The election is three days away.
Not Just a Vacation Paradise
Long considered a political paradise for democrats, Hawaii appears to be in play as new polls give the lead not to Kerry, but Keoki. That's Hawaiian for George.
“It sends a clear message to us that they're, you know, slowly seeing Hawaii slip away from the Democrats,” said Brennon Morioka, chairman of the Hawaiian GOP (search).
Bush’s lead in the polls is small – less than 1 percent – but it’s huge news in Hawaii. Since becoming a state in 1959, Hawaii has only voted for a Republican president twice – Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984. And when Hawaii has gone to a sitting president, the incumbent wins.
That fact isn’t lost on state Democrats.
“We've never thought that any vote was insignificant in Hawaii. Every vote counts. And if we become a swing state, so be it,” said Brickwood Galuteria, chairman of the Hawaii Democratic Party (search).
Nothing points more to Hawaii's new swing state status than the fact that the Kerry campaign is scrambling to regain the lead. The Democrat is running 11th hour ads.
Reinforcements are coming too. Former Vice President Al Gore and John Kerry's daughter Alex are both set to visit this weekend.
And after posting surprise gains, the Bush camp is not about to give in. Vice President Cheney will also visit the islands this weekend, where experts say he'll talk up the success of Linda Lingle -- Hawaii's first republican governor in four decades.
It's feasible the Aloha state's four electoral votes could decide the election and long after the rest of the country have cast their ballots. Hawaii's polls don't close until 11pm Eastern time.
-- FOX News’ Trace Gallagher
Despite late-campaign surprises – Usama bin Laden surfacing, the mystery over missing Iraqi explosives, the terror tape possibly made by an American – President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are trying to give their big-picture closing arguments to the American people.
Even before the biggest October Surprise (search) of them all -- the bin Laden message to the United States -- came out Friday, Bush cast himself squarely as the stronger choice to lead a changed nation. In contrast, Kerry tried to say Bush’s way was the wrong one.
First the incumbent.
“I have learned a president must base decisions on principle, core convictions from which he will never waver. The issues vary, the challenges are different every day, the polls go up, the polls go down, but a president's convictions must be consistent and true,” said President Bush, who has led the country to war against two foreign enemies.
With family members of those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks behind him, Bush told a morning rally in Manchester, N.H., vowed to fight.
“All the progress we hope to make depends on the security of our nation. We face enemies who hate our country and would do anything to harm us. I will fight these enemies with every asset of our national power. We will do our duty, and we will protect the American people,” he said.
Kerry tried to hit two big fronts against the current occupant of the White House: Iraq and the U.S. economy.
“His mistakes and misjudgments have hurt our troops, put them at risk ...driven away allies, diverted our focus from Usama bin Laden and the real War on Terror,” Kerry said. “And that's just abroad. At home, George Bush looks at lost jobs, falling wages, and rising costs and he tells struggling middle-class families that everything is just fine.”
Trick or Treat
A new campaign flier warns South Florida voters that the consequences of a John Kerry presidency "are too frightening ... to imagine" and backs up its message with an image of school kids in gas masks.
The attack ad is one of five fliers sent this week by Republican activists who style themselves the Florida Leadership Council. The group's leaders include Cory Tilley, a former top aide to Gov. Jeb Bush, and David Johnson, former state Republican Party executive.
The gas-mask flier includes a fragment of a fake news story datelined from "FLORIDA RED ZONE" and dated Aug. 14, 2007. In the story, President Kerry warns parents and children that they'll have to wear radiation and chemical protective gear "for the foreseeable future" because of a dirty bomb terrorist attack.
Tilley defended the ad as having raised a legitimate issue and is meant also to counter liberal groups such as MoveOn.org that have aired ads attacking President Bush.
"It's a realistic possibility that terrorists are targeting our country," Tilley said Friday. "We wanted to do it in a way to stick out."
That's exactly what the mailing did for Carmela Kennedy, a retired Democrat in Coral Springs, Fla., who pulled it out of her mailbox Thursday. The flier was addressed to Kennedy's husband, a Republican.
Kennedy said she seethes every time she looks at the flier. "It's outrageous behavior no matter who was doing it," she said. "It's just outrageous. I can't think of another word."
That was the first word used by Democratic Party spokesman David Leavy. He added: "A piece like this has no place in our democracy and only serves to turn off voters."
Another of the group's fliers features photos of Usama bin Laden, Kerry and the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida, Betty Castor, and asks: "So who would bin Laden prefer? Think about it."
-- The Associated Press
What the ….?
At least 20 newspapers are objecting to Saturday's "Doonesbury" comic strip because it features a profanity, uttered in the strip by Vice President Dick Cheney.
Editors told Universal Press Syndicate, the comic strip's distributor, that if their reporters aren't allowed to use profanity in stories, they don't think "Doonesbury" should, either.
In Garry Trudeau's comic, the voice of Cheney directs a caricature of President George Bush to tell a reporter to "go f--- himself."
A spokesman for Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate said at least 20 newspapers have contacted the company to complain about the cartoon for Saturday editions.
"In this particular instance, we have a strip known for strong political satire," said Lee Salem, editor at Universal Press. "In this case, as in many prior instances, we assume editors will make the decision on the local level whether they use it or not."
The comic plays off two controversies. In June, Cheney directed a similar profane comment at Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy during a confrontation on the Senate floor while members were having their annual group picture taken.
The strip also refers to questions about a mysterious bulge in Bush's suit jacket during a recent presidential debate. Some have speculated that the bulge was an audio receiver and that the president was getting messages passed to him. The White House and others have laughed off that suggestion.
In the strip, Cheney's voice is coming into Bush's ear.
At The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., features editor Alicia Roberts said profanity isn't allowed in the newspaper, and editors aren't making an exception for Trudeau.
Instead, she said the newspaper would put a note on the comics page telling readers they can see the strip if they come to the newspaper's front desk. It also will direct them to a Web site.
"The frustrating thing about it for us is that it becomes a readers relations issue. We have to justify it either way, and we're always going to make someone unhappy," Roberts said.
Salem said no changes -- such as offering an alternative strip for the day -- have been planned as a result of complaints from the newspapers, which are scattered across the country.
The comic is sent to about 1,400 newspapers.
-- The Associated Press
FOX News' Corbett Riner, J. Jennings Moss and The Associated Press contributed to this report.