The Note: Long Island Sounds

Playing defense on judges for Obama: Joe Biden. "Seen this ad questioning what kind of people Barack Obama would appoint? Well I chaired the Senate committee that reviews judicial nominees. I know Barack Obama. These ads are ridiculous," Biden says in a new ad.

The New Hampshire Union-Leader endorses (surprise) McCain: "In this time of great uncertainty, America needs an experienced, decisive leader with clear vision and a steady hand to guide us through. That man is Sen. John McCain."

Look for the byline soon: Julie Mason, the lovely and talented Houston Chronicle White House correspondent (and "Beltway Confidential" blogger) is joining The Washington Examiner as White House correspondent. (Check out her greatest-hits collection of photo captions from the Bush presidency."

Still pushing for a debate question on hurricane rebuilding: The *Equity and Inclusion campaign,* this time with a full-page ad in Newsday. http://www.equityandinclusion.org

Remember social issues? NARAL does. Caroline Kennedy is headlining a noon ET "Power of Choice Luncheon" at the Rainbow Room in New York City.

The home of the Pride are proud hosts: Walt Handelsman's Newsday debate sketchbook is worth the click.

I'll be blogging during Wednesday's debate from Hofstra University.

And our ABC NewsNOW coverage, hosted by me and Sam Donaldson, will be available free online, starting at 8 pm ET, at abcnews.com/politics.

The Sked:

The final showdown -- John McCain and Barack Obama meet for the last presidential debate at 9 pm ET at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Sarah Palin spends Wednesday in New Hampshire with three rallies -- Dover at 11 am ET, then Laconia at 2 pm ET, and finally in Salem at 7 pm ET.

Joe Biden is on the second day of his bus tour through Ohio. He spends his Wednesday attending a series of community events -- Athens at 10:30 am ET, Lancaster at 2 pm ET and Newark at 6 pm ET.

Michelle Obama holds a rally in Fort Wayne, Ind., at noon ET. She will attend the final debate with guest Lilibet Hagel, wife of Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.

President Bush will participate in a video teleconference with Iraq Provincial Reconstruction team leaders and brigade commanders at 9:45 am ET. He will then meet with business leaders in Grand Rapids, Mich. at 12:45 pm ET, and will hold an afternoon fundraiser for congressional candidates. (Did McCain pull out just in time?)

Also in the news:

"The FBI has reportedly begun its own preliminary investigation into an ABC News report that West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL) hired an alleged mistress to work on his official staff and then paid her $121,000 to keep her from going public and filing suit after she was fired," per ABC's Emma Schwartz, Rhonda Schwartz, and Vic Walter.

The audiotapes made their way into a quick-turnaround ad from the state GOP: "You're fired . . . it means you work at my pleasure," Mahoney says in an excerpt used in the ad. "The only person that matters is guess who? Me."

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