ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood and Greg Hitt explore whether talking about the second-term agenda will move voters and polls at all in the next two months. They also offer a nice little handicap of the battleground states at the end. Wisconsin, fasten your seat belts.

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes offers a must-read look at the debate within the Bush Administration on Social Security and private/personal retirement accounts. It is a must-read.

The Wall Street Journal's Shailagh Murray outlines the has been intense. The party has gone through three hours of prime-time tax-cut priority.

The Los Angeles Times' Chen and Hook will put smiles on Kerry campaign staffers faces today wherever they may be. LINK

". . . a review of Bush's first-term record paints a more complex portrait: While he has been bold and unflinching on some issues -- especially Iraq and tax policy -- on a host of other fronts he has been uncertain, on the sidelines or inconsistent."

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller and Dick Stevenson take a must-read long, detailed look at President Bush's tenure in office. LINK

Walter Shapiro deconstructs President Bush's able leadership in the culture wars. LINK

Republican National Convention: Zell/Cheney ledes:

New York Post wood: "Kobe Walks"

However, the President's endorsement from the New York City firefighters union does score a banner across the top of the page. LINK

In the Daily News, Kobe trumps protestors and the convention.

The New York Times ledes with Russia.

The Washington Post, with Cheney (but the edition that made it to New York has a picture of Zell).

In USA Today, "Cheney assails Kerry's record" by Bill Nichols is an above-the-fold headline, but today's headline for the COVER STORY in the Nation's Newspaper is: "Judge dismisses Bryant sex charge." LINK

(Nichols calls Cheney's speech "sobered but measured." )

The morning shows led with Hurricane Frances, Kobe Bryant, and a wrap of last night's festivities at Madison Square Garden. Each show gave approximately a third of the first half-hour to politics.

We are just amazed at how little commentary there has been about the decision to have Mary Cheney not appear on stage with her sister and parents at the end of the speech. We are certain of a few things -- Mrs. Cheney will be furious about such speculation and talk, and that Mary Cheney is on the campaign payroll and someone whose parents are constantly talking about how proud they are of her.

The two big speeches of the night had much the same themes -- the primacy and urgency of national security in a post-9/11 world and Bush-as-good-man/Kerry-as-bad-man.

Miller was more explicit on the second; Cheney's speech was perhaps more restrained than his usual remarks on the subject.

We can't remember another keynote speech that was about such a limited range of topics. And Cheney's speech barely mentioned the economy, health care, or jobs -- and Miller not at all.

Obviously, the President will hit those things tonight, but the GOP spent one night betting that foreign policy and disqualifying Kerry will win them this race.

Dana Milbank's Washington Post lead said it best: "The theme of the Republican convention on Wednesday night, as on the previous two nights, was unmistakable: Be afraid of terrorists, and be very afraid of John F. Kerry's ability to fight the terrorists."

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