ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Bush "has many more paths to victory" and a "slight advantage" in the Electoral College. He counseled viewers to focus on two states: Florida and Ohio. "Watch Kerry's path to victory if he steals these two states," Stephanopoulos said before walking through all of the other states in the West, Upper Midwest (plus NH) that Bush would have to win to overcome the loss of both Ohio and Florida.
On "Today," Chris Matthews said Kerry could win using a simple strategy: pick up Ohio and New Hampshire, give up one of the blue Midwest states, "and you win. It isn't that hard."
On CBS' "Early Show," Craig Crawford was asked about different poll numbers and said that 11 of 12 polls on Election Day 2000 were wrong. Crawford said pollsters tend to underestimate Democrats and minorities. "Democrats are ahead everywhere," he said, including New Hampshire, where "they've registered enough new Democrats… to meet the margin of Bush's victory." (Crawford later noted that Florida registration numbers are even). Regarding undecided voters, Crawford called them "Those are the kind of people you don't want to go to a restaurant with because they take an hour to order." And asked whether he expected recount battles, Crawford quipped, "I'm not planning a vacation in November. Or in December."
On "Fox and Friends," Tony Blankley discussed the Washington Times' endorsement of Bush. He dismissed criticism of Bush from Brent Scowcroft, the National Security Advisor of the current President's father, by calling him a Sept. 10th kind of guy who this late in his life cannot wrap his mind around the post-9/11 world.
THE ISSUES: HEALTH CARE:
In the "GMA Voter Guide" segment, ABC's Claire Shipman showed an undecided voter woman concerned about health care a piece she put together which analyzed the Kerry and Bush health care plans. Kerry's plan was described as doing more for coverage. Bush's plan was described as coming with a more realistic price tag and as possibly representing a step towards a more market-oriented insurance market which could produce savings. The piece was very effective in explaining the way the two plans would work—perhaps because it replaced candidates' confusing rhetoric with informative graphics.
In a voiceover, GMA reported that First Lady Laura Bush "lashed out" at Kerry over his reference to Mary Cheney, saying on "The Insider," "I don't think it's appropriate to bring up another person's child during any campaign… I was shocked. I was shocked. And Barbara and Jenna were shocked."
ABC's Kate Snow noted that the President "seems very conscious for the need to keep smiling" and reported on the new Progress for America "multi-million dollar ad campaign" "playing on the fear and emotion of 9/11." The ad features a woman who received a Presidential bear hug saying "He's the most powerful man in the world and all he wants to keep me safe."
ABC's Dan Harris reported that the Kerry campaign is releasing an ad featuring Kristin Breitweister, whose husband died on Sept. 11 and became one of the leaders of the victims' families organizations that helped establish the 9/11 Commission. Harris also reported that an ABC News military analyst calls the memo written by Gen. Ricardo Sanchez complaining of inadequate supply lines "common during wartime."
CBS' Byron Pitts: "The problem for Kerry: this race is tight and he is running out of time." Elements: Kerry pushing for early voting, seizing on Sanchez letter, attacking on health care, mocking Bush's suggestion that healthy Americans forego a flu shot.
CBS' Bill Plante on Bush NJ speech and the CBS News Poll: "More ominously for Bush: 57 percent of people see the country seriously on the wrong track. Those kind of numbers would ordinarily" be the kiss of death but "voter reservations about John Kerry are keeping John Kerry dead even."
NBC's Norah O'Donnell handled Bush's New Jersey terrorism speech for "Today."
NBC's Carl Quintanilla: "Kerry had planned to stick to domestic issues but some advisors say that Bush's focus on security issues is hurting him." Quintanilla said Kerry decided to run "Bush's Mess" in response to Bush's focus on security issues.
On CNN's "American Morning," Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama, who enjoys a 45 point lead over Republican Alan Keyes, said of his success: "You enjoy the hype but I tend to be suspicious of hype because I know how hard it is to get stuff done in politics." There's the part of politics that's about "making speeches and framing the debate" and there is the part of politics that is about drafting legislation and getting enough votes for it. It's the latter part of it that has the most lasting effect.