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Evening Newscasts Wrap

27 days until the Republican convention 91 days until election day

NEWS SUMMARY In political journalism, it is so easy to get caught up in the today of the daily schedule, the polling, and the debate over terror alerts.

But the reason The Note costs so much is because we are always here to remind you to think longer term and about the big picture.

So don't forget to consider:

1. Just how well-written and well-delivered will George W. Bush's acceptance speech be? (His first one in 2000 was masterful on both scores.)

2. When and how will the president accept or reject the proposed schedule of the Commission on Presidential Debates?

3. Where will Ralph Nader actually get on the ballot?

4. Will there (n)ever be a serious presidential TV ad campaign war in California, home to one in every seven Americans?

5. Will the president ever have a sustained and well-documented horserace poll lead of 3 points or more before election day?

6. Who will be the best speaker at the Al Smith Dinner?

7. Will Senate candidate Mel Martinez (and his Hispanic-vote-drawing capacity) be on the ballot in Florida in November?

8. Can Bruce Springsteen, Howard Stern, and Don Imus actually move votes?

9. How many more supermarket tabloid/Drudge/Fox conveyor belt hits on John Kerry will there be before election day, and how many of those will move to the mainstream media?

10. Will post-election analysis rate both the Kerry campaign and its candidate as technically competent, or not?

As for that daily schedule …

President Bush signs H.R. 4759, the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the Rose Garden at 9:30 am ET, speaks at a Victory 2004 Reception at a private residence in Dallas at 1:40 pm ET, and speaks to the 122nd Annual Knights of Columbus Convention at the Hyatt Regency Dallas at 3:50 pm ET. He overnights at his Crawford ranch.

Senator Kerry attends a town hall meeting at the Edwards Pavilion & Sports Complex at Teflar Park in Beloit, Wis. at 1:30 pm ET and attends a rally at the Town Clock Center in Dubuque, Iowa at 7:15 pm ET. The president plans to make deficit reduction a big issue today.

He overnights in Davenport, Iowa.

Vice President Cheney hosts a town hall meeting at Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs, Ark. at 10:45 am ET and speaks at a BC'04 rally at the Ft. Smith Convention Center in Ft. Smith, Ark. at 1:45 pm ET. Then he speaks at a reception for congressional candidate Larry Diedrich at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls, S.D. at 7:35 pm ET.

Senator Edwards attends a rally at 10:00 am in Baton Rouge, another at 3:00 pm ET in Alexandria, and a family picnic in Shreveport, La. at 7:50 pm ET. He overnights in North Little Rock, Ark.

Real voters are voting in Missouri today — Notably picking a Democratic gubernatorial nominee and voting on gay marriage.

The Commerce Department reported this morning that consumer spending fell by 0.7 percent in June — the biggest drop since September 2001. Personal income rose just 0.2 percent, down from the 0.6 percent gain in May.

These numbers are arguably somewhat grim for the administration, at least temporarily.

Says Reuters: "Coupled with inflation and taxes, the meager income gain in June left consumers no better off than they had been a month earlier."

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