The Note: Literally in Denial

NOTED NOW

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET)

FUTURES CALENDAR

Morning Show Wrap

Evening Newscasts Wrap

12 days until Election Day

NEWS SUMMARY

If we were backward looking, we could lead with Mrs. Heinz Kerry; Karen Hughes; Pat Robertson; lame Red Sox jokes/metaphors; or just how tired Mike McCurry looks.

If we wanted to be more forward looking and we were obsessed with textbook photo ops, we could lead with John Kerry packing into one news cycle both a hunting trip and a Dana Reeve event.

But at this point, we don't really do much of anything beyond pulling out our abacuses (or this boffo Electoral College calculator: LINK) and muse about various options.

Despite the efforts made on both sides — or, maybe, because of them — the general drift right now seems to be towards Red states staying Red and Blue states staying Blue.

We still believe that either candidate could win a tight or easy win this year, but if President Bush takes what seem now to be the two most likely Blue-to-Red pickups (Wisconsin and New Mexico), and Kerry takes his two (New Hampshire and Ohio), the Electoral College would be tied at 269-269, leading to a Bush victory in the House of Representatives.

Or perhaps the president will squeak out a victory in Maine's 2nd congressional district and all that pomp and circumstance on the floor of the House can be avoided.

Or perhaps the mischievous people of Colorado will vote to allocate their electoral votes in a unique and proportional way, and the SCOTUS can flex its co-equal status again.

President Bush heads to Pennsylvania for the 40th time today, holding a bus tour through the Keystone state to pitch his plan to curb limit malpractice awards while portraying Senator Kerry's health care plan as "government-run." He speaks in Downingtown at 1:45 pm ET and holds a rally in Hershey Park at 4:15 pm ET.

And yesterday evening the White House added a third publicized event, a meeting with the Archbishop of Philadelphia, at 3:00 pm ET. The Catholic vote in this race — very big, we don't have to tell you, Note readers.

In Portland, OH this morning, Senator Kerry goes geese hunting — to show "who he is" and give a sense of Kerry "the guy," in the words spinster Mike McCurry.

Rep. Ted Strickland, local Ducks Unlimited board member Bob Bellino, and retiring Buckeye State park manager Neal Brady join the Massachusetts Senator, who will be toting a Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag 12-gauge pump action, Woodlands Camo finish shotgun to hunt duck and geese, reports ABC News' Ed O'Keefe.

If you can't get your hands on both Allison Dobson's campaign memo about the hunt and on Charles Hurt's pre-hunt pool report — consider yourself totally out of a it and a big loser.

After the hunt Kerry makes a 1:30 pm ET "closing argument" speech in Columbus, introduced (and endorsed) by Christopher Reeve's widow Dana Reeve. Kerry's speech will criticize the president's decision to limit federally funded stem cell research to existing lines, and promise to emphasize science in a Kerry Administration. Kerry then heads to Minneapolis to hold a "Fresh Start for America" rally in the Metrodome's parking lot at 7:45 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney is also in Ohio this afternoon with an eye on sportsmen, holding a rally at the Tam-O-Shanter Sports Complex in Sylvania at 1:00 pm ET. Cheney then heads to Ashwaubenon, WI, for a rally at the National Railroad Museum at 4:15 pm ET.

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