ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The Houston Chronicle reports that "Halliburton has agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $7.5 million to settle a long-running investigation into a change in accounting procedures that was not disclosed to investors in 1998 and much of 1999." LINK

The AP 's James Jefferson writes up Vice President Cheney's town hall meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Noting that he attributed high gas prices to the Democratic ticket and "their opposition to the Bush administration's energy policies." LINK

Vice President Cheney starts the day in La Crosse, Wis., with a visit to WalzCraft Industries, a custom cabinet manufacturer, and then it's quickly off to Lee's Summit, Missouri for a stop at Billy Goat Industries, a manufacturer of heavy lawn care equipment.

At WalzCraft and Billy Goat Industries, the Vice President will tour the facilities, deliver remarks and take questions from the audience, which will include employees, their families and Bush-Cheney '04 supporters.

The Vice President will emphasize the economy in his remarks in Wisconsin and Missouri but will also talk about the war on terror.

Cheney finishes the day with a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, home of Coors, where he will be joined by rival Senate candidates Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer.

The La Crosse Tribune previews the Vice President's visit. LINK

First Lady Laura Bush doesn't take the bait over Teresa Heinz Kerry's recent comments on the stump, telling Bill O'Reilly, "It's not easy to be heckled. You know, no one likes that. And so I, I can understand how her reactions would be like they were." LINK

She took the same tack this morning on CBS' "Early Show," and also weighed in on the terror warnings and the recent behavior of Heinz Kerry, Dick Cheney and Jenna Bush.

Asked for her reaction to Senator John Kerry's challenge to her husband's credibility, Mrs. Bush said everyone looked at the same intelligence and that "Kerry voted to use force against Saddam Hussein if necessary … Of course, I don't think John Kerry is right."

Mrs. Bush said she knows that the terror alerts are "anxiety-producing" especially for people in big cities. She said she recently visited the Citicorp's building in New York "to let everyone know who works there that it's safe."

Without being asked, Mrs. Bush brought up her daughter Jenna's recent antics, sticking out her tongue at the press. Mrs. Bush said she was away hiking at the time, and Jenna was surprised that her mother had not heard about the incident. A smiling Mrs. Bush said she told her daughter she might want to "work on your issues of impulsiveness."

On Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" incident, Mrs. Bush said, "Well, I want to say again, it's hard. It's hard when your husband is running for president." It is hard to hear your husband "scrutinized" and to "hear the criticisms," she said, adding: "I think that's really what the fact of the matter is in what she said."

Asked if it was a double standard that Vice President Cheney's vulgar comment to Senator Leahy had received less attention than Heinz Kerry's comment, Mrs. Bush smartly said, "Maybe it's a double standard but I think if there is footage of it. That's what happens."

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney v. Kerry-Edwards:

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