The Note

Dean is offering a $7.1 billion plan to fund higher education efforts for students attending non-traditional colleges or universities, reports the AP. The plan would be funded by repealing the Bush tax cuts. LINK

Shelby Steele looks at Dean's flag comments in a Wall Street Journal op-ed and says no one should be demagoguing race for political gain.

Slate's Saletan compares the current state of the Dean campaign to the war in Iraq, writing the Governor's nomination "mission isn't accomplished, any more than it was in Iraq. Dean has toppled the previous front-runners, just as Bush toppled Saddam. Now the attacking is over, and the defending begins. And as Bush knows, the Post war can turn a lot uglier than the war." LINK

(Do Note the Saletan line, "The bigger problem is that Dean's blood is bluer than his collar")

Kerry:

The Boston Globe 's Patrick Healy writes that Kerry is returning to the "safe haven" of one of his signature issues (the environment) in the wake of a "messy campaign shake-up." LINK

The Boston Herald's Miga and Straub write, "Firing the coach is a time-honored solution when sports teams stumble into losing streaks, but there's little chance [Kerry] can use the same strategy to jump-start his flagging presidential bid." LINK

The Washington Post 's Jonathan Finer reports that the Kerry campaign is putting its Granite State hopes in Jeanne Shaheen. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Brian Mooney looks at Kerry's pending federal funds decision. LINK

The Boston Herald's David Guarino writes, "Kerry subtly tweaked his campaign message, focusing more on staple issues for left-leaning voters loyal to Dean such as the environment and health care." LINK

Look at Toles today. LINK

From ABC News' Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

"Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."--Robert Frost

Senator Kerry returned home to Boston Wednesday, quickly making his red-eyed way to the extended home turf of southern New Hampshire. Waiting under overcast skies along the banks of the Merrimack River in Litchfield were nearly fifty members of the local and national media, gathered in the path of the Senator's nature walk.

Intended to highlight Kerry's environmental agenda, the Beantown gaggle only wanted to know one thing from Kerry's walk in the woods: which road would his beleaguered campaign now take and would it make any difference?

The Senator once again described Jordan's termination a la Pedro and Grady Little and brushed back questions seeking further definition of his "new dynamic." Expressing confidence, Kerry stated, "I think we're doing fantastically, and I like what we did."

Shortly after this first brush with the Boston press, Kerry sat down with veteran political ace Natalie Jacobson of ABC affiliate WCVB. In that interview, a combative Kerry insisted, "I want to talk about the things that matter to people and, and who's running my campaign, frankly, doesn't matter to anybody but me."

Read more from the trail with Kerry on abcnews.com: LINK

Clark:

Holly Ramer of the AP writes up Clark's strategic plan to capture Osama bin Laden. LINK

The major papers also take a look at Clark's new focus on terrorism:

The New York Times ' Ed Wyatt: LINK

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