Vietnam veteran Larry Heinemann writes on the New York Times op-ed page that "in Vietnam medals were handed out like popcorn, right down to the Good Conduct Medal and the Rifle Sharpshooter Badge, particularly among career-minded officers and NCO's," and the important thing is that Kerry turned his boat around to rescue Jim Rassmann. LINK
"The awards for Purple Hearts were mostly initiated by the medical staff. A wound is hard to fake, and you didn't put in for a Purple Heart, it was given to you whether you wanted one or not, or deserved it. And anyone who went looking for a Purple Heart was called 'John Wayne,' and avoided like the plague."
The New York Post 's Orin, Morris, and Bishop writes the Swift Boat story has "exploded into an election 'X factor.'" LINK
The New York Times ' Rutenberg and Zernike detail the President's new efforts against 527s and report that his campaign is filing two lawsuits: one is intended to expidite its original complaint before the FEC and another is to seek tighter restrictions on 527's fund-raising. LINK
The Chicago Tribune team looks at the lawsuit and lays out all the political complications involved. Below are a couple good points. LINK
1. "With less than 10 weeks remaining before the Nov. 2 election, it is highly unlikely that a court will stop the actions of 527s because federal campaign finance laws allow them."
2. "And it's not clear that the parties want the 527s to be reined in because they are important players in the Democratic and Republican campaign arsenals."
The Los Angeles Times' Rainey and Finnegan Note "the continued reverberations from the ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth came as both camps said they wanted to focus on other matters." LINK
More: LINK and LINK and LINK
The Boston Globe 's Jessica Vascellaro (you go, Crimson girl) presents her interview with Judith Droz Keyes, the widow of Sen. Kerry's best friend in Vietnam Lieut. Donald Droz, who says she doesn't feel she "can remain silent anymore." LINK
Keyes talked at length with her late husband about the medals the two men earned together, documented on in a letter, and she protested the war with Kerry upon his return.
Keyes also has a New York Times op-ed piece supportive of Kerry. LINK
The Des Moines Register's William Petroski writes about "Iowa's most-decorated living veteran" who compares Kerry to Benedict Arnold. LINK
The Washington Post's editorial board thinks the McCain-Feingold bill wasn't a total failure, pointing out, as, uhm, some others have that it broke the tie between the big donors and solicitations by electeds. LINK
A Boston Globe editorial explains how Ben Ginsberg is "the smoking gun." LINK
The poverty numbers in the states:
USA Today 's Peronet Despeignes writes that the poverty numbers "were interpreted by [Kerry] as proof that President Bush's economic policies have failed the middle class." LINK
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's headline: "State poverty rate hits 10-year high." LINK
The Columbus Dispatch's headline: "Poverty plight worsens in Ohio." LINK
The Seattle Post Intelligencer's write-up of the poverty numbers sounds like a John Edwards' stump speech: "New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau yesterday painted a picture of two Washingtons, one in which the number of people without health insurance rose to historic levels and the other in which middle-class workers enjoyed a bump in income." LINK