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There are huge things brewing today.

Most Notable: The near-simultaneous campaign events by the BC04 and KE04 camps in a certain Iowa hamlet.

The focus is on today's Center of the Universe — Davenport, Iowa, in which both presidential candidates will hold events before noon.

It is safe to say that political reporters and television executives are OBSESSED with the geography of this thing.

Davenport, Iowa's city slogan is "Working Together to Serve You."

Not as catchy as, say, "Moving America Forward," but still pretty good.

A good sign for John Kerry, perhaps: per the city Web site, "The colors used in the Flag for the City of Davenport are taken from the Flags of the United States, the State of Iowa, and France . . . " LINK

Per the Kerry campaign, regarding the county in which Davenport sits, "While Scott County has trended Democratic in recent years, there are a very high number of voters who are registered neither as Democrats or Republicans. As of June 1st, there were 24,365 registered Democrats, 26,857 registered Republicans, and 41,909 voters registered with neither party in Scott County."

According to the Des Moines Register , while "Iowans are accustomed to presidential candidates tripping over and bumping into each other in the dead of winter as they campaign for the leadoff nominating caucuses," when Bush and Kerry cross paths in Davenport today, it will be "the first time that two opposing, major party candidates will campaign at separate events in the same Iowa city, on the same day — at the same time." LINK

Per the KCCI Web site, "Nearly every police officer in Davenport will be on the job Wednesday morning when President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, visit the town just a quarter of a mile apart in dueling campaign appearances . . ." LINK

"Davenport Police Lt. Don Gano said you could throw a stone from one to the other."

"Thousands of political supporters are expected to attend the two events."

"Officials say security will be at an unprecedented level."

At its Davenport event, the Kerry-Edwards campaign will continue to focus on the economy, centered around an economic summit and the announcement of more than 200 CEOs endorsing John Kerry. Among some of the more Notable companies are the CEOs of Bank of America, Oracle, and the COO of Fox News Channel's own parent company, News Corp.

Check out the Wall Street Journal 's must-read curtain-raising story on these endorsements, especially the spooky last sentence. ("Several major figures in corporate America, also former Bush voters, confirmed their backing for Mr. Kerry in interviews, but wouldn't be named for personal and professional reasons.")

President Bush hits the stump in Davenport, to gin up a crowd expected to number 10,000 — showing in specific relief just how much each campaign is fighting for the small number of swing voters in a small number of states.

Then he heads to Minnesota to highlight a national program that would provide $40 billion over the next decade to "restore millions of acres of wetlands, protect sensitive habitats, conserve water and improve streams and waterways near farms and ranches."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the state-by-state unemployment picture today, which will surely creep its way into the stump speeches before network news is in makeup tonight.

Also today, the Illinois GOP finally tries to nail down a Republican challenger to Democrat Barack Obama. The AP reports that Illinois Republicans have narrowed their search to two: Alan Keyes, who ran twice unsuccessfully for president and Senate, and Andrea Grubb Barthwell, former deputy drug czar in the Bush Administration, and will interview both today. LINK

The Chicago Tribune tells us a little more about Keyes and Barthwell and Notes, "Still, the decision sets the stage for a historic Senate race in which for the first time in American history both major party candidates would be black. Both would be vying to become only the third elected black U.S. senator since the Reconstruction era." LINK

Keyes makes his first appearance today at a Chicago rally at 2:30 pm ET. At 3:00 pm ET, he meets with the Republican state central committee. By the time the evening news broadcasts hit the air, we should know whether he's won the sweepstakes.

Yesterday, Missouri voters got a lot done — having chosen a Democratic nominee for governor who is not their current chief executive; having given the OK to banning same-sex marriage; and having picked a Democrat to run for the seat of Rep. Dick Gephardt.

Missouri Gov. Bob Holden became the first governor in a decade to be defeated in his party's primary, AP reports. State Auditor Claire McCaskill defeated Holden by more than 55,000 votes (LINK) to claim the Democratic nomination, and will face Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt in November. LINK

Meanwhile, with 3933 of 3992 precincts reporting, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Missouri passed — as expected — with nearly 71 percent of the vote. LINK

Perhaps most important: Rock fans — particularly Springsteen fans — and "Nightline" fans everywhere — you've got a treat coming.

Tonight, ABC News' "Nightline" looks at the intersection of politics and popular culture, including an exclusive Ted Koppel interview with Bruce Springsteen — who will talk about his own political activism, the fall election, and the Vote For Change tour, put on this fall by Move On PAC and America Coming Together — about which we give you full details below.

Other artists will appear on the broadcast as well, including musicians Steve Earle, the Dixie Chicks' Martie Maguire, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Mike Mills of REM (on the tour roster) — as well as writers Kurt Anderson and Robert George, and music executives Russell Simmons and Danny Goldberg. Did we mention Ted Koppel's exclusive interview with Bruce Springsteen?

Tune in to "Nightline" on ABC News at 11:35 pm ET — check local listings.

And then there is the fabulous Rick Berke.

Reserve some cover space, Jason Binn.

Get ready for less room to write about Pete Peterson, Liz Smith.

Save a table at Babbo, Mario.

Richard Leland "Rick" Berke — Walt Whitman graduate and high school journalism icon — is moving to Gotham City in January, as the associate managing editor for news of the New York Times !! LINK

Whatever the opposite of "RATS!!" is, that's what we say.

Congratulations, Rick, and do you realize that in your new Manhattan apartment, you probably won't still have your own private elevator?

President Bush addresses a rally at LeClair in Davenport, Iowa at 12:20 pm ET, speaks about the Conservation Reserve Program in Le Sueur, Minn., at 3:45 pm ET, and speaks at a rally at the Southern Minnesota Construction Company Quarry in Mankato, Minn. at 6:00 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney tours and speaks at Walzcraft Industries in La Crosse, Wis. at 11:05 am ET, speaks about the economy at a BC'04 event at Bill Goat's Industries in Lee's Summit, Mo., at 1:50 pm ET, and speaks at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena in Golden, Colo., at 7:10 pm ET.

Senator Kerry attends an economic summit at the River Center in Davenport, Iowa at 11:00 am ET and attends a rally in Hannibal, Mo. at 7:00 pm ET.

Senator Edwards attends a rally at the North Shore Riverfront Park in Little Rock at 12:15 pm ET, tours a National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis at 4:45 pm ET, and attends a rally in Memphis at 6:00 pm ET.

The House Select Intelligence Committee holds an open hearing on the 9/11 Commission recommendations, Washington, D.C. at 9:00 am ET.

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04: Maybe you'll be out there on that road somewhere . . . in some bus or train, traveling along . . .

ABC News' Dan Harris reports that today's KE04 economic summit will include the endorsement of John Kerry by more than 200 CEOs (some Republicans among them).

Five of them will be there, including the CEOs of Bank of America and Oracle, as well as Peter Chernin, the COO of Fox News Corp, and former Bush supporter Owsley Brown, CEO of Brown Forman (maker of Jack Daniels).

Many of these corporate types have never endorsed a presidential candidate before, the campaign told Harris, but they like Kerry based on his plans to deal with deficits, the country's economic direction, and rising health care costs — and they say they're also concerned about the U.S.' reputation worldwide. Roger Altman will attend as well.

"Kerry partisans have labored hard for support from business executives who formerly backed Mr. Bush. They want to reassure moderate voters that Mr. Kerry isn't the liberal caricature that Mr. Bush's campaign would like to make him. But the Kerry camp has found business executives reluctant to endorse a Democrat publicly, especially against an incumbent Republican whose party controls Congress," Notes the Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes. LINK

The Los Angeles Times ' Michael Finnegan and James Rainey report that Kerry and Edwards "stepped up efforts Tuesday to cast themselves as more fiscally responsible than President Bush." LINK

Glen Johnson Notes in today's Boston Globe that "Kerry's postconvention bus tour has taken a road less traveled by Democrats, stopping in areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan that are either traditional GOP strongholds or communities the Republican president won in 2000." LINK

Appealing to voters in Dubuque, Iowa yesterday, Kerry focused on traditional domestic themes, marking a shift from the sharp attacks on Bush's handling of national security issues that Kerry launched at last week's DNC. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood has found the "bounce" voter and his name is Donn Maggart. "Married with three sons, Mr. Maggart worries about economic trouble ahead and the cost of health care. Earlier this year, he moved his 83-year-old mother from Florida to Nebraska, where his sister lives and assisted care is less expensive. When the convention began, he was inclined to think Mr. Kerry might do better on health care and other issues."

The Electras make a comeback?! Today's Boston Herald reports "Kerry played bass for the Electras when he was a student at St. Paul's in Concord in the early 1960s. The band played a few gigs, made a local album and went their separate ways. But with Kerry running for president, interest in that original record has skyrocketed. " LINK

"So band members Jack Radcliffe, Larry Rand, John Prouty, Peter Lang and Andy Gagarin recently got together to discuss rereleasing their album on CD."

Wendy's? or Nikola's? Page Six makes trouble: LINK

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

The Washington Post 's Alan Cooperman wraps President Bush's direct appeal to Catholic voters at the annual convention of the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday. Bush promised he would promote their values on abortion, vouchers for religious schools, and a ban on same-sex marriage. LINK

Cooperman Notes "During the 2000 election, the nation's 66 million Catholics narrowly favored Vice President Al Gore over Bush, 49 percent to 47 percent. Recent polls indicate that Catholics, overall, are again leaning Democratic. But Bush appears to be making inroads, particularly among the most fervent churchgoers."

The Los Angeles Times ' Peter Wallsten writes that Bush was "warmly embraced" by the group. LINK

The New York Times ' Elisabeth Bumiller Notes that the president "drew standing ovations by vigorously promoting his opposition to gay marriage and late-term abortion, in accord with the official position of the church." LINK

The Chicago Tribune 's Jeff Zeleny on the president's visit to Dallas. LINK

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign released its second ad in less than a week: a positive spot titled "Together," an ad that shifts the campaign's focus away from hammering Senator John Kerry to a message of "optimism and hope."

The ad, which does not mention Senator Kerry, is a flashback to the original advertising the BC04 campaign ran in early March, which focused on the president's leadership and optimism for the country.

AP 's Liz Sidoti reports that the latest round of BC04 ads will air in "19 battleground states for at least two weeks and on national cable networks for the month. They also will air on local cable channels in specific media markets in at least two states — New Mexico and Nevada." LINK

The Washington Post 's Howard Kurtz Notes that the new BC04 ad is "the second straight to take a softer approach to the terrorism issue without criticizing Kerry — and without offering specifics." LINK

Described by St. Paul's Pioneer Press as "a must-win swing district," Bush holds a rally near Mankato, Minn., today. "It's an article of Republican faith that for Bush to win Minnesota, he must carry that rich farm country across the southern part of the state," writes the Pioneer Press. LINK

The Washington Times ' Bill Sammon writes up Matt Dowd's comments Tuesday that BC04 expects little or no bounce out of its convention. LINK

The Houston Chronicle reports that "Halliburton has agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $7.5 million to settle a long-running investigation into a change in accounting procedures that was not disclosed to investors in 1998 and much of 1999." LINK

The AP 's James Jefferson writes up Vice President Cheney's town hall meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Noting that he attributed high gas prices to the Democratic ticket and "their opposition to the Bush administration's energy policies." LINK

Vice President Cheney starts the day in La Crosse, Wis., with a visit to WalzCraft Industries, a custom cabinet manufacturer, and then it's quickly off to Lee's Summit, Missouri for a stop at Billy Goat Industries, a manufacturer of heavy lawn care equipment.

At WalzCraft and Billy Goat Industries, the Vice President will tour the facilities, deliver remarks and take questions from the audience, which will include employees, their families and Bush-Cheney '04 supporters.

The Vice President will emphasize the economy in his remarks in Wisconsin and Missouri but will also talk about the war on terror.

Cheney finishes the day with a campaign rally in Golden, Colorado, home of Coors, where he will be joined by rival Senate candidates Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer.

The La Crosse Tribune previews the Vice President's visit. LINK

First Lady Laura Bush doesn't take the bait over Teresa Heinz Kerry's recent comments on the stump, telling Bill O'Reilly, "It's not easy to be heckled. You know, no one likes that. And so I, I can understand how her reactions would be like they were." LINK

She took the same tack this morning on CBS' "Early Show," and also weighed in on the terror warnings and the recent behavior of Heinz Kerry, Dick Cheney and Jenna Bush.

Asked for her reaction to Senator John Kerry's challenge to her husband's credibility, Mrs. Bush said everyone looked at the same intelligence and that "Kerry voted to use force against Saddam Hussein if necessary … Of course, I don't think John Kerry is right."

Mrs. Bush said she knows that the terror alerts are "anxiety-producing" especially for people in big cities. She said she recently visited Citicorp's building in New York "to let everyone know who works there that it's safe."

Without being asked, Mrs. Bush brought up her daughter Jenna's recent antics, sticking out her tongue at the press. Mrs. Bush said she was away hiking at the time, and Jenna was surprised that her mother had not heard about the incident. A smiling Mrs. Bush said she told her daughter she might want to "work on your issues of impulsiveness."

On Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" incident, Mrs. Bush said, "Well, I want to say again, it's hard. It's hard when your husband is running for president." It is hard to hear your husband "scrutinized" and to "hear the criticisms," she said, adding: "I think that's really what the fact of the matter is in what she said."

Asked if it was a double standard that Vice President Cheney's vulgar comment to Senator Leahy had received less attention than Heinz Kerry's comment, Mrs. Bush smartly said, "Maybe it's a double standard. But I also think if there is footage of it, you know that's what happens."

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

Filling the void left by the Kerry campaign's decision to go dark in August, the Media Fund has shelled out $2.5 million for ads in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and New Mexico. The rotation will include five humorous spots — several of which were produced and initially broadcast by — and will focus on corporate responsibility, Iraq, Halliburton, and the middle class cash crunch.

The Media Fund's buy, combined with the Democratic National Committee's buy, more than exceeds the gross ratings points purchased by the Bush campaign in markets like Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, Nevada and Columbus. LINK

USA Today 's Mark Memmott writes about the combination of ads by the DNC and outside groups matching up against the Bush-Cheney campaign. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Jeanne Cummings wraps up the day in dueling ads.

Truth Squad? The Boston Globe 's Vascellero looks at the new organized groups of Democrats ready to attack the president in places he visits. LINK

The New York Times ' Elisabeth Rosenthal highlights the Republican strongholds in West Virginia and surrounding states which are "keeping President Bush even in the polls with his challenger John Kerry, and that may propel him into a second term." LINK

The Washington Times ' Lakely Notes the Republican pounce on the lack of Kerry/Edwards bounce. LINK

Want to target viewers on cable? Read page B1 of the Wall Street Journal for a how-to.

Weird political story of the day: the New York Daily News talks to a hair doctor who claims to have been able to predict presidential election outcomes — and even he says this race is too close to call. "'The problem is they've both got a really good head of hair,' he said." LINK

Music Makes (Some of) the People Come Together:

The smart and hip folks at Move On PAC and America Coming Together (ACT) have come up with a grand scheme for (1) reaching lots and lots of young voters, (2) raising lots and lots of $$$, and (3) filling the void left by the cancelled Lollapalooza tour.

Vote For Change, a concert series of epic proportions, is officially out from under wraps. In no uncertain terms, some of the biggest bands and most influential musicians in modern American music — we're talking Springsteen, we're talking Vedder, we're talking Raitt — will participate. On the heels of the Republican National Convention, they will embark on an ambitious battleground tour, performing in at least 34 shows, in 28 cities, in nine states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Carolina. Concerts begin Oct. 1 and run over the course of eight to 10 days, in venues varying in size from large indoor arenas to smaller "intimate" theaters.

Tickets go on sale (to the public) through Ticketmaster on Aug. 21.

The roster of more than 20 artists — talent spanning generations, geography and musical genre — will appear on separate bills on the same night in selected cities. While some of the artists' music may inspire the listener to go home and write a letter to your long lost high school love rather than to start a revolution — Move On has managed to line-up an enviable host of talent without a Millie Vanilli in the bunch.

Preliminarily, the tickets may look something like this:

— Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band/REM/Bright Eyes/John Fogerty — Dixie Chicks/ James Taylor — Pearl Jam/Death Cab for Cutie — Dave Matthews Band/Ben Harper/Jurassic 5/My Morning Jacket — Bonnie Raitt/Jackson Browne/Keb Mo — John Mellencamp/Babyface

The Note has yet to figure out the Mellencamp/Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds pairing — but the groovin' Matthews/Harper/J-5/MMJ ticket makes such perfect sense — it has to trust.

The tour is being organized by MoveOn's political action committee, MoveOn PAC LINK with all funds fueling the voter education and mobilization efforts of ACT. LINK

While it's no secret the tour is ultimately an effort to oust George W. Bush — the illusion is apparently going to be maintained that it is not a pro-Kerry jihad. Meaning, bands like Pearl Jam won't have to do as much backpedaling from their support for Ralph Nader's presidential candidacy in 2000.

No word yet on the Club For Growth's Ted Nugent tour.

In sum: if you're a Neil Young fan, check out My Morning Jacket. If you are Eddie Vedder — and you are reading these words — you should call Sarah Leonard as she's such a nice girl and says she Can't Find A Better Man. And if you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, tune in to "Nightline" tonight . . .

And the political media promises not to let our artistic sensibilities and love of "Candy's Room" impact our coverage of the Bush-Kerry race.

And we also promise to stop panting and figure out what political impact all this might have.

The politics of national security:

The New York Times ' Adam Nagourney highlights "the complications that face Mr. Kerry as he seeks to run a fall campaign that some Democrats say could be regularly interrupted by terror alerts." LINK

" … Mr. Kerry pointedly avoided saying Mr. Bush might be playing politics with terror. Democrats said he was concerned about being seen as trying to turn a national tragedy to his political gain, particularly if a warning turned out to be valid. His hesitancy to question the timing of the warnings, a line of attack that Democrats said could undercut Mr. Bush's terrorism record and his credibility, suggests how constrained Democrats are in criticizing Mr. Bush's handling of what is emerging as a central issue of his presidency."

"Polls show that Mr. Bush's handling of terrorism remains his only clear advantage over Mr. Kerry in a razor-close race, and the president would not be either human or the canny politician he has proved himself to be in the past if he did not do all he could to remind the public of that strong suit — and to reinforce it," writes the New York Times ' Todd Purdum. LINK

" … [But] Mr. Bush must also take pains not to be seen as letting the political tail wag the terrorism dog. Word that much of the newly discovered intelligence that prompted the latest alert was years old led even some law enforcement officials to wonder why Mr. Ridge had raised the threat level just now."

Ron Fournier wrote brilliantly on all this for the AP. LINK

The economy:

Consumer confidence is holding steady near its high for the year — well up from its level fewer than two months ago, according to the new ABC News/Money magazine Consumer Comfort Index. According to ABC News' Polling Unit, the index stands at -6 on its scale of +100 to -100, and its highest since early February.

The federal government this past week reported slower GDP growth in the second quarter and a sharp drop in consumer spending in June, comporting with lower confidence at that time. As Noted, confidence since has advanced sharply. The survey is based on Americans' perceptions of their personal finances, the buying climate, and the national economy.

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

The New York Times ' David Halbfinger wraps Senator Kerry's impromptu stop in Cuba City, Wis., a city which "has never actually seen a president in the flesh, and the flash of Mr. Bush that a few glimpsed left even Republicans here nursing a grudge." LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reviews Kerry's stop yesterday in Wisconsin, where he "placed the nation's economy and the middle class back on center stage of his presidential campaign." LINK

Noelle Straub of the Boston Herald writes that Senator Kerry's speech in Wisconsin yesterday "left some in the audience questioning how he could pay for all his proposals and still balance the budget." LINK

The front page news in the Columbus Dispatch is that Techneglass is "putting 1,100 out of work" in Columbus and Perrysburg, Ohio, and Pittston, Pa. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Show me the vote!: Wall-to-wall coverage of the Show-Me State's primary.

Matt Franck reports that Missouri followed in the footsteps of Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Nevada when voters resoundingly passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage yesterday by a more than 2-to-1 margin. The Missouri Constitution will now state that "to be valid and recognized in this state a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.'' LINK

"People don't want to see in Missouri what happened in Massachusetts," says Vicky Hartzler, spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri. LINK

Virginia Young reports on Claire McCaskill's defeat of Gov. Bob Holden for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. McCaskill ousted Holden with a 5-percent margin. McCaskill and Holden plan to have a private unity breakfast this morning in the St. Louis area. Much of McCaskill's appeal was her chance of holding her own against Secretary of State Matt Blunt in November. Conventional Wisdom was that McCaskill would make a more competitive opponent against Blunt. LINK

The Kansas City Star 's Kit Wagar reports, "Holden's defeat marks the first time in state history that a sitting governor was ousted by a challenger within his own party. Speaking to supporters at a St. Louis union hall, Holden urged Democrats to put the often bitter primary campaign behind them." LINK

William Lhotka and Jo Mannies report that there was great turnout and "few glitches" for voters, though Senator Kit Bond "went to vote at his polling place of more than 40 years, but officials there couldn't find his name on the list of eligible voters." LINK

Kim Bell reports that voters knocked down a proposal to allow riverboat gambling in one part of the state. LINK

Kansas City Star : LINK

Jo Mannies reports that Russ Carnahan, son of former Senator Jean Carnahan and the late Gov. Mel Carnahan, will likely be the Democratic nominee in the race to succeed Rep. Dick Gephardt. Mannies Notes Carnahan entered the contest with the most name recognition and cash — and he got a last minute boost from abortion-rights groups and a number of area African-American officials that endorsed him and made a last minute push on his behalf. LINK

Though the loss must be heartbreaking for newcomer Jeff Smith — who lost by a small margin — The Note says Chin Up! For an inexperienced candidate you ran an impressive, media savvy, grassroots effort — to have been named one of Howard Dean's dozen and harnessed the power of Internet campaigning so handily — please know that these skills will only serve you well whether you continue in politics or simply use the whole thing to earn street cred with freshmen in your Poli Sci 101 at Washington University.

ABC News Vote 2004: battleground states:

The Albuquerque Journal writes that the Kerry-Edwards visit to the state this weekend "is unusual": the state's "five electoral votes are small potatoes" and "the Kerry-Edwards campaign will be passing up an opportunity for a rally in big-city Albuquerque for events in smaller towns." LINK

The Arizona Republic finds Senator Kerry received no bump in the state after the convention, but he still trails President Bush by only 3 points in the key battleground state. LINK

The Tampa Tribune asks its readers to Note that the "Bush administration continues to dismantle — albeit quietly — resource protections even during the re-election campaign." LINK

November's election could bring eight changes to the Florida Constitution. LINK

Kerry's campaign says his economic plan would bring 47,000 jobs to New Hampshire, the AP reports. LINK

New Hampshire's hospitals are crying foul over a change in what the state will pay for Medicaid services at their facilities. LINK

Budget cuts in New Hampshire have mental health advocates worried, the AP reports. LINK

Does he or doesn't he? The Charleston Gazette reports West Virginia voters are confused about where Senator Kerry stands on the issue of mountaintop coal removal. Listeners to a Sunday National Public Radio show were told Kerry opposes such mining, but then his campaign refused to say if that is true. LINK

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge visits a first responder training center in West Virginia today, but the Charleston Gazette gives most of its ink to Senator Robert Byrd and his needling of the Bush Administration's "opposition . . . to increasing funding to train first responders and to buy needed equipment for them." LINK

The Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette ed board picks up where Howard Dean left off, asking, "Would the White House try to gain the same advantage by raising fears of an impending massacre?" The editorial then Notes, "Just three months remain until the election. We wonder how many more alarm bells will be rung." LINK

Reaction to budget cuts in West Virginia's welfare payouts to families has been "muted," reports the Charleston Gazette. LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer takes a cautious tone in its editorial on homeland security, simply warning the "White House to resist any temptation to manipulate the release of attention-grabbing security information for political benefit." LINK

The keys to stopping outsourcing of manufacturing jobs are "an educated workforce and a government willing to help speed the regulatory process or help businesses in other ways," a panel in Michigan's Traverse City told key auto executives yesterday. But it all comes back to lawmakers at the federal level, who "need to act to address the uncompetitiveness of this region." LINK

The U.S. auto industry had a good July, reports the Detroit Free Press — not as "boffo" a month as Asian automakers had, but still "good." LINK

Detroit is anxiously awaiting the details — to be released at 1:00 pm ET today — of the ACT/MoveOn concert that will be held in the city this fall. LINK

Can you feel the optimism in Arkansas? "July was a good month for the state government's tax collections," Arkansas's Democrat-Gazette writes, reporting that July's state revenue hit $331.6 million. LINK

Things are less upbeat in Colorado, where the stock of Qwest Communications plunged 20 percent yesterday as the Denver telco reported a much larger than expected $776 million loss for its second quarter. LINK

"Crime in Denver is up, with violent incidents posting a double-digit percentage increase and murders on pace to approach a decades-old unwanted record," the Denver Post reports. LINK

Colorado state prosecutors are investigating possible fraud involving suspicious voter registration forms filed in at least three metro Denver counties. LINK

And absentee ballots are being looked into, too. LINK

The Northwest Arkansas Times looks at the cost of printing ballots. One company says it would charge $1,900 to print 10,000 ballots . . . but beware, that doesn't even include the cost of the paper. LINK

Republican National Convention:

"The state's Temporary Commission on Lobbying signaled on Tuesday that any gifts given to delegates or other officials attending the Republican National Convention could come under scrutiny," reports the New York Times ' Al Baker. LINK

The New York Times ' Michael Slackman looks at some of the hardships delegates attending the RNC will endure. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

Describing Miami-Dade's election department as ''the laughingstock of the nation,'' Miami-Dade Commission Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler demands that election problems be addressed quickly, reports the Miami Herald . LINK

Voters in Nevada's Clark County — home of Las Vegas — will be required this year to show ID when they enter the polls, says the AP. LINK

And that's a move long overdue, opines the ed board of the Las Vegas Review Journal. LINK

And just in time as well. The AP also reports that the Nevada Secretary of State is investigating after workers realized dozens of voter registration forms were all completed with the same handwriting. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The Chicago Tribune tells us a little more about Keyes and Barthwell and Notes, "Still, the decision sets the stage for a historic Senate race in which for the first time in American history both major party candidates would be black. Both would be vying to become only the third elected black U.S. senator since the Reconstruction era." LINK

Grubb Barthwell vs. Keyes: LINK

Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate candidates Republican incumbent Arlen Specter and Democratic challenger Joe Hoeffel will debate once in Pittsburgh and once in Philadelphia. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Maria Recio of Knight Ridder reports petition gatherers who want to put Ralph Nader on the West Virginia ballot are getting a bad reaction when they station themselves outside fund-raisers for Senator John Kerry. "One guy said he wanted to shoot me in the head," Gary Thompson, "who came away with only four or five signatures to get Nader on the ballot by Monday's state deadline." At a $1 per signature Thompson finds the enterprise much more lucrative, and safe — when he circulates at Republican events. "People would say, 'Hey, Nader, yeah, I'll sign,'" LINK

Ralph Nader rails against corporate involvement in the Democratic National Convention in an opinion piece in the Pasadena Star News: "Historically, conventions were newsworthy because there was a struggle over who would receive the nomination and what the parties would stand for in their platforms. Today there is a coronation for the nominee and inquiries about what would be on the menus of the 250 parties that corporations and their smooth-tongued lobbyists were throwing for their favorably positioned congressional bigwigs." LINK

Jon Stevens of the Observer-Reporter writes, "Two high-ranking Pennsylvania Democrats are preparing to challenge the petitions submitted Monday by presidential candidate Ralph Nader. " Pennsylvania House Minority Whip Mike Veon says, "We are having volunteers comb through the signatures to make sure the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed. But let's be clear about this. Our efforts this week have nothing to do with Ralph Nader, rather they are being done to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election when Mr. Nader's campaign drew enough votes from Al Gore to enable George W. Bush to win the election. We can't let that happen again." LINK

The Philadelphia Daily Inquirer reports Ralph Nader filed about 45,000 signatures yesterday in his bid to qualify as an independent candidate for president in Pennsylvania. Party volunteers and lawyers, and state House leadership, have until August 9 to "scrub the signatures for irregularities." With 21 electoral college votes, Pennsylvania is one of the most important battleground states in the nation. "We're ready to go to war," said Mike Manzo, chief of staff to House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese. LINK

Ralph Nader's campaign also submitted signatures in Massachusetts yesterday — "well over the 10,000 valid signatures required by Massachusetts," a campaign release states. The busy ballot access season is upon us. As the campaign counts it: "Nader met the deadlines of Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and West Virginia in the last week. The Nader-Camejo campaign has filed signatures in fourteen states. In addition, the Reform Party includes the potential for seven state ballot lines." LINK


James O'Toole of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Notes a National Annenberg Election Survey conducted last month, finds audiences for the "conservative broadcaster" Rush Limbaugh and the "liberal filmmaker" Michael Moore were roughly the same size. LINK

John Ramsey, the father of JonBenet Ramsey, on Tuesday lost his bid to become the Republican nominee for a state legislative seat in Michigan, Denver's Rocky Mountain News reports. LINK

The Hill claims "Rev. Sun Myung Moon is undertaking an ambitious and diffuse campaign to influence members of Congress, their top foreign-policy staffs and United Nations ambassadors with an ongoing series of seminars and junkets." LINK

Hope you kept the giveaways: The Hill Notes that many items from the Democratic convention are "fetching more than $50" this week on eBay. LINK


Yes, the Democratic convention is over, and so is the fab gavel-to-gavel coverage of all the excitement — for now. ABC News NOW is back with gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Republican convention beginning in just 26 days — Aug. 30, in New York.

But if you think NOW has gone dark in between, you are just wrong, wrong, wrong. And if you missed it during the Boston convention, you can still see it.

And, as we keep telling you — you will see more live coverage of Bush and Kerry events on NOW than anywhere else!!!

More ABC affiliates are signing up to carry it all the time. Check and see where it's on in your area: LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): — 9:00 am: The House Select Intelligence Committee holds an open hearing on the 9/11 Commission recommendations, Washington, D.C. — 9:30 am: The George Washington University Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, (IPDI) holds a news conference to discuss a new research report that provides a post-mortem on the election and online politics at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 10:00 am: The Commerce Department releases the report on factory orders for June — 10:00 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with the ambassador-designate of Ghana, Washington, D.C. — 11:00 am: Senator John Kerry attends an economic summit at the River Center, Davenport, Iowa — 11:05 am: Vice President Cheney tours and speaks at Walzcraft Industries, La Crosse, Wis. — 12:15 pm: Senator John Edwards attends a rally at North Shore Riverfront Park, Little Rock, Ark. — 12:20 am: President Bush speaks at a rally at LeClair Park in Davenport, Iowa — 12:30 pm: House Speaker Dennis Hastert speaks at a National Press Club luncheon about his new book, Washington, D.C. — 1:50 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks about the economy at a BC'04 event at Billy Goat Industries, Lee's Summit, Mo. — 2:00 pm: Former Senator Gary Hart (D-Colo.) discusses "The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the 21st Century" at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 3:45 pm: President Bush speaks about the Conservation Reserve Program at the Katzenmeyer Family Farm, Le Sueur, Minn. — 4:00 pm: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld holds an honor cordon to welcome Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili at the Pentagon — 4:45 pm: Senator Edwards tours a National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tenn. — 4:50 pm: President Bush speaks about the Conservation Reserve Program, Mankato, Minn. — 6:00 pm: Senator Edwards attends a rally on Beale Street, Memphis, Tenn. — 6:00 pm: President Bush speaks at a rally at the Southern Minnesota Construction Company Quarry, Mankato, Minn. — 7:00 pm: Senator Kerry attends a rally in Hannibal, Mo. — 7:10 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena, Golden, Colo.