ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

President Bush signs the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005 at the White House at 9:55 am ET, participates in an "Ask President Bush" event at the Aladdin Shrine Center in Columbus, Ohio at 1:00 pm ET, and speaks at a rally at the Wendler Arena in Saginaw, Mich., at 6:00 pm ET.

In Ohio, aides say the president will again voice support for letting workers who log more than 40 hours in a week take time off later. Unions say that's an opening for employers to avoid paying premium overtime in cash.

The Labor Department reports that new jobless claimed dropped to 336,000 for the week ending July 31 — the lowest since the beginning of July and a little better than expected, AP Notes. The number of workers who still get unemployment checks dropped 35,000 to 2.91 million for the week ending July 24. Job growth numbers, however, are still trudging along slowly, analysts say. Today at 10:30 am ET, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton joins former President of the National Partnership for Women and Families Judith Lichtman for a conference call to talk about President Bush's new flex time proposal. Expect to hear the sentence "The current Bush proposal is a warmed-over version of a proposal that the conservative House leadership could not even bring up for a vote this year because of opposition from moderate House Republicans" more than once.

Senator Kerry speaks at the UNITY 2004 Journalists of Color Conference in Washington, D.C. at 9:00 am ET. He then flies to St. Louis, Senator Edwards joins him for a 1:30 pm ET rally at Union Station. The two Senators attend a second rally at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson at 6:25 pm ET.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign reunites Kerry coming from the North and Edwards from the South to get on the train in St. Louis. Their message of the day: the troops, terrorism, and restructuring the military.

The outline: expanding active-duty forces, doubling the size of the Special Forces, invest in technology, integrate the National Guard into homeland security plans, and work with military families and veterans.

Then the duo do their own version of the Whistle-Stop Express and head along the tracks for an 1,800-mile trip with stops in Missouri, Colorado, and New Mexico, before ending up in Arizona.

Senator Edwards remains on the tour until Aug. 8.

And when that train comes, we'll get on board . . .

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney v. Kerry-Edwards: Today, it's Meet Me in St. Louis.

The good people of the St. Louis-Post Dispatch report that Senator John Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, will be in St. Louis today after traveling through opposite ends of the state. Kerry campaigned in No Mo late Wednesday, with a rally in Hannibal. Edwards heads up from a night in Cape Girardeau — or to locals, "Cape." The two headline a rally in Union Station before traveling by train to the state's capital, Jefferson City — or to locals, "Jeff." LINK

Yesterday, it was Rumble in Davenport.

The New York Times ' David Halbfinger and Elisabeth Bumiller wrap the dueling campaign events of President Bush and Senator Kerry, which "gave humid Davenport the feel of a crisp day in late October." LINK

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