The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and Washington Postall lead with newsless anticipation of the main event. The New York Timesobviously fronts Election Day, but it leads with Chief Justice Rehnquist not showing up for work and announcing he’s doing chemo and radiation, a strong sign he has the most serious type of thyroid cancer, for which, as one top doctor put it, “almost nothing works.” Though Rehnquist will be staying at home, Justice John Paul Stevens said his boss “reserves the right to participate” in cases. If Bush loses, Rehnquist could step down before inauguration day and, the Times says, Bush could make a recess appointment that would last through 2005.
The LAT and NYT front a divided federal appeals court early this morning overruling two lower courts and deciding that Ohio Republicans can challenge the eligibility of voters inside polling places. Democrats said they’ll go to the Supremes. The lower courts had ruled that the Republican plan violates the Voters Rights Act, pointing out that Ohio already has a process for disputing votes. As the NYT mentions, Republicans say they also plan on challenging in Philadelphia and maybe elsewhere.
USAT mentions the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) armies. Democrats say they have about one million volunteers; Republicans tout 1.2 million. The NYT has similar stats, but wisely notes the “numbers were impossible to verify.”
Slate’s Election Scorecardlists a college tie, but read down and it predicts: “Kerry will win between 276 and 291 electoral votes.”
In an adorable display of faith in flacks, the papers feature optimism duels. “I like our position a heck of a lot better than theirs heading into Election Day,” Bush strategist Matthew Dowd told the Journal. “We are very confident that we are bringing this home,” said Kerry spokesman Mike McCurry, a few paragraphs away.
Then there’s this exception from deep in the Post’scampaign trail dispatch:
Despite the insistence that all was well, the erosion in the moods of Bush’s inner circle over the past two weeks was unmistakable. Several of his close advisers said they were concerned because the president had achieved no last-minute momentum, and Democratic turnout was looking as if it might swamp the Bush-Cheney campaign’s projections. A GOP official who is privy to Bush-Cheney strategy and polling said that as the incumbent, Bush should be further ahead of Kerry in polls. “Some of them have been moving in the right direction, but it isn’t enough,” the official said. Mark McKinnon, Bush’s chief ad strategist, flew with him all day. Asked the mood on the plane, a subdued McKinnon replied, in deadpan voice: “Jubilation.”
The above story is headlined, “BUSH CONFIDENT BUT BUSY.”
The NYT fronts and other stuff the kidnapping of a Nepalese and an American from an office in a swanky Baghdad neighborhood. (The Times says two non-Iraqi Arabs were also taken but this morning’s wires say the others were Iraqi guards and have been released.) The kidnappers, stormed the building killed at least one guard. Also, gunmen killed the deputy governor of the Baghdad province. And a cameraman working for Reuters in Ramadi was killed by a sniper, possibly a Marines says the NYT.
The NYT also mentions a little noticed attack: Seven Iraqis were killed Sunday when a car bomb hit TV station al-Arabiya’s office in Baghdad.
The Post says there were continued artillery and airstrikes in Fallujah, as Marines continued to collect outside the town.
Buried deep in its Iraq catch-all, the NYT notices that interim president, Sunni Ghazi al-Yawer, went off the talking points for Fallujah. “The coalition’s handling of this crisis is wrong,” al-Yawer told an Iraqi newspaper. “It’s like someone who shoots at his horse’s head just because a fly has landed on it. The fly escapes and the horse is dead.” TP doesn’t see any mention of this elsewhere.
Everybody mentions three Israelis killed by a 16-year-old suicide bomber. The small PFLP claimed responsibility. The NYT says inside that Israeli soldiers killed 165 Palestinians in October—30 percent civilians—the highest number since April 2002
Perhaps you fancy yourself a diligent voter. The Journal finds some who are more so: In California expats and soldiers are allowed to fax their ballots in from overseas. And election officials in Yolo County have received two—one from a high-ranking military officer and another from a professor—with complaints, as one worker put it, about the “difficulty in punching out holes in the faxed ballot image.’”