Campaign Violence Mars Election

Election Day is 21 days away. The third and last presidential debate takes place Wednesday in Tempe, Ariz.

More Charges of Election-Related Violence

Based on reports from both sides, campaigning can be dangerous business. On Tuesday, the Kerry campaign came out with a list of 12 incidents of vandalism or other crimes against Kerry supporters and offices.

The Democratic National Committee (search) and Kerry campaign reported three of their own — in Arizona, Florida and Nevada. The other nine incidents were reported by the press in Florida, Lousiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Among the incidents: DNC and Kerry staff said five people in Pensacola, Fla., reported to the campaign that they had bricks thrown into their windows of their cars. In Phoenix, a glass door to the office was shattered and the place turned upside down. In Las Vegas in September, computers, CD-ROMs and palm pilots were stolen from Kerry's campaign office. 

The press reports included incidents of spray painting on Kerry property, broken windows and light bulbs, burnt and torn-down signs in support of Kerry-Edwards and stolen laptops.

The list comes one day after the chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign had written a letter to the president of the AFL-CIO (search) complaining that the union's protesters have participated in acts of violence and creating an "intimidating atmosphere" for Bush campaign staffers and supporters.

A number of other incidents, not related directly to the union, were also described in the letter. They included rocks thrown through windows, laptops stolen and even shots fired at the door of an office in Knoxville, Tenn. The shooting took place very early in the morning when the office was empty. No one was hurt.

Bowlers Win It for Bush recently sponsored the Great American Meetup Bowl-Off (search), in which supporters of President Bush (search) schooled John Kerry (search) backers on the art of hitting a strike.

Nearly 2,000 people in over 40 states set aside their differences to have a little fun and go bowling. Teams were split according to the presidential candidate bowlers supported. With 70 percent of the Strike Ten-affiliated bowling centers (search) reporting the top three scores from each team, Bush carried 67 percent of the centers to Kerry's 33 percent. Centers reported Bush bowlers had a higher average score of 175 to 161.

Poll Watch

In a head-to-head matchup, Kerry gets 48 percent to Bush's 47 percent in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey of 1,105 adults.

In a three-way contest with independent Ralph Nader (search), Kerry remains at 48 while Bush drops to 46 and Nader gets 2 percent.

But as with most polls these days, factor in the margin of error and you're looking at a tie.

The pollsters also quizzed 793 likely voters and found a two-way matchup with Kerry at 50 and Bush at 48. In the three-way contest, Kerry has 49 percent support, Bush 48 and Nader 1.

Finally, when asking the question to 941 registered voters, you get a true tie — Kerry and Bush at 48 percent. Even when factoring in Nader in a three-way race, the numbers for the big guys don't change while Nader gets 1.

The poll also looked at Bush's approval ratings, which have dipped in recent weeks. The president's favorable rating is at 47 percent, a 3-point drop from last week and a 7-point dip from two weeks ago.

Ad Wars

Ad: "World View"

Sponsor: Bush-Cheney campaign

VOICE OVER: First, Kerry said defeating terrorism was really MORE about law enforcement and intelligence than a strong military operation. ... More about law enforcement than a strong military? Now Kerry says, "We have to get back to the place where terrorists are a nuisance like gambling and prostitution ... we're never going to end them." Terrorism.... a nuisance? How can Kerry protect us when he doesn't understand the threat?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message.

Ad: "Can't Win"

Sponsor: Kerry-Edwards campaign

NARRATOR: 95 percent of containers coming into America go uninspected. But in the first debate, George Bush said we can't afford to fix it. Bush gives Halliburton $7 billion in no-bid contracts. $200 billion for Iraq. But to inspect containers, secure bridges, tunnels, and chemical plants — Bush says we can't afford it. And on the war on terror, Bush said: "I don't think you can win it." Not with his failed leadership. It's time for a new direction.

Ad: "The Truth on Taxes"

Sponsor: Kerry-Edwards campaign

JOHN KERRY: Here's the truth about taxes. After nearly four years under George Bush, the middle class is paying the bigger share of the America's tax burden and the wealthiest are paying less. It's wrong. We need to cut taxes on the middle class, not raise them. We also need to get healthcare costs under control and lower our nation's deficit. I don't believe the wealthy need another tax cut. I believe ordinary Americans need someone who will fight for them. I'm John Kerry and I approved this message.

Ad: "Back Door Draft"

Sponsor: Texans for Truth

ON SCREEN: Stacey Bannerman, Spouse, National Guard Sgt. First Class, serving in Iraq

BANNERMAN: My husband and I love our country. For him, being in the National Guard has always been about duty and honor and commitment. President Bush didn't complete his service in the National Guard and now he is turning around and making that same Guard stay overseas in Iraq after they have finished their commitment to this country. The fundamental issue is integrity. People are literally dying for the lack of integrity.

ANNOUNCER: Texans for Truth is responsible for the content of this ad.

Ad: "Ohio Testimonial"

Sponsor: Media Fund

ON SCREEN: Anna Boroughs, Westlake, Ohio

BOROUGHS: "I am a resident of Ohio and I am unemployed."

ON SCREEN: Robert Fothergill, Massillon, Ohio

MASSILLON: "There's a lot of young people leaving this state because there's no jobs anymore. They have been outsourced."

ON SCREEN: Michele Anderson. Cleveland, Ohio

ANDERSON: "We have seen so many jobs leave this state."

FULL SCREEN: Ohio has lost 230,000 jobs under Bush and Cheney.

ON SCREEN: Nancy Holcepl, Cleveland, Ohio

HOLCEPL: "I feel that in small businesses like myself will be gone."

ON SCREEN: Robert Fothergill, Massillon, Ohio

FOTHERGILL: "John Kerry has a plan to do that — to keep jobs in America."

FULL SCREEN: Kerry and Edwards will reward companies to keep jobs in Ohio.

ON SCREEN: Jennifer Carter, Shaker Heights, Ohio

CARTER: "I believe American jobs should be here for American people."

ON SCREEN: Gary Muetzel, Parma, Ohio

MUETZEL: "John Kerry will bring jobs back home."

ANNOUNCER: "Learn more about the Kerry and Edwards plan at FactsForOhio.Com. The Media Fund is responsible for the content of this ad."

Funny Files

"The Tonight Show With Jay Leno"

"Besides being Columbus Day, this is also Indigenous People's day celebrating Native Americans. And today John Kerry told Native Americans he has a plan for withdrawing troops from America."

"President Bush and Vice President Cheney came forward and officially conceded that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. Feeling the tremendous relief that came from admitting this fact, they also said that there is not a Santa Claus, O.J. did it, and Al Gore has actually been president for the last four years."

"Ralph Nader has criticized both Bush and Kerry for belonging to a secret organization when they went to Yale. You know, is Nader really one to criticize? He belongs to a secret organization. It's called 'Nader for president.' Anybody know anybody in this club?"

"Late Show With David Letterman"

"Free elections were held in Afghanistan. Already, though, there are charges of fraud in Broward and Dade counties."

"The first debate, they had the podiums. The second debate, at the request of President Bush, it was the town hall format. And also at the request of President Bush, the next one will be the happy hour format."

"But the third debate is Wednesday night, and this is going to be an exciting one because the jackpot is up to $375,000 and the winner gets it all."