ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The New York Times ' David Kirkpatrick reports that a/the key adviser on Catholic issues to the Bush campaign, Deal Hudson, announced yesterday in a column on National Review online that he is resigning as a BC04 adviser "because of a Catholic newspaper's investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct involving a female student at a college where he once taught." Hudson is the "publisher of the conservative Roman Catholic journal Crisis and the architect of a Republican effort to court Catholic voters." LINK

In a New York Times must-read, Dick Stevenson examines the president's rhetoric on defense and military issues on the trail this week, Noting that the emphasis "appeared intended to position him as an innovative, forward-looking commander in chief whose vision extends well beyond the problems he has had bringing Iraq under control." LINK

Stevenson looks at the politics and writes that "the challenge for Mr. Bush is not so much to solidify his standing as the nation's commander in chief as it is to make sure he appears stronger and more reliable than Mr. Kerry. As Mr. Bush's political advisers often say, elections are about choices and comparisons.

And with just two weeks until the President's speech at the Garden, this sentence is probably not what campaign advisers hope to be reading: "The upshot is that Mr. Bush's standing among voters on national security matters is not what he and his advisers had hoped it would be heading into the Republican Convention in New York, which the White House had once assumed would be a perfect setting to showcase the president's standing as commander in chief in a post-9/11 world"

The Washington Post 's Dana Milbank wraps President Bush's trip to Chippewa Falls, WI, where he "proposed new educational benefits for National Guardsmen and reservists." LINK

Milbank Notes the presence of a permanent face on the campaign plane: "Traveling with Bush was Karen Hughes, a key figure in his 2000 election who joined the campaign this week at a salary of about $15,000 per month. 'I took the training wheels off today,' said Hughes, who will travel with Bush for the rest of the campaign."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press report on the president's rally yesterday. LINK and LINK

Jim Lakely of the Washington Times looks at the President's message on the campaign trail yesterday and writes that Bush "is counting on public perception of his handling of the war on terror to carry him to a second term, and this new proposal signals that Democratic charges that Mr. Bush has ignored the needs of veterans at home is getting traction." LINK

USA Today 's Richard Benedetto covers the President's bus trip yesterday. LINK The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Alan Borsuck wraps the President's stops in Wisconsin, including sound bites from Karen Hughes! LINK

Rick Klein looks at the President's ability to give off an average guy vibe to voters by "turning on the folksy charm, hoping to sharpen the contrast with his Democratic opponent." LINK

Klein Notes: "Bush often mentions his Texas upbringing, the importance of religious values, and his mother still telling him what to do. Although he is the son of a president and grandson of a senator, Bush is nevertheless able to convey a sense of wide-eyed wonder about being in the White House."

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