The Note

"So far, would-be voters appear to have a healthy appetite for all the news, though it may be souring."

The politics of national security:

The Wall Street Journal's King and Jaffe write Wednesday's attack in Iraq on civilian contractors "seems likely to add to pressure on the Bush administration to identify and stop the militants launching the deadly attacks. Administration aides acknowledge that a stronger sense of security in the country is vital to its goals of building Iraq's economy and turning political power over to Iraqis."

The Washington Post's Christopher Lee Notes from a survey, released yesterday by the nonpartisan Council for Excellence in Government "fewer than half of all Americans think the country is safer now than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, and more than three-quarters expect the United States to be the target of a major terrorist attack at home or abroad in the next few months." LINK

Money, Jim "Kaiser Soze" Jordan, and the land...:

Republicans and President Bush's re-election campaign accused Sen. John Kerry and Democratic interest groups of conspiring to violate election laws by illegally using hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of "soft money" donations to bring about the president's defeat.

The Republican National Committee will file an emergency complaint with the Federal Election Commission but urge the commission to quickly dismiss the complaint. The tactic would allow the RNC to seek more immediate relief from a federal judge, who could shut down the Democratic groups. LINK

We spoke with a half dozen campaign finance experts yesterday -- several sympathetic to the cause of the Republicans -- and they uniformly doubted that the FEC would ever agree to dismiss a bonafide complaint so quickly.

Several of these observers said they believed the filing was a broadside designed to bring media and public reprobation to the 527s ahead of the FEC's rulemaking process.

That said, the charges are serious and the takes from the big reporters are appropriately somber:

Edsall: LINK

Justice: LINK

Theimer: LINK

Hallow: LINK

Drinkard and Stone: LINK

Getter: LINK

The Washington Post's Paul Farhi says that the ads sponsored by outside groups have been more negative than those of Bush or Kerry's campaigns. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

The Boston Globe's Kranish reports that Kerry says he does not remember if he was at the 1971 meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War where a plot to assassinate some pro-war U.S. senators was discussed. Kranish talks to other participants who are now not so sure that they recall him being there either, despite an FBI document indicating he was. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer reports that before undergoing surgery on his shoulder, Kerry made certain to attack Bush's economic program during a pair of events this week. LINK

The Boston Globe's Johnson and Mishra sum up Kerry's day of campaigning, torn tendon surgery and the glowing report from Dr. Zarins upon its completion. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Wessel writes that RNC assertions to the contrary, "raising tax rates on upper-income Americans isn't about small businesses. Few of them make enough money to be affected by Sen. Kerry's proposal to undo the Bush tax cuts on those with incomes above $200,000."

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

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