Since the story thus far has focused entirely on what the presumed candidates did while still in short pants, I want to mention two articles that delve into the two pasts in question. Naturally, one is pro-Bush and the other is anti-Kerry.

It won’t satisfy Michael Moore,but Byron York of National Review has delved into Bush’s National Guard records. For starters, York finds the oft-quoted I-never-saw-him Brig General William Turnipseed wondering  why what he says he said has always been truncated in the press.

Turnipseed tells York that he has always made it perfectly clear to reporters that, whatever his personal memory, it’s likely that Bush was on the Alabama base. Why the abreviated quote? “They hate Bush,” Turnipseed said.

As for the record itself, York finds that Bush trained intensely for the first four years in the guard, slacking off but satisfying the requirements in his last year. A Guard officer is required to rack up at least 50 points a year. But got 253 points in his first year, 340 in his second, 137 in his third, 112 in his fourth and 56 in his fifth.Read Byron’s whole story.

As far as I can tell, Robert Novak this morning becomes one of the first mainstream, print columnists in this cycle to call Jane Fonda “Hanoi” Jane. Headline in the WaPo: “Kerry and Hanoi Jane.” I had said last week that the Republicans are going to have to do something more sophisticated than an ancient photo of a shaggy John Kerry three rows away from H. Jane at an anti-war protest.

Eschewing subtlety (as is his wont), Novak jumps right into the fray, recalling that Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam “in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan” had committed atrocities and “ravaged the countryside.”

Even though I’d not thought the photo terribly effective, I absolutely loved Rep. Charlie Rangel’s assessment of it: “There was some distance between Jane Fonda…and there was a guy that looked like it was Kerry that was part of the crowd.”

Maybe the photo is more effective than I thought.