The Note: This Gun's for Hire




Morning Show Wrap

Evening Newscasts Wrap

Five Days Until Election Day


Most Note readers know Ron Brownstein as the Los Angeles Times' ace reporter and columnist, who is able to write about politics, policy, polls, and process with the best in America.

Others know him as Abbott to Lou Dobbs' Costello. LINK

But, today, with the presidency still very much up for grabs, Mr. Brownstein is at the dead center of American life.

First off, Ron is a long-time, long-suffering Boston Red Sox fan. So last night was the sweetest thing for him.

Second, Ron is a long-time, long-rocking Bruce Springsteen fan. So today will be nearly as sweet.

Per this morning's Wisconsin State Journal and the sizzling copy of the Dickensian named Dee J. Hall: LINK

"Madison officials are bracing for crowds of between 40,000 and 60,000 people today to see Senator John Kerry and rock star Bruce Springsteen as the hotly contested presidential election races to the finish line."

"Coming just days before Election Day, today's Downtown rally featuring Kerry, Springsteen and Foo Fighters lead vocalist Dave Grohl could be the largest political gathering ever in Wisconsin, Madison Ald. Michael Verveer said."

It is scheduled for 1:30 pm ET. How much will cable take? Will there be a "No Surrender" guitar duet? Only time will tell … ..

And on the eve of the first and last visit to the ultimate battleground state of Ohio by the apotheosis of the melding of politics and Hollywood (Arnold Schwarzenegger appears, during the East Coast feeds of the evening newscasts in Columbus with President Bush Friday.), Brownstein moves center stage as well.

Although he wrote the ultimate book about the intermingling of celebrities and politics back when that world was more about Warren Beatty and Gary Hart, Brownstein's "The Power and the Glitter: The Hollywood-Washington Connection" (paperback: LINK; hardcover: LINK) is still a great read today, when Ashley Judd, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jake Gyllenhaal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kirsten Dunst, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Allison Munn are all out on the trail.

But, most important, today Brownstein is the author of the Los Angeles Times must-read poll write up of their latest surveys for the Big Three, and the jumbled mess he finds demonstrates more conclusively than ever that this race remains up for grabs.

"On a broad series of questions, the results in The Times polls for Bush are sunny in Florida, gloomy in Ohio and mixed in Pennsylvania," writes Brownstein.

He also spends much of his write up of his paper's polls explaining that the results are somewhat different than other recent public polls in those states. (Note Note: "Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania … " just doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, does it?) LINK

Here are the paper's numbers among likely voters for all three states:

FLORIDA: Bush 51 % vs. Kerry 43% vs. Nader 2%

PENNSYLVANIA: Bush 48% vs. Kerry 48%

OHIO: Kerry 50% vs. Bush 44%

"If Kerry can't win two of the three, it would be extremely difficult for him to reach 270 electoral votes," writes Brownstein.

"Mathematically, Bush might be able to survive losing Ohio and Pennsylvania by capturing New Mexico, Iowa and either Minnesota or Wisconsin. But no one in his campaign would be eager to test the proposition."

Obviously, again, there are public and serious private polls in all three places that don't match up with those at all, suggesting … … .uhm … we don't really know WHAT!!!!

So, with no clear idea where these key states, and the race, stand, we jump forward five days to Election Day itself, where we bring you, in advance, how things will go in the BC04/RNC war room on November 2.

Election Day Republican war room chronology:

5:30 am — Ken Mehlman scans morning papers; winces over latest Iraq attack; is unsurprised by Balz lead on "too close to call."

6:00 am — Steve Schmidt arrives in war room and begins reading papers in search of opportunities to attack John Kerry on the $87 billion vote/statement.

7:00 am — Mehlman and Rove have their last pre-meeting call together to go over plans; they notice a wire story about last-minute buy from Americans for a Secure Planet which charges Kerry blithely ignores threat from aliens; they are not unpleased.

7:04 am — Jennifer tells Chad to shove it on "American Morning" one last time.

7:30 am — White House senior staff meeting in Crawford; Andy Card thanks everyone; Bartlett, exhausted, thanks everyone and reminds folks that clear-headed thinking is needed; President takes last work out.

8:00 am — while monitoring Imus, Steve Schmidt hears Kerry announce his 15th position on Iraq and activates regional press operation and talk radio.

8:00 am — President votes in Crawford; Texas's 34 electoral votes seem secure.

8:01 am — Drudge siren announces Kerry's 15th position on Iraq.

8:35 am — actors Rick Schroeder and Arnold Schwarzenegger record last robocalls of the year; Zell Miller's final robocall regurgitates the spitball line.

11:00 am — Bush daughters visit Arlington HQ for the last time and thank the group; Mehlman gives a pep talk to the crowd; some think he talks too loudly — others are fine with the volume.

Noon — Dowd and Devine debate their internal tracks on Fox; Dowd wins and Tad argues that "it comes down to the ground game."

1:00 pm — Guessing game about second terms begins in earnest — if Danforth takes State, does Bolten succeed Card? Bartlett to deputy chief of staff, new job for Miers?

2:00 pm — Insane exit calling around; everyone but Dowd cheered by reports of long lines in Panama City, Cincinnati 'burbs, Appleton, and Latrobe.

3:00 pm — Mercer Reynolds and Jack Oliver take a breather at the Hay Adams.

3:03 pm — Mindy Tucker Fletcher goes on IP from Tally to assure America that every legitimate vote will be counted.

4:00 pm — Jim Dyke gets calls from Arkansas reporting all is well despite Clinton buzz from weekend rally in Pine Bluff; eschews NRA cufflinks for presidential ones.

5:00 pm — Don Rumsfeld realizes he hasn't courted Bolten all that well; plans to send fruit basket.

5:20 pm — Tim Griffin and Christine Iverson sign off on last "Elephant Never Forgets" — this time, an homage to John Kerry's term St. Paul's term paper calling Henry Wallace "a great man."

5:35 pm — Last "screw you" to Dan Rather — only small fry will do CBS tonight; big guns all do Fox, ABC and the other networks; CBS bookers scramble to get hookup with Lugar in Indianapolis.

6:12 pm — President Bush calls Jim Bunning; they talk baseball; Bush returns to going over twin speeches with Bartlett, Hughes, and Gerson; Karen wants President to say he will be a "Second-termer with Sustenance"; others are less fond of the phrase.

7:10 pm — Brit Hume interview with Ben Affleck comes on screens at BC04; ample teasing of Reed Dickens over the resemblance.

7:20 pm — Good reports from conservative suburbs of Kauai — things are looking great!

But, briefly, back to today.

The day after the second Boston Red Sox World Series victory, President Bush's wartime leadership will be front and center on the campaign trail.

The president will deliver what a senior campaign official tells ABC News' Terry Moran is a "different kind of speech, one in which the president will talk about the qualities a leader needs in these times, what voters should look for in a President when the nation is at war."

The speech will also contrast the president's own record with what he will characterize as wavering leadership from Senator John Kerry. It is unclear at this writing if the president will engage on the meta-explosive explosive issue or not.

Bush holds rallies in Saginaw, MI, Dayton, OH, and Yardley, PA at 9:10 am, 2:50 pm, and 6:35 pm ET, respectively.

For his part Kerry will discuss the same topic — the president's wartime leadership — but use the missing explosives to argue for the fourth straight day that the president has failed his job as a commander in chief. Kerry will, Mike McCurry told reporters on the plane last night, accuse the president of not addressing the substance of the story and spinning it in order to make a political point.

Kerry holds rallies in Toledo, OH, Madison, WI, and Columbus, OH (the latter two featuring Bruce Springsteen) at 9:15 am, 1:30 pm, and 6:30 pm ET, respectively.

Vice President Cheney and Lynne Cheney are in the Midwest all day, having coffee with community leaders in Schofield, WI at 11:00 am ET, and holding rallies in International Falls, MN and Sioux City, IA at 1:55 pm and 6:25 pm ET, respectively.

Senator John Edwards tries the celebrity gambit for the second straight day, holding a rally with actor Jake Gyllenhaal at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, MN at 11:00 am ET and another with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jon Bon Jovi at Simpson College in Indianola, IA at 3:15 ET. He finishes the day in Iowa, on the opposite end of the state as Cheney, with a 6:30 pm ET rally in Davenport.

On the surrogate watch:

Former President George H.W. Bush is in Colorado and New Mexico with his granddaughters; Rudy Giuliani is in New Hampshire; Senator Bill Frist is in Iowa for Bush and Cheney.

Ashley Judd and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are in Florida; Kristin Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle, whose husbands died on Sept. 11, are in Colorado; Madeline Albright leads a national security contingent in Nevada; Sens. Lieberman, Reed, Cleland are all in Pennsylvania; Rep. Mike Honda and Iraq-American community leaders; and James Hoffa is in Minnesota for Kerry and Edwards.

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

Here's how Bob Novak begins his column: "Pollster John Zogby surprised the political world back in April with a long-range prediction that John Kerry would defeat George W. Bush for president. On Monday this week, Zogby told me, he changed his mind. He now thinks the president is more likely to be re-elected because he has reinforced support from his base, including married white women." LINK

"That conclusion would be a surprise for frantically nervous Republicans and cautiously upbeat Democrats entering the campaign's final days. In fact, nobody, including Zogby and all the other polltakers, can be sure who will win this election. Yet, it is clear that President Bush's strategists have succeeded in solidifying his base to a degree that makes it much harder to defeat him next Tuesday."

As Tom Kean would say: Novak and Zogby, perfect together. (Note to Bob: Hey, did you Notice who Jude endorsed?)

Citing whom they'd prefer to pick SCOTUS judges, likely voters pick Bush 49 to 42, the Washington Post 's Richard Morin reports. LINK

The New York Times ' Elisabeth Bumiller and Jodi Wilgoren write that the Bush and Kerry back-and-forth over the missing explosives yesterday on the trail "reflected concern in the Bush campaign that the issue could be hurting the president only six days before what is expected to be an extraordinarily close election," with the president accusing the Senator of denigrating the troops and Kerry hammering the issue for a third straight day — though backing away from the Notion that the explosives had already been used to attack U.S. troops. LINK

Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell sends along two great links:

Breaking down the endorsements by newspaper chain, which ones are very pro-Kerry (e.g. Knight Ridder) and which pro-Bush: LINK

Another thing they've been tracking exclusively, how electoral maps change at seven major sites every day, with Bush picking up gains today and leading, on average, 198-184 or something like that: LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: rebutted October surprise re-rebutted? Or not?:

On NBC's "Today," former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked by Matt Lauer about the missing explosives in Iraq and said:

"The president was cautious. The president was prudent … the actual responsibility was on the troops there. Did they search carefully?"

Giuliani then moved back to saying: "The president was not willing to put blame on the troops."

So: no blame, but surely responsibility.

Said Joe Lockhart in a statement: ""This is just the latest example of the excuse presidency where the buck stops any place but the Oval Office."

From ABC News' Martha Radadtz: "Iraqi officials may be overstating the amount of explosives reported to have disappeared from a weapons depot, documents obtained by ABC News show. The Iraqi interim government has told the United States and international weapons inspectors that 377 tons of conventional explosives are missing from the Al-Qaqaa installation, which was supposed to be under U.S. military control." LINK

"But International Atomic Energy Agency documents obtained by ABC News and first reported on 'World News Tonight with Peter Jennings' indicate the amount of missing explosives may be substantially less than the Iraqis reported."

The Washington Times is reporting that "Russian special forces moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation," according to an interview with John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security. Shaw goes on to say that the Russians "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad. LINK

The Washington Post 's Milbank and VandeHei write that the missing explosives has "crowded out the subjects Bush is raising, particularly an appeal to Democrats," and Note that "while there has yet to be an 'October surprise' that shakes up the race, a series of small, negative surprises have undermined Bush's campaign: the flu-vaccine shortage, climbing oil prices, falling stocks and this month's disappointing jobs report." LINK

"That Bush addressed the issue at all — on Tuesday he only glared at a reporter who inquired about the matter — reflected the prominence the explosives have gained in the final days of the presidential race, when every moment is precious to the campaigns. Kerry has used the situation to question Bush's terrorism-fighting credentials, and the matter has crowded out the subjects Bush is raising, particularly an appeal to Democrats."

Howard Kurtz reports today that in a conversation with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, Keller told him that "sure there's a possibility" that the 380 tons of explosives disappeared from Al Qaqaa before American forces arrived. "I think the original story accounted for that possibility," Keller said. LINK

This sounds a little (or a lot … ) different from the tone and substance of the original Times story, which reported in its second paragraph that "United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year." (See: LINK)

"The sharp statements dominated the day's campaign debate, putting Bush on the defensive and giving the Massachusetts senator an opportunity to question the incumbent's credentials as commander in chief," write Warren Vieth and Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

And look at this excellent nugget from the Vieth/Gold duo:

"The two-day delay in the Pentagon's response to the news reports troubled some of the military brass, one senior Defense official said. The Pentagon press office e-mailed its 'talking points' on the explosives to administration officials late Wednesday."

"'We have talking points now?' the official said, angered by the slow response. 'Two days after the story broke?'"

Read all the way to the bottom so you don't miss the good stuff they have on ads too.

The reluctant Kerry endorsers at the Washington Post 's editorial board think the Senator may have stepped over the line separating facts from wishful thinking.

"It may not be fair to claim, as Senator John F. Kerry did on Monday, that the loss represents 'one of the greatest blunders of this administration.' Apart from the doubts about whether the explosives disappeared before or after U.S. troops reached the site, Iraq was covered with some 10,000 weapons sites under Saddam Hussein; Qaqaa was not among those given highest priority by U.S. intelligence. Unfortunately, high explosives are not in short supply in the world's black markets, and HMX is far from the most valuable material needed for a nuclear bomb. We have said repeatedly, however, that President Bush erred in not dispatching enough troops to Iraq to secure the country after the war. We'll never know if a larger invasion force might have been able to prevent this looting, but the chances of avoiding this and other terrible reverses surely would have been much higher." LINK

Bob Novak's column cited above questions whether Al-Qaqaa can move the "security mom" vote. LINK

(Novak botches the NBC narrative, however.)

USA Today 's Keen and Lawrence on the sparring. LINK (And Mark Memmott chimes in on how the media gets used on the matter. LINK)

The Chicago Tribune's ed board suggests that "when the embarrassing story breaks late, there's usually a reason." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

"Kerry's spots, on average, are getting seen by more TV viewers in Ohio and Florida in the closing days of a tight election than President Bush's. When ads from parties and outside groups are factored in, the data show, the two sides are roughly at parity in the paid TV combat for the 47 electoral votes in the two states," writes Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

The Las Vegas Review-Journal Notes that Clinton's Sin City rally is within walking distance of an early voting site. LINK

Nancy Benac on the extensive early voting around the country. LINK

Brian C. Mooney of the Boston Globe looks out how exceptionally high voter turnout is messing with the tea leaves. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Sennott and Liebowitz report from London that turnout of overseas voters is expected to be way up. "There are no reliable statistics on how many of the 3.5 million to 7 million Americans living overseas have registered to vote. But informed estimates in Europe and elsewhere suggest that up to three times as many voters are registering for this election as in previous years." LINK

Tom Friedman laments the loss of the moderate middle in politics. LINK

Frank Rich writes that the election comes down to who offers more entertainment value for the next four years — more bang for the vote, as it were. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Rogers and Hitt focus on the battle over the Midwest, and how voters are weighing values against the economy. LINK

The New York Times ' David Rosenbaum fact checks Bush and Kerry on stem cells. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Greg Hitt looks at the tactic of "taking on the liberal media" in trying to motivate the Republican base. LINK

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, referring to the message depicted with former President Bill Clinton on the trail with Senator Kerry this week, writes, "And there in a nutshell is the choice in this election: forward with Bush into a difficult future or backward with Kerry to the familiar ways of the past. It would be an easy decision, except for one thing: The familiar ways of the past led to Sept. 11." LINK

Former GE CEO Jack Welch offers up a bit of a voters guide on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. LINK

A new Washington Post poll of Latino voters shows that by a 2 to 1 margin they believe the war in Iraq was not worth fighting — the same ratio that they favor Kerry over Bush. LINK

It's not easy being a pollster, the Washington Post 's Richard Morin Notes. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: ballotwatch: Florida:

Did you know … . That absentee ballot counting starts tomorrow in Florida?

And Republicans say they worry that Democrats will aggressively challenge overseas and military ballots. The Democrats deny they plan to challenge anyone.

"We are planning no election day or canvassing board challenges," said Kerry spokeswoman Christine Anderson.

Broward County will re-mail about 76,000 missing absentee ballots, the Miami Herald reports. LINK

ABC News' Jeffrey Kofman reports that the supervisor of elections will Fedex 'em if they have to.

Gov. Jeb Bush is encouraging poll watchers to challenge voters on Tuesday, the St. Pete Times reports. LINK

"'I don't think it will cause problems,' Bush said. 'I do think that people who are not eligible to vote shouldn't and the people who are should.'"

"The Florida Republican Party has not decided whether to instruct poll watchers to challenge voters Tuesday, spokeswoman Mindy Fletcher said."

The Miami Herald offers voters a checklist to avoid glitches at the polls. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: ballotwatch: Ohio:

The New York Times ' James Dao writes that a federal judge in Ohio on Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order blocking six boards of election in Ohio from investigating Republican-initiated efforts to take tens of thousands of voters of the rolls. LINK

Reports ABC News' Ellen Davis: "Motions for preliminary and permanent injunctions were filed in federal district court Wednesday in Cincinnati claiming that the questions asked of voters by challengers at the polls have a disparate impact on African American voters in Hamilton County and should therefore be prohibited. It was filed with the same judge who granted the Dems the temporary restraining order. She did not act on this one, and it has less likelihood of success."

Judge Dlott's ruling may be a temporary victory for the Democrats, but Republicans will no doubt have more Election Day challenges in light of the halted hearing process. LINK

Hamilton County poll workers are being trained like never before. LINK

Checkout the voter registration challenges by zip code chart that the Columbus Dispatch put together. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: ballotwatch:

Poet Matt Bai thinks that "roughly half the country will emerge from Tuesday's election suspecting that it was stolen," and delivers this operatic sentence about the state of pre-election litigation in his upcoming New York Times Magainze piece: "Gone are those innocent days when the Daleys and Kennedys tried to steal elections after the votes were cast; campaign lawyers, like cold-war theorists, have successfully adapted to the age of pre-emption."

With unprecedented levels of early voting, comes early voting problems. The Los Angeles Times takes a coast to coast look at some issues early voters have encountered thus far. LINK

Not the least of which are partisans applying their pressure. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes and Jeanne Cummings offer a good overview — clip and save! — of the seven states where legal challenges could extend past Tuesday. LINK

Read and re-read the Ohio section!!!!!

The Los Angeles Times also provide an overview of the most prominent litigation currently underway. LINK

An district judge in Iowa dismissed a challenge to a ruling by the Secretary of State that provisional ballots cast outside home districts should count. LINK

Chris Churchill of the Morning Sentinel in Maine looks at the potential effect of "11-th hour registrants." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's "other" John McCormick does the same thing on Wisconsin and Minnesota voters. LINK

The Philadelphia Daily News gives us a taste of the lawyers and officials in Pennsylvania watching this election like hawks from now until its over. LINK

Chester County, one of those pesky highly-coveted Philadelphia suburban areas, will be using punch card ballots on Tuesday. LINK

Please send your tips, comments and questions on any ballot matters to

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney '04:

Rick Klein of the Boston Globe looks at Bush on the attack — ending his campaign just as he started back in March. LINK

"In the race's closing days, Bush's argument for a second term is as much about warning voters of what his Democratic opponent would do as it as about what the president himself is promising."

Mark Memmott analyzes the president's latest ad called "Whatever it Takes." LINK

The Washington Post 's Dan Eggan writes that "access to Bush's events has been unusually tightly controlled and people who do not support Bush's reelection have been removed" in what civil liberties advocates say is harsher tactics than in the past. LINK

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Steve Forbes calls President Bush a "Reagan revolutionary." LINK

The Washington Post 's Michael Dobbs on Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham's battleground state visits — and grants. LINK

Geoff Boucher writes up the latest Eminem video which "slams President Bush and calls on young America to mobilize against the administration." LINK

Maureen Dowd calls the view of Iraq that Bush and Cheney promote "downright spooky." LINK

Gov. Schwarzenegger (cautiously) chatted about the presidential election yesterday while campaigning for some ballot initiatives. LINK

"Invited to make the case for Bush's victory, Schwarzenegger demurred, instead offering the view that Republicans and Democrats disagree over the presidential race."

"He said, 'I think it's important that everyone express their opinions come next Tuesday. And people should vote on what they want and I, of course, encourage people to vote yes and reelect President Bush, but my wife (Democrat Maria Shriver) says no. I go the other way. So that's great.'

Knight Ridder's Matt Stearns has this headline: "Surprise: A warmer, fuzzier Dick Cheney." LINK

And on Good Morning America this morning, Curt Schilling shared his presidential endorsement after winning the big one last night. Schilling told ABC News' Charlie Gibson, "And make sure you tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week."

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

Switching from its 2000 endorsement of President Bush, the Economist endorses Kerry for President in its upcoming issue, albeit somewhat tepidly.

After writing that Bush changed the Iraq regime "so incompetently," the editors write that Kerry has "been forthright about the need to win in Iraq, rather than simply to get out, and will stand a chance of making a fresh start in the Israel-Palestine conflict and (though with even greater difficulty) with Iran. After three necessarily tumultuous and transformative years, this is a time for consolidation, for discipline and for repairing America's moral and practical authority. Furthermore, as Mr Bush has often said, there is a need in life for accountability. He has refused to impose it himself, and so voters should, in our view, impose it on him, given a viable alternative. John Kerry, for all the doubts about him, would be in a better position to carry on with America's great tasks."

ABC News Vote 2004: Florida:

Wanna see a chart of early votes by county? Wanna? LINK

The New York Times ' sun-kissed Adam Nagourney and Abby Goodnough take a good look at Florida, and the fact that the election and voting and how they're being conducted is dominating any issues that would arise during the campaign's closing days, Noting that the hurricanes might not have done BC04 much good in the Sunshine State, mostly keeping voters from seeing the rough coverage KE04 got this late summer and early fall. LINK

The Quinnipiac Poll out today shows Bush leading the Sunshine State 49-46 among likelies, margin of error +/- 3.2 percent. On Oct. 22, it was 48-47.

The Swift Boat Vets are up in Florida with a new $3.2 million ad buy, the Tampa Tribune reports. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Ohio:

Any of you who grew up in a suburb know the importance of the local weekly paper that tells you all you need to know about your community. Suburban News Publications with a total statewide readership of 281,000 (in 19 Ohio communities) has never before endorsed a presidential candidate, but this year they went for John Kerry. LINK

Based on the ground games, Al Hunt predicts a narrow Kerry victory in the Buckeye State. LINK

An Ohio mailbox will look quite different after the election has ended. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Pennsylvania:

After posting a five point lead last week in Quinnipiac University's poll of likely Pennsylvania voters, John Kerry has fallen two points behind (but well within the margin of error) of the president. Bush gets 49 percent while Kerry gets 47 percent. LINK

We have all now heard how voter registration numbers in the Keystone State are favoring the Democrats. The Philadelphia Inquirer's Infield and Emeno put it all into perspective. "Compared with 2000, when Pennsylvania gave Democratic candidate Vice President Al Gore a 204,840-vote margin over Bush, the Democratic registration has increased by 230,000 and the Republican numbers have increased by 135,670." LINK

"But a Democratic edge in registration does not, in itself, foretell victory for either Kerry or other Democrats in close races."

Thomas Fitzgerald profiles Pennsylvania and its political landscape in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Parmley describes the crowd at President Bush's stoke-the-base event yesterday in Lancaster County. "A euphoric crowd of about 25,000 packed into Lancaster Airport to see him. They included the Amish, teenage Republicans, stroller-pushing mothers and fathers, country-and-western fans, farmers, doctors, activists and veterans — all enthralled to see the president." LINK

While the POTUS was doing some base work in the eastern part of the state, the VPOTUS was in the southwestern region talking to conservatives. LINK

The Philadelphia Daily News' Brennan Notes the parade of surrogates coming in and out of Philadelphia this week. LINK

Senator Hillary Clinton was in swingin' Montgomery County yesterday attacking President Bush, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. LINK

P. Diddy was at Temple University in Philly yesterday working to get out the vote. LINK

Howard Dean was in Beaver County. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Iowa:

The New York Times ' Jodi Wilgoren looks at Kerry in Iowa, courting voters to come through for him again. LINK

Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register reports on Kerry's trip to Cedar Rapids yesterday where he pleaded for outreach to "the other side." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Colorado:

Senate candidate Ken Salazar's campaign bus — "brimming with doughnuts, chips, soda, candy and an apple" is making way across Colorado. LINK

"Almost twice as many Coloradans 18 to 24 registered to vote in 2004 than in 2000, according to state records," writes the Denver Post. "The 115,000 new young voters this year are mostly without party identity: Those unaffiliated outnumber Republicans or Democrats by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio." LINK

Voters in Colorado are casting their ballots "on some of the newest — and oldest — technology available," reports the Denver Post. LINK

"It's a lie-and-win-now strategy. Pay later, if at all," says a Democratic leader in Colorado, accusing Republican leaders of wrongdoing. LINK

The pros and cons of Amendment 36. LINK

As of Tuesday night 503,246 Coloradans had cast ballots — breaking down as 217,237 early voters, 284,251 absentee voters, and 1,758 provisional-ballot voters — according to secretary of state spokeswoman Lisa Doran. LINK

Early voting has exceeded 2000 figures and 2004 expectations. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Michigan:

The New York Times ' Johnny Apple writes that Michigan is back in play late in the game, with usual last-minute tightening drawing both Bush and Kerry back to the state. Kerry's going to Detroit on Saturday, Apple Notes. LINK


Franklin County employees in Pennsylvania spent several hours Wednesday evening, blacking out Ralph Nader's name on election ballots. LINK AND LINK

The Dallas Morning News looks at the Nader-spoiler thing, with this pithy quote by Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese, "You shouldn't have to vote for someone you don't believe in." LINK

A look at the die hard Nader supporters of South Florida. LINK

Is Libertarian Michael Badnarik 2004's Ralph Nader? LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The Washington Post 's Dewar and Connolly on Inez Tenenbaum's "surprising strength" in her race against Rep. Jim DeMint for Senate in South Carolina. LINK

A Tampa TV station goes after Mel Martinez for using footage from a debate it sponsored in new ad. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Jim Carlton looks at the Alaska Senate race. LINK


Susan (not Sarah as The Note has incorrectly identified her. Sorry, Susan.) Milligan Notes Senator Ted Kennedy's lurking in the shadows of the presidential and other races this year — "reclaiming his place as the liberal ghost that haunts Republican nightmares from House races to Senate campaigns to the battle for the White House." LINK

The Washington Post 's Judy Sarasohn on the increasing wealth and influence of the American Indian lobby. LINK


Paul Schwartzman on the voices behind the ads. LINK

The New York Times ' Jim Rutenberg looks at blogs' role in critiquing the coverage of the campaign. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

—9:10 am: President Bush holds a rally at the Dow Event Center, Saginaw, MI

—9:15 am: Sen. John Kerry attends a rally at the University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

—9:15 am: Vanessa Kerry holds a GOTV rally at Sanborn Regional High School, Kingston, NH

—10:00 am: Diane Kerry, Anne Lewis, and actresses Ashley Judd, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and others hold a rally on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket at Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, FL

—10:30 am: Vanessa Kerry stops by her father's campaign headquarters, Dover, NH

—10:30 am: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean holds an event on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA

—11:00 am: Vice President and Lynne Cheney hold a coffee with community leaders at the Log Cabin Restaurant, Schofield, WI

—11:00 am: Sen. John Edwards and Cate Edwards hold a rally with actor Jake Gyllenhaal at the University on Minnesota, Duluth, MN

—11:00 am: Ralph Nader holds a press conference at Resources for the Future, Washington, DC

—11:15 am: Laura Bush holds a rally at the municipal auditorium, Sarasota, FL

—11:45 am: Vanessa Kerry visits the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

—11:45 am: Sen. Joe Lieberman holds a rally on Sen. Kerry's behalf at the Pennsylvania State Education Association, Harrisburg, PA

—11:55 am: President Bush holds a rally at the Hara Complex, Dayton, OH

—12:00 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry receives the endorsement of local Republicans on her husband's behalf at campaign headquarters, Pittsburgh, PA

—12:00 pm: Kristin Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle, whose husbands died on Sept. 11, hold a rally with former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen on the steps of City Hall, Colorado Springs, CO

—12:00 pm: Leonardo DiCaprio visits Marino's Italian Restaurant, Des Moines, IA

—12:00 pm: Former President George H.W. Bush and Jenna and Barbara Bush hold a rally at the YMCA, Los Alamos, NM

—12:00 pm: Former 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow, who recently sent a letter to Congress in support of the House intelligence reform bill that does not call for a national intelligence director with budgetary control, speaks on "The Road To and From 9-11," Washington, DC

—12:30 pm: Elizabeth Edwards holds an early vote gathering at the Casselberry Senior Center, Casselberry, FL

—12:30 pm: Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani holds a town hall meeting at the Laconia Airport, Gilford, NH

—12:30 pm: George Soros speaks at the National Press Club, Washington, DC

—1:00 pm: Chris Heinz and actresses Kirsten Dunst, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Allison Munn hold a rally on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI

—1:00 pm: Former National Security Advisor Madeline Albright, Rep. Jane Harmon, and Generals McPeak, Kennedy, and McGinnis hold a rally on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket at the Nevada America Legion, Las Vegas, NV

—1:00 pm: Sen. Lieberman visits the Harrisburg Fire Station, Harrisburg, PA

—1:30 pm: Sen. Kerry holds a rally with Bruce Springsteen at the Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, WI

—1:30 pm: Laura Bush holds a rally at South County Stadium, Port St. Lucie, FL

—1:55 pm: Vice President and Lynne Cheney hold a rally at Backus Auditorium, International Falls, MN

—2:00 pm: Rudolph Giuliani holds a town hall meeting at Bedford Town Hall, Bedford, NH

—2:30 pm: Cate Edwards holds a roundtable discussion with women at St Cloud State, St. Cloud, MN

—2:50 pm: President Bush holds a rally at the Westlake Recreation Center, Westlake, OH

—3:00 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry receives the endorsement of local Republicans on her husband's behalf at the Brookhaven community center, Brookhaven, PA

—3:15 pm: Sen. Edwards holds a rally with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jon Bon Jovi at Simpson College, Indianola, IA

—3:30 pm: Former President Bush and Jenna and Barbara Bush hold a rally at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, Denver, CO

—3:45 pm: Elizabeth Edwards holds an early vote community gathering at the Thelma Boltin Activity Center, Gainesville, FL

—3:45 pm: Teamsters Union President James Hoffa campaign on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, Hopkins, MN

—4:00 pm: Kristin Breitweiser and Monica Gabrielle hold a rally with Gov. Shaheen and State Rep. Rosemary Marshall on the steps of the state Capitol, Denver, CO

—4:00 pm: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist holds a roundtable discussion with doctors and hospital administrators at Trinity at Terrace Park Community Hospital, Bettendorf, IA

—4:00 pm: Mayor Giuliani holds a rally at the Wilkes-Barre Victory Center on Behalf of President Bush, Wilkes-Barre, PA

—4:00 pm: Sen. Lieberman visits California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA

—4:00 pm: Former Sen. Max Cleland hold an event on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket at the courthouse, Greensburg, PA

—4:00 pm: Sen. Jack Reed speaks to steelworkers on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, Pottstown, PA

—4:10 pm: Laura Bush holds a rally at the World Golf Village Renaissance Resort, St. Augustine, FL

—4:30 pm: Chris Heinz, Kirsten Dunst, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Allison Munn hold a rally on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket at Carroll College, Waukesha, WI

—5:15 pm: Teresa Heinz Kerry visits African American ward leaders at Zanzibar Blue, Philadelphia, PA

—5:30 pm: Sen. Harry Reid, former Secretary Albright, and Generals Kennedy, McPeak, and McGinnis hold a rally on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, Reno, NV

—6:00 pm: Mayor Giuliani holds a rally at the Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg, PA

—6:00 pm: Sen. Cleland attends a dinner on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, New Castle, PA

—6:25 pm: Vice President and Lynne Cheney hold a town hall meeting at the Sioux City Convention Center, Sioux City, IA

—6:30 pm: Sen. Edwards holds a rally at North High School, Davenport, IA

—6:30 pm: Sen. Kerry holds a rally with Bruce Springsteen at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

—6:30 pm: Cate Edwards holds a reception with women at the law offices of Culberth, Leinemann, Stratton, LLP, St. Paul, WI

—6:35 pm: President Bush holds a rally at the Broadmeadows Farm, Yardley, PA

—8:00 pm: Gov. Dean speaks at Penn State University on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, State College, PA

—8:00 pm: Rep. Mike Honda, Imam Husham Al-Husainy and other Iraqi-American community leaders announce their support for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, Southfield, MI

—8:25 pm: Mayor Giuliani holds a rally at the Northampton Borough Recreation Center, Northampton, PA

—9:05 pm: President Bush returns to the White House

—9:15 am: Elizabeth Edwards holds an early vote community gathering at the VFW, Lakeland, FL