ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

A Note exclusive: only because we are firefighting buffs did this next bit of news prick up our ears: The Ohio DNC/Kerry-Edwards Victory 2004 Campaign will open its new headquarters in a converted firehouse (Station 17) at 2300 West Broad Street in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus. The DNC informs us that Engine 17's first crew was African-American. The opening is Saturday, at 10:00 am ET. LINK

The open field next to the office space is tailor-made for all sorts of things.

This is, in short, boffo space.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

As we Noted above, in a significant strategy shift, the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign has introduced a third major issue into the election dialogue -- values/family priorities -- with a new ad that questions Sen. Kerry's stance on these issues, ABC News' Karen Travers reports.

For months now, the campaign has maintained that the two biggest issues in this election would be national security/war on terror and the economy. With this ad, the campaign adds a new element (values) that up until now has not been at the forefront of the campaign's strategy and communication.

The strategy shift introduces a new angle to criticize the Kerry/Edwards ticket -- communications director Nicolle Devenish told reporters that the ticket has "more distance from the values and priorities of mainstream Americans than any ticket in the history of the Democratic Party."

The new ad, "Priorities," will go up today on national cable and local markets. The ad is aimed at starting a dialogue with the American people leading up to the Democratic convention about the priorities of American families, Devenish said.

Watch for newspaper ads, surrogate verifiers and new lines in speeches.

The New York Post's Deb Orin Notes that the new BC04 ad criticizes Kerry for voting against the Laci Peterson law. LINK

The New York Times' Dick Stevenson reports "President Bush's re-election campaign stepped up its effort Thursday to portray Senator John Kerry as out of step with the values of most voters, kicking off a new round in a drive to define him on its terms before he finishes introducing himself to the country on his." LINK

USA Today's Judy Keen and Jill Lawrence chime in. LINK

The AP's Pete Yost marks President Bush's 30th visit to the Keystone State. LINK

Spotting the President in the Lehigh Valley will be tough, due to road closure and security restrictions. LINK

Spotting protestors will be easy, however. LINK

More local coverage: LINK and LINK

"Bush stumping on friendly Pa. turf today," reads the Denver Post-Gazette. LINK

The entire Molinari family disagrees with Al D'Amato about Dick Cheney. LINK

Jim Barnes in National Journal castigates Matt Dowd's extremely . . . shall we say . . . pessimistic polling memo . . . either it's transparently an attempt to set the bar SO low . . . or an indication that the BC04 political family is in trouble. Check out the blind quotes from . . . wait, they're not blind. Don Sipple: "In my view, they are running kind of a minimalist campaign . . . which is kind of damning." There are some blind quotes, too -- an ex-speechwriter (not too many of those, so guess) and a former member of Bush 41's team.

National Journal's James Kitfield assesses President Bush's foreign policy to date. It's a long read, but worth it. Check out the promises-versus-reality box on page 2163.

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