ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Tom Beaumont leads with Cheney's "we'll get hit again" comments in the Des Moines Register and points out that "Cheney has assumed the role of the Bush campaign's chief Kerry critic and has continually questioned the Massachusetts senator's commitment to fighting international terrorism." LINK

Dana Milbank and Spencer S. Hsu of the Washington Post Note "Cheney went beyond previous restraints to suggest that the country would be more vulnerable to attack under Kerry" and piece together the campaign rhetoric yesterday. LINK

For more on the back and forth (and back and forth . . . ) between the campaigns and Cheney's comments:

The New York Times : LINK

The Boston Globe : LINK

USA Today : LINK

Gerstenzang and Nick Anderson profile the Vice President on the campaign trail and write that Cheney's "measured manner accentuates the take-no-prisoners message he is delivering several times a day in some of the most fought-over territory in the presidential race." LINK

President Bush and the National Guard:

During his long professional association with George W. Bush, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett has spent hundreds of hours patiently walking reporters through the facts of Gov. Bush's National Guard record.

Almost always hanging his hat on the peg of Mr. Bush's honorable discharge (and trying at all costs to avoid revisiting the president's Houston Chronicle quote about avoiding the war), Bartlett's silky smooth handling of the matter has kept things on a slow simmer or completely off the stove through several elections.

But now — as missing documents reappear with the suddenness of Rose Law Firm billing records and Bartlett is forced to acknowledge to the Boston Globe a rare misstatement — things seem a bit in flux.

The Boston Globe offers up an analysis of President Bush's National Guard records, and concludes that he fell "well short" of meeting his obligation. According to their reexamination of the Bush's military records: Twice during his Guard service — first when he joined in May 1968, and again before he transferred out of his unit in mid-1973 to attend Harvard Business School — Bush signed documents pledging to meet training commitments or face a punitive call-up to active duty. LINK

The Globe suggests the records are more "overlooked" than brand new. The networks will sort it out . . .

Texans for Truth is getting its turn at bat today — just in time for the "60 Minutes II" interview with Ben Barnes tonight. Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times has all the details on the outside ad campaign critical of President Bush's military service. LINK

The ad, features Bob Mintz, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Alabama Air National Guard, who served at the Montgomery, AL air base during the time Bush claims to have served there in 1972. Mintz will speak in the ads, and in a news conference on Wednesday, saying he never saw George W. Bush at the base.

The ad buy is for between $100,000 and $250,000 (sound like a familiar number?) — to be nailed down today — targeting "swing counties which have had an above average casualties from the war," according to the group.


Text: Was George W. Bush AWOL in Alabama?

Visual: Bob Mintz sitting in front of an American flag.

Mintz: "I heard George W. Bush get up there and say, 'I served in the 187th Air National Guard in Montgomery, Alabama.'

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