Focused and Pensive, Not Peevish or Irritated

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman writes about Kerry including Supreme Court talk in his stump speech (which she describes as new, but we might respectfully disagree … ). LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Bush travels to Iowa today to sign the "Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004." Bush will tout the tax cuts he has signed while in office and also point out Sen. Kerry's "history of supporting higher taxes and voting against tax relief," campaign officials said.

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign will also emphasize this point with two new ads today that hit on Sen. Kerry and taxes.

The first ad, "Thinking Mom," will be released this morning at 10:00 am ET. The ad has a woman listening to a radio voiceover that mentions "John Kerry and the liberals in Congress have voted to raise gas taxes 10 times" and "voted to raise taxes on senior social security benefits and raise taxes on middle class parents 18 times."

The ad will run on national cable and local markets in battleground states.

The second ad is due out later today and will also hit Sen. Kerry on taxes.

Script For "Thinking Mom"

Mom Voiceover: 5:30, I need to get groceries … . I'm gonna be late.

Radio Voiceover: John Kerry and the liberals in Congress have voted to raise gas taxes 10 times.

Mom Voiceover: 10 times … gas prices are high enough already.

Radio Voiceover: They voted to raise taxes on senior social security benefits and raise taxes on middle class parents 18 times … No relief there from the marriage penalty …

Mom Voiceover: More taxes because I'm married … what were they thinking?

Radio Voiceover: 350 times … Higher taxes from the liberals in Congress and John Kerry.

President Bush: I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message.

President, Bush has traveled to Iowa for two of the four tax days (2002 and 2004).

After signing his first tax cuts into law on June 7, 2001, President Bush went to Dallas Center, Iowa for a "tax celebration event" at a farm — the same farm where Bush laid out his farm policy on Sept. 1, 1999.

President Bush counts Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley as a top ally on his tax cut packages and the Senator was an architect of the original tax cut legislation.

Campaign officials said to expect Bush to also continue to push against what he called the "Kerry Doctrine," and Sen. Kerry's use of the phrase "global test" in the debate last week.

Judy Keen has a good week ahead for President Bush, with some "even Judy Keen" elements. LINK

Keen Notes of the schedule: "Bush's itinerary was locked in before last week's debate, when he held a steady lead in most national polls. His strategy then was to try to force Kerry to spend time and money in states the Democrat must carry. But negative reviews of Bush's repetitive rhetoric and testy demeanor in last week's debate have tightened the race. Bush is under new pressure to defend his own territory and find ways to shift the campaign's story line away from Kerry's resurgence."

The Wall Street Journal 's Marc Champion has an excellent look at how European countries "at loggerheads with Mr. Bush in the past are preparing to work with a second Bush term" and reports that the German and French governments "have been sending out quiet warnings not to raise expectations, because they would likely decline to provide troops" in Iraq if a President Kerry made that request, as he has promised to do. LINK

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