The Note: Surprise Party

"'You can argue that it shifts attention back to the global war on terrorism and away from Iraq, the economy and healthcare,' said Charles Cook, publisher of the Cook Political Report, an independent election guide. 'Or you can argue that it reminds people that Bin Laden was never caught, that we put the emphasis on Iraq and Saddam Hussein instead.'"

The Washington Post's venerable Dana Priest and Walter Pincus Note that many intelligence and counterterrorism experts say this videotape at this time is about bin Laden raising his public profile, not specifically messing with the U.S. election or condemning a candidate. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Zuckman and Silva write, "Whether the tape will affect what the candidates say and do in the last days of the race was unclear." LINK

Deb Orin proclaims, "There seems little doubt that Osama's October surprise will be the dominant story this weekend as the final undecided voters make up their minds." LINK

Bin laden in the battlegrounds:

Unfortunately, we aren't able to see the hard copy (or even a pdf of the front page) of the Columbus Dispatch, but if its Web site is any indication of how the story is playing in central Ohio it's not nearly as big a deal as Gov. Schwarzenegger's visit, Ken Blackwell's turnout prediction, or the plethora of election lawsuits before Ohio courts.

The Dispatch relies upon Knight Ridder wire copy for the Osama bin Laden duties. LINK

In Florida, the Miami Herald led with the Boss. And its Bin Laden headline: "Bin Laden says he ordered attacks."

The St. Pete Times has a front page (pre-planned) story on election jitters and gives Bin Laden a separate headline: "Bin Laden: Security key to peace for U.S."

The Philadelphia Daily News' front page is black with a big picture of bin Laden from the tape. Above the photo in smaller letters reads "Before Americans Head to Polls Osama Has a Message." Below the photo in big, block white letters reads "Vote of Caution." LINK

An interesting write up from Knight Ridder's Douglas, Kuhnhenn, and Thomma is in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The lede: "President Bush and Sen. John Kerry dismissed yesterday's videotape from Osama bin Laden, saying it would not affect America, but the terrorist's dramatic reappearance four days before the election threw an October surprise into U.S. politics that could influence the vote." LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune prints a Scripps Howard write-up asking "Who would the terror chief prefer to be president - George Bush or John Kerry?" LINK

The Star Tribune also runs the Dalrymple/Hunt AP wire with the header "Bush, Kerry say Bin Laden will be hunted down." LINK

Another battleground state paper which doesn't have its .pdf format front page updated in time for our deadline, but the bin Laden story gets prominent placement on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Web site and the paper relies upon the Washington Post news service for its copy. LINK

The Albuquerque Journal has a huge photo of the video image of Bin Laden splashed across its front page under the headline "Bin Laden Admits He Was Behind 9/11." The paper relies upon the AP story for its coverage. LINK

The major newspaper Web sites in Iowa, Nevada, Maine, and West Virginia have wire stories on bin Laden -- and not prominently featured at that.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry:

The Washington Post's VandeHei and Allen wrap Friday on the trail, with a focus not on the politics of bin Laden. LINK

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