QUICK TAKES

An apology: Not much writing today. I’m battling a sinus infection. I’ll be back with much more tomorrow. For now, enjoy these three provocations:

Who’s winning? The conventional wisdom decrees that John Kerry has surged into at least a tie with the president, and possibly has forged ahead. Much of that wisdom comes from a suspect Newsweek poll. Meanwhile, public polls seem to paint a different picture. Here’s a roundup of the electoral picture – which is probably as reliable as the Newsweek poll. Suffice it to say, nobody knows who’s winning right now – but the accepted view of a Kerry tsunami is an overstatement at the very least.

Big Story One: The allied victory this weekend in Samarra demonstrates (1) that Iraq is not a quagmire, (2) Iraqi troops can and will fight to stamp out terror cells and (3) Iraq could be a significantly happier place by Election Day. The New York Times has an account of a story that could have major consequences not only for the January elections in Iraq, but the November elections right here in the U-S-A.

Big Story Two. Ohio is just one of many states in which voters will consider a constitutional amendment to define marriage in the traditional fashion. These amendments all are winning by whopping margins, including in the Buckeye State, and could provide a major boon to Republican candidates on Election Day.

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