ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The AP's Laura Meckler wraps up Vice President Cheney's speech in Dayton yesterday, where Cheney comments on "sensitivity," saying it "won't impress the Sept. 11 terrorists or the Islamic militants who have beheaded U.S. citizens — criticism Kerry dismissed as negative politics." LINK

The Los Angeles Times ' Peter Wallsten and Mark Z. Barabak look at the timing of the latest BC04 attacks and polls that suggest the Democratic ticket "had gained slight leads in some battleground states and the economy continued to weigh on President Bush's prospects." LINK

"Cheney's comments reflected an escalation in the tone of attacks, coming a day after the president himself mocked Kerry for remarks this week that he would have voted to authorize the war in Iraq even if he had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction."

The Times duo look at the focus on the war by BC04 and Note that it comes "as new polls suggest the president is sliding a bit in election battleground states while Kerry may be riding a delayed bounce from his nominating convention — putting added pressure on Bush to perform well at the Republican National Convention from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2."

David Guarino of the Boston Herald Notes: "The strikes fit perfectly into the Bush campaign's attempts to undercut Kerry's Vietnam military record and paint him as unfit to battle terrorists." LINK

The New York Times ' Jodi Wilgoren writes up the "I'll-slam-you-on-Iraq and I'll-dig-at-you-on-the-economy" fight. LINK

The Wall Street Journal editorial board argues that Sen. Kerry's position on Iraq shows he doesn't understand the security demands of a post-9/11 world.

Ron Fournier looks at how recent polls have been leaning in the direction of Kerry-Edwards, but Democratic strategists don't want the campaign to get too confident. LINK

"If public polls and pundits are right, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon and 15 others states plus the District of Columbia are in Kerry's column or leaning his way with 269 electoral votes — one short of the presidency."

"But it's not nearly that simple."

The New York Times ' Glen Justice turns in a must-read about the machinations and politics of campaign finance law, with Ben Ginsberg on the Republican side, and Robert Bauer on the Democratic side, in the drivers' seats of figuring out precisely how McCain-Feingold affects campaigns and parties as they "try to navigate the complex rules to their clients' maximum benefit." LINK

The gibes at the end are priceless and undignified!!!

In Washington Wire, the Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes offers up all sorts of interesting tidbits — and we're looking forward to appearances by both President Bush and Sen. Kerry next week before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Cincinnati and the Vogue profile of Sen. John Edwards.

USA Today 's Martin Kasindorf writes about the possibly brewing battle over the idea of a national sales tax. LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Levins looks at the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad and the "Unfit for Command" book and their messages about the Democratic nominee for president. LINK

Who will they vote for? While the voting bloc of Arab-Americans seems recently to be shifting toward Sen. Kerry, the Boston Globe 's Bryan Bender explains how they are still up for grabs. LINK

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