Evening Newscasts Wrap: ABC News Political Unit

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ABC leads with allegations of abuse at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. John Berman reports. NBC and CBS lead with the latest on the terror warnings. NBC: Andrea Mitchell/ CBS: David Martin.


Elizabeth Vargas intro: "President Bush's spokesman said today that "its wrong and plain irresponsible" to suggest that the recent terror alert for New York and Washington was based on old information. The spokesman was responding to reports today that suggested the alerts might have been politically motivated." ABC's Kate Snow reports President Bush is angry about this, particularly at the New York Times' article which suggested the White House has known about the threats for some time. Administration officials are trying to make it very clear that they did not know about the threats until recently.


NBC's Carl Quintanilla reports John Kerry "has left most of the heartland issues at home, focusing instead on Iraq and the war on terror." Recent polls show Kerry's focus on these issues play to the President's strength, and may be the reason why Kerry has not received the talked about "bounce" following the convention. Republicans contend that the convention was marred by distractions, such as Kerry's stint in a NASA space suit, Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove-it" comment, and Al Sharpton's speech. Rep. Gephardt defends Kerry's standing, calling it "miraculous." Quintanilla notes: "this is called spin." Republicans are saying they have no expectations of "bounce" after their own convention.


In Wisconsin, CBS' Jim Axelrod finds out that what voters want to hear most about from John Kerry: healthcare! Kerry has offered up jobs, war, environment, and education but in this specific region, they all want to discuss healthcare. In Ohio, Kerry spoke for 26 minutes; he spent most of his time on the war and then, (in order of length), a bit on healthcare, jobs, education. This piece features some undecided voters that are leaning towards Kerry because of the health care issue.


CBS's Sandra Hughes looks at the candidates' plans for education. Both Kerry and Bush want to fix the problem of rising college tuition. This piece focuses on one particular student that will be $50,000 dollars in debt when he graduates form Northeastern University in Boston. The "fear of big debt" is something that Kerry is tapping into. But, Kerry's plan can only be applied to public colleges (not Northeastern University). Bush's plan would actually help this student. During Bush Administration, tax deductions and credits have made it easier for some students to pay for college. But regardless, neither the plan of Bush nor Kerry will make it all that much cheaper for students to pay for college.


(Elizabeth Vargas substitutes)

1. Allegations of abuse at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay. (John Berman, NY)

2. Private England was in court today. (Steve Osunsami, North Carolina)

3. The latest on the terror threats. (Pierre Thomas, Washington, D.C.)

4. The politics of terror. (Elizabeth Vargas/ Kate Snow two-way)

5. U.S. causalities in Iraq.

6. Heavy fighting in Afghanistan with rebels near the border with Pakistan.

7. Protecting the financial system. (Betsy Stark, NY)

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