ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Rep. Doug Bereuter (R-Neb.) took a parting shot at the Bush Administration as he wraps up is House career after 13 terms, "saying he believes that the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified and that the situation has deteriorated into 'a dangerous, costly mess,'" the AP reports. LINK

The economy:

Sure to be mentioned on the round of morning conference calls: "A relentless rise in the cost of employee health insurance has become a significant factor in the employment slump, as the labor market adds only a trickle of new jobs each month despite nearly three years of uninterrupted economic growth," the New York Times ' Porter reports. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's editorial board likes flex-time proposals.

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

The Des Moines Register 's David Yepsen has a bunch of tidbits, none so interesting as this: "Polk County Auditor Mike Mauro predicts 50,000 people will vote by absentee ballot this year in Iowa's largest county. That's a huge number — about a third of the total vote. He already has 17,000 absentee-ballot requests, mostly from Democrats. Ballots will be mailed Sept. 23 and voters can start casting them then." LINK

The Detroit Free Press leads with the state's July jobs report. LINK

"The Michigan economy stumbled in July, losing another 7,000 jobs, pushing one of the nation's worst unemployment rates even higher, and ensuring that workplace worries will be a major issue in this fall's presidential election."

"The state's factories again bore the brunt of the cutbacks, eliminating 16,000 more positions and reducing the number of manufacturing jobs below 700,000 for the first time since Michigan began keeping records."

The Detroit News also leads its paper with July's 6.8% unemployment rate. LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

"Out-of-state gay couples are banned from marrying in Massachusetts pending a final ruling on the 1913 law that Governor Mitt Romney is using to block same-sex marriages, a Superior Court judge ruled yesterday," leads the Boston Globe 's Scott Greenberger. LINK

Prison abuse scandal:

"A long-awaited report on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal will implicate about two dozen military intelligence soldiers and civilian contractors in the intimidation and sexual humiliation of Iraq war prisoners, but will not suggest wrongdoing by military brass outside the prison, senior Defense officials said Wednesday," reports the Los Angeles Times' John Hendren. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

State Democrats yesterday gathered at the Illinois State Fair, putting previous disagreements behind them, and rallied behind their knight in shining armor Barack Obama, reports the Chicago Tribune's Long and Parsons. There is in-fighting among the Googling monkeys this morning on which Obama sign is better: "Oh Mama, it's Obama" or "You Barack My World."LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer 's Rob Christensen reports that Erskine Bowles knows that the NRSC is coming after him soon, and gets Rick Reed to confirm that his people are involved. LINK

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