Both camps say Kerry had the most to gain from the debates--and did. But with two weeks to go, the race is still neck-and-neck. Forget everything that's happened so far. Only the last lap matters now.


Local polls: Kerry needs to keep Iowa from slipping into W's column: if Fla. goes Red, he'll likely require this state's 7 electors to reach 270. Gov. Tom Vilsack is a key ally, but Bush can count on incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley for support.
Big Issues: All four candidates swooped into the Hawkeye State late last week crowing about their health-care plans. Why? Iowa's huge senior population demands cheaper drugs--and it has a long history of showing up at the polls.
Game Plans: Get out the vote. The Dems are focusing on absentee balloting, which lifted Gore to a 0.3% victory here in '00; the GOP is flooding the state with some 20,000 volunteers.

Even though one Oct. poll gives Bush a 9-point lead here, GOP strategists acknowledge that the Centennial State is closer than they'd once thought. BC04 says the president will continue to visit.

In Sept., Bush built up a 10-point lead; after Miami, it dwindled to 3. The latest poll, taken before Tempe, has Kerry ahead by 4.

On Oct. 6, Kerry led by 8; now it's tied. Aiming to swing the state his way (or just force KE04 to defend its turf), W stumps here for the first time this Monday.

Ad Buys:
Forty-four of the top 50 ad markets fall within only 10 states. Toledo, which took the heaviest fire, saw 14,273 TV spots between March and late Sept.
Campaign Stops:
Both camps hit Nev., N.M., Colo., Iowa, Ariz., Ore., Wis., Fla.

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