The Note: Pointy Fingers

WASHINGTON, Sep. 27

While the New York tabloids, cable TV, talk radio, and bloggers of all stripes try to keep alive the "Godzilla versus King Kong" tong war (a/k/a: the Clintons versus the Bushes), others are peaking below the surface.

If you don't believe the Democrats can win the House and/or the Senate simply by being "not Republicans," you can grapple with the three biggest questions facing the minority-but-wants-to-be-the-majority party by taking time to read these brisk must-read pieces from the papers:

1. David Ignatius in the Washington Post on the Democrats' challenge in dealing with Iraq and actually presenting an alternative in the face of the NIE release. LINK

2. Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times, rounding up the 42/43/44(?) feudin' by smartly leading with 43's base-stoking claims that the NIE leak was politically motivated. (Where's the evidence, sir?) LINK

3. When research is king: Adam Nagourney of the New York Times surveys the television campaign ad landscape and discovers that "at least 30 new campaign advertisements in contested House and Senate districts across the country on Tuesday. Of those, three were positive." LINK

More: "Across the airwaves, Democratic challengers are being attacked for having defaulted on student loans, declaring bankruptcy, skipping out on tax bills, and being a lobbyist, a trial lawyer or, even worse, a liberal. . . "

". . . Democrats are equally aggressive in their advertisements, going after Republicans on votes, ties to campaign contributors and, in the case of challengers, their own personal foibles."

Republicans will delight in how open Chairman Reynolds is about the strategy; Democrats will spit blood.

A man who knows the way to win, President Bush, attends a closed fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker at 12:00 pm ET in Memphis, TN. Later in the day Mr. Bush hosts President Musharraf of Pakistan and President Karzai of Afghanistan at the White House at 7:30 pm ET in Washington, DC.

The House Republican Conference on party matters takes place at 9:00 am ET at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the House Democratic Caucus holds a closed meeting at 9:00 am ET on party matters at DCCC headquarters.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) present the 2005 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award at 6:00 pm ET in Washington, DC.

The Republican Main St. Partnership holds its annual dinner featuring Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at 6:30 pm ET at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC.

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee holds a closed briefing on intelligence matters at 2:30 pm ET in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) joins twelve vets running for Congress as Democrats at the Phoenix Hotel at 9:45 am ET to discuss the Bush Administration's military policies and record on issues of concern to veterans. Of the 12 veterans who will be on hand today, two of them are Iraq veterans: Patrick Murphy, who is running in PA-10, and Andrew Duck, who is running in MD-06.

Oprah Winfrey airs a taped interview with Elizabeth, John, and Cate Edwards to talk about Elizabeth Edward's new book, "Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers."

Politics of scrutiny: Clinton v. Green:

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