Dotty Lynch, Beth Lester, Allison Davis, and Allen Alter from the CBS News Political and Campaign '04 Units have the latest political news from Washington and from the trail.
* Poll Watch: Margins of Error
* No Bush 44 or 45?
* Florida Day: Reports from the Bush, Kerry, Edwards and Cheney campaigns
Poll Watch: Small Margin for Error: Across the polls, there is very little room and almost every poll is within the margin of error.
Undecided not reported
Conducted October 14 through 15 among 1,004 registered voters, margin of error plus or minus 4 percent.
Undecided not reported
Conducted October 16 through 17 among 788 likely voters, 942 registered voters, margin of error plus or minus 4 percent.
Conducted October 14 through 15 among 1000 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 3 percent.
Undecided not reported
Conducted October 13 through 16 among 1,648 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 3 percent.
Conducted October 15 through 17 among 1,211 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percent.
(Public Opinion Strategies: Rocky Mountain News/News 4)
Undecided not reported
Conducted October 13, 14 and 16 among 400 likely voters, margin or error plus or minus 4.9 percent.
Conducted October 12 through 14 among 600 likely voters, margin of error plus or minus 4 percent.
Castor (D) 45
Martinez (R) 45
Conducted among 625 registered voters, margin of error plus or minus 4 percent. Dates of poll not reported.
No Bush 44 or 45? Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that he does not plan to run for president in 2008. In an interview with ABC News, Bush said that he is happy as governor and has no White House aspirations.
Speaking of aspirations, early voting started in Florida on Monday morning and will continue throughout the state until November 2. The Orlando Sentinel reports, "Florida's early-voting law allows residents to cast their ballots up to (sic) 15 days prior to Election Day. Votes aren't counted until the poll close on Nov. 2." In other early voting/Bush family news, President Bush (41) cast his vote in Houston on Monday. Texas is one of the 36 states that allows early or "no excuse" absentee voting this year.
Florida Day: Dick Cheney is the odd man out Monday. President Bush, John Kerry and John Edwards all campaign in Florida, where early voting begins statewide. President Bush actually begins his day in New Jersey and Vice President Cheney is in the battlegrounds of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Here are the reports from the campaign trail.
CBS News' Mark Knoller reports from the Bush campaign:
Knoller Nugget: New Jersey? Why is President Bush going to New Jersey on Monday? It may be the Garden State, but it hasn't proved fertile ground for him. He lost New Jersey four years ago by 16 percentage points - some half-million votes. But in the south Jersey town of Marlton, he's giving what a spokesman calls "a significant speech" about the war on terrorism.
A Kerry campaign spokesman charges that when the White House has used the word 'significant' to describe an upcoming Bush speech, it almost always turns out to be "all sizzle and no steak." Nevertheless, the Kerry campaign says that democratic running mate John Edwards will use a Florida speech Monday morning to deliver a pre-buttal by blasting the president for "glaring failures in the war on terror."
A poll last week by Fairleigh Dickinson University shows Kerry leading the President in New Jersey by a 44% to 42% margin. Though VP Cheney and first lady Laura Bush have campaigned in the state in recent weeks, the President has all but ignored it. The Monday visit marks only his eighth to the state since taking office and his first visit this year. He was last in N.J. in December 2003, for a fund-raising event.
Spokeswoman Nicole Devenish says the Bush campaign sees "a real opportunity" in the state, even though it has gone Democratic in the last three presidential elections.
Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer says the Jersey appearance is a twofer, with Mr. Bush really "shooting for the Philadelphia media market" next door.
It could be the Bush campaign is looking for states that could make up the loss should Mr. Bush lose in Ohio, long deemed a must-win state for Mr. Bush, though he hasn't set foot there in more than two weeks.
Before leaving the White House on Monday morning, the president will associate himself with many of America's latest crop of Olympic heroes. In a ceremony on the South Lawn, he'll celebrate the achievements of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. It's the kind of event that takes on political implications when it is staged just two weeks and a day before the election.
Mr. Bush was also holding a morning bill signing ceremony for legislation providing $33 billion for the Department of Homeland Security.
After New Jersey, the president heads south for yet another visit to Florida. He was just there on Saturday. He's doing a GOP fund-raising dinner in Boca Raton. Because it's being held in a "private residence," reporters are barred from the event.
Mr. Bush stays the night in the Sunshine State and does three rallies there Tuesday. It's his 31st visit to Florida, the state that decided the 2000 election and is indispensable to Mr. Bush's bid for a second term.
CBS News' Steve Chaggaris reports from the Kerry campaign:
Kerry Trail Byte: As Florida begins early voting on Monday, John Kerry kicked off the day at a Palm Beach County retirement community urging seniors to get out and vote.
Later, he'll be in Tampa for a policy speech on health care where he'll mention the shortage of flu vaccine. Kerry tried out a new line at a rally in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Sunday night after blaming the administration for dropping the ball on the vaccine problem.
"If Halliburton made flu shots, there'd be more flu shots here than oranges," Kerry quipped. Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt calls Kerry's criticism "hypocrisy," citing a 2003 bill to "encourage vaccine production" that Kerry voted against.
Over the weekend, Kerry visited Ohio before his Florida stops, spending Saturday on a bus from Dayton to Columbus. In an interesting introspective moment, Kerry became a bit fired up at a town hall meeting in Xenia, Ohio, when he was asked who his heroes were.
He began by listing Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, former Sen. Max Cleland and Mike Adams, the unemployed supporter who introduced Kerry, saying heroes are people who use their obstacles to try to better others.
However, as he continued, he became increasingly emotional saying, "I come from a place of privilege. I'm a very lucky human being and a very lucky American. But I was taught, of those to whom much is given, much is expected.
"And it is - it is so ironic to me - I scratch my head with these Republicans who represent mostly those people with the most in America and that one percent I talked about, who keep getting wealthier and wealthier, who keep criticizing me because I've got some of the same.
"But my values are so different from theirs it's like night and day and that's what we're fighting for. Those are my heroes, the people who make a difference in the lives of other people."
On his way to Columbus later, he stopped at a general store in Buchanan, Ohio where he purchased a hunting license for use this week when he'll return to Ohio (His campaign says he'll "probably" be hunting duck and geese in the Mahoning Valley on Thursday).
"Now that we've lost all our customers, what can I do for you?" storeowner Paul McKnight asked Kerry, before going through the process of filling out the necessary paperwork. After asking his name, address, and date of birth, McKnight began asking Kerry about his personal features, tripping up the senator when he got to hair color and eye color. When queried about his oft-mocked, always coiffed head of hair, Kerry said, "What do you call it? Salt and pepper gray."
As for his eye color, Kerry may very well have provided his detractors with more flip-flop fodder with his answer. "Hazel -- blue some days," Kerry responded. "Do they have 'blue some days' in the computer?"
On his way out, he shook hands with some supporters, passing one unimpressed young woman who retorted after Kerry walked by, "Can I go into the store now? I just came here to get cigarettes."
CBS News' Bonney Kapp reports from the Edwards campaign
Edwards Trail Byte: On the eve of Florida's early voting, Sen. Edwards stopped in four cities in the Sunshine State over the weekend, encouraging early voters to also bring friends along to the polls.
"There is no reason to wait till November the second, you can vote starting tomorrow, you ought to vote starting tomorrow," Edwards told a crowd of some 10,000 on the campus of Tallahassee's Florida A&M University Sunday evening.
The candidate went on to warn voters that Republicans would be up to their "old tricks" to try and keep people from voting. "Whether they're using a felons list that's full of problems to try to keep people from voting or whether they're trying to say somebody didn't check a box or a form and therefore we're not going to let them vote," he said. "Let me just tell you, what all of us are going to do together is we're going to make sure that people get to vote, we're going to make sure those votes count, and here in Florida, democracy is going to decide who the next president of the United States is going to be," he continued.
Edwards also went on the attack, accusing the president of having a "January surprise," based on Ron Suskind's Sunday New York Times magazine article. "That surprise is to privatize social security," Edwards said to a chorus of boos from a crowd in Gainesville. "For you it means $2 trillion onto your backs, $2 trillion of bills straight onto your back. It also means about a trillion dollars into the pockets of the money managers who are friends with George Bush," he continued.
"Let me say this very simply and very clearly: John Kerry and I will strengthen social security, we will save social security and we will never privatize social security," he promised.
A spokesman from the Bush campaign quickly emailed reporters covering Edwards' campaign, charging the senator with a "false attack." "The president has never used the word 'privatization.' The Kerry campaign is taking third-hand, made up quotes from avowed Bush antagonist Ron Suskind to scare seniors," the email read.
While criticisms of the administration were prominent in each of his events, Edwards' remarks at a Sunday Baptist church service in Daytona were decidedly optimistic. Using a variation of Reagan's famous "morning in America," Edwards unveiled a new line, declaring, "John Kerry and I see the dawn of a new America beginning on November the 3rd" where "hope springs eternal."
And in an election that's sure to be close, every bit of help counts, especially when it comes from a higher power. Following Edwards' remarks to the congregation, Pastor Ronald Durham assured parishioners, "I know that Jesus will allow justice to roll and he will allow victory in this upcoming election."
CBS News' Josh Gross reports from the Cheney campaign:
Trail Byte: VP Cheney held a roundtable in Charleston Monday morning. The topic was all foreign policy and the war on terrorism. The questions were on farm bill, social security and flu vaccine
He commented on the New York Times magazine article claiming that President Bush told some fundraisers that he would privatize social security in his second term. "This happens every election when we get to this point of the campaign where they say we are going to do something to Social Security. Its usually a good sign because it means they're behind. John Kerry is saying anything to get elected."
Cheney also talked about the shortage of flu vaccine, blaming it on the fact that only two companies are willing to make it because of high liability costs, "something that John Kerry and John Edwards would not vote to reform."
Quote of the Day: "Since all that screw-up with the homosexuals and that stupid comment" the campaign has needed someone to help. --Richard Perry, chief of staff to Sen. Lindsey Graham, on his new position with the Jim DeMint for Senate campaign. (The State)