The Note

In this week's National Journal, Charlie Cook says forget the marathon/dash metaphor; this presidential contest looks more like a demolition derby, and Notes that "the current president is sitting on the bubble between past winners and losers. At the moment, he's closer to the winners, but his ratings have been dropping while those of his predecessors who went on to win were gaining at this point in their presidencies."

The Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten reports that "pollsters and even some Republican strategists say the most important indicators of whether an incumbent is likely to win are — at least for the moment — grim for Bush." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jessica Mintz has a nifty story today about all of the Bush and Kerry campaign merchandise, Noting that there is a wider array of Bush gear than there is Kerry gear.

"Nowhere are the policy differences between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush more apparent, health analysts say, than on what to do about rising health costs and the growing number of Americans without insurance," writes the New York Times' Robin Toner. LINK

Note to Robin: get more space from your editors, or tell them it isn't worth the trouble.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: The AP's Sharon Theimer reports that the Bush campaign has hit the $200 million mark, which is almost twice as much as Kerry and "surpasses the Bush campaign's stated goals." LINK

Visiting a West Virginia high school yesterday, the president aimed to counter Kerry's criticism that his administration has done too little to improve public education, writes the Washington Post's Amy Goldstein. LINK

The West Virginia Intelligencer covers the president's visit strictly on educational terms, making no mention of Senator Kerry. LINK

The Green Bay News-Chronicle's Anna Krejci previews the President's visit there today. LINK

The Note loves these two paragraphs:

"Commencement speakers are encouraged to speak from their perspectives, and [Concordia University President Patrick] Ferry said he believes the speech will be more 'presidential' than 'political.'"

More: "Ferry said the president might have accepted Concordia University's invitation to speak because it is a campaign year and Wisconsin is considered a key state in the presidential race."

Send President Ferry to a poli sci class next term!!!!

The Miami Herald's Lesley Clark reports that Vice President Cheney "is scheduled to address the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County at noon today — a visit that comes as the White House intensifies efforts to court Jewish voters, including President Bush's decision last month to reverse decades of U.S. policy and endorse an Israeli plan to hold on to lands seized in the 1967 Six Day War." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes (although the Web version would have you believe it is John Harwood's handiwork) has Karen Hughes saying she didn't know about the photos showing abuse of Iraqi prisoners until she saw them on CBS, and he writes that "even party allies are dumbfounded"and "lament that White House damage control suffered."

The Wall Street Journal looks beyond gas prices and explores the idea of rising phone bills due to the administration's recent legal victory in relaxing some telecom regulations.

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