The Note: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

The Wall Street Journal offers a useful look at how Bush and Kerry's statements stack up against the actual job numbers.

The story points out that economists say it is "misleading" when Bush points to a low unemployment rate of 5.4 percent because "the work force has gotten smaller as discouraged workers give up finding new jobs."

"The labor-force participation rate is near a 15-year low point; in September, it fell slightly to 65.9% — down from a high of 67.3% and around the same level for the last year. In fact, if the participation rate had held at the higher level, the unemployment rate would be closer to 7.2%, according to ISI Group's Tom Gallagher."

Kerry is chided for overstating the job loss numbers by leaving out the growth of public sector jobs.

Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn does a preemptive fact check. MORE

ABC News Vote 2004: the Tempest in Tempe: op-eds and editorials:

The Washington Post ed board weighs in on what they would like asked in tonight's debate. LINK

Robert Samuelson says the poverty issue that needs to be debated is immigration. LINK

Harold Meyerson on labels that don't stick. LINK

The New York Times op-ed page once again offers up questions for Bush: LINK and questions for Kerry: LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Tempest in Tempe: go (____________________) baseball team!:

Of course, the Boston Globe has a Sox v. debate viewership story. Donovan Slack points out the dilemma for the Kerry/Sox constituents: "There may never be a starker choice in a city with two equally fundamental obsessions, politics and baseball." LINK

Just look at the decisions these Bostonians have to make: "'God is a Red Sox fan,' Sister Carolyn Darr, the superior of the Episcopal religious order, said about the difficulty of weighing the merits of each. 'But I think he's a Kerry fan, too.'"

The Note wonders how much the Senator from Massachusetts would rather be watching the Sox tonight, and what the ratings will be.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

You can almost taste the impending negative tone in the air … or is it already here? Anne Kornblut of the Boston Globe looks at the step-up in attacks as election day grows near. LINK

She has a lot on the President's rhetoric, and tucks the battleground state list in at the end. Anne is, simply put, a superstar of the cycle.

The Chicago Tribune's Zeleny and McCormick have an absolute must-read over the battle for the Midwest, including some polling numbers. LINK

The Washington Post's David Broder counsels that it is time for Bush and Kerry to level with the public and admit that there is no free lunch — neither in Iraq or with regard to the imbalance between federal spending and revenue. LINK

The New York Times' Robert Pear assesses the costs of the domestic plans — particularly tax cuts and health care — proposed by Bush and Kerry, and runs the numbers estimated by the Concord Coalition, concluding that the President would cut more taxes and introduce fewer spending programs. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Zaslow writes that undecided voters are hardly unhappy about the attention being lavished on them.

Rockin' John Harwood of Dow Jones tries to figure out whether or not the "bandwagon effect" of outside groups and rock stars will make any difference on Nov. 2. Could New Jersey be the Republicans' secret weapon? The October surprise, if you will? The Boston Globe's Robertson explores the idea. LINK

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