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19 days until the Republican convention 83 days until election day


The President, having announced his intention to nominate Porter Goss to head the CIA, heads to Florida to campaign with John McCain.

John Kerry, who at this writing hasn't reacted to the Goss news, does Vegas, with an emphasis on homeland security and Yucca Mountain.

Dick Cheney plays Iowa; John Edwards rests.

The Fed is expected to raise interest rates.

House Democrats highlight intelligence; Kean and Hamilton go back to the Hill; voters in Colorado and Georgia vote; and the Googling monkeys gear up for their very favorite thing -- a confirmation battle.

Based on his resume, Goss is a perfect candidate for the job.

But based on recent history, Goss's PR "skills," and Democrat gauntlet-laying, it's not clear what the White House has in mind with this pick.

Will Senate Democrats -- who were not particuarly consulted in advance -- turn this into a battle? Will the White House welcome such a thing? Will there be a vote that Kerry and Edwards actually have to attend?

As Matt Cooper would write, only time will tell.

President Bush is in northwest Florida, one of the most reliably Republican parts of the state, with Sen. John McCain today. They begin with a rally at the Civic Center in Pensacola, FL at 11:40 am ET; participate in an "Ask President Bush" event with Sen. McCain at the Oskaloosa-Walton College in Niceville, FL at 2:00 pm ET; and address a final rally at the Marina in Panama City, FL at 5:45 pm ET.

Shortly after the AP broke the news that Bush would tap Porter Goss as the new Director of the CIA, on C-SPAN Representative Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the party caucus chair, told penetrating questioner Steve Scully the pick is "a mistake," because Goss comes from a partisan background. Menendez said that on more than one occasion, Goss has "shown himself to be a partisan." He said he admired Goss' service, but was largely negative about the pick.

Sen. Kerry is in Vegas making hay about his opposition to using Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste site. At 2:00 pm ET he meets with first responders and community leaders at a middle school near the proposed site to accuse the Bush Administration of manipulating Yucca Mountain for political gain. Kerry finishes the day with a 9:00 pm ET rally at UNLV.

We know he is on holiday, but who will ask Sen. Edwards whether his Yucca Mountain vote was incorrect?

Vice President Cheney is in Iowa today to speak at the Seven Flags Event Center at 12:55 pm ET. America Coming Together will sponsor a Halliburton lemonade stand outside the event.

First Lady Laura Bush is also in the Midwest touting ownership, the new Bush economic message, via female-owned small businesses. At 10:15 am ET in Grafton, WI, she tours SEEK, Inc. and speaks about the economy. At 1:30 pm ET she does the same at Gruber's Quilt Shop Waite Park, MN. And at 4:15 pm ET she speaks to a group of female small business owners at the Crowne Plaza in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Colorado holds its Senate primaries today, featuring Rep. Bob Schaffer vs. Pete Coors and Attorney General Ken Salazar vs. Mike Miles. Georgia holds its Democratic primary, with Rep. Denise Majette facing off against businessman Cliff Oxford. In Colorado polls open at 9:00 am ET and close at 9:00 pm ET and in Georgia, polls open at 7:00 am ET and close at 7:00 pm ET.

Sen. Edwards vacations at his family home in North Carolina until Friday.

At 6:00 pm ET, "The Honorable Charles Schumer, the Honorable Eliot Spitzer, Aretha Franklin, Jessye Norman, Harvey Keitel, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee" will gather at Tavern on the Green to celebrate the 74th birthday of Rep. Charles Rangel. Folks: if you can unite Schumer and Spitzer, how come you didn't invite us, insomuch as you are in our neighborhood??

Republican National Convention:

The Washington Times' Ralph Z. Hallow wrenches this blind quote from some top GOP strategist who seems unaware of the stir that it will cause:

"[O]ne Republican who is close to the platform process but asked not to be identified said Bush representatives working with the platform writers 'will try to prevent extremism in language on gay rights by some evangelical groups and on immigration by some of our conservatives.'"

"Several Republicans associated with the platform-committee activities who requested anonymity described an effort by the Bush forces to head off any language that might seem "unwelcoming" to immigrants or intolerant of homosexuals."

And Phyllis Schlafly is ready for battle.

As are the Democrats.

They've hired superstar Jay Carson to be their Counter Convention Communications Director, we've learned.

Kevin Wardally will be the CC's campaign manager. Melvin Norris, who is a key aide to Rep,. Charles Rangel, will serve as New York Chief of Staff for the Democrats.

And yes, Jenny Backus will have a key role, too.

You may have heard this already, but security is going to be tight around the Republican convention. LINK

The New York Times' Michael Slackman reports that Republican convention organizers have embraced their role as marketers of the party's ideas, and are planning a spectacle including "gospel- and country-music performers, elaborate videos, and celebrities" who will both perform and give interviews during the event. LINK

The must-read piece seems based on an interview that we sense wasn't totally authorized by the Powers That Be.

The Boston Herald calls the Democratic National Convention a waste, with a new report on the economic impact to prove it. LINK

The Boston Globe refers to the benefits as "negligible," also citing the report done by the Beacon Hill Institute. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry on Iraq:

USA Today's Martin Kasindorf Notes Kerry's "intended focus on the natural environment was overshadowed by a barbed exchange with Bush over Iraq" on Monday. LINK

"Responding to President Bush's challenge to clarify his position, Sen. John F. Kerry said Monday that he still would have voted to authorize the war in Iraq even if he had known then that U.S. and allied forces would not find weapons of mass destruction," writes the Washington Post's Jim VandeHei. LINK

But, Notes ABC News' Teddy Davis, he said that he would have been more effective at carrying out that authority.

Kerry then issued a challenge to President Bush on the Iraq war, asking, "Why did you take us to war without a plan to win the peace?"

Pat Healy of the Boston Globe has his other questions: "Why did he rush to war on faulty intelligence and not do the hard work necessary to give America the truth? Why did he mislead America about how he would go to war? Why has he not brought other countries to the table in order to support American troops in the way that we deserve it and relieve a pressure from the American people?" LINK?

Of course, the Bush campaign claims Kerry didn't really answer the right question.

ABC News Vote 2004: today's primaries:

In Colorado, the sudden retirement of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell triggered an Illinois-esque scramble to find a Republican candidate. Some party leaders settled, ultimately, on former Rep. Bob Schaffer -- then they settled on millionaire beer magnate Pete Coors. But Schaffer didn't quit and the primary quickly turned into a nasty brawl between two wings of the party.

Then Coors tracked to the right, trying to court conservative voters. When learning that his company paid for employee abortions, he urged his corporate officers reverse the policy. An outside group supported by Schaffer backers has attacked Coors in television ads for "supporting the radical homosexual agenda." The Christian Coalition mailed thousands of fliers to their members highlighting the Coors Brewing Company's support for gay rights. In turn, the Coors company has taken out ads distancing themselves from Coors' support for the amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

The Democratic primary hasn't been clean, either, despite the early endorsement of a talented candidate, Attorney General Ken Salazar. He's facing Mike Miles, a liberal school administrator, who embarrassed him a state party gathering earlier in the year. The two have sparred on bread and butter issues, with Miles generally critiquing Salazar for being too close to lobbyists and Salazar accusing Miles of support impractical and economically dangerous ideas.

Activists on both sides are excited about the presidential race and are tugging at their party's establishment leaders to listen to them.

National Democrats believe that Salazar can boost Sen. John Kerry's chances for an upset win in Colorado in November, in part by drawing record turnout of Hispanic voters. National Republicans believe that although their favored candidate Pete Coors can spend as much of his own money as he wants, the divisive primary may hurt his chances for the fall. They'd have to spend their own money to help Schaffer. Regardless, they're confident that George W. Bush will keep the state Republican on election day.

In addition to the big Senate primary at the top of the ticket, "all Denver voters are eligible to decide an issue that would ban circuses from displaying exotic animals in their shows…" LINK

"'Let your voice be heard. And don't forget to take your ID with you,' said Secretary of State Donetta Davidson, who predicted turnout will be as high as 35 percent. That compares with 10 percent turnout in the 2000 primary and 11 percent in 2002," reports the Denver Post on today's Colorado primary. LINK

Today's Georgia Senate primary run-off features Rep. Denise Majette and businessman Cliff Oxford. Oxford probably has a better chance of making the race competitive with Republican nominee Johnny Isakson in the fall if only because he can spend his own money.

In the 8th congressional district, State. Sen. Lynn Westmoreland faces Dylan Glenn, who, if he survives the run-off today, would be the only black Republican in Congress (assuming he defeats his Democratic challenger in November).

ABC News Vote 2004: the politics stem cells:

In an interview with ABC News' Kate Snow, First Lady Laura Bush defended the President against the criticism he has faced in recent days for his position on stem cells, saying, "My husband is the first one who funded stem cell research . . . he's the only one to fund stem cell research."

Snow went on to report that a new poll suggests that public opinion heavily supports stem cell research across party lines. In a press briefing yesterday, Sen. John Kerry said that there is no contradiction in his support for stem cell research and his belief that life begins at conception. He also argued that stem cell research gives people fighting disease hope and that they do not deserve to have doors closed to them in fighting disease. When Mrs. Bush was asked whether she felt her husband's opponents were trying to raise false hope, Laura Bush replied, "Yes I think they are."

Ron Fournier interviewed Laura Bush too. LINK

The New York Times' Randy Kennedy details the back-and-forth faceoff, looking at Mrs. Bush's uncharacteristic headlong charge into campaign rough-and-tumble, criticizing those who are pushing to expand stem cell research by implying that cures to diseases could come quickly. LINK

Peter Wallsten and James Rainey get on the front page of the Los Angeles Times with their recap of Monday's back and forth. Here are your two nut graphs: LINK

"'There is no question this is a very significant sleeper issue which we are trying to awaken,' said Mark Mellman, Kerry's pollster."

More Wallsten/Rainey: "While pollsters and Republican strategists say it remains unclear whether the stem cell issue will prove decisive for swing voters, they agree that the White House was stung by the issue's sudden rise in prominence after the death of Reagan, a conservative icon."

The Wall Street Journal's Antonio Regaldo and Bob Davis look at how Sen. Kerry's support for therapeutic cloning of embryos could be a problem for voters to accept in the conversation about stem cell research, and that Kerry must walk a fine line to avoid undermining his position. Despite Kerry's call to prohibit cloned embryos from developing for more than 14 days, or from being implanted, the discussion of cloning could end up muddling the discussion over increasing the number of stem-cell lines available for research, some proponents fear.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Steven Walters and Patrick Marley give Kerry's stem cell advocacy a local lead, writing, "On the campus where the national debate over embryonic stem cell research began, top Wisconsin Democrats, a scientist and a 7-year-old boy with juvenile diabetes called Monday for the election [Kerry] to end restrictions on that research." LINK

The Washington Post's Rick Weiss and Mary Fitzgerald report "Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) yesterday offered the most detailed description yet of how a Kerry administration would support the promising young field of embryonic stem cell research, while 780 miles away first lady Laura Bush defended on ethical grounds her husband's more restrictive research policy. " LINK

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

President Bush hits the road today, traveling to GOP-friendly turf in battleground Florida with Sen. John McCain. LINK

The League of Conservation Voters will hit Bush with an add in the Pensacola/Mobile and Panama City markets all week critiquing President Bush's statements on drilling off Florida's coast.. The video includes footage of an oil rig fire.

Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times puts some perspective ont he trip: "To call Escambia County a Republican stronghold is like calling Tiger Woods a decent golfer." LINK

Now we know Tiger hasn't been playing at the top of his game lately, but Smith points out that "the president won the district by more than two to one in 2000, and his campaign is counting on an even stronger showing in November to counteract anti-Bush passion in heavily Democratic south Florida."

An editorial in the Pensacola News Journal has some points the President could raise today to reach out to independents and undecideds: the deficit, WMDs in Iraq, Superfund budget and the tone of the presidential campaign. LINK

The Pensacola News Journal previews the President's day. LINK

President Bush is polling well in the Panhandle. LINK

In anticipation of the presidential visit today, 350 residents attended the Democratic "strong men" rally led by Sen. Bob Graham in Pensacola. LINK

As Kerry surrogates tried to pre-empt coverage, the big one, Sen. Bob Graham, almost called the President unpatriotic. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jake Schlesinger and Jackie Calmes offer up a must-read overview of President Bush's economic agenda, with proposals focusing on an "era of ownership," with tax breaks for health care, savings and job training. Bush's plan will also draw a distinction between himself and Sen. Kerry, the duo Note, who's mostly talking up higher taxes for the wealthiest populations and government involvement in health care and education. LINK

Note the nut graf: "Most of the specific White House campaign proposals are likely to be small-scale, and will leave some of Mr. Bush's backers yearning for bolder steps to assuage voter anxiety over issues such as jobs, and lay the groundwork for a sweeping, conservative legacy. Most will also likely just repeat previous proposals, albeit in somewhat revised or expanded form. In large part, the Bush advisers feel constrained by the president's pledge to cut the budget deficit to $260 billion by 2009, down from the projected $445 billion this year. The White House economic team's caution toward new initiatives also reflects the risk-averse attitude of a campaign facing a close election."

And the handy clip-and-save chart at the bottom!

USA Today's Richard Benedetto looks at the, um, spontaneity of the BC04 "Ask President Bush" events and Notes that they "leave little to chance." LINK

Benedetto walks through the planning process for such an event, from the ticketing process to the locals on stage with the President to the audience questions, which often sound staged, something the campaign insists is not true.

"None of these is ever planted," says Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign. "Nobody knows who's going to be called on."

Leslie Pappas of the Philadelphia Inquirer looks at the other focus of Mrs. Bush's speech, malpractice insurance -- "a welcome topic for the members of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which endorsed Bush yesterday, the first time it has given a presidential endorsement." LINK

Mrs. Bush was also in Toledo yesterday where The Toledo Blade's Fritz Wenzel's lead is: "First Lady Laura Bush brought her Texas charm and White House rhetoric to Toledo yesterday, making a pitch for support of her husband's re-election effort to a crowd of 200, most of them female entrepreneurs." LINK

And the First Lady also hit up Royal Oak, MI, where she told a crowd of about 1,400 that the President "has a good heart, he understands your values," and touted his accomplishments, asking the crowd to help her spread the word. LINK

"Vice President Dick Cheney and first lady Laura Bush will visit Iowa today in separate events aimed at maintaining President Bush's campaign drumbeat in the state," writes the Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont. LINK

"President Bush said Monday that the United States would maintain pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, emphasizing that his administration was working with other countries and not confronting Iran on its own," writes the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller. LINK

The New York Times' Paul Krugman Notes "apologists for President Bush's economic policies are frantically spinning the bad news." LINK

Krugman helpfully runs through the "right" way to read the latest data, and the Wall Street Journal ed board and Jim Glassman couldn't disagree more.

Free Matt Cooper:

The Washington Post reports that Time's Matt Cooper has been threatened with jail time for allegedly providing material evidence in the Plame case. LINK

"While NBC fought a subpoena issued May 21 and was included in the opinion, it avoided a contempt citation after Tim Russert, moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, agreed to an interview over the weekend in which he answered a limited number of questions posed by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, NBC said in a statement."

The Post also reports that Walter Pincus has been served with a subpoena as well.

The New York Times' Adam Liptak looks at the federal judge's decision finding Time's Matt Cooper in contempt of court for not revealing the sources who told him the identity of an undercover CIA officer. LINK

The Los Angeles Times amazingly leads with Russert and buries Cooper. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

Surprise, surprise: Yucca Mountain will be the focus of Senator Kerry's visit to Nevada today. LINK

That contrasts with President Bush, who did not discuss Yucca when he was in Nevada in June, "despite ongoing criticism from Democrats for his approval of the project," says the Reno Gazette-Journal. LINK

But all stops by presidential candidates in Nevada have one thing in common, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal: they all "make a mess of valley traffic." LINK

It's a fight in Las Vegas today between the feds and local officials about how much warning Vegas' officials received regarding terror threats to the city. LINK and LINK

The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board takes the side of local officials in the he said/she said battle, asking if federal officials -- like Osama bin Laden -- dislike the city because they believe it is connected to "Satan." LINK

ABC News' Teddy Davis' final thought of Monday: "Final thought: when Kerry wanted to bolster his fiscal responsibility credentials, he identified in a Georgetown University speech two promises -- universal pre-school and national service -- that he would be willing to scale back if necessary to meet his goal of cutting the deficit in half. But out on the stump, Teresa Heinz Kerry touts on almost daily basis Kerry's national service plan with nary a mention that Kerry has said that it may prove unaffordable."

The Manchester Union Leader reports that Kerry will continue to use the story of John and Mary Ann Knowles, to highlight problems with health care under Bush. The problem, the Union Leader reports, is that Mary Ann Knowles actually did have access to health care. LINK

Here's the AP's take on the Knowles "myth." LINK

In a shameless and successful attempt to make The Note, the Kansas City Star's ultra-talented Deann Smith writes that John Kerry just loved "Barbecue baron Ollie Gates's" ribs, and Bill Burton emphasized the point that for the Senator -- Kansas City barbeque is tops. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: SFVfT:

Kerry swift boat compadre Jim Rassmann ends his Wall Street Journal op-ed thusly:

"But when the noise and fog of their distortions and lies have cleared, a man who volunteered to serve his country, a man who showed up for duty when his country called, a man to whom the United States Navy awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, will stand tall and proud. Ultimately, the American people will judge these Swift Boat Veterans for Bush and their accusations. Americans are tired of smear campaigns against those who volunteered to wear the uniform. Swift Boat Veterans for Bush should hang their heads in shame."

Vince Morris and Ian Bishop of the New York Post describe the new book criticizing John Kerry's Vietnam service, "Unfit for Command," as both "startling" and "explosive," but there isn't much in the New York Post excerpts that you haven't heard before. LINK

A separate story by the New York Post duo is solely dedicated to the dispute over John Kerry's Cambodian Christmas. LINK

And here is the link to the New York Post editorial chastising Kerry and Democratic lawyers for trying to get stations not to play the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad. Note the inclusion of John O'Neill's initial presidential preference. LINK

The Charleston Gazette says the book and TV ads questioning Sen. Kerry's war record are a "cruel smear." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney v. Kerry-Edwards:

Tom Oliphant writes of single women and those issues important to them according to a new study. "They are not only a huge demographic, they are also notorious nonvoters -- largely, research has shown, because they do not think politicians understand or address their concerns. If they voted in the same proportion to eligibility as their married counterparts, Kerry's margin over President Bush would approach 10 percentage points." LINK

Peter Canellos crunches the history of war-time presidential elections. LINK

A new study by the FEC finds that "Republicans and Democrats collected more money through their national parties in the 18 months ending in June than they raised during the same period before the 2000 election," reports the New York Times' Glenn Justice. LINK

Dear Mr. Baran and Mr. Justice: we aren't the biggest fans of Shays-Meehan, but the point is to disconnect large contributions from public officials. Lots of money (to the parties or the 527s) doesn't necessarily a parallel make.

John McCormick writes in the Chicago Tribune today how Democratic-leaning groups totally outspent President Bush's team on advertising the week after the Democratic National Convention. "In the week after the convention in Boston, which ended July 29, the Democratic National Committee and the Media Fund, a Democratic advocacy group, spent a combined $11.1 million on pro-Kerry and anti-Bush ads in 21 states." LINK

"Bush's campaign spent an estimated $4.4 million from Aug. 1 through Aug. 7 and received almost no advertising help from outside groups."

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman looks at both campaigns' efforts to accommodate -- and court -- local media. The upsides: avoid the annoying national media, talk to the outlets where more voters get their news, and possibly easier questions. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

Zack V. Dempsey might well be the biggest post 11/2 race in Florida... LINK

The AP reports some Missouri soldiers in Iraq were unable to vote last week because of late absentee ballots. Secretary of State Matt Blunt's office is looking into it. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: The Big Four: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin:

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Howard Wilkinson reports that the Veterans of Foreign Wars will open their annual convention in Cincinnati this weekend and writes, "Little wonder that John Kerry will speak to them next week, and President Bush's campaign is carefully considering an invitation." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the battlegrounds:

The Media Fund will expand its television ad buy to four more states today: Iowa, Oregon, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. This will put them on the air in a total of nine states right now.

The Kerry campaign announced Monday their schedule for the Kerry's stop in Oregon later this week, reports KGW's Jim Parker. The stop coincides with a Bush visit to the state. LINK

The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes gives a solid write-up of exactly what grassroots efforts in Oregon look like. LINK

Bush and Kerry supporters hosted dueling press conferences yesterday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, reports the Manchester Union Leader's Jody Record. LINK

What do three characters named Phil T. Rich, Pam Perd and Seymour Benjamins have to do with the election? More than you might imagine -- especially in battleground states like Michigan, reports the AP. LINK

Dare we use the "pessimism" word? Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh says this morning that contrary to what a certain presidential candidate says, Michigan's economy is "half empty." LINK

The number of protesters at First Lady Laura Bush's rally in Royal Oak, MI, yesterday? A grand total of two. LINK

The Detroit Free Press says the First Lady's trip to Royal Oak had one aim: to "narrow the gender gap." LINK

Thousands of retirees and coal miners in West Virginia will lose their health benefits and union contracts after a bankruptcy judge ruled that Horizon Natural Resources can void the collective bargaining agreement it had in place. LINK

MoveOn and its concerts aren't coming to West Virginia, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson is. The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports that the Reinvest in America campaign and the Kanawha Valley Labor Council will co-sponsor a free all-day event Sept. 6 on the Charleston riverfront that features Willie Nelson, Judy Collins, Indigo Girls, and, among others, the inimitable Rev. Jesse Jackson. LINK

Paul Wilson of the Charleston Gazette writes about the intricacies of West Virginia's economy, Noting that it usually fluctuates less than the national economy and that "many of the losses in West Virginia -- particularly in coal and manufacturing -- would have happened regardless of the national recession." LINK

Former Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke toured Portland, Maine's port cargo facilities yesterday on Sen. Kerry's behalf, reports the AP. LINK

The Bangor News reports the unemployment taxes Maine assesses on corporations are going down -- "bucking the trend" nationally. As reporter Mal Leary points out, there is good and bad that comes from that. LINK

Perhaps they thought it was too "French": Maine transportation officials are dumping the use of the Metric system in the state and returning to "English" measurement units, reports the Portland Press Herald. The Note is convinced this will have some bearing on the presidential election, but how, we can't say. LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Cy Carpenter writes that Bush has not kept his word with rural Minnesota farmers, and that it could hurt the incumbent come election time. LINK

The Des Moines Register's editorial board thinks it's time we faced the(ir) facts: the tax cuts are not creating jobs. LINK

The lead headline of the Arizona Daily Star will speak to the super environmentally conscious Arizona voters: "Kerry, at Canyon, says he'd increase money for parks." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The Washington Post's Blaine Harden traveled north of the arctic circle and still found Alaskans who think Sen. Lisa Murkowski's biggest obstacle to re-election is her father's legacy. LINK

Floridians: prepare yourself for millions worth of GOP Senate ads: LINK

The Washington Post's Mary Fitzgerald wraps Barack Obama's day campaigning with Sen. Edwards. LINK

The first poll's out: uphill battle doesn't begin to describe the magnitude of Alan Keyes' challenge. LINK

The AP's Mike Robinson reports that Keyes "came out swinging" yesterday when he attacked his opponent Barack Obama's views on abortion calling them "the slaveholder's position." He says Obama's record on late term abortion violates the principle that all men are created equal "I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence," Keyes said. He said Obama "has broken and rejected those principles -- he has taken the slaveholder's position." LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Liam Ford and John Chase write that both Obama and Keyes are trying to paint their opponent as "outside the mainstream." LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Sen. Specter's campaign will not challenge the petition signatures handed in by Constitution Party candidate James Clymer. LINK

The politics of national security:

The New York Times' David Johnston and David Sanger report that though al Qaeda leaders are being killed or captured, new, lower-ranking members and recruits are stepping into their place -- revealing a deeper bench and more complex structure for the terrorist organization than had been previously thought, and throwing a crimp into President Bush's comments about the success of U.S. forces in killing or capturing al Qaeda leaders. LINK

The New York Times' Eric Lichtblau and Michael Luo report "federal security officers will take over the screening of all passengers on helicopter tours in New York City, after officials found that suspected Qaeda operatives in Pakistan had photographs, a brochure and other information about the tours." LINK

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times reports President Bush's Monday comments that the U.S. will continue to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program -- through other countries. Sanctions were not effective, Bush said. LINK

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg profiles Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is "dancing a delicate dance as chairwoman of hearings that are exposing conflicts among the White House, intelligence agencies and members of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks." LINK

Carl Hulse of the New York Times reports that congressional Democrats will be back in Washington on Tuesday to push the government's response to the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and gain some political advantage in the tug-of-war. Republicans in Congress call it an attempt to make up for a weak record on national security. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Ralph Nader, a candidate who takes local issues to the people, called for reforms to prevent the casting and counting snafus of Florida 2000 yesterday at a press conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

Standing between a podium and a smart looking step-n-repeat sign, Andrew A. Green of the Baltimore Sun reports the candidate called for a paper trail for the state's new electronic voting machines and asked, "Why are we spending billions for machines that can be hacked from the outside, crashed from the inside and make all kinds of errors, without a paper trail? . . . Why take the chance?"

In a press conference that resembled a speech, Nader also stumped for a patient's right to sue for medical malpractice. Nader-the-Reformer criticized Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for advocating tort reform, proposed harsher punishment for bad doctors, suggested requiring insurance companies to open their books to justify steep fees and give consumers records on erring doctors and hospitals. Gov. Ehrlich has called medical malpractice insurance costs the most pressing issue facing the state, reports the Baltimore Sun. LINK

Of how it's going, Nader said yesterday he still plans to be on 43 state ballots and warned Kerry about "dirty tricks," and the "Mini-Watergate" (question: which is cuter, the Mini-Watergate or the Baby Pool?).

Meanwhile, there was a doin' afoot in Pennsylvania, where in 2000 Nader drew 2.1 percent of the vote and yesterday where two lawsuits were filed against his campaign.

In Harrisburg, Democrats challenged him the validity of 45,000 nominating-petition signatures he filed early August. And in Philadelphia, dozens of petition circulators, many of them homeless, sued him for unpaid wages. Democrats in the state claim there was widespread fraud involved in putting him on the ballot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Democrats say there is evidence of "round robin" signing where every 10th entry featured the same handwriting, and further they say there were "numerous reports of Nader circulators' obscuring their candidate's name in an effort to get people to sign." LINK

Nader spokesguy Kevin Zeese says the campaign ran it's own batter of tests, throwing out 7,000 on their own before submitting the raw signatures.

And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the scoop too. LINK

Big picturing it, John M. R. Bull of the Allentown Morning Call writes "Democrats desperately want Nader off the ballot in this battleground state, fearing he'll siphon votes from Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, perhaps enough to throw the Keystone state to President Bush." LINK

The Manchester Union Leader's John DiStaso finds yet more GOP connections for Nader backers, this time working in New Hampshire to get the independent candidate on the state's ballot. LINK

The Jersey Journal Notes Ralph Nader supporters will find their candidate in Column C. LINK

Nader talks about the hazards of being tall and flying in the New York Times business section. LINK


The New York Times' Robert Pear reports the federal government will give $1 billion to hospitals who take care of undocumented immigrants -- as long as they ask their patients about their immigration status. Pear Notes the list of states who take care of the most illegal immigrants and who will benefit from the grants, including battleground states Arizona ($42 million) and Florida ($9 million). Opponents say complying with the request could cost some hospitals more than they get, and that the questions may deter immigrants from getting health care. LINK

Jerry Seper of the Washington Times ledes, "Millions of illegal aliens in the United States would be free from arrest and deportation, have access to tax-deferred savings accounts and Social Security credits, and get unrestricted travel to and from their home countries under President Bush's guest-worker program." Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson detailed the president's plan to provide "incentives" for the 8 million to 12 million illegal aliens to come "out of the shadows, " before a Senate panel yesterday. LINK

The New York Daily News reports Muslims and Arabs are "eager to vote" this year as the voting block gains influence. Leslie Casimir writes that in New York City, "A flurry of voter activity drives is underway in Muslim and Arab enclaves throughout the city. A patchwork of organizations is hitting the streets to galvanize Muslims into what they say could become a potent voting bloc." Zogby predicts civil liberties, U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be the issues that influence them most at the polls. LINK

"The centerpiece provision of the sweeping corporate tax cuts steaming through Congress would help only about 1.1 percent of the nation's 2.2 million corporations, leaving some of the most troubled domestic manufacturers with no benefit at all," report the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum. LINK

"The new analysis is fueling a quiet war between major, profitable companies that stand to gain from $63.3 billion in reduced manufacturing income taxes over the next 10 years and old-guard steel and automobile giants that already pay little or no tax under the current system. The steelmakers and auto giants instead want the government to pay as much as 10 percent of their burgeoning health care bills by granting billions of dollars in tax credits."

George Soros' son is getting into the business of donating for Democratic victory as well. The younger Soros has his sights set on electing a Democratic majority to the New York State Senate according to the New York Post's Fred Dicker. LINK

Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ford:

In Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol last evening, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld joined their former boss, former President Gerald Ford, on the 30th anniversary of his swearing-in and recalled that time in history and the challenges the nation faced, ABC News' Karen Travers reports.

Cheney and Rumsfeld were presented with the 2004 Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Cheney and Rumsfeld both served as Chief of Staff under Ford.

In accepting his medal, Vice President Cheney said that Ford "turned out to be a natural executive" and Noted that yesterday marked only the second time in history that an American president had seen the 30th anniversary of his swearing in.

Interestingly, Cheney began his remarks with the beginning of his campaign stump speech, saying that after the political gathering in Boston, he now had an opponent and then launched into his often-repeated line that John Edwards was picked for his good looks. Cheney then asked, "How do you think I got the job?"

The audience of friends and former colleagues appreciated the comment and laughed heartily.

Music makes (some of) the people come together:

We don't know about you, but we're wondering if the folks at America Coming Together are looking to branch out into music marketing after the election. America Coming Together has announced the release of a hip-hop remake of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody" (LINK; LINK), featuring, Missy Elliot, Jamie Foxx, Jadakiss, Faith Evans, Nate Dogg, among others, and Wyclef Jean on backup vocals.

The single, produced by Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, will be released on Aug. 16.

A full-length version of the CD hits the stores on Sept. 16, with bonus tracks including: "Give Peace A Chance" by Yoko Ono, "Talkin' Bout A Revolution" by Ben Jelen, "You're No Good," by Linda Rondstadt, "What's Goin' On?," by Marvin Gaye, "Stop The Fighting," by Ellie Lawson, "Hell To Pay," by Bonnie Raitt, "Freedom," by Jurassic 5 and "Change The World" by Babyface and Eric Clapton. It will also include a full-length DVD of the recording sessions.

All proceeds go to the "voter education and mobilization efforts" of America Coming Together (ACT)

Some conservative music-lovers are upset with the pairing of some of their favorite bands and the Democrats, writes the Boston Globe's Edgers. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —7:00 am: Polls open in Georgia —8:30 am: The New York City Host Committee, the New York Police Department, and the Fashion Industry Business Improvement District meet at the Parson's School of Design to discuss issues of concern to businesses during the Republican Convention, New York, NY —8:30 am: The Labor Department releases the 2nd quarter report on productivity and costs —8:30 am: America Coming Together hosts a Halliburton lemonade stand near the Seven Flags Event Center where Vice President Cheney visits later in the day, Clive, IA —8:30 am: President Bush announces Rep. Porter Goss as the new Director of the CIA in the Rose Garden, Washington, DC —9:00 am: The Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve, holds a closed meeting —9:00 am: Polls open in Colorado —10:00 am: House Democrats hold a closed party caucus at the Capitol —10:00 am U.S. Election Assistance Commission meets, DC —10:15 am: Laura Bush tours a female-owned small business and speaks about the economy at SEEK, Inc., Grafton, WI —11:40 pm: President Bush, with Sen. John McCain, speaks at a rally at the Pensacola Civic Center, Pensacola, FL —12:00 am: 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton testify before the House Armed Services Committee at an open hearing on the commission's final report, Washington, DC —12:00 pm: The United Forest Defense holds a news conference to discuss President Bush's forest policies and to release its new report at the National Press Club, Washington, DC —12:30 pm: The Department of Homeland Security discusses immigration policy issues, Washington, DC —12:45 pm: Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Ed Pastor, and Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson "truth squad" President Bush's record in Arizona at the Arizona Democratic Coordinated Campaign Headquarters, Phoenix, AZ

—12:55 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at the Seven Flags Event Center, Clive, IA

—1:30 pm: Laura Bush speaks tours Gruber's Quilt Shop and speaks about the economy, Waite Park, MN

—1:30 pm: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and other Democratic leaders hold a media availability to discuss recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission at the Capitol, Washington, DC

—2:00 pm: Sen. John Kerry meets with first responders and community leaders concerned about the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site at Ralph Cadwallader Middle School, Las Vegas, NV

—2:15 pm: The Federal Open Market Committee announces its decision on whether to raise interest rates

—3:00 pm: The House Armed Services Committee holds an open hearing on "Denying Terrorist Sanctuaries' Policy and Operational Implications for the U.S. Military," Washington, DC

—3:00 pm: President Bush, with Sen. McCain, participates in an "Ask President Bush" event at Okalossa-Walton College, Niceville, FL

—4:15 pm: Mrs. Bush speaks to female small business owners at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cedar Rapids, IA

—6:00 pm: Birthday bash for Rep. Charles Rangel at Tavern On The Green, NY

—6:45 pm: President Bush, with Sen. McCain, speaks at a rally at the Panama City Marina, Panama City, FL

—7:00 pm: Polls close in Georgia

—9:00 pm: Sen. Kerry attends a "Believe in America Rally" at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

—9:00 pm: Polls close in Colorado