The Note: Literally in Denial

Tonight, "Nightline" looks at the politics of the flu vaccine — how'd we get here, and how scared should you be?

The politics of national security:

"The Bush administration said publicly Wednesday it does not endorse a plan by three European allies to offer Iran incentives to suspend its enrichment of uranium, a key step in producing nuclear weapons," reports the AP. LINK

"Iran has made steady progress toward producing nuclear fuel and could make significant quantities of enriched uranium in less than a year, according to new estimates by diplomats, scientists and intelligence officials," reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

More: "Despite persistent suspicions, however, a report due next month by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency is not expected to provide proof that Tehran has a weapons program, diplomats said."

The politics of intelligence:

One contrasting image the Bush camp would no doubt like to put up against the Kerry ad featuring 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser is the president signing the intelligence reform bill implementing many of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Mary Curtius of the Los Angeles Times has the details on a congressional compromise afoot. LINK

"House Republicans, who had been criticized for weeks as obstacles to a bill consolidating authority over the nation's intelligence services, offered a compromise Wednesday that they said could get the bill finished before the Nov. 2 elections."

"The opening round of House-Senate negotiations meant to craft a bill restructuring the nation's intelligence community ended in discord yesterday as lawmakers disagreed on whether tougher immigration rules and a new civil liberties board should be part of the package," reports the Washington Post 's Chuck Babington. LINK

The economy:

"The U.S. retail real-estate market continued to improve in the third quarter, with rents rising and vacancies falling for the second straight quarter, according to a new survey, " the Wall Street Journal 's Ryan Chittum reports. Bets on whether this ends up somewhere on the trail in a mention of the ownership society?

Jim Hoagland writes "the whining about oil supplies and a weak dollar that undermined Carter, or the drumbeat of complaints about budget deficits that plagued Bush 41, seems containable this November." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The Argus Leader's Jon Walker reports that Thune is criticizing Daschle for receiving the D.C. homestead tax break. LINK

The Lakeland Ledger's Lloyd Dunkelberger reports that Democratic Senate candidate Betty Castor argued Wednesday that she and her Republican opponent, former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez, should pull their negative ads off TV. Then he Notes that "the usually unflappable Castor angrily ripped Martinez before she voted in her Tampa precinct Wednesday morning." LINK

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Illinois Republican Party left Alan Keyes off of a recent mailing promoting the GOP ticket. LINK

The Washington Post 's Peter Slevin takes a look at how strange — and close, and mean — the Kentucky Senate race has become. LINK

"Senator Jim Bunning, a hard thrower during his Hall of Fame baseball career, fired at his Democratic opponent Wednesday, accusing him of spreading "disgusting" rumors that the incumbent is mentally incompetent," reports the AP's Bruce Schreiner. LINK

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