The Note: It's Not Whether You Win or Lose, It's How You Play the Game




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Four Days Until Election Day


States that will almost certainly decide this election: Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and New Mexico.

States that are hanging around to make a difference: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Maine's Second Congressional District.

States that could come washing through in a landslide (or abberationally shock us all and decide the race!!): Hawaii, New Jersey, Colorado, and Arkansas.

Number of newspaper stories on politics in Friday's papers: millions and millions (estimated).

Number of must reads in Friday's papers: sadly/happily, none.

Most surprising thing in President Bush's interview with USA Today: that in the presence of three of the women he loves the most (Hughes, Devenish, and Keen), he is described thusly: "His mood wasn't jocular, ... nor was he particularly reflective." LINK

Finest Devenish quote of the month, from the Los Angeles Times: "We're really locked into a dogfight here. Ironically, at this stage, what's good for them is good for us." LINK

Most surprising thing in Senator Kerry's interview with USA Today: that he somehow wasn't tricked into answering an Arafat question. LINK

Clearest sign that the mostly Anglo media do not see clearly the new America: the failure to appreciate the cultural and political significance of tomorrow night's appearances by both candidates on Sabado Gigante. LINK

Proof, as if more were needed, that Mark McKinnon has more free time than any admaker ever, and that he believes that if America knows the President's heart and appreciates his sense of humor, this election is OVER: LINK

But for better or worse, nothing -- not the candidates, the TV ads, the ground game, even the voters, really -- nothing matters more in determining the outcome of the presidential election than the major American media.

With that in mind, here's a list that serves at least two purposes.

For those of you whose livelihood depends on manipulating, influencing, and cajoling us in the last 4 days, it will serve as a road map to our state of mind.

And for our few readers who are actually national political reporters themselves, you might find it as bracing as a slap of Aqua Velva.

The twenty-five toughest things for every political reporter in America, now through Tuesday:

1. Figure out which sources to believe about state polling.

2. Figure out how to locate and evaluate last-minute TV and radio ads.

3. Simultaneously go to planning meetings, make reporting calls, make baggage call, and eat something besides cold sandwiches.

4. In-box maintenance.

5. Read any newspapers.

6. Fairly integrate elements of the news cycle into daily political coverage.

7. Determine "what would Tom Edsall do?" when trying to solve problems.

8. Study exit poll questionnaires -- since studying the polls is a useless endeavor.

9. Learn how to manage caffeine intake to avoid being weird, wired, and tired.

10. Remember that dry cleaning left over thirty days is no longer the responsibility of the establishment.

11. Set aside an hour a day (minimum) to review your Electoral College flashcards.

12. Keep in mind that no matter who wins, the Republic always survives.

13. Take good care to keep internal body temperature regulated on the Florida-to-Wisconsin express; it is nearly November after all.

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