Both major presidential candidates campaigned in New Mexico over the Columbus Day weekend in preparation for Wednesday's third and final debate, on domestic issues in Tempe, Ariz. President Bush also was slated to host a fundraiser in Denver for Republican Pete Coors, a Senate candidate. John Kerry's campaign found itself responding to an assertion made in a new Bush ad that Kerry "doesn't understand the threat" posed by terrorism. The strategy was partly fueled by an interview in Sunday's New York Times Magazine in which the Democratic challenger says Americans have to get back to where terrorists are a "nuisance," not the focus of their lives.

The FBI believes the Washington State ferry system could be the possible target of a terrorist attack based on 19 suspicious incidents since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Seattle Times reported Sunday. The incidents involved apparent surveillance efforts to gather information about ferry operations. Officials said the assessment helped to prompt new security requirements that began Saturday.

So as not to affect the closely contested presidential election, the Bush administration will wait until after Nov. 2 voting to conduct any major assaults on insurgents in Iraq, Pentagon and administration officials told The Los Angeles Times. One unnamed senior strategic planner is quoted as saying the US will "move very vigorously" in rebel-held cities after the election.

The largest chain of television stations in the country plans to preempt regular prime-time programming next week on its 62 stations to air a documentary critical of Kerry's antiwar activities in the early 1970s, according to the a report in Sunday's Washington Post. The Sinclair Broadcast Group will broadcast "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," which focuses on Kerry's antiwar testimony to Congress in 1971. The Kerry campaign said it considers the film a lie-strewn "smear."

An adult pilot and two boys, 10 and 14, safely climbed down a 700-foot-high radio station tower after their hot-air balloon became entangled in it Sunday during the Albuquerque (N.M.) International Balloon Fiesta.

Investigators were scouring an area 25 miles north of Memphis, Tenn., for clues about what caused a charter bus bound for a Mississippi gambling casino to drift off the highway and overturn Saturday. The accident killed 14 passengers and injured the 16 others on board. The trip originated in Chicago.

Actor Christopher Reeve (below), who died Sunday in Bedford, N.Y., starred in four "Superman" movies before becoming a champion for the disabled after experiencing a paralyzing fall from a horse in 1995. Reeve was a frequent and forceful advocate for expanding embryonic stem cell research.

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