ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

President Bush had a strong reaction to reporters' questions yesterday in North Carolina about the new Kerry/Edwards ticket. When asked how Edwards stacks up against Vice President Cheney, Bush retorted: "Dick Cheney can be president. Next."

The Washington Post's Mike Allen wraps Bush's criticism of Edwards, which "reflected the determination of the White House to undermine him and prevent the Democrats from getting a significant boost from the choice, especially in the South," and "surprised officials in both parties, especially as Bush had no national experience when he was elected to the top job in 2000." LINK

Allen Notes the Republican strategy: "blanket local radio and television in southern political battlegrounds with interviews asserting that Edwards is Kerry's ideological soul mate. Republican officials plan to try to blunt the favorite-son effect by shifting the attention from Edwards back to Kerry."

The New York Times' Nick Lewis (a Note favorite!) looks at the subtext of President Bush's comments yesterday, Noting that "[u]nderlying the exchange was a nasty, three-year-old battle between Mr. Bush and Senate Democrats over judicial confirmations."LINK

President Bush connected Sen. Edwards to the judicial battle and "complained that Mr. Edwards was personally responsible for holding up confirmation of two North Carolina nominees," Lewis writes.

Nick Anderson and Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times Note President Bush dropped "the cordial tone he struck when Edwards was named to the Democratic ticket a day earlier." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt and Jake Schlesinger report "President Bush signaled his opening strategy for fighting John Kerry's ticket: jab vice-presidential candidate John Edwards on his qualifications and hit both Democratic rivals on their values."

New York Post: LINK

USA Today: LINK

Washington Times: LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's Matthew Eisley Notes that despite the jabs at Sen. Edwards and the timing of the trip, the President's trip was an official trip not a campaign jaunt because of the focus on the judicial nominations. LINK

Eisely reports that the $2.35 million fundraiser was a record for a Tarheel State political event. "Bush can declare immediate victory on his visit's main goal: raising money for national Republican advertising and other party activities."

The Charlotte Observer's Griffin and Durhams lead their write up of the President's trip to Raleigh with the coincidence of the timing, but Note that "the trip was planned weeks ago."LINK

The New York Times' Carl Hulse and David Sanger look at the Republican line of attack on Sen. Edwards, which will focus what party leaders say is his "greater vulnerability" -- his lack of experience. LINK

Former New York Senator Al D'Amato said on Tuesday that President Bush should drop Vice President Cheney from the Republican ticket and pick up either Secretary of State Powell or Sen. John McCain.

The New York Times' Hernandez reports that in a statement, D'Amato "did not back off his original contention that Mr. Cheney should be removed from the ticket, asserting that 'hard decisions' had to be made at a time of war."LINK

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