ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

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

At 6:00 pm tonight, "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??

The Republican National Convention: The Washington Times 's. 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.'" LINK "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, Senator 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's 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

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