BUSH 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 ni 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."
CLINTON 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.
KERRY INTERVIEW WITH NBC'S KATIE COURIC:
In the past, when describing the real priorities in the war on terrorism, Sen. 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."
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.
CHENEYS INTERVIEW WITH NBC'S GANGEL:
In an interview with NBC's Jamie Gangel, Vice President Cheney said "I think that's nuts" when talking about Kerry's New York Times Magazine interview in which he said he wants to get back to the time when terrorism was just a "nuisance" like prostitution or gambling. Cheney dismissed the Washington Post's endorsement of Kerry and criticism of Bush as something coming from a "not friendly" newspaper. Cheney said he was surprised by the "amount of damage" that had been done to the infrastructure in Iraq by Saddam Hussein.
Asked if he thought Kerry's comment about his lesbian daughter was calculated, Cheney said, "Well, that was the suspicion after they both brought it up and Mary Beth Cahill said Mary was 'fair game.' Cheney added: "Fair game—that's descriptive of an issue" at which point Lynne Cheney interjected, slapping the Vice President's knee, finishing his sentence by saying, "—not our dear and wonderful daughter." Asked if he thought Kerry should apologize for the comment, Cheney said he thinks the matter is beyond us and that we should move on.
In reference to this week's star surrogates—Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger—Cheney said he would rather have the Terminator than Elvis.
Cheney did not shy away from making a prediction of the final outcome. His prediction? "52-47 Bush".
Cheney said Democratic attacks on the draft and Social Securtiy are unfounded. Asked how he will feel if Iraqis choose an Islamic fundamentalist government, Cheney said the people of Iraq will make that choice and that a government in Iraq that is elected and is representative, "whatever it is," will be better because the world is safer now that Hussein is in prison and not in his palace.
"UP IN THE AIR":
In her package, NBC's Norah O'Donnell included Bush's "up in the air" comment to FNC's Sean Hannity and played Kerry's response from Boca Raton, FL.
CBS' Bill Plante said President Bush "isn't the least bit bashful about suggesting that the nation's security depends on the his re-election." "Asked in a FOX interview if the country could ever feel secure after 9/11, Mr. Bush echoed something he said earlier and later took back – that the war on terror could not be won." SOT from FOX. Kerry quickly responded to the remark. Plante noted "the President has distilled his speech down to five reasons to vote for him – the family budget, quality of life, retirement values, and very heavy emphasis on security."
NBC's Campbell Brown said there is a danger that Clinton will "overshadow" Kerry but the Kerry campaign is hoping Clinton will fire up African-Americans.
ABC's Dan Harris previews the states that the candidates will visit in the next week and notes they will both be enlisting star power, Clinton today for Kerry and Schwarzenegger for Bush some time this week.
CNN's Paul Begala discusses the Clinton factor on CNN's "American Morning". Begala says he's such a good analyst and strategist; why not tap in to that. He adds that Clinton talks to Kerry frequently. Republican strategist Joe Watkins says of course people like Clinton, but he will be playing to a Democratic stronghold in Philadelphia.
GILLESPIE v. McAULIFFE ON CBS:
On CBS' "Early Show", Ed Gillespie says he doesn't know if the cache of explosives that have vanished from a site in Iraq is a serious matter and defers to the White House. Terry McAuliffe cites it as a perfect example of how Bush has made the nation less safe. When asked about the Clinton factor, McAuliffe says its important for Clinton to talk to the base of the party to remind them under his administration jobs were created, more cops were on the street, etc, and that's what Kerry will do. Gillespie counters that Kerry is hoping that Clinton can energize voters, but his name is not on the ballot.
On CBS' "Early Show" Craig Crawford says if Bush loses reelection, one the blunders they may point to is the decision of his campaign to keep him out of Ohio in the last few weeks. He calls it both a chess game and poker game, because there is a bunch of bluffing. He cites Kerry decision to campaign in Colorado last week to sort of lure the Bush campaign to spend more time there, but the truth is the Kerry campaign is pulling ads there.
On "FOX and Friends," Ed Rollins says Kerry's not made the sale. He adds it's really a pro-Bush vote or an anti-Bush vote at this point.
HOWARD DEAN ON "IMUS":
Howard Dean was asked if he would like to work in the Kerry Administration on Don Imus' show and played coy. "I find that those who pick their Cabinets before they get elected usually don't get to do so afterwards." Dean is holding a fundraiser tonight for a congressional candidate who is trying to unseat House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
In a "Nick News" poll, Kerry beat Bush 57 to 43. Linda Ellerbee, the host of "Nick News," was interviewed on the CBS "Early Show."