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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."

On Friday, we'll look to the unemployment numbers for July. Later this month, we expect to a see a statewide breakdown of personal income. The biggest pre-election number: unemployment figures for September, which are out in early October, and the first estimate of the third quarter's gross domestic product, which is out on October 29. Not to mention the monthly inflation figures.


The ABC News/ Washington Post poll released yesterday showed Senator Kerry getting just a slight bump in support — 4 points in a head-to-head matchup with President Bush (who lost 4 points): 50 percent for Kerry, 44 percent for Bush, and 2 percent for Nader.

ABC News' ace Polling Director Gary Langer Notes that Kerry also gained between 5 and 8 points among registered voters on issues — with 52 percent saying Kerry is better equipped to be commander in chief, and 44 percent saying the same of President Bush.

Langer reports that the "net shift of eight points is about half the average, 15 points, for challengers running against incumbents in elections since 1968 (ranging from +30 for Bill Clinton in 1992 to -3 for George McGovern in 1972). The average bounce for all candidates is 12 points."

And Langer goes on to Note: "Perhaps most critically, Kerry solidified more of his support. He sharply boosted the level of enthusiasm among his supporters; made some progress on being more than "not Bush" (but needs more); and produced a solid increase in his "strong" support, up 13 points to 85 percent, now on par with Bush." LINK

The Washington Post 's Dan Balz teams with the Post 's Polling Director, Richard Morin, for their analysis. They Note that "According to the Post -ABC survey, Kerry has regained much of the ground he had lost to Bush on a broad range of issues immediately before the convention. The Democrat reclaimed the advantage over Bush as the candidate best able to deal with the economy, transforming a one-point deficit into an 11-point lead on this key voting issue." LINK

The Washington Post 's sage John Harris observes "Consistently, polls have shown a majority of the public believes that the president has been attentive and steadfast on this issue" of terrorism, with Democrats preferring to move the debate toward domestic issues like the economy and education. He Notes that "As yet, however, there is not evidence that Bush's traditional advantage on national security has been undermined in lasting ways. In mid-June — a time when Bush was being barraged with negative news from Iraq — the number on 'handling terrorism' was even. A few weeks later, Bush was back to a nine-point lead." LINK

The New York Times ' Adam Nagourney manages to use the word "gyrations" in a sentence about the tight electorate, and for that we are eternally grateful. "Pollsters said such little movement after the extravaganza of a convention and a vice-presidential selection underlined how tight and frozen the contest was, and suggested an electorate that had largely made up its mind and was resistant to the kind of gyrations typical in most presidential campaigns. Some pollsters said that in this environment, slight shifts in voter sentiment that could prove significant on Election Day might not be picked up in national polls. The pollsters also said voter opinions of Mr. Kerry's qualifications had improved markedly." LINK

"Mr. Kerry's pollster, Mark Mellman, pointed to an ABC News/ Washington Post poll, a CBS News poll, and a CNN/ USA Today /Gallup poll, which all showed that Americans' views of Mr. Kerry had improved after a convention that had sought to build up his security and foreign policy credentials. The Gallup Poll found that an equal number of Americans — 48 percent — said they trusted Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry to 'handle the responsibilities of commander in chief of the military.' Before the convention, Mr. Bush led Mr. Kerry on that question 51 percent to 43 percent."

USA Today 's cover story has Susan Page running through different bump/bounce theories like an old episode of "Columbo." LINK

Will Lester's AP story on the varying results of recent horserace polls indicate why The Note advises readers not to get in a tizzy every time one comes out. Bottom line: it's a close race. Enough said. LINK

The politics of national security: The Washington Post 's Dan Eggen and Dana Priest report that the al Qaeda surveillance that spurred the latest terror warnings about the targeting of financial institutions occurred prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and intelligence and law enforcement officials do not know for certain whether or not the surveillance has continued. However, one piece of data on a building appears to have been updated as recently as January, 2004, based on the materials seized in Pakistan. LINK

The New York Times ' Douglas Jehl and David Johnston report the same — that according to intelligence and law enforcement officials, "much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old." LINK

The Washington Post 's Mike Allen and Walter Pincus look at President Bush's public support yesterday for creating a National Director of Intelligence and a National Counter Terrorism Center — with the NID office not in the Cabinet. The duo wrap Senator John Kerry's "inadequate" criticism and concerns from members of the 9/11 commission that the new intelligence czar not be given just coordinating authority, but actual authority over budgets and decisions. LINK

The New York Times ' Elisabeth Bumiller Notes "White House officials left vague the authority that the new [intelligence] director would wield over personnel and spending, raising doubts among some experts about the real power of the new position." LINK

The Boston Globe 's Anne Kornblut and Bryan Bender Note the political in-fighting that will likely happen in response to President Bush's proposal yesterday. "Congress is split over how to proceed: While some members have interrupted their recess to hold hearings on the panel's report, including the House Government Reform Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which have scheduled reviews today, others were quick to charge Kerry with politicizing the issue." LINK

Glen Johnson, while writing up yesterday's back-and-forths for the Boston Globe , gives us a sentence we've been waiting for: "The comments highlighted a clear difference the two contenders are offering the nation as they battle for the support of a small corps of undecided voters." LINK

Jackie Calmes and Jacob Schlesinger in the Wall Street Journal Note how central the GWOT is to President Bush's re-election chances — another way of saying: every day the issue is topic A is full of promise and peril for the president.

" 'One of the big challenges for the Bush administration is to lay out how the war on terror is broader than the war in Iraq,' says Republican pollster David Winston."

"Another Republican strategist, who advises the Bush campaign, went further, calling the war on terror 'the key' to Mr. Bush's re-election: 'To the extent that people think it's Iraq only, there's a problem. … I have no doubt Bush will be re-elected if people think we're in a true war on terror.' "

"For Mr. Bush, the advantages of incumbency were plain yesterday. Flanked by his national-security team in the Rose Garden, Mr. Bush was able to look his most presidential as he announced changes to the nation's intelligence system along the lines of those recommended by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. Mr. Kerry was left to object that he had proposed just such changes already — and that Mr. Bush should have acted sooner."

Do the recent terror alert and the facts we don't know indicate we are a safer country now, as President Bush asserts? Tom Oliphant does not think so. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

The Los Angeles Times ' Ron Brownstein writes up his Sunday interview with Kerry in which "Kerry expanded on arguments he made in his nomination acceptance speech Thursday and a round of appearances on Sunday morning news programs. But he was vague on some key points." LINK

Note Kerry's apparent back-sliding on deficit reduction, and his apparent front-sliding on troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Any time Brownstein interviews a presidential candidate, it is a must-read.

The Washington Post 's Dan Balz and Lois Romano report that "Senator John F. Kerry urged President Bush on Monday to call a special session of Congress to implement the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, accusing Bush of foot-dragging and charging that the president's policies have encouraged the creation of more terrorists." LINK

The New York Times ' David Halbfinger also reports the Senator's remarks. LINK

Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal read Senator Kerry's new book and uses it to conclude that Kerrynomics is not Rubinomics.

"The Kerry-Edwards plan to cut the budget deficit, described in the book, relies first and foremost on repealing tax cuts for people earning more than $200,000 a year. But the Kerry campaign also says that same money will be used to pay for the campaign's costly health-care and education plans — with nothing left over for deficit reduction. The campaign plans to put out more budget details today, but at best those details show a commitment to paying for the cost of new programs — not a commitment to major deficit reduction."

John Kerry reminiscent of Richard Nixon? Check out today's Ron Fournier analysis. LINK

Writing in the Wall Street Journal , historian Robert Dallek believes that Kerry's "next great challenge is to make himself credible as a potential commander-in-chief and effective manager of the economy in the coming debates with President Bush." And that John F. Kennedy's performance in his debate against Richard M. Nixon can be a guide.

The Washington Post 's E.J. Dionne gives props to the Kerry advisers who chose to focus on patriotism and strength during the convention — given the latest terror warnings. "Last week's Boston convention can thus be seen as a shrewd exercise in preemptive political warfare. If there is one certainty about the coming months, it is that Bush will push the campaign back to the war on terrorism and the immediacy of the terrorist threat." LINK

Overcoming loss is a major theme of the Democratic ticket's campaign, as Peter Canellos points out in the Boston Globe today. Wade Edwards, John Heinz III, and even Richard Pershing are remembered and alluded to constantly while the candidates and their wives crisscross the country. Dan Balz reports that Teresa Heinz Kerry got a little colorful in Milwaukee on Tuesday, quipping that some Bush supporters in the crowd yelling "four more years!" " 'want four more years of hell.' " LINK

Vince Morris picks up Heinz Kerry's "Four more years of hell" comment. LINK

The Washington Times ' Jennifer Harper looks at the lingering impact of Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" comments of last week, and then yesterday's "hell" follow-up. LINK

That feisty New York Daily News' Lloyd Grove prints accusations of Teresa Heinz Kerry nickel-and-diming her Four Seasons' manicurist in Georgetown. LINK

AP previews Senator Edwards' swing through Louisiana. LINK

And ABC News' Nick Schifrin adds some details:

Senator Edwards gets back on the bus today for stops in Baton Rouge, Alexandria, and Shreveport, La., visiting three counties that Al Gore lost to George Bush by an average of 9 percent in 2000 (7 percent in Baton Rogue, 20 percent in Alexandra, and a slight win in Shreveport).

Both Edwards and Kerry, who will be in Wisconsin and Iowa, will portray themselves as fiscal conservatives and highlight a Kerry campaign study from April that claimed President Bush proposed $6 trillion worth of "new, unpaid initiatives" in his first three years in office, "expos[ing] the Bush administration for abandoning any semblance of fiscal discipline and turning the nation's record surpluses into record deficits."

As for Louisiana, where the Kerry campaign stopped advertising about a month ago, spokesman Mark Kornbleau insists that the ad "pause" was only temporary and that "the campaign wouldn't be sending the vice presidential candidate if it wasn't taking it seriously" as a battleground state. He didn't refute the idea that at the very least, Edwards campaigning in the south will cause BC04 to spend a little money where it otherwise wouldn't.

Perhaps evidence of that: Vice President Cheney's event today in Hot Springs, Ark., where he will speak about 40 miles from and 12 hours before Edwards' Tuesday evening arrival in Little Rock for a Wednesday morning event.

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

Bush and Kerry will come within a few blocks of each other Wednesday during campaign stops in Davenport, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register 's Jonathan Roos. LINK

Boston Globe columnist Steven Stark writes that the conventions really mean nothing; it's the debates that will decide this election. LINK (Stark's "colleague" Brian Mooney made the same assertion yesterday: LINK)

The Star Tribune 's Mark Brunswick focuses on the battle for face-time in the Midwest. LINK

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

Lesley Clark of the Miami Herald reports that Senator John Edwards wooed Cuban-American voters in Miami on Monday, saying that he and Senator Kerry would keep up the pressure on Fidel Castro, and in TV interviews criticized President Bush for not bringing U.S. allies into those efforts to pressure the Cuban leader. LINK

The Orlando Sentinel 's Mark Silva made the front-porch rounds with Edwards in central Florida on Monday as he courted Republicans who are supporting the KE04 ticket this time around. Silva ticks off the constituent groups the pair are aiming to win over, from Hispanic voters to North Florida's veterans. "This is part of the challenge for Kerry and Edwards in Central Florida's swing-voting Interstate 4 corridor, home to more than 2.4 million voters. In 2000, President Bush won by a 4,400-vote margin in this region." LINK

David DeCamp of the Florida Times-Union watched Edwards' speech tailored to a crowd featuring attendees of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's national convention, made up more than half by African-Americans. "Early on, he mentioned that. At one point, he gestured to a banner depicting Martin Luther King Jr. voting. At the beginning, he mentioned making sure 'every vote will be counted.' " LINK

DeCamp Notes that Senator John McCain will stump for President Bush in Sarasota and Cape Canaveral on Wednesday. LINK

Tania Valdemoro of the Sun-Sentinel reports that the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have filed a lawsuit alleging that the ballot initiative proposing a parental notification rule on abortion in Florida's constitution is misleading. LINK

Tamara Lush of the St. Petersburg Times includes the ballot language in question — the lawsuit contends that it's worded misleadingly to give the impression that it expands minors' rights. LINK

Steve Patterson of the Jacksonville Times-Union looks at a University of North Florida poll finding strong ties between religion and politics in Northeast Florida. LINK

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 's Alan Borsuk and Craig Gilbert Note, "The high-stakes intensity of the campaign could also be seen Monday in noisy confrontations between Kerry and Bush supporters and the use of bullhorns and air horns by a small group of Bush supporters to try to disrupt the speeches, prompting Kerry and his wife to respond to what the candidate termed 'goons.' " LINK

The Columbus Dispatch 's Alan Johnson reports, "Backers of a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions say they will submit petitions today containing more than the 322,899 signatures needed to put the issue on the Nov. 2 ballot." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: battleground states:

Reaction to the size of the crowd (15,000+) attracted by Senator Kerry in Grand Rapids yesterday ranged from "shock" to "surprise," says the Detroit News, given the area's reputation as "the heart of Michigan Republican country." LINK

Even more unexpectedly: the AP says the crowd at Kerry's rally dwarfed the 4,000 people who attended an event featuring President Bush last Friday that was held in an auditorium just a few blocks away. LINK

Maybe the surprise about Kerry's crowd yesterday in Grand Rapids was unnecessary: George Weeks writes in the Detroit News that Western Michigan "is not quite the fertile land it once was for Republicans." LINK

Mark Grebner is trying to shame people throughout the state of Michigan into voting, with plans to send mailings to 188 blocks throughout the state, detailing which neighbors on the street voted — and which neighbors did not. Reports the Detroit Free Press, "Grebner said his project may boost turnout through shame or publicity to 'flush the little suckers out.' " LINK

With gas prices back on their way up, the Detroit News finds the cost of commuting "is killing" Michigan's motorists. LINK

When voters go to the primary polls in Missouri today, not only will they vote on their gubernatorial nominee, but they will decide on a "constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, marking the first such vote in the nation since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage last year," the Associated Press reports. LINK

They'll also choose nominees to succeed Rep. Dick Gephardt. LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the city of St. Louis filed a lawsuit on Monday to seek early statewide voting for Nov. 2, aiming for a two-week voting window. LINK

Senator John Kerry will campaign in the Show Me State Wednesday with a three-day bus and train trip before he and John Edwards hold an event Friday in Kansas City. Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star reports Republicans have said Kerry is giving up on the state and that internal state politics have complicated his strategy there some. "Kerry has in recent weeks reduced his ad buy in the state because, Democrats have said, of the difficulty of competing with all the attention being paid to the Democratic gubernatorial primary." LINK

Democratic St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly's endorsement of President Bush continues to be all the buzz in Minnesota, writes the Pioneer Press ' Tim Nelson. So far, says Kelly, the reaction has been positive. LINK

Immediately following the announcement, the fallout, including loss of local endorsements, began for Kelly, writes the Star Tribune 's Curt Brown. LINK

Check out the text of Kelly's statement on his endorsement here: LINK

Bush has surpassed Kerry in donations from Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 's Phillip Reese.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen opines on a potential Vilsack cabinet spot and its impact on Iowa. LINK

"Gov. Tom Vilsack quietly began a presidential campaign at the Democratic National Convention last week" by apologizing to Latinos for a 2002 bill declaring English to be Iowa's official language, writes the Des Moines Register 's David Yepsen. LINK

Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News reports the Denver district attorney race is getting ugly. Candidate Beth McCann is outraged over a poll paid for by opponent Mitch Morrissey that "she says falsely implies she stole money from a charity." LINK

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens has vowed he will champion the fight to keep Colorado's winner-take-all electoral college system the way it is. The state may have an initiative on the ballot this November that would revamp the way the state's electoral college votes are awarded to a proportional system. In a state where registered Republicans have a majority, critics say the initiative is just a maneuver to help John Kerry in his native state. The Rocky Mountain News reports Democratic political consultant Rick Ridder defends the proposal's pure intentions: "This is an opportunity for Coloradoans to make a national statement about the importance of the presidential election and the structure of the current electoral system." LINK

Senate candidate Pete Coors has packed up his wife, two daughters, sons-in-law, a couple of family friends, and show-stopping 16-month-old Petey Coors for a two-day Western Slope bus tour. LINK

The AP 's Lara Jakes Jordan reports national Constitution Party chairman Jim Clymer claims he filed more than 35,000 signatures yesterday to get on Pennsylvania's ballot for the U.S. Senate, "all but certainly pitting Republican Senator Arlen Specter against another conservative challenger this year." Get this, volunteers for Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel helped collect them! LINK

Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik begins airing his commercial "Peace President" today in New Mexico. LINK

Republican National Convention:

The New York Times ' David Kirkpatrick reports "To outdo the Democrats' roster of a dozen retired generals and admirals who endorsed Mr. Kerry, the Republicans now plan a list of more than a hundred who will pledge support to the president." LINK

The New York Times ' Steven Greenhouse reports "New York labor leaders announced yesterday that they would hold a rally on Sept. 1 at which tens of thousands of union members would demonstrate against President Bush." LINK

Amusing correction from the New York Times : "An article on Friday about Republican attacks on John F. Kerry, led by Rudolph W. Giuliani in Boston during the Democratic National Convention, referred incorrectly to Mr. Giuliani's trip to attend a rally and give broadcast interviews. He took a train, not a plane." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the gubernatorial races:

Missouri voters head to the polls today for the heated Democratic primary between Gov. Bob Holden and Clair McCaskill, the state's auditor. Polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm ET. McCaskill has very successfully used her position as the overseer of the state's books and budget to criticize Holden's leadership and decisions on a seemingly endless list of issues.

The Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorsed McCaskill over Holden; both papers' editorial boards essentially argued that more Holden means more of the same and giving McCaskill a chance means at least a chance for something better. Poll show the race is very close. Republican Matt Blunt, the 33-year-old secretary of state and son of U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), will be watching . . . and likely smiling, because he has nominal opposition on the Republican side in his own gubernatorial bid.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch 's Terry Ganey and the Kansas City Star 's Jim Sullinger preview the primary. LINK and LINK

The Los Angeles Times ' Stephanie Simon writes about how the pronunciation of the state's name has played in the Missouri contest so far. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The Illinois GOP is still in a desperate search to find an opponent for senatorial candidate and Democratic Sweetheart Barack Obama. The AP 's Lannan reports that the state GOP is hopeful, but is definitely having trouble replacing its sex-scandal plagued former pick, Jack Ryan. LINK

The Chicago Tribune 's Liam Ford and John Chase report that amidst the chaos of trying to find a Republican candidate to face off against Obama, Illinois Republicans may have a bite from 2000 presidential candidate Alan Keyes. LINK

It's getting ugly in Florida. On Monday, Rep. Peter Deutsch's campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against his opponent for the Democratic Senate nomination, former state education commissioner Betty Castor, alleging that EMILY's List has illegally coordinated with Castor's campaign. This follows his complaint last week that the group discriminates against male candidates. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, businessman Doug Gallagher filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission against former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, accusing Martinez of misleading voters with ads featuring President Bush that create the impression that the White House has endorsed him. LINK

Anita Kumar and Steve Bousquet of the St. Petersburg Times take a look at the complaints and Note tonight's Democratic candidates' debate. LINK

From masterminding one of the most successful grassroots presidential campaigns in recent memory to managing the campaign of a 94-year-old underdog for U.S. Senate. Joe Trippi has signed on to be the principle campaign strategist for New Hampshire's "Granny D," according to the AP 's Beverly Wang. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Ralph Nader's campaign filed 45,000 names in Pennsylvania yesterday. Thomas Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports "Democrats were preparing a challenge even before the petitions were stamped 'received' at the Department of State in Harrisburg." LINK

The Philadelphia Daily News has the story too. LINK

Knight Ridder's Maria Recio writes about the ongoing saga of the trials and tribulations of the Nader campaign. LINK

Unless a court tells him otherwise, West Virginia Secretary of State Joe Manchin is saying he will stand by his guns and refuse to release copies of the petitions and 22,000 signatures turned in by Ralph Nader supporters on Friday. LINK

Knight Ridder looks more closely at the petitions that may get Nader on the ballot in West Virginia; one signature collector admits, "The majority of the 22,000 are Republicans, I'd say." LINK

The Nader campaign submitted signatures in Arkansas, Maryland and Pennsylvania yesterday. LINK

In a press release yesterday, Ralph Nader voiced his optimism for getting on ballots. "It is becoming evident that the Nader-Camejo campaign will be on the ballot in most states."

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Nothing surprises us anymore, but a former president of the United States hosting SNL? The New York Daily News reports the offer out there from NBC — and we'll give you three guesses to whom it went. Hint: it's to someone who hasn't said yes yet, is pushing a book and is going on Letterman tonight. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

— 7:00 am: Polls open in Missouri for the Democratic gubernatorial primary — 8:30 am: The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending figures for June — 9:30 am: President Bush signs H.R. 4759, the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act in the Rose Garden of the White House — 10:00 am: Senator John Edwards attends a "Believe in America Rally," Baton Rouge, La. — 10:00 am: The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee meets to discuss the recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission to establish a National Counter-terrorism Center, Washington, D.C. — 10:00 am: The House Government Reform Committee holds a hearing to review the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, Washington, D.C. — 10:45 am: Vice President Cheney hosts a town hall meeting at Lake Hamilton High School, Hot Springs, Ark. — 11:00 am: The Statue of Liberty reopening ceremony is held, Liberty Island, N.Y. — 1:30 pm: Senator John Kerry attends a town hall meeting at the Edwards Pavilion & Sports Complex at Teflar Park, Beloit, Wis. — 1:45 pm: President Bush speaks at a Victory 2004 Reception at a private residence, Dallas, Texas. — 1:45 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at a BC'04 rally at the Ft. Smith Convention Center, Ft. Smith, Ark. — 2:30 pm: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and members of police and fire departments to call on Bush administration to allocate Homeland Security funds to New York, New York, N.Y. — 3:00 pm: Senator Edwards attends a "Believe in America" town hall meeting at the Alexandria Riverfront Center, Alexandria, La. — 4:00 pm: President Bush speaks to the 122nd Annual Knights of Columbus Convention at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Dallas, Texas — 7:15 pm: Senator Kerry attends a rally at the Town Clock Center, Dubuque, Iowa — 7:35 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at a reception for congressional candidate Larry Diedrich at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel, Sioux Falls, S.D. — 7:50 pm: Senator Edwards attends a "Believe in America" family picnic at Ford Park, Lake Side, Shreveport, La. — 8:00 pm: Polls close in Missouri