The Note: Lying in Wait …




Morning Show Wrap

Evening Newscasts Wrap

8 days until Election Day


The major moment of the post-GMA political day will almost certainly be Bill Clinton's Philly star turn with would-be 44 John Kerry.

But that is an event for amateurs; here's what the pros see pending:

Just how emotional will President Bush's closing TV ad be?

Are Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire truly in play through November 2nd?

Which side is right about the potential for there to be meaningful divergence between the national and battleground state polls?

What under-the-radar interest group and party spending on voter communication will be brought above the radar?

Will the remaining polling (tracking and "regular") show the race enough of a tie that neither candidate goes into the final weekend characterized as being ahead?

Will the final turnout total be closer to 110 million or 122 million?

Is there a galvanizing Nader event before Election Day?

When do TV anchors switch to their "the time for persuasion is over — now it is just a matter of turning out their vote" mantra?

Is ACT all that or not?

When will Note readers who haven't discovered Noted Now realize that they can get the latest political news — in Note-y style!! — right here around the clock? LINK

What is the rank order of these variables in terms of the likelihood they will affect who wins the White House: Maine's Second Congressional District; West Virginia's potentially faithless elector; Arkansas' electoral votes; Hawaii's electoral votes; and Colorado's ballot measure that would retroactively change the state's electoral college vote distribution system?

Will the NYT front pager on explosives and Iraq totally, partially, or slightly obscure Bush's message of the day? How will the battleground papers and television stations cover it?

Will Bush or Kerry hold a final, pre-election news conference?

Going into next weekend, do more Americans continue to think Bush will win than think Kerry will win?

How big an impact will Jamie Gangel's upcoming pivotal and tough investigative piece on the Bush White House have? (Just kidding!!!)

If such things could be measured, which would have a higher metric on the over-the-top scale: the closing pro-Kerry ads on African-American radio or the closing pro-Bush ads on Christian radio?

Will Washington Post Style section editors come to their senses and commission that last-minute Steve Schmidt profile — a must-read even before it is written?

How many Drudge sirens will there be?

Does Teresa Heinz Kerry make news before Election Day, and if so will it have been authorized?

How many more days off will the president have before the election?

What piece of research will BC04 drop on John Kerry, and what will its impact be?

How many (more) chances will Chad Clanton get to invite Jennifer Millerwise out to dinner live on cable TV?

Will Mike McCurry continue to do a running commentary on the race, right through Election Day?

Will John Kerry fly a helicopter, play hockey, and/or stand side by side with The Boss and handle back-up guitar duties on "No Surrender"?

Eight days before the 2000 election, when ABC News' tracking poll showed Texas Gov. George Bush and Vice President Al Gore tied at 47% among likely voters, President Bill Clinton sat in the Oval Office "wait[ing] for Gore's call … with professional frustration at the sight of Gore fouling up an exercise that to Clinton is effortless second nature," wrote Lance Morrow in Time. (LINK)

Today, eight days before the 2004 election, with the most recent ABC tracking poll showing Senator John Kerry at 48% and President George Bush at 49%, the Democrat has summoned a thinner Clinton only seven weeks after quadruple bypass surgery to urge African-American voters to the polls and to remind swing voters of the economic successes of the last Democratic administration.

Introduced by Patti Labelle, Clinton and Kerry will stump together on the trail for the first time this year at a 1:30 pm "Fresh Start for America" rally in downtown Philadelphia.

Clinton will then fly to Florida to hold a 6:30 pm Miami rally and to speak tomorrow morning to the B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, FLA.

Senator Kerry's message of the day, though, will likely not begin or end with Bill Clinton's record.

Today's New York Times reports that nearly 380 tons of "powerful conventional explosives" were stolen from a former Iraq military installation that was left unguarded after the war despite warnings by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Kerry is expected to echo his campaign's overnight paper statement that called the story evidence of the "stunning incompetence of the Bush administration," at his morning events in Dover, NH. LINK

(Note that Dover was the site of Clinton's famous "last dog dies" speech … .)

Regarding the Times story: a Kerry aide declaimed to us this morning about President Bush: "He can't really claim to be the only person in this race qualified to keep America safe when his administration negligently failed to address the fact that 380 tons of high grade explosives were vulnerable to theft and are now missing."

President Bush today, campaigning with Rudy Giuliani, unveils a new ad and a retooled speech about terrorism that will, in his communication director Dan Bartlett's words, explain "why the war on terror is important in protecting America's families, how you approach the war on terror, and the differences" between the president and Senator Kerry's approaches to terrorism.

The president speaks in Greeley, CO at 12:10 pm. He later flies to Iowa for rallies in Council Bluffs and Davenport at a 3:35 and 6:20 pm ET, respectively.

After speaking in Philadelphia, Kerry flies to Warren, MI for a 6:45 pm rally with Jon Bon Jovi and Green Bay for 10:45 pm rally.

The vice presidential candidates today are both in Midwestern battlegrounds.

Vice President Cheney holds town hall meetings in Moorhead, MN and Wilmington, OH at 11:00 am and ET and 5:15 pm respectively. Senator Edwards rallies Toledo, OH at 9:30 am, Racine, WI at 1:50 pm ET, and Dubuque, IA at 6:00 pm ET before appearing on "Larry King Live" with Alex and Vanessa Kerry. He overnights in Minneapolis, MN.

In Florida, Teresa Heinz Kerry and Al Gore stump on Senator Kerry's behalf in Homestead, Tampa, Coconut Beach, and Riviera Beach while Condoleezza Rice speaks to a national AIPAC conference in Hollywood.

(In the midst of his two-day Florida swing, Gore pens an advertorial sponsored by MoveOn PAC in today's Times and other papers declaring that "The president refuses to ever admit mistakes, which dooms the nation to repeat them.")

ABC News Vote 2004: the macro week-ahead:

Tomorrow, President Bush will focus on the economy and "protecting America's families' budgets" while campaigning in Wisconsin and Iowa.

Senator Kerry will deliver a homeland security speech in Green Bay before rallying in Las Vegas and Albuquerque.

Vice President Cheney will campaign in Florida and Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Senator Edwards is in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

In Washington, Tuesday marks a make or break day for intelligence reform that is expected to determine whether President Bush receives an intelligence reform legislation bill to sign before the election. (Note that Bush called House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to urge quick passage over the weekend: LINK)

On Wednesday President Bush is in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan; Kerry is in Iowa and Minnesota; and Edwards is in Florida all day.

On Thursday Kerry will be in Ohio and Wisconsin (with the Foo Fighters), and on Friday he will campaign in Florida.

Sometime midweek President Bush will unveil that final campaign spot, a positive 60 second ad that features video of him asking for the vote. His Thursday and Friday destinations are TBD, but Bartlett says he will deliver a speech on Friday "in which he'll talk in very personal terms how he views this war and what we need to do to win the war on terror, through the eyes of people he's met with, and who have shaped his experiences as President during these historic times we live in."

Bush will also conduct targeted local talk radio interviews and campaign with Senator Zell Miller this week.

As for Clinton the rest of the week, senior Kerry adviser/former Clinton spokesman Mike McCurry said yesterday that "There is the possibility that he will travel out West at the end of the week."

On Friday, the first of three calculations of third quarter growth will be released.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: where things stand:

The Wall Street Journal 's Murray and Hitt write a mostly excellent state of the race wrap and portray Kerry's and Bush's messages in the final full week of the election as geared toward swing voters and the base, respectively. We're fascinated by this sentence: "Mr. Kerry continues to poll well in Ohio, despite a deluge of negative ads, and Minnesota and Wisconsin also appear to be breaking in Mr. Kerry's favor." LINK

We have no idea why those smart Journal reporters would write that thing about Wisconsin.

On the other hand, Matea Gold (inexplicably, still underrated) of the Los Angeles Times has this couplet, sure to warm Arlington hearts: LINK

"(Kerry) (a)ides maintained publicly that support for Kerry was growing and insisted many current polls under-represented the number of Democrats who were planning to vote. But privately, they were troubled by a trend in public surveys that indicated Bush was gaining a slight lead after the presidential debates, sources said."

"'They don't know what to think at this point,' said one Democrat familiar with internal discussions, adding that attitudes vary from 'optimism to 'Oh gosh, it's lost.'"

The Washington Post 's VandeHei and Allen have key background information:

"Some Democratic officials privately say Kerry is making a tactical mistake by not focusing more on Iraq and terrorism to counter Bush. But Kerry aides say they have specific audiences such as socially conservative African Americans, gun-owning independents and undecided Jewish voters to lock up." LINK

"A general consensus exists among strategists from both parties that a majority of voters appear willing to oust Bush. At the same time, though, many voters tell pollsters that although they do not approve of the president's performance in office, they are not sold on replacing him with Kerry during such tumultuous times. "

"A half-dozen national polls released over the weekend showed a statistical tie or very slight lead for Bush. State polls in critical states such as Ohio are more troublesome for the incumbent, strategists from both parties say."

They also report that Bush's "staff is looking at ways for him to win without carrying Ohio, where polls once showed him ahead but now have him even at best."

"The presidential race entered its final full week yesterday with polls indicating Senator John F. Kerry leading in key battleground states, President Bush tied or slightly ahead nationally, and both sides arguing they can best provide the leadership America needs during the next four years," lede the Boston Globe 's Glen Johnson and Rick Klein. LINK

Only eight shopping days left — for a candidate. The New York Times ' Jim Dwyer looks at the undecideds as they try to make up their minds what matters to them — and might not break for the challenger — as the clock runs down. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: legal wars:

In ominous and nearly apocalyptic tones, Ron Brownstein delivers his penultimate pre-Election Day "Washington Outlook" column on the gathering storm clouds that could call into question the legitimacy of presidential election in the United States. After going through the prepared claims of voter fraud and suppression and the fears of recounts over hanging chads and provisional ballots, Dr. Brownstein writes, "The third — and the largest — cloud looming over the election comes from the deja vu all over again category: the possibility that the popular vote winner will again be denied an electoral college majority and the White House." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Anne Marie Squeo looks at the concerns over touch-screen voting machines and the huge stakes for Diebold, Inc. LINK

The Washington Post 's Dan Keating reports on concerns over electronic voting machines, which will be used by over one third of the country's voters. LINK

USA Today 's Cauchon and Drinkard report that spoiled ballots "are far less likely to occur in the presidential election Nov. 2 because of a four-year effort to reduce ballot errors … A reduction in the level of spoiled ballots — about 2% nationwide in 2000 — could add as many as 1 million valid votes in this year's presidential election." LINK

A USA Today analysis shows that the 2004 vote should be "far more accurate and comprehensive" than the 2000 vote. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: ballotwatch:

The headlines: 1. Iowa Republicans are protesting that Democrats in Iowa are trying to "change the law" about provisional ballots after state attorney general Tom Miller ruled that provisionals cast at the wrong precinct will still count. This decision creates havoc for county auditors, who are upset.

In 2002, about 6,000 provisional ballots were cast. About 25 percent were deemed invalid.

Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver, also a Democrat, has convened a meeting of the Iowa Voter Registration Board tomorrow to discuss Miller's opinion that allows voter registration forms without the citizenship box checked to be counted. Gore won Iowa by slightly more than 4,000 votes in 2000.

2. A federal judge in Miami is likely to rule on whether the discarded voter registrations of 14,000 Floridians who didn't fill out complete voter registration forms will be reconsidered. The situation is similar to that of Iowa's … . but in this case, the Secretary of State ruled herself that incomplete ballots should not count. She did not seek a legal opinion from the Attorney General.

3. Both Democrats and Republicans are looking into complaints about Cuyahoga County's absentee ballot, which is apparently quite confusing. LINK

4. Look Tuesday for the U.S. 6th circuit court of appeals, which decided an important Ohio decision on Saturday, to hear arguments about Michigan's provisional ballot rules, which currently permit counting valid provisionals cast in the right jurisdiction, regardless of whether it was cast in the right precinct. LINK

So it looks like provisionals in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Missouri will be counted only if cast in the right precinct; in Iowa, they'll be counted if cast in the right county.

And here's a big question for everyone: most states don't have precise rules for actually keeping running tab on how many provisional ballots they give out on Election Day, so how will we know whether there are 10,000 or 50,000 until they are counted?

The Columbus Dispatch's Niquette writes up the relief of many election officials now that they have clear guidelines on provisional ballots. Niquette also reports on many GOP challenges of registered voters have either been withdrawn or rejected. LINK

Please send your tips, comments and questions to

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney '04:

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports that senior Bush advisers say the president will present his "closing message" with two ads, three "significant speeches" and several joint appearances with "all-star" supporters.

Today, the president will have another new speech presenting "the clear choice" facing voters on the war on terror. Again, Bartlett said that there are many different arguments to be made to make the same point — that President Bush's approach to the war on terror differs from Senator Kerry's. Tuesday it's "the clear choice" on the economy and on Friday the president will make the case in "a more personal way" for a second term.

Rudy Giuliani will campaign with the president today when he heads to Colorado and Iowa. Later in the week Zell Miller will join him and so will Arnold Schwarzenegger for a joint appearance in Ohio towards the end of the week.

In addition, look for the BC04 campaign to release its final ad later this week, a 60-second ad that features footage of the president speaking and will be all about the president, not Senator Kerry.

The New York Times ' Elisabeth Bumiller gets Karen Hughes to call herself the "sound-bite lady" and admit her role has lessened in the day-to-day running of the campaign since 2000. LINK

The Washington Times makes a case First Lady Laura Bush is darn near perfect. LINK

Hang on to your hats here folks …

" … the growing cadre of fundraisers in presidential politics are increasingly influential players for countries seeking to improve their access to Washington's corridors of power," writes Lisa Getter of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

Joel Mowbray of the Washington Times writes "U.N. ambassadors from several nations are disputing assertions by Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry that he met for hours with all members of the U.N. Security Council just a week before voting in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq." The paper's own investigation finds five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who reached for comment, "four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries' U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either. "

"The former ambassadors who said on the record they had never met Mr. Kerry included the representatives of Mexico, Colombia and Bulgaria. The ambassador of a fourth country gave a similar account on the condition that his country not be identified." LINK

The New York Times ' Jim Dwyer and the bridal Jodi Wilgoren look at how former President Clinton and former Vice President Gore are stumping for John Kerry and reaching out to black voters. LINK

The New York Times ' Kit Seelye writes that Clinton's "immediate task in Philadelphia is to light a fire under black voters, but his broader goal is to remind all voters that the economic prosperity of the 1990's, with its 23 million new jobs and $5.6 trillion budget surplus, occurred under his Democratic administration." (And gives a little high-up ink to Clinton's interview with Diane Sawyer!) She also Notes that Clinton is more popular among independents than with the electorate as a whole. LINK

Dick Morris Notes that "Clinton will also help Kerry to get votes among single women, a mainstay of the Democratic coalition and will likely increase the turnout from the Democratic base. He may be good for 2-3 points, perhaps enough to tip the balance." LINK

The New York Post reports that President Clinton has cleaned up his diet. LINK

The New York Times ' David Halbfinger and David Sanger look at how Kerry uses the Bible to accuse the Bush Administration of trying to "scare America" and write that President Bush "seemed to forget his lines" when he told Sean Hannity that "whether or not we can be ever fully safe … is up in the air." The duo Note that Kerry's speech dealing with faith was the sixth in his series of "closing arguments," and that his last will deal with domestic security tomorrow in Green Bay, WI. LINK

"Hollywood typically supports Democrats with lavish parties and fat campaign contributions. Now the entertainment industry is going the extra mile — literally — to support Senator John F. Kerry by flooding swing states. In putting away their checkbooks and putting on their tennis shoes, these actors, directors and screenwriters are getting a civics lesson in the process," writes the Los Angeles Times' Horn and Abromowitz of Hollywood involvement in the final days without a mention of either "heart" or "soul." LINK

This is the first story of the cycle to be cited in The Note that includes the phrase "Jil Sander outfits."

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman writes about Kerry's profession of his faith. LINK

Page Six anticipates some kind of weird mid-life crisis convention in the White House if Kerry wins. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: demographics:

The Washington Post 's Cayle Murphy takes Note of Muslim-American voters' expected abandonment of President Bush after 42% support in 2000. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Susan Milligan profiles Hispanic voters. LINK

The Washington Post 's T.R. Reid looks at how a closed early voting site in a Hispanic portion of Roswell has stoked fears of a concerted effort to keep Democratic voters from the polls, and how those fears are shared by both sides. LINK

USA Today 's Walter Shapiro on religious GOTV. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Florida:

Will it matter, on Election Day, that Florida Republicans claim to have 90,000 volunteers and Florida Democrats, about 47,000? LINK

The News-Press of Southwest Florida looks at ACORN's support of the minimum wage amendment. Supporters predict it will help Kerry in Northwest Florida. LINK

Gov. Jeb Bush has expressed concern about early voters in Florida being intimidated. LINK

Deb Orin reports that former New York City Mayors Giuliani and Koch "have teamed up to tape an odd-couple radio ad for President Bush that will run all over Florida in a bid to court ex-New Yorkers." LINK

As always, one-stop shopping for Florida links about Gore's visit and Kerry's visit and Bush's weekend visits. LINK

In her wrap of Kerry's Florida stops on Sunday, the Miami Herald 's Lesley Clark Notes that "a Herald/St. Petersburg Times poll released Sunday showed Bush with 19 percent of the black vote in Florida — more than twice the support he had in 2000." Caveat: high MoEs in subsamples. LINK

Adam Smith and Tamara Lush of the St. Pete Times wrap the weekend's campaign events with the new poll. LINK

Smith takes a closer look at the poll, with a lede that strikes fear into the hearts of many: "It looks like 2000 all over again." The horserace: 46-46-7-1 (Bush-Kerry-Undecided-Nader) among likelies. LINK

ABC News' own legendary Gary Langer makes an appearance in a polling explainer by the Miami Herald 's Steve Harrison. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Ohio:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides its readers with a primer on State Issue 1. LINK

Attention TV bookers and producers: Save this Ken Blackwell profile courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer … you'll need it. LINK

Buried in the Cincinnati Enquirer story about Edwards' Ohio day is a brief reference to the pastor's 501(c)(3) comments. And there's also this little fun fact: "In the three weeks before President Bush came to Canton to talk about health care on Friday, Kerry visited six times." LINK

With one Sunday left to go, we urge all media: please hold both sides to the same standard regarding the co-mingling of houses of worship and political activity.

ABC News Vote 2004: Pennsylvania:

The Philadelphia Daily News' Brennan looks at the arrival of the person Gov. Ed Rendell described as the "single-best weapon" Democrats have to shore up their base, particularly African American voters in Philly. LINK

Senator Ted Kennedy's singing in Spanish in Philadelphia yesterday caught the eye of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Pompilio. LINK

Ah, the power of the unions. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on union GOTV efforts on behalf of Senator Kerry, "As part of the largest get-out-the-vote effort in its history, AFL-CIO leaders here expect that by Election Day, its volunteers and paid staff will have reached all of the approximately 127,000 union members and retirees in Allegheny County eight times or more by mail, phone or personal contact." LINK

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that "Democrats have been stepping up appearances at black congregations in an attempt to boost turnout in a voting bloc that traditionally has been among its most loyal supporters." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Iowa:

Tired voters in Iowa are counting down the days until the election, Notes Jonathan Roos of the Des Moines Register . LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Wisconsin:

The Wall Street Journal 's Davis and Hilsenrath take an excellent, front-page close look at Milwaukee's economy and the way it's being transformed from a blue-collar manufacturing hub to a market where hospitals, insurance companies, and a casino are the thriving money-makers. And while jobs in some areas are rebounding, rising health care costs, outsourcing, and wage cuts are balancing out the economic gains. The duo Note that last Friday's state and regional jobs report provides ammunition for both candidates and write that "the outcome depends less on the dueling statistics than on what voters in battleground states experience and think about the economy." LINK

This week, President Bush won't just drive through Cuba City, he'll make sure to stop. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: New Hampshire:

David Lightman of the Hartford Courant on why New Hampshire National Guard call-ups may tip the scales on November 2. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Nevada:

The New York Times ' John Broder has a good look at the lay of the land in Nevada, Noting the latest poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal that gives President Bush a 10-point lead. Two words: Yucca and jobs. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Minnesota:

The Pioneer Press reports "the presidential campaigns are targeting new and prospective Hmong voters." LINK

A how-to for Minnesota voters on how to register on Election Day. LINK

The Star Tribune profiles the activists behind the Wellstone House of Organization and Activism who, among other things, have been working in the state to get John Kerry elected. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Michigan:

In addition to this evening's visit to Warren, MI, "The Massachusetts senator, who was last in Michigan on Sept. 15, is expected to return to Detroit on Saturday, said campaign spokesman Rodell Mollineau," reports the Detroit Free Press. LINK

The Detroit Free Press reminds its readers that Catholics make up 25 percent of the vote in Michigan. LINK

"Notes Michigan pollster Ed Sarpolus: 'History has said that for a Democrat to win, you have to win the Catholic vote by 52 percent.' Michigan polls show the race a virtual dead heat. Kerry had a small overall statewide lead in a poll of 600 likely voters released Friday by Sarpolus' firm, Lansing-based EPIC/MRA, with Bush and Kerry splitting Catholics at 47-45."

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: Iraq and national security:

The UN envoy to Iraq is concerned that a military offensive in Fallujah could further complicate Iraqi elections, reports the Los Angeles Times. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Farah Stockman explains how neither candidate's foreign policy proposals paint a clear picture of how American foreign policy would look in a Bush or Kerry administration. LINK

The New York Times ' Matthew Wald writes that reducing dependence on foreign oil is a perennial issue for candidates, but "neither public attitude, economic conditions nor technology provide a clear path for any major changes in oil consumption" — given that voters don't give it much attention as an issue. LINK

Greg Jaffe and David Cloud of the Wall Street Journal report that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has instructed his four-star regional commanders to come up with new plans to decrease the likelihood of post-war instability as seen in Iraq in other conflicts. Among the requirements: better post-combat planning, and more involvement for the State Department and civilian agencies in the planning. LINK

The New York Times ' Erick Eckholm details the questions about Halliburton's contracts in Iraq and the Balkans, as raised by the top civilian official who deals with contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers, who has called for an investigation into the procurement process. LINK

The New York Times ' Phillip Shenon writes that President Bush yesterday called Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert to urge them to "get the intelligence reform legislation to him as quickly as possible" but that he did not weigh in on which version of the bill he supported. LINK

Bob Novak on Dick Lugar's true presidential preference. (Hint: he does not support Kerry.) LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

Whoops! "An ad placed by Republican John Thune's Senate campaign accidentally wound up appearing on private sites that weren't supposed to show it last week, including one with naked pictures of men that raised some eyebrows among Democrat Senator Tom Daschle's campaign aides." LINK

USA Today 's William Welch hits the trail in South Dakota to hear what voters think about Tom and John. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the House:

The New York Times ' Carl Hulse looks at the race outside of Philadelphia between Rep. Jim Gerlach and Democratic challenger Lois Murphy. LINK

The front page of today's Washington Post declares in a headline that "Democrats Struggle in Campaigns to Retake House." Pianin and Babington write that despite strong Democratic pushes, "Republicans have overwhelmed the challengers with the power of incumbency, superior fundraising skills and hard-edged ads focused on such hot-button issues as terrorism and same-sex marriage." LINK

Initiatives and referenda:

The Wall Street Journal 's Kelly Rayburn looks at the collection of same-sex marriage, medical malpractice, and stem-cell research ballot initiatives. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's ed board weighs in against Arizona's ballot initiative that would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving non-federally mandated benefits. LINK

Francis Fukuyama argues against California's stem cell research initiative on the Wall Street Journal 's op-ed page. LINK

President Bush's interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson:

In his interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, President Bush was asked if he thinks about losing and answered: "I'm not there yet. I believe I'm going to win. And I'm campaigning as if we are going to win."

Bush said the field of states that could help decide the election may be bigger than casual observers believe. "I wouldn't discount Michigan," Bush said. "I wouldn't discount the influence of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico. I think this race is a non-predictable race. I think people like to boil it down to one or two states. I think you're gonna find there's a lot of interesting states … not considered to be in play."

Asked if the cost of removing Hussein could ever become too great, Bush said, "Yeah, the cost is too great if the American President withdraws before the mission is complete. The cost is too great if you retreat from Iraq without completing the mission and the mission is to help Iraq become a free nation in the midst of the greater Middle East."

Bush denied that Guard and Reserve members are facing a "backdoor draft," saying, "People signed up for the Guard and the Reserves knowing that they could be called up in action." Bush then recounted his experience in Bangor, Maine meeting with Guard guys that were called up and "they were enthused."

Bush explained the moment in the St. Louis debate when he jumped out of his chair and bulldozed Gibson, who moderated the debate, as "the mother in me boiling to the surface."

President Clinton's interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer:

In an ABC exclusive, Diane Sawyer interviews former President Clinton about his health and his bout on the campaign trail this week. Clinton says for the first time in his life he's experiencing fatigue. When asked if it's too soon to hit the campaign trail, he says he had some helpful suggestions from doctors that he try to get places early so he can take a rest if he's tired.

Clinton says in the next week Kerry shouldn't look for a silver bullet. He should just get out there and try to convey confidence and that he has very specific plans for the future, not just on the war on terror, but on the economy as well. On politics in general, Clinton says he doesn't feel the passion about the game that he used to feel but he does feel more passionately about the decisions people in office make.

Senator John Kerry's interview with NBC's Katie Couric:

In the past, when describing the real priorities in the war on terrorism, Senator John Kerry had highlighted Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. In his interview with NBC's Katie Couric, he added Zarqawi to that list of priorities. Kerry said: "I will do a better job of focusing on the real war on terror which was not in Iraq. The priority is Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi."

Kerry defended his criticism of Bush's "up in the air" statement to Sean Hannity, saying, "We won World War II, we won the Cold War, we know what we can do when we put our mind to it."

Kerry thinks the election will be decided on Nov. 2 because he thinks Americans "don't' want a repeat of 2000," and therefore, he thinks they are "going to come out in huge number," and, referring to the Democrats, Kerry said, "We're going to protect people's right to vote."

Couric asked Kerry whether his criticism of Bush's "scare tactics" was a case of "the pot calling the kettle black." Kerry said: "No. No, it is profoundly not at all." He went on to criticize a situation where nine out of ten of America's active duty troops are either in Iraq, going to Iraq or coming back from Iraq. He also criticized Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security.

Kerry was unworried about Clinton alienating some voters. "I'm running for President," he said. "Not Bill Clinton."

Asked about Cheney's charge that Kerry is weak and that such weakness will invite terrorism, Kerry told Couric he wanted to look her and the American people in the eye and tell them that "unlike Dick Cheney and George Bush, I put my life on the line for this country. I fought for this country as a young man and I will fight for this country as President." He also touted his votes for the "biggest defense budgets" and "biggest intelligence budgets" in US history.

Kerry reiterated his charge that Bush let Osama Bin Laden "escape and regroup" at Tora Bora and said Bin Laden is "now in 60 countries around the world."

Just how amazing the American people are by and large. In Iowa, people listened with such intensity. They probe and probe before they make a commitment. The intensity is more than anyone can describe. Kerry said he has been exercising

Kerry explained his comment that he was not changed by 9/11 by saying that he knew terror was a problem before Sept. 11, 2001, that he had written a book about it and that having been to war, he knew that this was something that "we have to win." (He said this even though when he came back from Vietnam he said: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Kerry told Couric: "I knew exactly what we needed to do." He then segued into his Tora Bora attack on Bush.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

—7:00 am: President Bush and former President Clinton appear on "Good Morning America"

—7:00 am: Sen. John Kerry and Vice President Cheney appear on "Today"

—8:20 am: Sen. Kerry holds a roundtable discussion with working women at Dover High School, Dover, NH

—8:45 am: Sen. Kerry speaks at Dover High School, Dover, NH

—9:30 am: Sen. John Edwards attends campaign rally in Toledo, OH

—10:00 am: Former Vice President Al Gore attends an early vote rally on behalf of Sen. Kerry, Coconut Creek, FL

—10:00 am: The National Association of Realtors releases the September report on existing home sales

—10:15 am: Elizabeth Edwards holds a town hall at Ohio University Southern, Ironton, OH

—10:30 am: Bobbie and Wallace Edwards vote for their son and Sen. Kerry at the Moore County Board of Elections, Carthage, NC

—11:00 am: Vice President Cheney holds a town hall meeting at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, MN

—11:30 am: Teresa Heinz Kerry speaks at Miami-Dade Community College, Homestead, FL

—12:00 pm: Biographers Justin Frank and Stanley Renshon speak about the personality and political behavior of President Bush at George Washington University, Washington, DC

—12:00 pm: Center for the Study of the American Electorate Director Curtis Gans speaks about "The Upsurge in Voter Registration and Expectations for Turnout in the 2004 Elections" at the Foreign Press Center, Washington, DC

—12:10 pm: President Bush holds a rally at the Island Grove Regional Park Events Center, Greeley, CO

—12:30 pm: Former Vice President Gore holds an early vote rally, Riviera Beach, FL

—1:00 pm: Sen. Kerry, former President Bill Clinton, and Patti Labelle attend a Fresh Start for America rally at Love Park in Philadelphia, PA

—1:30 pm: National security advisor Condoleezza Rice delivers the keynote address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's national summit meeting at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, FL

—1:50 pm: Sen. Edwards attends Fresh Start for America rally in Racine, WI

—3:30 pm: Elizabeth Edwards holds a town hall discussion on national security at the Dan Hansen VFW, Ham Lake, MN

—3:35 pm: President Bush holds a rally at the Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs, IA

—4:00 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry speaks at the Cuban Club, Tampa, FL

—5:00 pm: Ralph Nader speaks at the University of Findlay, Findlay, OH

—5:15 pm: Vice President Cheney holds a town hall meeting at the Roberts Convention Center, Wilmington, OH

—6:00 pm Sen. Edwards attends Fresh Start for America Rally in Dubuque, IA

—6:20 pm: President Bush holds a rally at the River Center, Davenport, IA

—6:30 pm: Former President Bill Clinton speaks at an Early Vote Rally at Stephen P. Clark Government Center, Miami, FL

—6:45 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a rally with Jon Bon Jovi at Macomp Community College in Warren, MI

—7:30 pm: Elizabeth Edwards and Christie Vilsack holds a "Fresh Start for America" rally at the Ottumwa School Board Offices, Ottumwa, IA

—8:00 pm: Sens. Chris Dodd and John McCain and entertainers Dan Aykroyd, Candice Bergen, Chevy Chase, Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Tim Meadows, Conan O'Brien, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Christopher Walken, and Paul Simon present Lorne Michaels the "Mark Twain Prize" for American humor at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

—8:00 pm: Ralph Nader speaks at the First Unitarian Church, Detroit, MI

—9:00 pm: President Bush appears on Hannity & Colmes (taped)

—9:00 pm: Sen. Edwards, Vanessa Kerry, and Alexandra Kerry appear on "Larry King Live"

—10:45 pm: Sen. Kerry holds a Fresh Start for America rally in the parking lot of the Radisson Hotel, Green Bay, WI