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The Republican convention starts today. 64 days until election day


In his recent interviews with Brit Hume and Adam Nagourney, Karl Rove went out of his way to downplay his influence over the Life and Times of George W. Bush.

The reasons for this — beyond Mr. Rove's ingrained modesty — are pretty clear.

First of all, as Wayne Slater and other Gotham-ensconced members of the Texas press corps can tell you, Mr. Bush himself isn't all that crazy about the "Rove as Svengali" story line.

Second, Rove is smart enough to know that with credit comes scrutiny, and smart enough to know that the press has decided that anything Rove touches — anything he does, anything he says — is just pure evil.

We share Karl's fascination with — if not his pity for — John Kerry, that a man who would be President of the United States actually attacks a staffer on the stump (although, Note to Karl, it sure does draw a lot of emotion from the crowds!!).

If there was ever any doubt that the press will never cut Rove a break, it came in January of 2002, when at the Austin hotel that serves the best fajitas, Rove said the following to a meeting of the Republican National Committee regarding the midterm election:

"We can go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America."

That line has been much quoted and much abused by Ted Kennedy, etc., over the last two and a half years, but we have spent that time asking: what's wrong with one party claiming it can do a better job — and has a better record — on one of the pre-eminent issues of our time?

Now, as with any issue, there are ways to overstep and abuse, but the simple notion of saying — in public — that the country trusts the GOP more on these issues and that the party can play that up — well, we still don't see what all the fuss is/was about.

So, this is the day when all this comes together — the convention that Karl Rove has been designing in his head for literally years; in the city that has come to symbolize the President's national security and emotional bond with much of the nation; at a four-day meeting that will emphasize above all else the "I will keep you safer" credentials of the commander in chief; and at a time when Democrats are still striving to neutralize all this.

As with all conventions, the press will make much of each day's activities, but what really matters (80%+) is the presidential acceptance speech on Thursday.

And/but we want to telescope you all the way to the end of the week.

So …

What we will all know by Friday morning (or, at least, should) —

If Mike Gerson can definitively lay claim to being one of the three greatest presidential speechwriters of all time -- or, maybe, the best.

Who the bigger Nielsen draw is — "George Walker Bush in 'I Will Keep You Safer,'" or "John Forbes Kerry in 'Full Metal Jacket II'."

Whether the images of 9/11 are considered offensive or politically effective, to a city, to a nation, and to Chris Matthews.

If the already wobbling Kerry campaign can take the pressure of being behind — both in the CW and actually. (Note Note — we are being kind with "wobbling" — we could have gone with "disension-wracked" or something comparable.)

Which wannabees couldn't help themselves by engaging in over-the-top 2008 behavior.

Will the nostalgia-inducing words "reformer with results" cross the lips of Karen Hughes?

If the press buys the Hughes-Gillespie Notion that bitter, misleading attacks on John Kerry are just fine if they are done in a "light" way with "humor."

How America feels about Fantasia-like renderings of elephants shown on a podium big screen — complete with blaring noises. (The Note calls them "dumbo on jumbo" — and you will too!!!)

What conspiracy-minded Democrats will obsess about as their new "surprise," now that Cheney is on the ticket. (Note to Debbie Dingell: you are in charge of coming up with a list of new options for the Democratic League of the Gang of 500 — and its press allies — to consider, for a vote next Sunday.)

If parts of the media's "disappointment" that there was no cop-on-protester violence Sunday means that coverage of other protests all week will be de minumus.

If reporters will finally have stopped asking RNC officials, "Who is your Barack Obama?"

If the longest-planned convention of all time is sort of overtaken by Friday morning's jobs report.

If John Kerry can get his veterans mojo back.

What impact will pampering in the Sheekey Lounge have had on a temperamental and sleep-deprived national press corps?

If Ken Mehlman speaks only in on-message talking points even at parties thrown in his honor.

If New York can yield two Republican presidential candidates who happen to be New Yorkers.

If the convention's "keep us safer" message obscures everything else (a la Vietnam/Boston) through the press filter, and does that matter?

Where does Kerry's Wednesday's national security speech land in the evening newscasts? What will the BC04/RNC/RNCC operation do to pre-empt it?

How many times does Alex Witt mention "Swift boats" or "National Guard records?" this week?

How many times will speakers mention gay marriage?

Will John Kerry's campaign use its week (mostly) out of the spotlight to make some staff changes? (Note we are too polite to use the words "significant shake-up.")

Which news organizations will be smart enough to stake out the lobby of the Ritz Carlton to monitor 527 donor cultivation activity? (Note to interns: bring a facebook, because — as they say in the Bronx — you can't tell the players without a scorecard!)

If acceptance-speech-in-the-round is brilliant or pure madness.

If newspaper reporters — not to mention newsweekly writers — will finally learn that conventions — and, let's face it, presidential elections — belong to those of us in TV.

The Republican National Convention is gaveled into session at 10 am ET by RNC Chair Ed Gillespie; at 1:00 pm ET, President Bush's name and Vice President Cheney's name will be placed in nomination and the first segment of the roll call process will begin.

Unlike in Boston with the Democrats, the Republicans are spreading out there roll call over a couple of days. The first 21 delegations (in alphabetical order) are up this afternoon. Some more states will pledge their delegates this evening. We expect President Bush to receive the requisite 1,255 delegate votes to win the nomination tomorrow evening shortly before the First Lady and Governor Schwarzenegger take to the stage. Cheney is expected in the hall twice today; once in the afternoon and once at 7:45 pm.

When former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain speak in primetime tonight, they will seek to remind Americans of President Bush's role in leading the US after the attacks of Sept. 11, according to excerpts of their prepared remarks.

In an 11 am ET speech at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on Monday, Sen. John Edwards will jump on President Bush's recent admission to the New York Times that he had made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" in post-war Iraq. The Kerry campaign is hoping to make Bush's "miscalculation" comment a theme for the remaining 65 days of the campaign.

Sen. John Kerry is down on Nantucket with no events scheduled.

At 11 am ET, the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP group advocating gay rights, will make a "major announcement." They are angered by a GOP platform, headed for easy ratification today, that not only endorses President Bush's call for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage but also includes language hostile to civil unions for gays and lesbians.

The two major rallies taking place in New York on Monday will be sponsored by "Still We Rise," a coalition of groups that seeks to promote "human rights, social, racial and economic justice," and "Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign."

On Tuesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Education Secretary Rod Paige and First Lady Laura Bush highlight the "compassion of the American people" as the GOP's primetime speakers. President Bush addresses the American Legion in Nashville, TN, makes remarks to the Farm Progress Show in Alleman, IA, and visits a softball game and family-style picnic in Gettysburg, PA. Vice President Cheney attends the Republican convention. Sen. John Kerry flies from Nantucket to Nashville, TN but holds no public events. Sen. John Edwards holds a "front porch" event and a separate rally in Beckley, WV. Florida holds its primary.

On Wednesday, Vice President Cheney and his wife Lynne Cheney address the Republican National Convention. Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat, delivers President Bush's keynote address, highlighting America as the "land of opportunity." Twelve years ago, in the same arena, Miller delivered one of Bill Clinton's keynote address, lambasting the current President's father as someone who "does not get it." President Bush stumps in Columbus, OH and RONS in New York, NY. Sen. John Kerry addresses the American Legion in Nashville, TN and RONs on Nantucket. Edwards holds a "front porch" event and a separate rally in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

On Thursday, President George W. Bush will address the Republican convention, highlighting his vision for creating "a safer world and a more hopeful America." He will be introduced by New York Gov. George Pataki. President Bush RONs in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

On Friday, President Bush raises money in Scranton, PA, holds rallies in Milwaukee, WI and Cedar Rapids, IA, and RONs in Cleveland, OH. Unemployment figures for July are released.

On Saturday, President Bush holds an "Ask President Bush" event in Cleveland, OH, raises money in Lake County, OH, and Erie, PA.

On Sunday, President Bush holds a rally in Parkersburg, WV.

And expect the Kerry-Edwards ticket to be VERY aggressive starting on Friday.

In his own words: George W. Bush:

In an interview on NBC's "Today," President Bush was asked if he thought the war on terrorism could be won, he said: "I don't think you can win it."

Pressed by Matt Lauer to explain how the U.S. lost the unity around the world that existed after 9/11, Bush attributed it to "some hard decisions" that he's had to make in office.

Bush would not, however, let Lauer get him to pin the blame for the loss of unity on the invasion of Iraq alone.

Bush referred to both the Iraq and Afghanistan missions as hard decisions, calling the decision to go into Afghanistan very unpopular in Pakistan.

"When I'm making my calculations – I'm not doing a focus group in Pakistan, Matt," Bush said.

Bush refused to answer if he would consider raising taxes if he was unsuccessful in meeting his goal of cutting the deficit in half.

"It's going to come down by half. That's the goal. There's no need to answer a hypothetical. That's what we've got in mind. I think raising taxes now would be a disaster," Bush said.

Republican National Convention: the President:

"I'm a humble, strong reformer who's kept you safe, and will keep you safe."

Or something like that.

Ron Brownstein raises the curtain on President Bush's acceptance, writing that Bush "plans to stress themes of 'ownership' and government reform in his acceptance speech Thursday, positioning himself to reprise one of his most effective arguments against Democrat Al Gore in the 2000 campaign."

"Without offering many specifics, Bush is likely to pledge to restructure Social Security, the tax code and the healthcare system with the common goal of shifting more control and ownership away from government toward individuals, according to sources familiar with the speech's preparation." LINK

The Democratic response courtesy of one Stan Greenberg: "There may be a moment for [Bush's] argument, but not after three years of decline..."

Professor Brownstein simulates a more thorough debate on the big domestic issues than the two candidates have had to date -- or might ever have!!

"But insiders say the president is unlikely to embrace a specific plan — either Thursday or through the campaign — focusing rather on pledging to work across party lines for reform based on principles such as simplicity."

"Bush advisors said the president wanted to maintain a balance between revealing enough of an agenda to reassure voters that he hadn't run out of ideas for a second term, while avoiding specifics that could provide a tempting target for Kerry and his Democratic presidential campaign."

In a separate piece, Brownstein takes a 50,000 feet view of history and ponders why presidents even bother seeking second terms since they don't seem to meet with much success. LINK

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Robin Toner preview the week, with Republican leaders planning to talk about 9/11 while reaching for moderate voters, pointing to all those nutty Democratic protesters on the outside, and trying to keep everyone's eyes on their prize: re-electing the President. LINK Note the focus of President Bush's speech in a two-graf mini-preview of what to expect:

"After months of cultivating his conservative base by pressing positions like his support for a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, Mr. Bush, his aides said, will use his speech accepting the Republican nomination on Thursday to present what they described as a second-term agenda focused on health care, retirement, education and economic security."

"Advisers said Mr. Bush would return to a theme of an 'ownership society' that encourages Americans to take more responsibility for their retirement and health care needs, including the creation of private accounts in Social Security. Other Republicans said Mr. Bush was likely to offer some sort of tax simplification plan."

Also Noted: Sen. Kerry's sister, Peggy Kerry, lives in New York and attended an abortion rights rally -- information courtesy of RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie.

The lead headline in the Chicago Tribune screams "Convention uses 9/11 to define presidency" on top of a Mark Silva story talking about all the nuances that will remind us of that fateful day. LINK

"Just as the attacks remade his presidency, they also have fundamentally altered his re-election bid. Bush rarely shies from invoking Sept. 11, sometimes grandly as he did when he grabbed a bullhorn amid the rubble of the World Trade Center and vowed revenge, sometimes awkwardly when he uses it to answer a question on an unrelated subject."

"It is a strategy with advantage and risk."

Bob Novak's must-read is as valuable for its Kerry campaign analysis as it is for its GOP stuff, and begins thusly: "On the eve of the Republican National Convention, one of the party's foremost leaders from the South was asked about George W. Bush's chances in November. He replied, in a moment of rare candor: ''If this campaign is about Kerry, Bush will win the election. If this campaign is about Bush, he will win my state.'' That is, the GOP must make sure the focus is on Sen. John Kerry to avoid being reduced to the solid Republican South -- and a lost election." LINK

"That is no insult to President Bush, who this year has faced and weathered one political mishap after another, along with a Democratic opposition fiercely determined to remove him from office. Rather, the Southern leader's formulation signifies the realization in Republican ranks that they have dodged a bullet. Kerry had the opportunity to open a formidable lead against an incumbent president, and he failed."

"Tom Rath, the New Hampshire Republican leader who is one of the nation's shrewdest political observers, told me: ''I don't think any candidate has ever experienced a worse month of August since [Michael] Dukakis [in 1988]'' -- when that earlier Massachusetts Democratic nominee dissipated a double-digit lead. Rath contends the Democratic nominee in the last month has given the GOP an inestimable gift. The Republican challenge for its four days at Madison Square Garden is to present a kinder, gentler face to the nation while pounding away at Kerry."

"Bush in the end will agree to debates, though impending negotiations may result in only two encounters rather than the three customary in recent years. The call for weekly debates, which was brushed off by a routine Bush campaign press release, had been predicted by the president's political aides. The Kerry campaign book, a pattern developed during three decades of him seeking office, is well-known but not respected by Republican opponents."

This weekend, Novak took issue with Sen. Clinton's assertion that Sen. McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani exert no influence in their party, calling them two of the most popular political figures in America, and Noting that if they're interested in future presidential runs, despite fundamental differences with the Republican mainstream over abortion rights and tax cuts, they're laying the groundwork with their good soldier stances right here. LINK

More importantly, he Notes that "Republicans are still haunted by their national convention in Houston 12 years ago, which was followed by the defeat for re-election of the elder George Bush. Feeling that he had lost his conservative base because of his big tax increase, GOP strategists loaded the prime-time schedule at Houston with conservative speakers. Correctly or not, tough conservative speeches by presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan and second lady Marilyn Quayle are blamed for getting Bush off to a bad start in 1992."

"Karl Rove, the second President Bush's chief strategist, was not about to make the same mistake in 2004. By and large, hard-edged conservatives were kept out of prime time. Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, a highly respected conservative, was boosted for a speaking slot by more than 100 of his congressional colleagues -- to no avail."

The New York Times' Dick Stevenson was with President Bush in West Virginia, where he said he kept his promise to the steel industry, bashing Kerry for shifting in the wind on coal, and touting his plan for private Social Security accounts. Stevenson also reports that Edwards jumped on Bush's "catastrophic success" comment to Time magazine. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jake Schlesinger, Ryan Chittum and Greg Hitt look at Republicans "reacquaintance" strategy to get voters to see President Bush in a new light this week, hoping to attract the elusive undecided voters by showing the President's "good guy" side. And Gov. Racicot masterfully sets expectations, saying "'We don't expect a bounce,'" while following with a fantastic football analogy.

Read these two sentences, and repeat them like a mantra over the course of the week: "The convention plans reflect the juggling act of shaking loose a few centrist undecided voters without turning off core supporters. A main part of the strategy is to emphasize the war on terrorism -- one of the few areas where polls show Mr. Bush retains a strong lead over Mr. Kerry -- and a big reason why the Republicans chose to hold this week's session just north of the fallen World Trade Center towers."

However, don't forget: New York's volume of hotel rooms, and deep-pocketed mayor, also made the venue very attractive for Jack Oliver and the site selection team.

Maria LaGanga of the Los Angeles Times wisely went back and interviewed some of those undecided voters from last week's poll and reports on her findings: LINK

"America's shrinking cadre of crucial undecided voters say they want to hear Bush promise that he won't touch Social Security funds to pay for something else. They want him to describe how he'll get rid of the national debt. But most of all, they say, they want to know how he plans to extricate U.S. forces from ongoing combat in Iraq."

The Washington Post's Mike Allen and David Broder look at Bush's leadership style and ask: decisive or simplistic? LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Westphal and Dobbin write that the President "has become the ultimate love-him/hate-him president. Qualities that so endear him to Republicans -- his commander-in-chief decisiveness, his 'I'm not changing' resoluteness -- seem to be the very qualities that drive Democrats' zeal to defeat him." LINK

Dana Milbank on Cheney touting Bush's war leadership. LINK

The Washington Post's Mike Allen plays up Bush telling the West Virginia crowd to reach out to independents and Democrats. LINK

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller profiles Matthew Dowd, the former Democrat at the heart of Bush's campaign. Dowd says he is confident of victory in the interviewing but strays from the talking points long enough to say "we lose is if somehow the economy turns down'' or if there is "some huge undercutting on strength'' of how people view Bush in fighting terrorism. Ultimately, he's mulling a run for comptroller of Texas when he returns to the Lone Star State after the election. LINK

Dick Morris opines in the New York Post on what Kerry has done wrong at his convention and since and what the President has done right. LINK

Republican National Convention: the Vice President:

On GMA, Vice President Cheney was asked by ABC's Claire Shipman -- in her exclusive interview -- if he regrets not having served in the military. He answered "no" and said he doesn't look back.

ABC News' Karen Travers reports that Vice President Cheney's speech Wednesday will be pay tribute to President Bush and draw a contrast between the President's leadership and Sen. Kerry's record.

A campaign official said that the tribute will highlight President Bush's leadership and his achievements over the last three years in times of unprecedented challenges. This official Noted that the Vice President has a unique relationship with and perspective on President Bush and there is no one better to talk about his leadership and achievements than Dick Cheney.

Keeping with the Vice President's role on the campaign trail, the speech will also draw a contrast between President Bush's leadership, particularly on national security, and Sen. Kerry's 20-year record in the Senate.

The campaign official was quick to say that the speech will not be all about contrast and it will not be all about bashing Kerry. Cheney will also talk about the unique opportunity that American's have just by virtue of being born in America.

The speech will build off of what the Vice President's stump speech, which tends to focus on national security and the economy.

Cheney is still working on the speech, giving it finishing touches before Wednesday. He has been working closely on it with Mrs. Cheney, using a computer. He spent part of his vacation in Jackson, WY earlier this month working on the speech.

Republican National Convention: McCain:

This will indeed be John McCain day! LINK

The Washington Post's Leibovich asks John McCain if John Kerry has overstated the closeness of their bond. McCains says, "Yes and no." "'Yes, in that we've spent a lot of time working on issues, flying to Vietnam, doing a lot of that kind of professional Senate work,' McCain says. 'No, in that I've never socialized with him. I've never been to his house for dinner. We've never invited him out to Arizona.' Cindy McCain, who is sitting next to her husband on the couch in their suite, shakes her head. 'I bet we've had 20 senators out to Arizona,' she says. 'I've been to John's house in Georgetown once,' John McCain says of Kerry, 'like six or seven years ago. And I've never been invited up to Nantucket. Or Sun City. I mean Sun Valley [Idaho]. Or whatever.'" LINK

(That "whatever" an obvious -- and touching -- homage to Bob Dole!!)

McCain speech excerpts courtesy of the New York Post's Ian Bishop. LINK

The Note's friend Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe delves into the complicated, but now seemingly jovial, relationship between President Bush and McCain. LINK

Sen. McCain's local paper, the Arizona Republic, Notes his planned reaffirmation of support for the war tonight. LINK

On Good Morning America, McCain again reiterated his belief that anything Kerry said after he returned from Vietnam is "fair game."

And he called himself a "conservative" based on his voting record.

The loveable Mr. McCain did not totally deny 2008 presidential ambitions. But, he said, "I have no plans, nor have I contemplated 2008."

ABC's Peter Jennings has his own interview with McCain. Watch for it on World News Tonight.

Republican National Convention: tonight and the week ahead:

Rudy Giuliani talks to USA Today's Andrea Stone. LINK

The New York Daily News previews Giuliani's speech and a "veiled reference to rising anti-war sentiment." Giuliani will praise Bush's strong leadership through thick and thin, "being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times." LINK

"Giuliani said he's been coordinating his speech with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — who also speaks tonight, when the GOP theme is "courage" — so they don't overlap," writes the New York Post's Deb Orin. LINK

The New York Times' John Broder looks at Gov. Schwarzenegger's low-key goings-on this week. Schwarzenegger speaks to the convention on Tuesday, visits a Harlem elementary school on Wednesday, and has lunch with California's convention delegates at Planet Hollywood on Thursday. Aides to Schwarzenegger say that he will not use his speech to criticize Kerry. "They said a centerpiece of his 20-minute speech on Tuesday would be a description of the Republican Party as politically and ethnically diverse." LINK

A Kennedy will, of course, be on the floor watching her husband's speech tomorrow night. LINK

Republican National Convention: Karl Rove:

Anne Kornblut of the Boston Globe profiles the Karl Rove strategy – the mathematical equation by which he is running this presidential campaign. It's not about the swing voters, it's about the Republicans. LINK

"To Rove, an obsessive number cruncher, it all boils down to a simple empirical fact: There are more potential Republicans out there in battleground states than undecided moderates. Get the Republicans to show up on Election Day and the race is won."

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes and John Harwood turn in a must-read about the Bush campaign's efforts to solidify and turn out support among evangelicals and Christian conservatives, particularly the ones who stayed home in 2000 -- a strategy Karl Rove calls a "'mobilization election.'" The plan, while clearly an absolute key in the Calmes/Harwood dateline world of West Chester, Ohio, won't see much play in the moderate-driven convention this week.

Since when has an opposition party ever publicly tried to shadow the president's chief political adviser at a convention?

Republican National Convention: politics:

Though you will likely see nothing less than Republican unity this week, Rick Klein of the Boston Globe reminds us there is more contentious issues burbling beneath the façade. LINK

Gay marriage is threatening the endorsement of Log Cabin Republicans. LINK

Patrick C. Guerriero and his group are angry not just at the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, but also "that such moderates as Governor George E. Pataki of New York and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, showcased as prime-time speakers at the convention, appear to have no influence over the party's official positions on abortion and gay marriage."

Guerriero editorializes ahead of his "major announcement" today: LINK

USA Today's Kathy Kiely reports that leaders of the Log Cabin Republicans "were attempting Sunday to gather enough signatures to engineer a convention vote on a proposed platform plank that would say Republicans respect differences of opinion on gay and lesbian rights." LINK

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick previews the ads from two gay groups set to run in New York during the Republican convention. The Log Cabin Republicans will look at the idea of the "big tent" for Republicans, and the Human Rights Campaign will use the comments of Vice President Dick Cheney on same-sex marriage. LINK

Kirkpatrick also looks at how some gay activists view Mary Cheney's role in her father's campaign. LINK

The New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer has Mayor Bloomberg telling the Log Cabin Republicans "how much he opposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage: 'I don't think we should ever use the Constitution to drive wedges between us.'" LINK

Rick Lyman of the New York Times reports that Cheney, Giuliani, Pataki, and others made two points over and over yesterday: "that Ellis Island represented the Republican Party's commitment to cultural diversity and that Lower Manhattan offered stark evidence of the need to continue Mr. Bush's antiterrorism policies." LINK

Headline from the Portland Press Herald: "Maine delegates to bury differences." Bart Jansen takes an interesting look at the dynamics within Maine's delegation and how issues like the war in Iraq are playing among Mainers both at the convention and at home. LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci and John Wildermuth take a look at the California delegation, in places influenced by Gov. Schwarzenegger, and the split between the moderate and more conservative factions in the state GOP. LINK

The AP's McClam Notes the delegate response to visiting Ground Zero: "For delegates visiting the site, many of them for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the stark view provoked quiet reverence and political fervor - often at the same time." LINK

Rev. Bubba slams the GOP. LINK

USA Today's Rick Hampson looks at the New York City and Republicans dynamic today versus one year ago. LINK

The Washington Times' Lakely and Hallow write, "Delegates to the Republican National Convention who are inclined to express displeasure with President Bush's performance have not been given much room to talk." LINK

Fred Dicker of the New York Post couldn't resist the Pataki vs. Rudy for 2008 theme and reports that New York GOP Chairman Treadwell may soon be out of a job so that a former Pataki aide can come in and lay groundwork for a presidential run. LINK

The glossy copies of the Republican Party platform awaiting the arrival of the delegates in the convention hall -- on the cover: "A Safer World and a More Hopeful America" with a close-up and dramatic picture Lady Liberty's stern face – contain quotes from President Bush on the top of each section addressing the applicable issues.

The platform is divided into five sections: —Winning the War on Terror —Ushering in an Ownership Era —Building an Innovative, Globally Competitive Economy —Strengthening our Communities —Protecting our Families

The whole platform, though, is lead with a front-page quote about President Ronald Reagan from President Bush's eulogy at his predecessor's funeral service. "Ronald Reagan believed that people were basically good, and had the right to be free. He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of. He believed in the Golden Rule and in the power of prayer. He believed that America was not just a place in the world, but the hope of the world. As Ronald Wilson Reagan goes his way, we are left with a joyful hope he shared."

Republican National Convention: money:

The Washington Post's Birnbaum and Edsall on how Wall Street firms that have benefited from Bush's tax policies on capital gains and estates are underwriting this week's GOP convention. LINK

Republican National Convention: protests and security:

It was "a raging sea of protestors" reports the New York Daily News. "[T]he five-hour march ended solemnly when 1,000 flag-draped coffins - one for each U.S. soldier killed in Iraq - were carried through city streets." LINK

The Los Angeles Times puts the head count at "more than 100,000," staying closer to the police estimate of 120,000 to the organizer estimate of 500,000. LINK

The New York Times' Todd Purdum looks at the clash of messages as protesters ran headlong -- peacefully -- into the first Republican convention ever held in New York. "This was not the reception the Republicans had planned. They chose New York to evoke the moment of national unity that rallied Americans to Mr. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks, only to find protesters claiming Mr. Bush had forfeited that goodwill by attacking Iraq." LINK

The New York Times' Robert McFadden looks at the details of the protests, and reports that "one officer in touch with the police command center at Madison Square Garden agreed that the crowd appeared to be close to a half-million." Protestors depicted Bush as "a misfit who had plunged America into war and runaway debt, undermined civil and constitutional rights, lied to the people, despoiled the environment and used the presidency to benefit corporations and millionaires," he writes. LINK

The New York Times' Eric Lichtblau looks at the Justice Department's investigation of Internet postings that list the names of Republican delegates and urge protesters to give them an unwelcome reception. LINK

Republican National Convention: potpourri:

Lloyd Grove reports the RNC has commissioned impersonators for 1960s TV Land star "Flipper." The RNC has bought bought 10 dolphin costumes for cameos around town and at DNC pressers. LINK

"Reformed bi-sexual" Donnie McClurkin will serenade convention goes Thursday night before the POTUS speaks, Notes Grove. LINK

Republican National Convention: media:

New York Magazine goes daily for convention week. Hard copies will be all around the Garden and the Farley building, but the content will also go live at (LINK) at noon each day.

Mary Schmich trashes the media for attending their own convention party in the Time Warner building Sunday night, in today's Chicago Tribune. LINK

Republican National Convention: op-eds:

The Washington Post ed board wants a candid reflection from Bush of how the Iraq and Afghanistan missions have fallen short. LINK

Michael Barone offers up a little history lesson on party conventions during wartime on the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page, and reasons that President Bush needs more than a good convention -- he needs a turning tide in the fortunes of his war.

Fred Barnes argues in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Roosevelt's 1944 convention that rallied voters behind him even in wartime and when he was vulnerable is the model for Bush's re-nomination convention.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush v. Kerry:

A new Gallup poll touts its findings that among likely voters, Bush has "eroded" Sen. Kerry's lead in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, two states Gore carried in 2000.

Kerry fares better among the larger pool of registered voters. (Kerry leads in Iowa, another state Gore carried, among both registered and likely voters). It's Gallup's first foray into these states, but its PA and WI results are very similar to what Pew and the L.A. Times had in those states last week. Kerry has not had a consistent lead in either state for Bush to "erode."

Keying off of last week's Census numbers, the Los Angeles Times' Vieth pursues that Reagan question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago? LINK

USA Today's Mark Memmott deconstructs why Kerry is doing better among registered voters and Bush is doing better among likely voters. LINK

Here's how Gallup figures out which are which: LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

Excerpt from Sen. Edwards' speech today on foreign affairs:

"After months of saying he'd done everything right on Iraq and foreign policy, the president acknowledged just the other day that he miscalculated the way in which he waged the war in Iraq," Edwards plans to say today. "He believes that he may have won the war too quickly and that was a miscalculation. I want to talk to you about the other ways in which this president has 'miscalculated' our approach to foreign policy. The Bush administration miscalculated by rushing to war without a plan for the peace. The Bush administration miscalculated by deciding to go it alone without strong allies. The Bush administration miscalculated when they waited three years after September 11th to start to reform our intelligence."

Edwards went into the belly of the beast -- or, really, invited the beast over to his Georgetown home -- by going head-to-head with the foreign policy savants of America's two most influential political newspapers.

The Washington Post's Kessler and Wright on Kerry's plans to confront Iran on its nuclear weapons. "Edwards said that if Iran failed to take what he called a "great bargain," it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear power initiative. Kerry first outlined the idea of providing nuclear fuel to Iran in June. LINK

David Sanger got the same interview for the New York Times. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Nader's status in Michigan. LINK

Nader won't give up on South Carolina. LINK

After shoring up the Reform Party's backing in Texas, Nader urged Aggies to be more politically involved. LINK

ABC News NOW :

We know you got hooked on the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Democratic convention from Boston, and it's back again in New York, once again anchored by Peter Jennings on ABC News Now, the coolest 24-hour news service going, available on digital cable and via our broadband service on

Once again, we will bring you live news from the floor, from the streets, and from the campaigns from the opening gavel till when that little hammer smacks down. In the midst of the live coverage, there are loads of new shows as well -- everything from the headlines to the parties and gossip to answering viewers' questions.

And if you miss the new show devoted to battleground states co-anchored by ABC News' Linda Douglass and David Chalian every day at 3:30 pm ET, well, don't say we didn't warn you when you don't get why we officially declared North Carolina a battleground, and moved Florida, Nevada, Iowa, and Minnesota into "toss-up" status.

If you've missed the train up until now, don't panic. You can still tune in.

To see what's on ABC News Now, find out if it's available in your area, and get instructions on how to get it, go here: LINK

Or you can sign up up to get it on a myriad of other electronic devices.

On your PC: Go to and subscribe to ABC News On Demand. You get a free trial period, and after that it's a mere $4.95 a month (LINK).

Or … You can also go to (LINK) and subscribe to RealNetworks' SuperPass, which gives you a free trial, and then costs just $9.95 a month.

Or … If you're an AOL subscriber, it's available at for no extra charge. Via AOL News, click on ABC News 24/7 to watch. There's also a free trial period if you aren't yet a subscriber.

It's also available to SBC/Yahoo and Bell South DSL customers.

Hand-held devices: Sprint PCS Vision customers download MobiTV from the applications menu, and tune in to Channel 5.


At the day-time session, speakers will be: Mayor Bloomberg, BC'04 Chair Marc Racicot; and various candidates in House, Senate and governor races

—10:00 am: RNC Chair Ed Gillespie gavels convention to session —12:40 pm: RNC delegates vote to ratify GOP platform, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY —1:00 pm: Republican National Convention begins process to place Vice President Cheney and President Bush in nomination for a second term, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

At the evening session, from 7:45 pm to 11:45 pm, the speakers will be:

Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio Ed Gillespie, RNC chair Sara Gear Boyd, convention secretary Jane Norton, assistant convention secretary Dennis Hastert, House Speaker Ron Silver, actor Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico Bernard Kerik, former New York City police commissioner Robert Khuzami, former assistant United States attorney in New York Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director, American Islamic Congress Jason Sehorn, NFL player, and Angie Harmon, actress Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina Sen. John McCain of Arizona Rudolph Giuliani, former New York mayor Rev. Max Lucado, San Antonio

— 7:45 pm: Vice President Cheney attends Republican National Convention, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY


—11:00 am: Sen. John Edwards delivers a major national security address at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC —12:50- pm: President Bush holds a "Ask President Bush" event in Nashua, NH —1:45 pm: Lynne Cheney, Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush attend a "W is for Women" event —3:00 pm: Former President George H.W. Bush possibly delivers a speech on the Intrepid, Hudson River, New York, NY —6:45 pm: President Bush holds a rally at Heritage Park in Taylor, MI


—8:45am: The Republican National Committee holds their daily briefing at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY —10:00 am: The Democratic National Committee's (DNC) Convention Response Team hosts its daily morning press conferences at 275 7th Avenue (between 25th and 26th streets), 15th floor, New York, NY —10:00 am: Vets rally, sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans, 8th Avenue and 31st Street, New York, NY —11:00 am: Log Cabin Republicans: Make a "major announcement," Millenium Broadway Hotel, New York, NY —11:00 am: Voting rights and AIDS rally starting near Union Square, New York, NY —12:00 pm: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani receives the "Spirit of Hope" medallion at Cipriani's on 42nd Street, New York, NY —1:00 pm: Poor people's economic human rights campaign holds a rally from the UN to Madison Square Garden, New York, NY