The Note

Morin and Balz include reaction from Kerry adviser Tad Devine, who, not surprisingly, ain't buying the results, and Bush strategist Dowd, who, not surprisingly, is.

There's a new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll out today too.

Susan Page of USA Today writes up the results of the new survey, finding Bush ahead of Kerry among likely voters 50 percent to 44 percent with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The President's job approval rating stayed steady at 52 percent. LINK

"The survey illustrates Bush's strong edge over Kerry when it comes to national security. By 2-to-1, voters say only Bush, not Kerry, would do a good job in handling terrorism. By nearly as much, 40% to 26%, they say only Bush would do a good job in handling the situation in Iraq. Bush's approval rating on handling terrorism is a muscular 60%."

Rick Hampson of USA Today analyzes the new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll that finds "despite the shootings, bombings, sieges, ambushes, kidnappings and combat deaths, most Americans still support the war. And an increasing number think it should be stepped up." Hampson talks to voters around the country, some of whom are most concerned with the exit strategy. LINK

The poll results: LINK

Woodward and the White House:

The Washington Post presents the third installment of excerpts from Bob Woodward's "Path to War": Vice President Cheney and his team push for war in Iraq. LINK

Man, Woodward sure was snippy with Matt Lauer this morning!!!

The Washington Post's Dan Morgan reports that Secretary of State Colin Powell took issue with Woodward's book yesterday, insisting that his support for the Iraq war "was willing and it was complete, no matter how others might try to impose their policy wishes on my body." LINK

Powell said he'd cooperated with Woodward on the book on the instruction of the White House, and said he had been kept in the loop on the President's strategy -- including the briefings to Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia.

Bill Nichols of USA Today writes up Powell's reaction to the Woodward book as well. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Schlesinger and Harwood wonder whether Colin Powell could "wind up helping John Kerry in the election" given that Woodward's book, in the eyes of Democrats, "underscores one of their main critiques of Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq: that the White House focused too much on war and not enough on diplomacy." Bill Kristol calls for Powell's firing. Matt Dowd says Kerry has his own problems on the issue of Iraq.

In a youcouldhavebeenacontender kind of editorial, the New York Times' ed board wonders whither Colin Powell in light of the Woodward book: "Knowing that Mr. Powell thought the invasion" of Iraq "was a bad idea doesn't make him look better -- it makes his inaction puzzling and disappointing. It's an article of faith in Washington that Mr. Powell would not serve in a second Bush administration. The lasting impression may be this sense of disappointment in the secretary he could have been." LINK

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that "if Mr. Powell disagreed so passionately about Iraq, the more honorable path would have been to resign -- before the war."

Colin Powell is "'totally supported'" by the President, says Page Six. LINK

That's not what Lloyd Grove hears. LINK

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