Before the debate

Forget about what spinners are saying about the toughness of their opponents; the really interesting stories lift a veil on the behind-the-scenes machinations of the political teams. Here’s my favorite: Just as John Kerry hit the hustings as the first-ever Orange Candidate.  Republicans set a clever trap.  They insisted that the first presidential debate take place in a warm auditorium. That way, Senator Kerry not only would sweat — which is never a good look in forensic contests — but also his face, presumably smothered with skin-tone makeup, might begin to run like a waxen mask

The other back story is that John Kerry seems to have left no Democratic consultant unemployed. These days everybody seems to be working for the guy, and each and every highly publicized and/or highly compensated pundit feels entitled not merely to be heard, but obeyed. This is a sure road to chaos and unhappiness, as Dick Morris points out. And now, to make the entire thing more fun, guess who has volunteered to help the Democratic nominee: Jesse Jackson.

Oh, yes; Senator Kerry also has received the all-important porn star endorsement


Friends of John

Sen. Kerry also has received unfortunate help from friends and loved ones. His wife, for instance, has said she will take a lower profile, but at a cost

Then comes John Edwards, who has become the leaden running mate. The man many touted as the Next Comely Democrat instead has come across as an insincere cutie, thereby reminding everyone of the person who jilted them so cruelly in junior high school.

Meanwhile, Barbra Streisand seems to think George W. Bush has turned America into the the moral equivalent of a prison camp, while George Soros has intimated that the chief executive has turned the nation into an actual prison camp.  And Ted Rall defends those who behead Americans.  


On the Bush Team

The president has spent the last few days working out on the farm in Crawford (where he failed to win the endorsement of the local paper and jetting to view the latest climatological carnage in Florida. He’s also getting ready for the debate. One issue caught Team Bush off guard — allegations that the president planned to reinstate the draft. Rock the Vote and other Democratic Party-affiliated groups have been issuing dire warnings to draft-age voters. The president says it’s not true

There’s also growing concern about what is sure to become one of the ugliest issues in the upcoming campaign, allegations of vote fraud

Check out Bob Cox’s hilarious send-up of a "CNN Poll" published on thenationaldebate.com.


Finally, This


"The Tony Snow Show" has its first foreign-policy triumph: The town of Nelson, British Columbia has decided not to erect a monument to U.S. Vietnam-era draft dodgers, after a flood of angry public reaction stimulated by reporting of the story on FOX, (you heard it here first).

Share your thoughts with Tony.  E-mail him at  tonysnow@foxnews.com.