Wall Street Journal: In a sector-by-sector primer on the current state of the economy, the Journal declares that things are neither as rosy as George W. Bush claims nor as dire as John Kerry suggests. "While each sector of the economy has companies performing well and those not, noticeably absent among all of them is a strong sense of optimism," the Journal finds. "Prudence has replaced exuberance."
New York Times: We knew that Sinclair Broadcasting Group's decision to order its stations to air "Stolen Honor" was drawing fire from folks who care about integrity in broadcasting. What we didn't know is that it's going to cost the company money, too. Sinclair's stock is dropping, and advertisers are pulling out. "I've decided I don't want to advertise on them," Adam Lee, who owns a chain of car dealerships in Maine, told the Times. "It's a public trust. It seems they're abusing it. If it were a news show and they were really trying to do a fair and balanced story on both sides, that would be a different matter. I don't think they are. That's not their intention."
AP: The presidential campaigns worked Florida this weekend, and that means -- inevitably -- that Social Security was a central issue. The Kerry campaign says Bush plans a "January surprise" -- a big move to privatize Social Security. The Bush camp says it's nonsense and that the New York Times simply made up a quote from Bush to the contrary.
New York Times: The Times checks in on the legal battles to come -- and the ones already engaged -- as Election Day nears. The verdict so far: This race is fast becoming "the most litigious, lawyer-fought election in history."
Chicago Tribune: Reporter Jill Zuckman gets some bus time with John Kerry, and she says he's feeling the buzz. "I feel the kind of energy moving that I felt in Iowa and in New Hampshire, and I like the feeling of it," Kerry says.
And while Monday is its own day, there are two Sunday holdovers worth a look back if you haven't seen them yet:
New York Times: In the Sunday Magazine, Ron Suskind describes how George W. Bush's White House has come to rely on instinct, intuition and hunches -- some call it "faith" -- where other presidents might have troubled themselves with things called evidence and fact.
Knight Ridder: An extensive review of the Bush administration's Iraq policy and decisions leads Knight Ridder to conclude that the United States "invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country." One sign of just how little planning was done: When an Army lieutenant colonel briefed war planners and intelligence officers in South Carolina just days before the war started, his slide on rebuilding Iraq said: "To be provided."