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Morning Thoughts: Election Eve

'Twas the day before Election Day, and down in Kentucky, it almost doesn't matter if Ernie Fletcher gets lucky. The incumbent's much safer down Ole Miss way, where he might even make a veep short list someday. As you can tell, Politics Nation's poetry skills are limited. Instead, here's what Washington is watching today:

-- Congress is beginning their busiest stretch of the year this week when spending bills, veto overrides and the massive farm bill all hit the floor. The Senate takes up the farm bill this afternoon, though no roll call votes will take place today. The House will vote on a bill to provide more funding for foreign tuberculosis control and a resolution expressing concern over relationships between Iran and terrorist groups in Latin America

-- Later in the week, both houses will take up a $700 billion Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Labor-HHS conference report, which faces a veto threat from President Bush because it tops out at $10 billion over his Labor-HHS request. Democrats hope they will have the votes to override any veto, something that hasn't happened in Bush's presidency. Until tomorrow, that is, when the House is expected to override Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act. The Senate is expected to follow suit, making it the first bypassed veto of the Bush Administration.

-- By Wednesday, Congress is expected to have moved on to a free trade pact with Peru, which has won support from Barack Obama. John Edwards, writes NBC's First Read, is using that against the freshman senator in the first overtones of what many assume have to be vicious assaults coming. Edwards, running third in the polls, has to leap over Obama and Clinton to make it to the head of the pack, and the initial assaults on Obama have begun. If Edwards is the only one to oppose the measure, he could find the issue effective. Unions, after all, still play a big role in the Iowa caucuses, and while the AFL-CIO is not voicing its opposition to the measure, Change to Win, a coalition that includes SEIU, the Teamsters and the Carpenters' union, is urging members of Congress to vote no.

-- Edwards will audition a new line of attack against Clinton this week, accusing her of "voting like a hawk in Washington, while talking like a dove in Iowa and New Hampshire," per excerpts provided to the New York Times. The lines are the latest efforts to nail Clinton down on Iraq and Iran. Edwards' last efforts at Clinton, on illegal immigrant licenses, when he accused her of multiple positions in a single answer, were not helped during an appearance on "This Week" yesterday, when the former senator admitted that his position on the issue is the same as Clinton's. WSJ's Jackie Calmes says Clinton's camp was happy with Edwards' hemming and hawing.

-- Edwards, Obama and Clinton are all up on television. So are Mitt Romney, John McCain and most of the GOP field. But, as New York Times' Jim Rutenberg points out, Rudy Giuliani is not. Campaign aides say they will begin a push to define Giuliani this week, but through web ads, not television. Giuliani's strategy, many expect, is to wait to make a big push until February 5th states, where advertising rates are much higher. Though now that Giuliani is focusing more on New Hampshire, he'll certainly pop up on Granite State TV, won't he? Good question, his rivals all say.

-- As terrible poetry demonstrates, tomorrow is election day. Even inside-the-Beltway types are shocked at the amount of advertising going on in the DC media market, all for Virginia races. Yesterday, Politics Nation saw three ads from three separate campaigns during the course of an hour. The Washington Post, meanwhile, finds Virginia will provide a good landscape for Democrats: 50% want the party in charge of the legislature while 42% back the GOP; Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine is basking in the glow of 67% approval ratings; and while a big majority thinks the U.S. is off on the wrong track, 57% of Virginians are happy with their state's direction. Dems hope they can take back the State Senate and make progress in the Assembly tomorrow, and as we wrote recently, even Republicans are admitting that this is a defensive cycle.

-- In Kentucky, Gov. Ernie Fletcher is all but out as he faces poll after poll showing him trailing by twenty points. But his poor performance could cost the GOP more than just the governor's mansion. A Louisville Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll out at the end of last week shows popular Secretary of State Trey Grayson winning just 40% of the vote against little known Democratic challenger Bruce Hendrickson, who has the backing of 36% of voters. Grayson admits that Fletcher is a drag, but is pinning his hopes on popular State Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who experts say could prevent voters from marking a straight Democratic ballot. Grayson should be winning easily; he's raised almost $1 million for the race, while Hendrickson has pulled in just $18,000.

-- Problem Of The Day: This page thought Fred Thompson survived his big showdown on Meet The Press, despite bad luck over a Washington Post story on a top backer's criminal past. Jonathan Martin agreed, saying those expecting a train wreck were disappointed. In fact, most of the mainstream media thought Thompson did pretty well. But the big sore thumb David Brody points out: Thompson said no to a pro-life constitutional amendment, which is consistent with his stand against federalism. Still, asks Brody: "Is this too much federalism to the point of alienating social conservatives?" It's a question the Thompson campaign, after losing some prominent social conservative backers in recent weeks, needs to answer quickly.

-- Today On The Trail: There are too many events these days. We're splitting our trail reports along party lines from now on. Hillary Clinton gives a speech in Cedar Rapids, then makes stops in Oelwein, Waverly and Mason City. Bill Richardson is stopping in Des Moines, Grinnell and Marshalltown. Joe Biden will be in Marshalltown and will make three stops in Ames, including for a conference on bio-economics at Iowa State. John Edwards gives a speech in Ottumwa and Oskaloosa, then joins Biden, Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich at the bio-economy forum.

-- On the GOP side, Mitt Romney holds a town hall meeting in Fort Lauderdale and Rudy Giuliani holds a town meeting in Manchester before campaigning for Mayor Frank Giunta, who faces re-election next year. John McCain holds meet and greets in Allison and Iowa Falls, then heads to Ames to join Democrats at the ISU forum. Fred Thompson makes the required "Politics and Eggs" stop in Bedford, then heads to events in Rochester and Dover, New Hampshire.