The Note

"This nation will never go back to the false comforts of the world before 9/11. We are engaging the enemy as we must, in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, so we will not have to face them here at home. And we are not letting our guard down in the defense of the American homeland. At the President's request, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security, the largest reorganization of the federal government since Harry Truman was President. We have taken decisive, focused action to improve security at our borders and ports, and to protect travelers on commercial aircraft. We added billions in new funding for cutting-edge drugs and other defenses against biological attack. We changed the mission of the FBI, and reassigned hundreds of agents to counterterrorism duties, to help prevent terrorist attacks before they can be launched.

"And we took another vital step in defending our homeland with the passage of the USA Patriot Act, which the President signed into law in late 2001. That law solved some dramatic problems that became clear in a post-9/11 world -- problems that put our government at a significant disadvantage in the hunt for terrorists inside America."

Cheney's speech follows the recent release of a Bush ad that hits Kerry on the Patriot Act. The Kerry campaign, for its part, will sponsor a conference call with Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont and former Deputy Defense Secretary John White in the hopes of making hay out of a Time Magazine story that, in the words of the magazine, "raises questions about Cheney's arm's length policy toward his old employer," Halliburton. LINK

The New York Times' Dick Stevenson wraps up President Bush's visit to Arlington Cemetery yesterday, where he laid a wreath at Tomb of the Unknowns and "then delivered a Memorial Day address in which he acknowledged the "great costs" of the war in Iraq and tied it to the broader effort to combat terrorism." LINK

Taking a look at the Red state/Blue state breakdown of the Electoral Map (which is burned in our brains and often pops up in our dreams), the Boston Globe's Anne Kornblut looks at the BC04 strategy of targeting key states to get to 270 electoral votes and recent polling suggesting the President is possibly slipping in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. LINK

Kornblut writes that those numbers are causing "party stalwarts" to take notice and acknowledge that "[i]t is nearly impossible to patch together the 270 electoral votes needed to win without building broad support nationwide, despite the mathematical quirks of the Electoral College system."

Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe writes that the Bush campaign is "already on orange alert with five months to go before the election," Noting the "shock-and-awe" of the campaign's efforts on the airwaves in defining Sen. Kerry. LINK

Do Note three interesting items from Canellos, who says that this campaign "has played out as Bush-Dukakis the way Dukakis must have envisioned it unfolding:"

--"Bush has seemed a little shrill and insistent, while Kerry travels the country making presidential-type addresses"

-- "Bush's attack-dog tactics seem more out of proportion for an incumbent seeking reelection"

-- "This year, if anyone's running a stately, incumbent-style walk-through, it's Kerry"

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