.

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