The Note

Patrick Healy of the Boston Globe marks a shift in the John Kerry stump speech, focusing more on policy than war cries leading with "Bring it on!"LINK

"He is also directly appealing more to undecided voters and Republicans, proposing tax cuts and extolling GOP heroes like Theodore Roosevelt, while starting to exhort Democratic audiences not just to vote for him, but to donate to his campaign as well."

The New York Times' Wilgoren heard Senator Kerry quote scripture in a St. Louis church on Sunday and then got an earful from Nicolle Devenish on the matter. LINK

The AP's Nedra Pickler reports that "John Kerry cited a Bible verse Sunday to criticize leaders who have "faith but has no deeds," prompting President Bush's spokesman to accuse Kerry of exploiting Scripture for a political attack."LINK

Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Kerry preached in St. Louis churches on Sunday morning, discussing jobs and social justice with congregants. LINK

On Sunday, the Washington Post's sage Dan Balz turned in a must-must read looking at John Kerry's central challenge: crafting a compelling central strategy to define himself, his campaign, and his party. LINK

"The party has stamped Kerry's candidacy more than Kerry has put his imprint on the party, with Democratic divisions over Iraq personified in his position on the war, with its differences over trade exemplified by his statements along the campaign trail," Balz writes.

More: "Inside the party, there is no great pressure for Kerry to define a dramatic new direction or to resolve big differences. Eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration reduced the gulf between left and right in the party, and unity around the cause of denying Bush a second term has submerged debates about what is next. Organized labor, for example, rushed to endorse Kerry when it was clear he would be the nominee, despite a voting record on trade at odds with labor's interests. Many Democratic voters who disagreed with Kerry over his vote authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq found him a more acceptable candidate than former Vermont governor Howard Dean, whose opposition to the war rallied the party last year."

The Wall Street Journal editorial page congratulates John Kerry for admitting that "U.S. corporate taxation is a problem," but criticizes that his in the end his economic plan would make things worse.

The "signature event" of this week's California fundraising trip is the one taking place at Ron Burkle's home Tuesday in Beverly Hills according to the Los Angeles Times. LINK

"Villaraigosa said the party is 'the hottest ticket in town.' James Taylor, a Massachusetts pal of Kerry's who is in Los Angeles recording a Christmas album, is scheduled to perform."

"The event, which costs a minimum of $1,000 per ticket, is practically sold out. Organizers, who were initially expecting around 750 people, said it may draw as many as 1,500."

The New York Times ' Louis Uchitelle profiled on Sunday at the Kerry economic team — the folks who will surely absorb plenty of fire as the battle for the economic soul of the American electorate goes hard-core. LINK

Time magazine's Karen Tumulty and Perry Bacon look at how Kerry must reconcile his policies with his own faith.LINK

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