The Note

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Given his giant lead in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, it seems virtually impossible that John Kerry can lose the election.

When The Note starts out with a lead that tongue in cheek, you have to be on the lookout.

So from the list below, identify the five items about which we are serious, and the five that are jokey:

WAYS JOHN KERRY CAN STILL BLOW THE ELECTION (leaving out things beyond his control):

1. Failure to read and understand David Brooks' if-you-read-only-one-article-today-let-it-be-this-must-read op-ed piece in the New York Times about the Kerry and Democratic failure to understand the importance of faith in public life. (John Podesta and Bill Clinton excepted . . . ) LINK

2. Leaves room for Bush-Cheney spokesguy Steve Schmidt to go door-to-door to convince each and every American that every single utterance, act, or historical move by John Kerry illustrates to a fare thee well that the Massachusetts Senator tries to take both sides of every issue and is a man of no convictions who will say anything to get elected.

3. Not enough endorsements from Nobel laureates.

4. Failure to pick as his running mate any of the candidates supported by David Ginsberg, Steve Elmendorf, and/or Bob Shrum.

5. Failure to get the country to see him as Vanessa and Alex see him.

6. Can't get a certain communications staffer to give up one of her three jobs.

7. Comes off in the debates as arrogant, sighing, and truth hedging.

8. Is overshadowed by Bill Clinton.

9. Loses his home state.

10. Utters this magic phrase in his acceptance speech: "Who among us doesn't love NASCAR?"

OK, maybe only four of the 10 were serious, but you (we hope) get our point.

Sen. Kerry canceled a New Mexico campaign stop today and returned to Washington early Tuesday morning to co-sponsor Sen. Daschle's veterans health care amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. Kerry has been criticized recently by Massachusetts Republicans for missing more than 75 percent of this current congressional session's votes. It's not clear at this writing how he will spend his day, or why, exactly, he decided this was a vote he needed to make.

At 12:15 pm ET, his campaign strategists will do a conference call briefing for the media on their sense of the state of the race.

Majority Leader Frist is determined to see the veterans bill finished by Tuesday night, and he warned Senators today to prepare for a long Tuesday night in anticipation of a series of votes to finish the bill. Some in the Senate believe Wednesday is a little more realistic. With the bill then concluded, there's been some talk of having the Senate take up the Defense Appropriations Bill on Wednesday.

President Bush meets with the Prime Minister of Hungary and speaks at the White House's Black Music Month Reception. Meanwhile the Bush campaign continues to paint John Kerry as a "pessimist" with a Sen. Zell Miller conference call on the subject in addition to releasing a new radio ad in battleground states.

First Lady Laura Bush hosts an online chat at http://www.georgewbush.com/Chat

Teresa Heinz Kerry hosts a discussion about women and the economy and also holds a press conference at Miami-Dade Community College in Florida.

Former President Clinton attends book signings in New York City and appears on tape on "Oprah." (check local listings)

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