NBC's Tim Russert called Bush's 39-48 right-track/wrong-track number "a real warning sign for any incumbent... Presidents usually get their approval number at the ballot box. If George Bush gets 49, he might not have enough. If he gets 50, Kerry could get 49, Nader 1. It's that close."
Noting that virtually the same number of people cited terrorism as their most important issue as did the economy (25% to 26%, respectively), Russert said "Bush has been very successful at putting terrorism as the front and center issue of this race."
Russert noted that only 10% of voters said they were interested in how the U.S. got into Iraq compared to the 80% who said they were interested in how the U.S. was going to get out.
Russert also noted that there had been a considerable increase in the number of voters who said Kerry and Edwards had a clear plan for the future -- 51% to 36% since the last poll.
ABC led its politics coverage with a newsblock tell about Vice President Cheney's statement that the largest threat the country faces "is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with… biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind."
NBC's Carl Quintanilla said Kerry's major terrorism speech today may be his "most important speech of the final weeks of his campaign," one that "he hopes will erase doubts of his ability to fight the war on terror."
NBC's Norah O'Donnell reported that both candidates are engaging in "some Fear Factoring campaigning."
CBS' Bill Plante reported that President Bush's "simple" and "direct" message is that you have to vote for him because "you can't trust John Kerry." Plante: "That's what he's been saying with increasing intensity. It just isn't subtle." More Plante: "It is the Vice President, low key and less visible, who offers the darkest vision of life without George Bush in the White House." Plante close: "Whether it is delivered by Cheney or by the sunnier president -- the campaign believes it is working."
CBS' Byron Pitts: "John Kerry once said he has nothing personal against President Bush but in the closing days it is getting quite personal." Pitts sought to back up this claim by highlighting Kerry saying the US needs a President who can "do more than one thing at a time" and by highlighting Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart saying on a conference call with reporters that "George Bush is becoming the Bart Simpson of American politics." Pitts: "If the Kerry campaign questions the President's intellect, the Republicans are suggesting (Kerry) would be a wimp." Pitts dismissed the sparring as "school boy insults" and closed by reviewing where Kerry would campaign today.
ABC's Kate Snow reported that Kerry has found an "easy attack" over the the flu vaccine shortage, a "public health crisis," and has in the process forced Bush on the "defense." Snow reported that the CDC yesterday announced there would be 2.6 million extra vaccines by January and that Kerry launched a Florida radio ad about the shortage. Rove called it "desperate overreach," Snow noted, but Bush "can't afford any slipup" in the final weeks.
ABC's Dan Harris reported on what Charlie Gibson called the "very biting, very funny" political videos which are making their way around the Internet. Among the items featured were the anti-Bush "Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth" and groups who are voting for Kerry but who don't like him and are maligning him with slogans like: "He'll flip flop for you" and "Why not the long face?"