ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg profiles Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is "dancing a delicate dance as chairwoman of hearings that are exposing conflicts among the White House, intelligence agencies and members of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks." LINK

Carl Hulse of the New York Times reports that congressional Democrats will be back in Washington on Tuesday to push the government's response to the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and gain some political advantage in the tug-of-war. Republicans in Congress call it an attempt to make up for a weak record on national security. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Ralph Nader, a candidate who takes local issues to the people, called for reforms to prevent the casting and counting snafus of Florida 2000 yesterday at a press conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

Standing between a podium and a smart looking VoteNader.org step-n-repeat sign, Andrew A. Green of the Baltimore Sun reports the candidate called for a paper trail for the state's new electronic voting machines and asked, "Why are we spending billions for machines that can be hacked from the outside, crashed from the inside and make all kinds of errors, without a paper trail? . . . Why take the chance?"

In a press conference that resembled a speech, Nader also stumped for a patient's right to sue for medical malpractice. Nader-the-Reformer criticized Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for advocating tort reform, proposed harsher punishment for bad doctors, suggested requiring insurance companies to open their books to justify steep fees and give consumers records on erring doctors and hospitals. Gov. Ehrlich has called medical malpractice insurance costs the most pressing issue facing the state, reports the Baltimore Sun. LINK

Of how it's going, Nader said yesterday he still plans to be on 43 state ballots and warned Kerry about "dirty tricks," and the "Mini-Watergate" (question: which is cuter, the Mini-Watergate or the Baby Pool?).

Meanwhile, there was a doin' afoot in Pennsylvania, where in 2000 Nader drew 2.1 percent of the vote and yesterday where two lawsuits were filed against his campaign.

In Harrisburg, Democrats challenged him the validity of 45,000 nominating-petition signatures he filed early August. And in Philadelphia, dozens of petition circulators, many of them homeless, sued him for unpaid wages. Democrats in the state claim there was widespread fraud involved in putting him on the ballot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Democrats say there is evidence of "round robin" signing where every 10th entry featured the same handwriting, and further they say there were "numerous reports of Nader circulators' obscuring their candidate's name in an effort to get people to sign." LINK

Nader spokesguy Kevin Zeese says the campaign ran it's own batter of tests, throwing out 7,000 on their own before submitting the raw signatures.

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the scoop too. LINK

Big picturing it, John M. R. Bull of the Allentown Morning Call writes "Democrats desperately want Nader off the ballot in this battleground state, fearing he'll siphon votes from Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, perhaps enough to throw the Keystone state to President Bush." LINK

The Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso finds yet more GOP connections for Nader backers, this time working in New Hampshire to get the independent candidate on the state's ballot. LINK

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