7:01 pm — wonder if you should have ordered in pizza, chips and beer to watch the evening's events; fix yourself a strong martini instead.
7:43 pm — suddenly start to feel very jittery — fix another martini.
8:00 pm — wonder if you should have gone to the Reagan building/Boston after all.
8:00 pm onward — wait.
The most recent ABC News tracking poll shows that a larger number of voters cite the economy as their most important issue (24%) than cite terrorism (20%) — and that President Bush is wildly popular among those who cite terrorism while Senator Kerry is favored two to one on those focused on the economy, Iraq, health care, or education.
Today the candidates try to make inroads among their opponents' strongest supporters.
President Bush will focus on the economy and "protecting America's families' budgets," while Senator John Kerry will accuse Bush of having "failed to address gaps in our homeland security, putting America at risk" and being "divorced from reality in Iraq."
Kerry and his running mate are also expected to criticize Vice President Cheney characterization that Iraq has been a "remarkable success story," and continue harping on the story about 380 tons of missing explosives from Iraq.
Meanwhile, in Washington, time runs out on Congress to agree on intelligence reform that would reach the president before the election. A final bill could be passed this week by a joint House-Senate conference, but would be delayed for final Congressional approval (and signing) until after the election. The 9/11 Family Steering Committee hold an 11:00 am press conference to criticize Congress over the bill.
And happy birthday, Patriot Act; its third anniversary is celebrated today in a John Ashcroft Wall Street Journal op-ed.
President Bush is in the Midwest all day: He rallies Onalaska, WI at 9:25 am, holds a "Focus on the Economy" event in Richland Center, WI at 12:40 pm, and rallies Cuba City, WI and Dubuque, IA at 3:55 and 5:25, respectively.
Senator Kerry will try to complete his longest day of the general election campaign to date, beginning with a 9:00 am homeland security speech in Green Bay, WI. He then heads out West, likely for the final time, to rally Las Vegas at 5:00 pm and Albuquerque at 9:45 pm — before heading back to the Midwest to sleep and rally Sioux City, IA.
Vice President Cheney is in Florida all day, holding rallies in West Palm Beach, Lake City, and Pensacola at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 3:15 pm, respectively.
Former President Clinton, following an evening Miami rally, speaks to the B'nai Torah Congregation, Boca Raton at 12:30 pm.
Senator John Edwards brings a covey of celebrities with him to a 10:30 am Minneapolis event: Ashton Kutcher, Scott Wolf and his wife Kelley Limp, musician Max Weinberg, and Kerry's stepsons Chris and Andre Heinz. Edwards then heads to Pennsylvania, holding a town hall in Reading at 3:25 pm and a rally in Wilkes Barre at 6:45 pm. He overnights in Clearwater, FLA.
Elsewhere, Zell Miller is in New Hampshire; Teresa Heinz Kerry and Rep. Rob Portman is in Ohio; and Elizabeth Edwards is in Minnesota and Michigan.
And in Denver, a U.S. District Court hears a voter lawsuit challenging the state amendment that would split the state's electorate votes proportionally based on the popular vote.
ABC News Vote 2004: rebutted October surprise?: