Bush and Kerry return from their corners this week to find improved support for Iraq, improving job numbers, and lower gas prices, signaling Sen. Kerry to shift to a "too little, too late" message to woo November voters. The Globe's Glen Johnson reports Kerry pollster Mark Mellman spins, "John Kerry is in a stronger position than any challenger has been against an elected incumbent in the last 50 years, George Bush in a weaker position than any elected incumbent has been in the last 50 years." LINK
The Hill's Jonathan Kaplan writes about Howard Stern's potential impact on voters, stemming from Kaplan's live call into Stern's show on Monday morning when Kaplan began to question Stern without identifying himself as a reporter and was then called a "son of a bitch" and subjected to questioning by Stern about whether or not Kaplan is a "gay reporter." LINK
ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:
The Washington Post's Amy Goldstein wraps President Bush's trip to Liberty, Missouri, where he acknowledged problems with the Medicare prescription drug cards, but also offered a strong defense of them. LINK
The New York Times' Dick Stevenson Notes that Medicare was "an issue that Republicans once had high hopes of turning to their advantage this year." LINK
"Mr. Bush has shied away from talking frequently or in depth about the topic on the campaign trail this year," reflecting concerns from Republicans that the Medicare legislation "has so many problems, including a big price tag and a prescription drug benefit more limited than many retirees might have hoped for, that it could work against them."
AP's Schneider leads his write up of Vice President Cheney's speech in Orlando yesterday with Cheney's connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, Noting that the connection was "an assertion that has been repeatedly challenged by some policy experts and lawmakers." LINK
The Miami Herald's Clark Notes Cheney "sought to compare his boss to the GOP icon credited with ending the Cold War." LINK
The Washington Post's E.J Dionne Notes in "response to a widespread loss of public confidence in the administration's handling of Iraq…there has been a remarkable shift in President Bush's strategy for reelection. Bush once wanted to highlight his differences with John Kerry over Iraq and national security. Now the president is trying to blur them." LINK
Nick "Ad Watch" Anderson of the Los Angeles Times looks at the Media Fund ads that were waiting to greet President Bush yesterday in Missouri, Noting the tactic "likely to become more popular with political operatives increasingly schooled in preemptive attacks." LINK
The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg Notes "as Republicans try to cloak President Bush in the mantle of Ronald Reagan, their biggest obstacle may be Mr. Reagan's own family."
"At the culmination of an emotional week of mourning for the former president, his son Ron Reagan delivered a eulogy that castigated politicians who use religion "to gain political advantage," a comment that was being interpreted in Washington as a not-so-subtle slap at Mr. Bush." LINK
And we stand corrected -- President Bush will be in Spokane for a George Nethercutt fundraiser on Thursday and it's actually pricier to pose with POTUS than we wrote yesterday. Donors must raise $10,000 to get to stand with the President for the flashbulbs. Thanks, Alex Conant of the Nethercutt campaign, for pointing this out.
ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry: