ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

The campaign Noted in a release that 229,410 donors contributed to that figure and the campaign has received donations from more than 1.24 million contributors.

For the July total, $11.2 million came from direct mail/phone donations and the campaign raised $2.3 million online.

From the Wall Street Journal 's Washington Wire: "Seeking focus on domestic issues, the Kerry camp next week will pair criticism of new administration overtime rules with complaints about the widening rich-poor gap as new poverty figures are released. The Bush camp awaits coming data expected to show gains in housing and manufacturing."

Also from the Wall Street Journal 's Washington Wire: " Republicans eye lection lift from expatriates in Israel. Though Jewish voters at home lean Democratic, Bush allies say his strong backing for Sharon could yield dividends among expats registered in pivotal Florida and Pennsylvania. A Democratic organizer, citing rumors Kerry might make Bill Clinton a Mideast envoy, says the party's Web site already has 5,000 absentee-ballot applications from residents of Israel."

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

The Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten gives an in-depth look at the Bush plan for overhauling Social Security and pushing for personal investment accounts — an issue that the president has started to tout on the campaign trail without details. LINK

And Wallsten reports — don't hold your breath for specifics before election day.

Wallsten looks at the politics of the president's plan, Noting: "Confronting such matters, Republican strategists fear, could make Bush and other GOP candidates vulnerable to attacks in key states such as Florida, where senior voters have a history of punishing candidates who talk of changing Social Security."

"The decision to stick to generalities also reflects the political complexities facing Bush as he tries to outline a domestic agenda for a second four years in office."

Note to Mr. Wallsten: great piece, but please understand — the POINT of private/personal accounts is to take pressure off of the trust fund by lowering the guaranteed minimum benefit. That is the POINT, not something that MIGHT happen.

The AP's Deb Reichman reports President Bush and Mrs. Bush are working on convention speeches during their down time at their Crawford ranch. LINK

And as for where he will deliver that speech, Maggie Haberman of the New York Daily News reports that President Bush will use a "specially made blast- and bullet-proof stage" at the Republican National Convention. LINK

"The type of onstage entrance that Bush will make has been a well-guarded secret throughout the convention planning. Officials have refused to say if it will be a conventional platform or something else, but some organizers have said a 'theater-in-the-round' approach is likely."

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign released a positive ad last week timed to the start of the Olympics. The spot heralded the fact that these Summer Games would feature two new democracies, showing the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan. And on the stump, President Bush has touted the Iraqi Olympics soccer team, saying last week in Oregon "The image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics, it's fantastic, isn't it? It wouldn't have been free if the United States had not acted."

Yet in interviews with Sports Illustrated, members of that Iraqi team don't appreciate being a part of the political debate here. LINK

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