ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The politics of national security: The New York Times ' David Johnston and David Sanger report that though al Qaeda leaders are being killed or captured, new, lower-ranking members and recruits are stepping into their place — revealing a deeper bench and more complex structure for the terrorist organization than had been previously thought, and throwing a crimp into President Bush's comments about the success of U.S. forces in killing or capturing al Qaeda leaders. LINK The New York Times ' Eric Lichtblau and Michael Luo report "federal security officers will take over the screening of all passengers on helicopter tours in New York City, after officials found that suspected Qaeda operatives in Pakistan had photographs, a brochure and other information about the tours." LINK Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times reports President Bush's Monday comments that the U.S. will continue to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program — through other countries. Sanctions were not effective, Bush said. LINK The New York Times ' Sheryl Gay Stolberg profiles Senator 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 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.

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