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Morning Show Wrap

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31 days until the Republican convention 95 days until election day


Here's what to look for today:

Now that they have finished their first post-convention event in Boston this morning, the now officially nominated duo is scheduled to make stops in Scranton at 2:00 pm ET and Harrisburg, Pa. at 8:00 pm ET.

President Bush travels to Springfield, Mo. for a 9:55 am ET kickoff to his newsily named "Heart and Soul of America" tour. Bush also makes stops today in Grand Rapids, Mich. at 4:10 pm ET, speaks to athletes at the Int'l Children's Games in Cleveland at 7:15 pm ET and ends his day at a "Victory 2004" dinner in Kirtland Ohio at 9:10 pm ET.

Vice President Cheney continues his campaign trek today, attending a BC'04 rally in Yakima, Wash. at 5:00 pm ETand in Central Point, Ore. at 7:30 pm ET.

In Washington, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will meet at 11 am to examine the recommendations of the final report of the 9/11 Commission. Thomas H. Kean, Chair, and Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair, will appear before the committee.

And with personality and national security front and center last night, there is this this morning:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 3 percent in the spring, a dramatic slowdown from the rapid pace of the past year, as consumer spending fell to the weakest rate since the last recession, the government reported Friday.

Here's what to look for in the days ahead:

First and foremost, the new Bush stump speech, ads, policy ideas, and campaign slogan, along with the dueling bus tours.

Second and foremost, the public and private polling and focus groups that begin in earnest early next week. So far, we see nothing meaningful or reliable. We ask you all to be patient until at the earliest the beginning of next week.

Bump estimates from the media seem to top off at 6 percent. (Stop saying "bounce" — because of that whole gravity thing, it's never been the right metaphor.)

But also there is this stuff:

1. The DNC independent expenditure committee goes up with a $6 million buy this weekend.

2. The favorable spotlight on Kerry daughters glows even warmer.

3. Does the anti-war base begin to chafe at pro-war rhetoric? (How many times have we asked this question?)

4. Who develops into the top anti-Bush surrogate in Camp Kerry?

5. What does Kerry do in the second half of August?

6. Will American athletes be booed at the Olympics? (courtesy of the incomparable Chuck Todd)

7. Does this become the theme of the campaign: Restore Trust v. Ownership Society?

8. Republican 527s gear up.

9. Early voting preps by parties, candidates, and interest groups.

10. "Mary Beth, hey hey, ho hay, how much of your $75 million did you spend today??!"

Here's what worked in Boston:

1. At least six great speeches (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Alex and Vanessa Kerry, and Kerry himself).

2. Explaining to America what Sen. Kerry accomplished up to 1980.

3. The press didn't hate it.

4. Democratic activists who leave Boston more united, more fired up, and even better trained than when they arrived — and yet … not angry to the outside world.

5. Speakers masking pretty harsh anti-Bush rhetoric with warm rhetorical flourishes and Sheehan-esque delivery.

6. Using "No Surrender" (Note hint: major political reporters LOVE that song, and the expected upcoming "surprise" announcement about Springsteen is teed up quite nicely by the tune's use … .).

7. No actual labor trouble.

8. Marginalizing Nader but simply (mostly) not mentioning him.

9. Putting Bob Rubin next to Teresa Heinz Kerry in the box.

10. ABC News Now!!!!

11. The DNCC's speech delivery system, about 80 percent of the time.

Here's what didn't work in Boston:

1. Explaining to America what Sen. Kerry has accomplished since 1980. 2. The balloon drop. 3. Convincing Andy Stern's brain to be optimistic about the future. 4. Convincing Deb Orin of anything. 5. Sen. Ted Kennedy's speech. 6. Getting Trippi into the convention. 7. Putting Harold Fineman next to Joe Scarborough. 8. The DNCC's speech delivery system, about 20 percent of the time. (Just this morning, for example, we got the text of Sen. Joe Biden's speech … en espanol. Simplemente imaginen!) 9. A live interview on Today this morning producing any new news.

What we still don't know:

1. How would Kerry pay for all his programs? How would he handle the baby boom retirement cohort and Social Security and Medicare? 2. How can he keep explaining his complex positions and position changes in a way that works (or gloss them over)? 3. Whether Iraq was a mistake in John Kerry's nimble mind and what he would have done differently? 4. Whether John Edwards can "close the deal" (!!) with those constituencies his bill of goods promotes. 5. Whether anyone will ever write about Jack Corrigan's lording of this convention. 6. Can Kerry continue to give good speeches?

Wait … we can answer this one now:

At the Kerry-Edwards bus trip kick-off this morning in the North End, Kerry was, frankly, back to his old speechifying ways — ponderous, meandering, rehearsed-sounding, dry, filled with hokey "jokes," and unconvincing mannerisms. And the Edwards kids are STILL really cute. And Teresa Heinz Kerry still looked really distracted.

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

Orlando Sentinel: "Kerry: One America" LINK

Bob Graham: turned away at the door. LINK

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "A promise to make America stronger." LINK

Cincinnati Enquirer: "America can do better, Kerry says." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: battleground states:

Seattle Times: " 'We can do better,' Kerry tells delegates." LINK

Des Moines Register: "Yepsen: Tough rhetoric peppers Kerry's acceptance speech." LINK

Portland Press Herald: "Mainers praise message: hope, unity, security." LINK

Charlotte Observer: "Kerry: Ready to lead in war." LINK

Charlotte Observer: "Democrats seize mainstream values." LINK

Winston-Salem Journal (N.C.): "Kerry lays out plan: In accepting nomination, he defines vision for nation's future" LINK

St. Cloud Times (Minn.): "Local Democrats: 'He nailed it' " LINK

Democratic National Convention: Senator John Kerry:

Ledes Adam Nagourney: "John Forbes Kerry stood before the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, pledging to 'restore trust and credibility to the White House' as he accused President Bush of misleading the nation into war and pursuing policies that he described as a threat to the environment, the economy and the Constitution." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Barabak and Gold write, "Kerry, working his way through a text he spent weeks drafting in longhand, stirred the 4,000-plus convention delegates with an address that was poetic in parts and blunt in others, broad in biography but stinting in policy details." LINK

The Boston Globe's Healy: "Promising 'a new birth of freedom' for Americans facing economic uncertainty and security threats, John Forbes Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination last night with a pledge to strengthen the US military and reform its intelligence services, introducing himself as a Vietnam veteran who healed divisions as a US senator and will unite a world uncertain about American power to fight against terrorism." LINK

The Los Angeles Times ' Brownstein writes: "Gesturing freely, Kerry seemed a bit off-tempo at first, but quickly found a rhythm. For most of his speech, he was relaxed, yet animated; if he wasn't folksy, he often sounded authoritative. He spoke almost entirely in punchy, declarative sentences designed to exude strength and conviction." LINK

Kerry's always harsh hometown Boston Herald opens its analysis of the speech like this, "It was the hardly the speech of his life … " LINK

USA Today's Susan Page writes, "The Democrats have gone to a war footing." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jake Schlesinger calls Kerry's speech "forceful and at times combative."

The San Francisco Chronicle: LINK

The Chicago Sun-Times: LINK

The New York Post's Deborah Orin reports that the speech went over pretty well with a Frank Luntz focus group. LINK

The New York Post's David Seifman writes that John Kerry "has injected a dose of excitement into this race." Re-read that sentence and grasp that sea change. LINK

His colleague Andrea Peyser doesn't agree. LINK

Dick Morris: Loved Clinton, lukewarm on Kerry. And Cleland made him "grow as a person." LINK

Teddy Davis's SuperDuper Morning Show Wrap:

Opening Headlines:

All three networks led with Kerry's speech; CBS also previewed today's 9/11 commission hearings.

Characterizing Kerry's Speech: The Pundits:

ABC's George Stephanopoulos said: "John Kerry went out there and he went right into the teeth of Republican issues. It was the equivalent of turning toward enemy fire and charging the hill; on all the big Republican issues, he went right at it." On the question of whether Kerry should have explained his vote for the Iraq war, Stephanopoulos said that would have been "tough to do and I think it was a much smarter strategy to go on the attack, and the attack on Iraq was exceedingly tough."

Stephanopoulos said that "one of the biggest vulnerabilities" that Kerry had last night was whether the numbers add up. "He says he'll raise taxes on the top 2 percent, but there's not all that much to get from the top 2 percent."

NBC's Tim Russert called Kerry's speech "quite successful" and "very specific" and said Kerry was "running to (Bush's) right" on some issues. "Kerry showed he had the passion and the toughness to be a very formidable candidate this fall." Russert: "When he said 'John Kerry reporting for duty,' you could hear the whole room say, 'yes.'"

Craig Crawford dissented from the generally positive reviews, saying: "I cannot tell you what he would have done differently from George Bush about Iraq back when he voted to authorize George Bush to go to war with Iraq." Crawford said Kerry "hopes to run on his four months in Vietnam as opposed to his decades in Congress." Crawford said Democrats did not want to tell voters what they really stand for at their convention, making themselves a big target for Republicans at their convention. At the same time, Crawford said, "I'm a big believer that campaigns don't actually matter."

Fox & Friends: Questioned whether the Democratic convention made clear how Kerry will pay for all of his promises, prompting Steve Doocy to say, "Maybe he will open his wife's purse. She's got a LOT of money." Fox also made fun of the quick pace of Kerry's speech.

Reaction Interviews:

Mary Matalin appeared on "GMA" to counter Sen. Kerry's acceptance speech. "Talking is not doing" said Matalin, while pointing out that "he is not supporting even his own record." When pressed on Kerry's criticisms that Bush misled the country to war, Matalin said: "This is one of those liberal created … urban myths." Matalin went on to plug the president's "Heart and Soul" tour he is kicking off today, as the president gets back to work moving the country in a "positive direction."

On "Today," Gov. Bill Richardson predictably said Kerry achieved his objectives of reaching out and connecting with voters. On the question of why there was more talk about Vietnam than about Iraq, Richardson said the issue of defense "is no longer going to be ceded to the Republicans" and that Democrats were successful at giving voters "a comfort level."

More characterizations of Kerry's speech:

ABC's Charlie Gibson said: "For those who doubted John Kerry could pull off a stirring speech, doubts dispelled. For those who doubted he could unite a traditionally fractious party, doubts dispelled. For those who doubted he had a chance against George, well, an interesting 95 days of campaigning lie ahead."

CBS' Byron Pitts: "By all accounts, Kerry gave a good speech last night and he did what he needed to do."

NBC's Campbell Brown: "He made the case that he is strong and ready to accept command … He forcefully challenged Bush over war in Iraq. His criticism of the Bush Administration was clear."

Reaction from Undecided Voters:

ABC's Diane Sawyer spoke with undecided voters who came away with the impression that Kerry really did his best to relate to people at the convention.

Kerry-Edwards Friday Rally:

The cable networks carried the rally live; NBC showed a slight bit of the top of it; ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS' Byron Pitts recapped it at the top of the 8:00 am ET block.

Bush Pushback:

ABC's Claire Shipman handled the Bush pushback. She reported that Bush is expected to repeat the phrase, "We've turned the corner, we're not turning back." She also Noted that Bush has done a series of interviews, including one he and the First Lady did with Dr. Phil on child rearing that will air in September. Bush also did an extensive interview about fishing that will air soon.

NBC's "Today" reported in a tell that President Bush will try to recapture the political spotlight today.

Comedy and the Conventions:

ABC and CBS both looked at the fun late night comics have been having with the Democratic convention. CBS included Letterman playing Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it" clip, then asking, "Who does she think she is, Dick Cheney?"

Balloon Drop Gaffe:

ABC's "Good Morning America" replayed the balloon gaffe which aired on CNN last night.

9/11 Commission Hearings on Capitol Hill:

Thalia Assuras reported from White House on today's congressional hearings. She included Kerry's convention vow to implement all the recommendations of the commission.

Democratic National Convention: analysis of Kerry's speech:

Dan Balz in the Washington Post: "Rarely has an acceptance speech come with so much hype and drama — as well as nervousness among the Democrats about Kerry's capacity to rise to the moment. For all his attributes, Kerry has never been known as a charismatic politician and rarely has he demonstrated a great gift for political oratory. On Thursday, he tried to make himself more human with memories of his parents and his childhood and with references to his wife and children. But ultimately he appeared willing to cede the battle over personality and liability to Bush. Instead, he framed his candidacy around attributes that he and his advisers appear to believe will be more relevant for today, arguing that in a dangerous world, seriousness is its own virtue and that, if he is not always the warmest of politicians, he has a lifetime of experience that should reassure voters they can trust him to keep them safe." LINK

So will he get a bump? LINK

Todd Purdum of the New York Times looks at Kerry's show of "strength," in which "Mr. Kerry portrayed himself not only as a plausible, but also as a vastly preferable commander in chief to President Bush, one whose own combat service left him with a special understanding of the twin American traditions of strength and restraint." LINK

Peter Canellos in the Boston Globe: "Kerry did not offer a plan for Iraq or the war on terrorism — he offered a set of principles based on his life experiences, particularly his time as a swift boat commander in the Vietnam War." LINK

ABC News' Karen Travers spoke with several Bush-Cheney campaign officials last night. Said one: out of 5000 words, only 73 talked about his Senate record.

Said a Bush campaign official: "The president has articulated a policy. John Kerry has articulated a Sept. 10 philosophy and world view which contrasts in stark terms to President Bush's Sept. 12 world view — we fight in Baghdad and Kandahar to keep Boston and New York safe. You can't have it both ways — if the president mislead, well John Kerry saw the same intelligence — then what would John Kerry do differently. He failed to lay out a clear and clarifying position on Iraq. He explicitly endorsed plan to raise taxes — not just only those who make $200,000 or more — majority of those are small business owners."

Democratic National Convention: the money:

$100 million. Independent expenditures. Kerry goes dark in August. DNC IE goes up. Kerry transfers money soon. Edsall: LINK

The Kerry campaign says it raised north of $5 million on the Internet yesterday.

The Washington Post's Paul Farhi Notes "the convention offered a weeklong display of just how far the 527s can go to push the 'coordination' question as they sought to win favor with rich liberals gathered here." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Getter reports, "Instead of resting on its laurels, the finance team that raised more than $200 million for [Kerry] will remain in place through November with hopes of raising another $80 million for the national party, battleground state committees and a special legal and accounting fund." LINK

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

ABC News' Karen Travers reports that President Bush will kick off a "Heart and Soul of America" tour in today.

The President will deliver a new stump speech that will outline the themes he will focus on for the next month. The tour will take him to Grand Rapids, Mich., and on Saturday through Ohio and Pennsylvania, all critical battleground states.

The trip is part of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign's offensive that will focus on the president's "positive vision for the future," BC04 spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

The title of the tour is not coincidental — asked if this was a direct reaction to Sen. Kerry's comments at the Radio City Music Hall fundraiser, about the artists being the heart and soul of America, Stanzel said "Sure."

"The President, as you've seen and talked about over the last few weeks, has talked about the people throughout the country who are working hard for their families and taking active roles in their communities, to make their towns a better place," Stanzel said. "They represent the heart and soul of the country, not the people that Sen. Kerry praised at his Hollywood hatefest."

President Bush will emphasize his domestic agenda — job training, health care, retirement security and economic growth. He will begin to preview his agenda to make America more job friendly, make work places more family friendly and help families and individuals succeed in a changing economy, ushering in an era of ownership.

The new stump speech will talk about "preparing Americans for success — making sure they have the training they need to succeed in a changing economy, making America safe, strengthening families and communities, and the president will point to the significant progress of his Administration in those areas," Stanzel said.

There'll be a new slogan on the bus and a new phase of advertising, including a new ad released sometime this weekend.

The new stump speech, per a senior campaign adviser, "touches on flex time, spends time on ownership society, which, over the course of the month, will include Social Security. The reason for the timing is to come out at the beginning of a month that will start with Kerry up in the polls by aggressively articulating our vision for the future and to debate the competing and very different visions for the next 90 days."

The Washington Post's Mike Allen reports "President Bush plans to announce Friday that he wants to make flextime more available to the nation's workers as part of a reelection platform built around creating jobs and increasing the financial independence of families while making the nation safer and the world more peaceful." LINK

Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times Notes that the new stump speech "sentence echoes a 2000 campaign slogan that termed Bush a 'reformer with results.'" LINK

The New York Daily News' Tom DeFrank looks at GOP reactions to Sen. Kerry leading with this: "They're obviously loath to say so publicly, but senior Bush campaign operatives know Sen. John Kerry could be the next President." LINK

With those new deficit figures out today, the New York Times' Steven Greenhouse looks at how Democrats are seeking to portray President Bush as a reckless spender — but themselves as the keepers of fiscal responsibility. LINK

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

The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood and Jake Schlesinger look at the tightrope Kerry has to walk to appeal to both affluent and working-class undecided voters. "The Kerry team is banking on fixing the dilemma by focusing on one concern that appears to be common to both groups: Iraq."

The New York Times ' Rick Lyman looks at the plight of the undecided voter. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's John McKinnon reports that Kerry's math on the deficit might not add up. LINK

John Fialka of the Wall Street Journal casts a skeptical eye on Kerry's energy plan.

"In terms of personal military experience, Democrats say John F. Kerry holds a clear edge over President Bush: a decorated Vietnam War veteran vs. an Air National Guard enlistee whose service, all of it stateside, still raises questions," Notes the Washington Post's Chuck Babington. LINK

Democratic National Convention: the Democrats:

The Washington Post's David Broder and Brian Faler Note, "Muzzling their disagreements is a talent Democratic officials have learned to practice here this week, but, Lord, sometimes it is hard." LINK

Jodi Wilgoren of the New York Times looks at the warmer side of Kerry, as presented by his daughters Alexandra and Vanessa. LINK

Rev. Al Sharpton was the only one who talked about appointments to the Supreme Court, Bob Novak Notes. LINK

High in the middle and round on both ends: Johnny Apple looks at Ohio's emergence as the belle of the ball. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Shailagh Murray makes Amy Pritchard very happy with a look at the Democratic training programs during the convention run by Democratic GAIN.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani rips Michael Moore about Sept. 11, 2001. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

"An embarrassed state Republican Party apologized Thursday for a GOP campaign brochure that urged voters to use absentee ballots, undermining efforts by Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Glenda Hood to inspire confidence in new touch-screen voting machines," the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. LINK

Ad Traffic Highlights: July 26-30:

The Kerry-Edwards campaign goes dark, but the DNC will begin its first wave of ads on Saturday. The Bush-Cheney campaign-the campaign is still off the air, although it has shot new spots on the ranch and will have news for us all shortly. Minimal ad traffic from the outside groups other than the DNC.

Here's what's on the air for now … 0 Bush-Cheney ads 0 Kerry-Edwards TV ads — as of Saturday — although a radio ad aimed at Hispanic voters continues 0 DNC ads — until Saturday 0 anti-Nader ads on television or radio 2 New Democrat Network ads and 2 ads aimed at Hispanic voters continue 1 anti-Kerry ad from the Club for Growth

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): — 7:30 am: Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards attend the "Believe In America Tour" kickoff, Boston, Mass. — 8:30 am: The Commerce Department releases second quarter GDP figures. — 9:55 am: President Bush speaks at the Springfield Exposition Center, Springfield, Mo. — 10:00 am: The United Nations Security Council holds a public meeting to vote on U.S. draft resolution calling on the government of Sudan to fulfill commitments it on the situation in its western Darfur region, New York, N.Y. — 11:00 am: Thomas H. Kean, Chair and Lee H. Hamilton, Vice Chair of 9/11 Commission appear before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to examine the recommendations of their final report, Washington, D.C. — 12:00 pm: First Lady Laura Bush attends a Richard Burr for Senate luncheon at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Wilmington, N.C. — 1:30 pm: Former President Bill Clinton to sign copies of "My Life" at the Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock, Ark. — 2:00 pm: Ralph Nader holds a news conference to discuss his reaction to the Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles, Calif. — 2:00 pm: Sens. Kerry and Edwards attend a "Believe In America" rally, Scranton, Pa. — 4:10 pm: President Bush speaks at Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, MI. — 5:00 pm: Vice President Cheney attends a BC'04 rally at Eisenhower High School, Yakima, Wash. — 7:15 pm: President Bush speaks to the Athletes of the International Children's Games and Cultural Festival at the Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio. — 7:30 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at a BC'04 rally, Central Point, Ore. — 8:00 pm: Sens. Kerry and Edwards attend a "Believe In America" rally, Harrisburg, Pa. . — 9:10 pm: President Bush speaks at a Victory 2004 Dinner at a private residence, Kirtland Hills, Ohio.