On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' John Glionna looked at how the 9/11 commission and allegations of Bush Administration terrorism policy is affecting the president's standing in certain battleground states thought of as "Bush country." LINK
The San Francisco Chronicle's Zachary Coile sums up the early attacks "both parties have set a new benchmark for partisan sniping in a presidential race … ."'It's kind of like all Jerry Springer, all the time.'" LINK
Carl Weiser of the Cincinnati Enquirer Notes that Greater Cincinnati contains 14 Bush Pioneer and Rangers, without an equivalent number of big donors for Kerry. LINK
On Saturday, the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg took a closer look at the ad wars, and how the 527 spots — while not coordinated with the Kerry campaign, they insist — are proving a nearly equal match for the Bush advertising juggernaut. It's an excellent preview of the more than seven months of ads (and complaining about them) to come. LINK
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook Noted that the real wild card of the election — the economy — is the X factor over which no one has any control. " … Luck or acts of God may have as much to do with the state of the economy on election day as would acts of Congress or the White House," Hook wrote. LINK
The politics of 9/11:
Eric Lichtblau's New York Times lead was probably not what Dr. Rice was looking for when she decided to rebut Richard Clarke's assertions on "60 Minutes." LINK
"The White House acknowledged Sunday that on the day after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush asked his top counterterrorism adviser, Richard A. Clarke, to find out whether Iraq was involved."
More Lichtblau: "Last week, the White House said it had no record that Mr. Bush had even been in the Situation Room that day and said the president had no recollection of such a conversation. Although administration officials stopped short of denying the account, they used it to cast doubt on Mr. Clarke's credibility as they sought to debunk the charge that the administration played down the threat posed by Al Qaeda in the months before the Sept. 11 attacks and worried instead about Iraq."
Condoleeza Rice "renewed her determination not to give public testimony and said she could not list anything she wished she had done differently in the months before the 2001 terrorist attacks," write the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus. LINK
Vince Morris of the New York Post writes up Dr. Rice's "60 Minutes" appearance, during which she criticized previous administrations. LINK
"'In the '80s, and most certainly the '90s, . . . we were not aggressively going after them . . . They saw us cut and run in Somalia.'"
On Saturday, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Dan Eggen compared the policies on terrorism of the Bush and Clinton Administrations — and found that they were basically the same. LINK
"The primary differences in the Bush proposal were calls for more direct financial and logistical support to the Northern Alliance and the anti-Taliban Pashtuns and, if that failed, to eventually seek the overthrow of the Taliban through proxies. The plan also called for drafting plans for possible U.S. military involvement, according to testimony and commission findings."