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

Driving home the health care message, Tim Adams, the Bush campaign's policy director, defends Bush's health care plan in a USA Today editorial. LINK

The New York Times' Ralph Blumenthal looks at the sharp divisions in Bush's hometown of Crawford, Texas. LINK

The New York Times' Michael Janofsky reports that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has written a draft report slamming President Bush's performance on civil rights — which appeared on the Internet before it was finished being researched and written, and before its members were able to challenge and vote on it. LINK

The Commission is NOT President Bush's favorite body, we feel it is safe to say.

Cheney said Tuesday that under Saddam Hussein Iraq "could have served as a source of weapons for terrorists," AP reports. LINK

Cheney also used a different explanation for linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, citing George Tenet's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Oct. 2002 that there "had in fact been a 10-year relationship between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government," Cheney said.

"Not so fast," says the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who was on the road with the Veep.

The Milbank-Farhi story in the Washington Post includes this bit of fact-checking on Cheney: "In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year, former CIA chief Tenet cited several 'high-level contacts' over a decade, but he also said that the agency reported they never led to any cooperative activity." LINK

A Cornell sociologist says he has found scientific evidence that, whenever the government issues a terrorism alert, President Bush's approval ratings go up, even on domestic issues, such as his handling of the economy," the Washington Post's Al Kamen reports. LINK

Lou Sheldon tells the Los Angeles Times that President Bush's invocation of the Dred Scot decision in the last debate brought the issue of abortion from the "back to the front burner." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

The AP reports that President Clinton will "record radio advertisements, but his slow recovery from heart surgery is making it questionable whether he'll be able to make any campaign appearances. Democrats who have spoken to Clinton say he is eager to get more involved, but his doctors and his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, are not sure he is strong enough to travel five weeks after he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery." LINK

"Tuesday, late-night audiences saw a candidate who questioned President Bush's manliness. Even the audience seemed surprised," writes the Los Angeles Times' Maria La Ganga of John Edwards' visit with Jay Leno. LINK

Sure it was on the West Coast, but imagine the press reaction if Bush or Cheney had done such a thing...

The Boston Globe's Pat Healy Notes the GOP attack on Sen. Edwards' John-Kerry's-policies-will-make-paralyzed-people-walk-again comment yesterday. LINK

The Santa Fe New Mexican's Steve Terrell leads with Kerry's mid-afternoon bike ride before getting into his debate prep story, but buries the news of Gene Sperling's purchase of "dinosaur bones." LINK

Donald Lambro previews the issues of tonight's debate with a critical look at the KE'04 tax plan. "John Kerry promised in the second presidential debate not to raise taxes on people making less than $200,000 a year, but critics of his revenue-raising plan said yesterday that it would hit people who earn less and further complicate the income tax code." LINK

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