The Note

As of now, the ad will rotate in with the other BC04 ads, but only in West Virginia. Chief strategist Matt Dowd said that the campaign is open to the possibility of extending the ad beyond West Virginia and with a campaign war chest of over $100 million, the Bush-Cheney campaign can afford a strategy of targeting ads to states and markets that Kerry travels to or states that will be competitive in November.

But can an ad top a visit from the Democratic challenger?

Kerry's visit to the Mountaineer State yesterday made the top billing in the Charleston Gazette, Dave Gustafson Notes the presence of Bush supporters outside the Kerry rally yesterday in the capital but only briefly mentions the ad that is geared to West Virginia voters. LINK

"A year after ordering the invasion of Iraq, President Bush is moving the war to the forefront of his re-election effort with a weeklong barrage of speeches, an orchestrated set of interviews with senior Pentagon officials and a new television advertisement questioning Senator John Kerry's support of the troop." This after "the bombings in Spain stirred more criticism of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy," write the New York Times' Stevenson and Nagourney. LINK

"The moves were part of what aides described as a new chapter in the political campaign against Mr. Kerry. But they came as the bombings in Spain stirred more criticism of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, underlining the extent to which the campaign had become subject to the unpredictability of overseas events, and pointing up the complications Mr. Bush faces in trying to balance the demands of the presidency with a re-election effort."

"In the Oval Office on Tuesday, Mr. Bush showed a flash of how confrontational he planned to be on Mr. Kerry's foreign affairs record. With the Dutch prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, at his side, Mr. Bush demanded that Mr. Kerry provide evidence to support his suggestion last week that foreign leaders want to see Mr. Bush defeated."

"'If you're going to make an accusation in the course of a presidential campaign, you've got to back it up with facts,' Mr. Bush told reporters on Tuesday.'"

"A senior White House adviser who would only discuss the details of Mr. Bush's campaign planning on condition of anonymity noted that polls showed strong public support for the war and asserted that Mr. Kerry was making a mistake criticizing the conduct of the war."

"The adviser said: 'You ask them this: The Bush campaign is absolutely willing to have this conversation carried on for the next 216 days. Are you?' It should be one of the big discussions between us.'"

"Other Bush aides said they were not altering their plans to blanket the nation with a message that Mr. Bush was a tested leader while Mr. Kerry could not be counted on."

If President Bush really wants to figure out who Sen. Kerry was referring to when he said he had talked to more leaders that supported his campaign, perhaps he could start with a new poll by the Pew Research Center for guidance.

The poll found "negative views of the United States in all foreign countries polled except Britain," and "also broadly supported Kerry's charge that foreign opinion — if not foreign leadership — is decidedly anti-Bush," reports Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.

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