ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Sen. Kerry's recent ''life begins at conception" comment in Iowa (a remark that was somewhat muted by the Veepstakes drama) raises questions about his position on stem cell research, wrote Raja Mishra on Sunday in the Boston Globe. LINK

The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer and Jeffrey Birnbaum did a status check on Saturday on the imminent convention protests and report that California's delegation leader, Art Torres, plans to lead his troops off the floor when Mayor Menino welcomes them to town. LINK

The Boston Globe's Jonathan Saltzman reported on Saturday that the city's jails could get a little crowded with protesters during the convention — as many 2,500 might spend time behind bars. LINK

In Saturday's New York Times, David Johnston reported, "The Justice Department has no plans to examine federal laws or legal precedents to determine whether the Nov. 2 presidential election might be rescheduled because of the threat of a terrorist attack, department officials said this week." LINK

ABC News' Gloria Riviera's Edwards campaign report:

HOLLYWOOD, FLA., July 18, 2004 — In his first week out, Sen. Edwards:

— Headlined five fundraisers in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and at two events in the I-4 Florida corridor (Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale)

— Raised $3.25 million to be divided between the DNC and Kerry-Edwards '04

— Ran routes from Lake Michigan to Wilshire Boulevard

— Was accompanied by no less than 58 police on motorcycles and a 12-car motorcade in Orlando

— Got comfortable enough with his new staff and travel press to (all together jokingly) say he thinks he new team is terrific . . . with the exception of pressman Mark Kornblau. Truth is, the two seem to be getting along fine. A favorite Kornblau rebuttal is already emerging, "That's one for the media consultant."

— Fine-tuned his on-the-road speech to pitch John Kerry like, as the New York Times ' Sheryl Gay Stohlberg so aptly put it, a "used car salesman"

— Still has room for bloopers (or was it a well-rehearsed oops?), as evidenced when he said he and Kerry traveled to Florida "very shortly after we decided to put this, HE decided to put this team together (audience laughs; Edwards laughs). I wish I'd actually had, I wish it had been me instead of him, but he made the decision (laughs)."

— Settled on some laugh lines: "It wasn't too long ago no one thought anybody named "John" would be on the ticket." (Used to transition into how tough Edwards believes Kerry to be, referencing the dire days of Kerry's primary campaign in December '03 when Edwards "saw what he was made of when his back was up against the wall.") In Florida, he tells the crowd that his wife Elizabeth has family in Florida: "Don't make me look bad in front of my in-laws."

— Took only somewhat subtle stabs at President Bush, such as, "You don't get someone's values by how they use the word in a political ad, and anybody who wants to know what kind of values John Kerry has ought to talk to the men who served with him in Vietnam

— Set what the Post -announcement smaller press corps fear will be the norm for news of day standard. Example: this weekend Senator Edwards cited the recent news that inflation has risen (shock) faster than median wages . . . which allows him to happily reference his favorite middle class threat, "Fallin' off the CLIFF!!"

Expect to see Elizabeth Edwards as well as Cate Edwards on the trail soon.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

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