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

"Geographically, both men will concentrate almost all their efforts on Florida and on the upper midwestern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Among those states, the only surprise is Michigan, which had been expected to be safely Democratic; recent polls have shown a close race. Another surprise is a trip on Sunday by Vice President Cheney to traditionally Democratic Hawaii, where polls show the race to be close."

"Kerry has been spending most of his time in Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Florida; he will visit Detroit on Saturday, although the campaign is increasingly optimistic about Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania."

"Bush strategist Karl Rove said Thursday night that the campaign's private polls show the president even or ahead in eight of the 10 battleground states -- including Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico -- with leads outside the polls' margins of error in four. He predicted a victory for Bush but said 'the next five days are critical.'"

Rove in the Los Angeles Times: "Rove and other Bush aides said they remained optimistic that the president would win reelection, saying their internal polling suggested they were leading Kerry in all battleground states except Pennsylvania, where the candidates were tied."

John Harwood in Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire gets a "Bush political advisor" to admit that ""Flu shots and Social Security scare me" and Notes that the Commerce Department only posted job data from non-battleground states after queries by the Journal. Another interesting Note: Harry Reid's ready to take over Tom Daschle's leadership position if John Thune waxes victorious. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Hitt and Rogers ponder the campaigns' attempts to broaden their appeal, with Karl Rove proclaiming, "We're on the hunt." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jake Schlesinger has an excellent look at how new "demographic wildcards" — Jewish, Hispanic, black voters — might help decide the race. LINK

The "Gigante" scoop: Saturday-before-Election-Day interviews with Bush and Kerry on Spanish language television. LINK

USA Today's Jim Drinkard refers to a report that says 143 million could vote this year, a number that is 10 million higher than the number of registered voters in 2000. LINK

Walter Shapiro writes, "Truth is the first casualty not only in war, but also in the closing days of a campaign." LINK

Francophile Dick Morris' headline reads "WHY BUSH WILL WIN," and he uses the word "voila" in his column. LINK

Deb Orin Notes, "Both sides are now making their gambles on where to stump for the final weekend." LINK

Orin also reports on the combined total donations of the top "anti-Bush fat cats." LINK

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wraps the campaigns' final ads and writes that Bush's final, negative ad was a "bit unusual in that it is a negative assault on a positive Kerry ad." LINK

The Washington Post's Michael Powell on the politically split Johnson family from Beloit, WI. LINK

Since they can't donate unregulated sums of soft money, "employers are going grass roots," writes Tom Hamburger of the Los Angeles Times. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: October Surprise: missing explosives:

ABC News' Martha Raddatz looks at the missing weapons investigation, citing a new video acquired by ABC affiliate KSTP who was embedded with the 101st Division.

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