Focused and Pensive, Not Peevish or Irritated

In Washington today two big ongoing stories: the Supreme Court begins its October term and the Senate gets closer to voting on the intelligence reform bill. The Court today hears oral arguments in U.S. v. Booker and U.S. v. Fanfan, cases that will resolve major issues over federal sentencing guidelines. (Linda Greenhouse's preview of the term: LINK)

On the Hill, the 9/11 Working Group meets for another closed-door session and the Senate votes on amendments to the Collins/Lieberman intelligence reform bill. A cloture vote on the bill is expected as early as Tuesday.

And Ralph Nader is on a "van tour" of mostly battleground states. He's in Massachusetts today. (AP's Theo Emery preview: LINK)

Tomorrow, while the Vice President and the Vice Presidential candidate sit down at a table to debate at Case Western Reserve University, Sundance airs its first installment of "Tanner on Tanner." Which to TiVo is the question …

"Fahrenheit 9/11," "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House," and "Horns and Halos," which revisits how the President spent 1972, are all released on DVD, and Ann Coulter's new book "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter" is released.

That day, the President spends the day in Washington without any public events while Kerry is in Tipton, IA before heading to Denver to spend a couple of down days prepping for Friday's town hall debate. Laura Bush stumps in Milwaukee and Reno. And Cornell hosts a presidential debate for Green Party candidate David Cobb, Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik, Socialist Party candidate Walt Brown, and Constitutional Party candidate Michael Peroutka in Ithaca, NY.

On Wednesday, the President continues his Blue State tour with a town hall focused on medical liability reform in Wilkes-Barre, PA before a rally in Farmington Hills, MI. Kerry's version of On the Couch with Dr. Phil airs as he remains outside of Denver preparing for the debate. Both Cheney and Edwards head to Florida for campaigning in Tallahassee and West Palm Beach, respectively.

On Thursday the president is in Wausau, WI, Kerry is in St. Louis, and Laura Bush is in Sioux City, IA and Philadelphia. Kerry's BET interview airs during primetime.

On the morning of the Friday town hall-style debate, the Labor Department releases its final jobs report before the election, detailing the number of jobs added during August and finalizing the number for July.

And on Saturday, Afghanistan holds its first-ever national elections.

Pearl Jam, the Boss and others continue their Vote for Change tour of battleground states throughout the week.

Morning show wrap:

ABC's George Stephanopoulos said on GMA: "There is no question the debate gave Kerry a 'new lease on life.'" He reviewed poll numbers that show people view Kerry as the stronger leader 47 to 44 as more likable by 47 to 41. Stephanopoulos said Kerry's improvement in these personal attributes will have the effect of turning people's attention back to Bush's record. Stephanopoulos said "Democrats were about to give up" and that they now have "energy and enthusiasm going into the last month."

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