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7 days until the Democratic convention 42 days until the Republican convention 106 days until election day


Do you want to prove that you have the wisdom of Tony Podesta, the strategic brilliance of Karl Rove, the quiet sagacity of Joe Biden, the insight of Rob Portman, the astuteness of Karen Skelton, and the good judgment of Mindy Tucker Fletcher?

Just score 10 out of 10 on our regular Monday Note quiz, and you can brag to all your friends.

1. Which side will better play the politics of Thursday's 9/11 report release?

2. Will the Kerry campaign's three-stage July-August John-a-thon be as well planned as the Edwards launch was?

3. Does John Kerry have in his brain what he thinks it will take in planning and execution to give a boffo acceptance speech?

4. Which is more likely to help Vice President Cheney keep his job — his support for the Pledge of Allegiance or his spouse's bragging that he used to be in a union?

5. What is the correct punishment for Ryan King, deputy director of Republicans Abroad, for telling the Washington Post regarding the enthusiasm of overseas Americans to participate in this year's election: "You have people literally coming out of the woodwork to register."

6. Who will the media make a bigger deal about: Ron Reagan speaking in Boston or Zell Miller speaking in New York? (And, yes, we've asked this before . . . )

7. Which will get more coverage: labor spats in Boston or hundreds of thousands of protesters in New York?

8. Can you find five Americans in battleground states who voted for Al Gore in 2000 who say they will definitely vote for President Bush in 2004?

9. When will we next see John Kerry fly a helicopter or ride a motorcycle?

10. Are you aware of just how vital a news product ABC News Live's coverage of the conventions and the campaign is for anyone who is working on, covering, or interested in this year's presidential race? (more on that all week right here in The Note … .)

Vanessa Kerry has already been on about 15 television shows today, but there ARE other things going on.

President Bush is at the White House today meeting with the president of Chile (11:25 am ET), the Prime Minister of Malaysia (2:55 pm ET) and the winner of the Indy 500 (3:50 pm ET).

Vice President Cheney travels to battleground states Missouri and Ohio for two speeches, the first on the economy at Boone County Lumber Company in Columbia, Mo. (1:00 pm ET) and the second on health care costs in Toledo, Ohio (5:00 pm ET).

Sen. Kerry is down in Nantucket today, we're told finishing his convention speech (and kite surfing for the pool, perhaps). Sen. Edwards is in Durham, N.C. today for a "front porch" stop and a fundraiser before returning to Washington, D.C.

Today at 1:00 pm ET, former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, Kerry Crewmate Jim Wasser, and Alexandra Kerry will hold a conference call tomorrow to discuss the details of KE04's pre-convention tour. See below for the stop-by-stop itinerary.

Tomorrow, on the 35th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's moon walk, President Bush travels to Iowa and Missouri while the Sens. John are both down without public events.

Also on Tuesday, voters head to the polls to vote in primaries in Georgia and North Carolina. In North Carolina, the main focus will be on the race among Republicans for the right to challenge Gov. Mike Easley. In Georgia, all eyes are on the Republicans in the Senate primary in the race to succeed Democratic Sen. Zell Miller.

On Wednesday, President Bush speaks at the annual President's Dinner, Sen. Edwards has two evening fundraisers in New York City, and Sen. Kerry departs his Nantucket vacation for Boston, followed by Detroit.

On Thursday all eyes will be on the 9/11 commission, which releases its final report. President Bush uses the day to sign the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act and speak about homeland security at the Northeastern Illinois Public Training Academy. Senator Kerry will be in Detroit, addressing the Urban League.

On Friday President Bush delivers his own address to the Urban League before traveling to Crawford, Texas to do some RNC finance business and to spend the weekend.

Sens. Kerry and Edwards kick off their pre-convention national tour in Aurora, Colo., at the Army hospital where Kerry was born. Kerry then travels to Sioux City, Iowa on Saturday; Columbus on Sunday; Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Monday; Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday; Philadelphia on Wednesday; and Boston for his convention speech on Thursday. Sen. Edwards travels to Milwaukee on Saturday and North Carolina on Monday and is in Boston on Tuesday.

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

The Washington Post's John Harris examines the "liberal" label, and tries to figure out if, and how much, John Kerry will be affected — or afflicted — by it in the eyes of the voters. Given the relatively small number of voters who identify themselves as liberals, it's a dicey proposition for Kerry to allow himself to be defined that way — which is why he's fighting it. At the same time, though the Bush-Cheney camp is pulling out the liberal guns by pointing to Kerry's voting record and National Journal's analysis, there are Democrats who argue that ratings are not just black and white, and that the liberal label alone, particularly set in a historical context, isn't necessarily enough to tar Kerry in voters' minds. LINK

"One of Kerry's more effective defenses against the charge that he is a reflexive liberal may be the support of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, or DLC. Formed in 1985 out of concern that the party had drifted too far left, the group has rarely hesitated to criticize Democrats who it believes cleave to an outdated special-interest brand of liberalism. The DLC, which criticized former Vermont governor Howard Dean's candidacy in last winter's primaries, has been enthusiastic all year about Edwards and Kerry."

Under a headline claiming to describe "The real John Kerry," the Boston Herald's Guarino and Miga explain how Sen. Kerry "wasn't any normal kid." LINK

The AP takes note of Sen. Byrd's words that Kerry "can win West Virginia's five electoral votes by going there and getting coal "dust on his hands and on his face."" LINK

The AP's Duncan Mansfield wraps Elizabeth Edwards' first solo general election campaign stop. LINK

Newspaper reviews don't get much better than this. The Miami Herald writes of Sen. Edwards' first solo visit to the Sunshine State since becoming the second half of the Democratic ticket this way: "Campaign strategists had hoped the selection of the one-time John Kerry rival who earned plaudits during the primaries for a sunny disposition would energize the Democrat's campaign, and it appeared to work on the Broward crowd of 350." LINK

Hoo-rahs for Edwards in central Florida. LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's Rob Christensen introduces us to a Los Angeles comedian who's very excited to begin impersonating Sen. Edwards . . . and the self-proclaimed Schwarzenegger Republican says he'll vote for Kerry-Edwards because he likes Edwards' talk of job creation. (It kind of makes sense for this guy if you think about it.) LINK

An Arkansas News column calls the race for Kerry based on the demographic of Americans who are migrating to Mexico. LINK

The AP reports on a New Hampshire historian who thinks he has traced Kerry's family roots to Ireland. LINK

We thought Kerry Edwards sounded like the prettiest girl at the prom, but a bail bondsman also lays claim to that name — and that Web site. LINK


In a recent Note, we incorrectly stated that John Kerry had received a campaign contribution from Charles Kushner within the year. Mr. Kushner last contributed to Kerry in 1996. We regret the error.

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

The New York Daily News' Tom DeFrank looks at Vice President Cheney on the campaign trail, and writes that unlike in 2000 when Cheney was seen as important to gain swing voters, this time around "the veep is preaching to the choir." LINK

DeFrank Notes that Cheney delivers some of his best lines "with the passion of a stalactite" but this is seen as the "perfect foil to the youthfulness and inexperience of Edwards."

"'So he's charisma-challenged," a GOP operative says. "He's not an empty suit like the other guy.'"

Tamara Lipper and Evan Thomas wrote in their Newsweek must-read profile of the "dangerous to cross and easy to disappoint," straight-shootin', tight-knit Cheney-clan, "The Family has been feeling a little besieged lately." LINK

Be sure to read close the part in which Lynne Cheney allegedly goes after that nice Steve Scully.

Janet Hook of the Los Angeles Times looks at the brick walls that keep stopping President Bush's initiatives in Congress this year — and it's not always the Democrats' fault. LINK

Hook looks at how this will affect President Bush in the election season:

"But some Republicans worry that an anemic record this year will be a political problem, because one of their prime arguments for reelecting Bush and GOP majorities in Congress is that a government dominated by one party can get more done than a divided government."

And also touches on the second term agenda problem for the president:

"Bush has so far done little to flesh out a new agenda for a second term beyond continuing and building on existing policies. But what is left of his first-term agenda will probably remain stalled unless the makeup of Congress changes significantly."

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller looks at the president's vacation schedule for the end of the summer and Notes "this year, the 2004 campaign has ruined Mr. Bush's Texas vacation. Or put another way, if Mr. Bush doesn't give up a lot of his summer holiday, the fear at the White House is that he could be on a permanent one after the first of the year." LINK

In light of Cheney's visit to Minnesota this weekend, the Star Tribune Notes the blaring differences between Cheney and Edwards in the article, "At No. 2, it's yin vs. yang." LINK

The New York Times' William Safire takes on Joe Wilson. LINK

The Wall Street Journal looks at the Fitzgerald leak investigation on A4.

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

The Washington Post's Dan Balz outlines a change in strategy pushed by GOP pollster Bill McInturff this weekend for Republican governors at the National Governors Association summer meeting, urging them to stop trying to convince voters that the economy is improving and instead go head-to-head with Democrats on creating jobs and boosting future economic growth. Republican governors can point out economic recovery to voters in battleground states, but they may not believe that it's going to continue — so the shift in message to specific proposals for job growth, taxes and helping small businesses provide health insurance to workers is key, McInturff argues. LINK

Roll Call's Mark Preston writes that Senate Republicans are going on the offensive on Senator Edwards in the coming weeks, brandishing that liberal paintbrush. The focus they'll take back to their home states: the values of the KE04 ticket, and Edwards' track record both in the Senate and as a trial lawyer.

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington follows up on yesterday's New York Times report on Kerry and Bush campaign ad spending, Noting the different tactics and constituencies that they're going after based on where and how they're on the air. Kerry's being particularly aggressive in Ohio and Missouri, Babington Notes, while the president is focusing on Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. LINK

Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times also follows Jim Rutenberg's early look at the Wisconsin Advertising Project/Nielsen Monitor-Plus study on presidential campaign advertising and finds Toledo and St. Louis are being bombarded with ads and the campaigns are investing heavily in reaching women and elderly voters. LINK

The New York Post's style section goes ga-ga for the four presidential candidate daughters gracing the campaign trail this cycle. The competition for "most glamorous" is apparently between Brown graduate Alexandra Kerry and Yalie Barbara Bush. LINK

"Both the raven-haired Alexandra, 30, an anthropology graduate turned movie-maker, and her less flamboyant, 27-year-old blond kid sister, Vanessa — a med student — are taking time out to stump for their dad."

"After decades of watching awkward, adolescent first daughters (think Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton) scamper around the White House, the fashion world is rippling with excitement over the stylish, sexy "Sex and the City" meets "The West Wing" foursome."

If you care about this topic, you are gonna wanna find the hard copy of the paper.

The conventions:

Yvonne Abraham reports in the Boston Globe on the extensive training waiting for Democratic delegates in Boston. Strategists such as James Carville and Donna Brazile will train delegates "how to run campaigns, raise money, and mobilize voters," special session will even be held for younger activists, veterans, and other groups. LINK

They may not be getting prime time coverage, but the Boston Globe reports of the search for the perfect state delegation breakfast speakers. LINK

Will the union disagreement settlement in Massachusetts be solved by Monday? The lead in Boston Globe's Klein and Estes story today isn't so reassuring, "Union allies are threatening to walk out of a state panel hearing today should Mayor Thomas M. Menino's last-ditch effort to achieve a police union contract before his Democratic National Convention kickoff parties Sunday night be raised." LINK

More state delegations may decide to "dis" Boston Mayor Menino next week by not crossing picket lines at the Democratic National Convention, according to the Boston Herald. LINK

A Boston Globe editorial likens waiting for the convention to start to waiting for a blizzard, "How bad will it be? How good will it be? The predictions depend on the predictor." LINK

Gary Bauer thinks Ron Reagan's speech at the Democratic National Convention is "a cute little story for convention coverage," but not much beyond that. The Los Angeles Times' Faye Fiore talks with some Republicans who are offended by the appearance and also reports Nancy Reagan will not be addressing the GOP gathering in New York. LINK

Convention seating could be quite strategic. With swing states seen as critical in November, well-seated states include New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon and Maine. North Carolina is also front and center with Massachusetts. LINK

On this day when the Republicans get the keys to Madison Square Garden, city cops, firefighters, and teachers will be protesting in the area as a part of their fights for new contracts. LINK and LINK

The New York Times' Adam Cohen wonders whether 2004 in New York will look like 1968 in Chicago. LINK

The debates:

Security preparations are well underway in St. Louis for a potential presidential debate in October despite the fact that President Bush has yet to accept the debate invitation. LINK

The politics of national security:

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus examines acting CIA Director John McLaughlin's reaction yesterday on "Fox News Sunday" disagreeing with the recommendation coming from the 9/11 commission that a Cabinet-level intelligence chief. McLaughlin said that a CIA director could perform the necessary functions of oversight over the intelligence community, and said that the new post would add an additional layer of bureaucracy. LINK

Pincus also Notes that "the commission seeks to politically insulate the position and is expected to note that the United States appears more vulnerable to terrorist attacks during transitions from one administration to the next."

The debate over an intelligence czar got lots of Sunday airtime and therefore a few inches in Monday newspapers.

The Los Angeles Times: LINK

The New York Post: LINK

Guy Taylor of the Washington Times reports that McLaughlin also talked about the finding that Iran allegedly provided for safe passage for the Sept. 11 hijackers to and from training camps in Afghanistan, saying that there is no definitive evidence that the attacks were sanctioned by the Iranian government. LINK

USA Today's Mimi Hall and Judy Keen report that "some key members of Congress" are open to the idea of creating a "new intelligence director" to oversee the FBI, CIA, and military intelligence directors. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Scott Platrow anticipates the questions Mr. Bush will face about Iran's aggressive pre 9/11 posture.

The Washington Post's Robin Wright looks at the pressure the release of the 9/11 commission report will put on the Bush Administration to deal with Iran — and the competing proposals from the foreign policy community to resume a diplomatic relationship with it. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

The New York Times' David Halbfinger on the Kerry-Edwards' campaign's unprecedented pre-election legal recruitment of some of the nation's top election lawyers in all 50 states — an election SWAT team designed to monitor and prevent casting and accounting irregularities. LINK

"Kerry aides say the campaign has set up a national steering committee with task forces tackling different issues: one on ballot machines, another on voter education, and a third on absentee, early, and military voting, to name a few."

"At the Democratic convention next week in Boston, they say, any lawyers interested in volunteering will be offered training. And dozens of the lawyers already recruited by the Kerry organization will hold two days of intensive meetings to finalize strategy, tactics and assignments."

The Orlando Sentinel's Perez Notes the growing importance of absentee ballots in Florida and elsewhere. LINK

Three Ohio counties that wanted to switch to electronic voting for November will not be allowed to do so, says the Secretary of State. LINK

Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller is taking his new voting machines on a cross-country we-have-something-you-don't-have tour. The machines, which will make Nevada the only place in the nation to have statewide electronic voting with paper receipts, have turned the state into a "laboratory" for the rest of the country. LINK

Carlos Campos of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Georgia elections officials have upped security for the state's electronic voting system to prevent tampering. Voting machines similar to Georgia's 23,000 touch-screen machines have been banned in certain counties by the secretary of state in California. LINK

The Washington Post's Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan look at the efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to register every possible American voter abroad, Noting that thus far in 2004, the government agency that handles overseas voting has sent out 340,000 applications for voter registration — about 90,000 more than in 2000 — and they expect to send out more. LINK

With several new online sites target a voting bloc that many consider apathetic — the MTV generation — registering to vote and getting to know the candidates is just a mouse click away. LINK

Ohio State University Prof. Peter Shane takes a look at the possibility that electors could "usurp the vote" on today's Washington Post op-ed page. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: battleground states:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jo Mannies explores Kerry's recent decision to decrease Show-Me state advertising beyond Matthew Dowd's claim that the Kerry folks are not hopeful for victory there. LINK

" … Kerry decided to temporarily pull most of his ads because of the heavy TV spending by both Holden and McCaskill, who are 'saturating the airwaves,' as one source said. Kerry also canceled plans for a pre-convention stop here later this week, those sources say, to stay out of the McCaskill-Holden line of fire."

In spite of a blitz of "get-out-the-vote efforts aimed at young adults" in Ohio, the Toledo Blade finds many young voters remain "turned off." LINK

Not quite a must-read, but the Cincinnati Enquirer takes a fun look at the plight of those in Ohio who share the last names — and sometimes first names as well — of the president and other major candidates. LINK

The next Stark County? Akron Beacon Journal reporter Lisa Abraham Notes that Ohio's Summit County houses a good lot of undecided voters, making it yet another "ground zero" in the election. LINK

Many of the newest voters in Columbus — yet another key area in the Buckeye State — are in "Democratic strongholds," Notes the Columbus Dispatch.

But in Medina County, a more conservative area of Ohio, Republicans are finding successes as well. LINK

If what's important to Ohio's voters is what's important to the state's delegation to the Democratic convention, then the economy is the greatest concern in the state, followed by health care, education, Iraq, and terrorism. At the bottom of the list? Values. LINK

And the economy's not looking uniformly good in Ohio: on Friday, the latest figures for the state showed 14,300 jobs lost in June, with an unemployment rate that rose to 5.8 percent. LINK

The Associated Press previews the Vice President's stop in Toledo today, where the topic du jour will be health care costs. Reporter John Seewer leads with the voters in the area who believe drug prices are currently "outrageous." LINK

The Columbus Dispatch wrote over the weekend that there are growing concerns among those in the state GOP that the party's growing fundraising scandal could taint the president at Ohio's polls in November. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports some have taken to calling the scandal "Ohio's Watergate." LINK

The Dems in Arizona pushed back strong over the weekend in response to polling numbers in this southwest battleground. Last week, the Arizona Republic reported two new polls showing Sen. Kerry as much as 10 points behind the President in Arizona. Democrats, insisting this is a battleground and should not be claimed by Republicans yet, pointed to new unreleased numbers from a phone survey done by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. According to the Lake poll (conducted Monday-Wednesday of last week), 500 likely and registered voters went 49 percent for Bush, 44 percent for Kerry, 2 percent other, and 5 percent undecided, with a +/- 4 percent margin of error.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, "All but one middle school in Palm Beach County failed to meet the state's new high standards for reading, forcing them to put a major focus on improving students' reading skills in the coming months." LINK

The Associated Press looks at Maine's delegates to the Democratic convention and finds many are political neophytes. Glenn Adams speculates Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and a "strong anti-war feeling and strong disapproval of President Bush's leadership" may explain the trend. LINK

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press takes an in-depth look at the most important players in the presidential election: the candidates' kids. Hinds finds that sending the children into battle is paying off: Marquette voter Kathy Weber tells Hinds she was impressed with how "incredibly poised and very pleasant" Barbara Bush is after seeing her on the campaign trail last week. LINK

R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, and others may be planning a series of politically themed concerts for the remaining three months before the election. The Detroit Free Press reported on Saturday that the rockers will visit battleground cities like Detroit and Cleveland, plus major markets like New York and Los Angeles, to raise money for the Democratic Party and increase political awareness among concertgoers. LINK

Sen. Robert Byrd has advice for Sen. Kerry about how to win West Virginia: go there and get coal "dust on his hands and on his face." LINK

If the economy is the key to the election, though, Sen. Kerry may not have to bother with the coal: the director of the West Virginia Economic Outlook Program said over the weekend that the state's "economy will grow ever so slowly over the next 10 years, at about half the rate of the national economy, as the economy continues to lose mining and manufacturing jobs." LINK

The Charleston Gazette takes a closer look at the real effects of West Virginia manufacturing industry job losses. LINK

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch finds the paradox for the presidential candidates in West Virginia is that Kerry is "trying to win a socially conservative state with a platform based on economically liberal issues and Bush trying to win an economically liberal state with a platform based on socially conservative issues." LINK

A smaller percentage of veterans in Iowa — only 7 percent — receive federal disability benefits than almost anywhere in the country, the AP reports. LINK

The Northwest Arkansas Times takes a look at what upcoming elections mean for a city's media businesses, graphics companies, and similar industries. LINK

According to the AP, a man in Minnesota was forced to leave President Bush's campaign rally in Ashwaubenon, Minn., because he was wearing a T-shirt endorsing John Kerry for president. LINK

On the Hill:

Sen. William Frist's Senate, writes Bob Novak, is in disarray:

"Senate disarray is only one part of Republican malaise. George W. Bush is viewed by his own party's loyalists as sounding an uncertain trumpet, and GOP senators marvel that John Kerry has not forged well ahead in the polls." LINK

"Frist is more pitied than condemned. He was a leading future presidential prospect a year and a half ago when he became majority leader replacing Trent Lott, who was the victim of Democratic viciousness and Bush's nonsupport. Senate majority leader may be the toughest job in Washington, lacking the Rules Committee discipline that brings order to the House, or a president's ability to hide his mistakes. The Senate leader stands nakedly open to attack, and Frist assumed the leadership with less legislative experience than any predecessor in memory."

"The finger-pointing by Republican senators is natural. How could they lose the class-action bill when they had a clear majority? How could they fail to win a majority on the gay marriage amendment? How could they fail to pass a budget? Why did they succumb to Teddy Kennedy on the tobacco buyout? The answers revolve around the caliber of leadership."

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

Republican candidates for Democrat Zell Miller's seat in the U.S. Senate squared off in live debates Sunday night. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports things got pretty ugly, "Sid Cottingham, a little-known lawyer from Douglas, accused fellow candidate Oxford of threatening to hire a hit man to kill an ex-wife over an argument about UPS stock ownership." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the gubernatorial races:

The Raleigh News & Observer's Amy Gardner profiles the six people looking to be the Republican nominee in North Carolina. LINK


We just wanted to make sure this blind item from Page Six was duly Noted for you all: LINK

"WHICH Washington correspondent of a major newspaper could be facing a lawsuit from his long-suffering assistant? We're told that his tyrannical tendencies sent the aide into a deep depression, and now she's demanding a fat settlement. If she doesn't get one, she's threatening to tell all"

Cindy Adams' entire column is dedicated to Al D'Amato's Sunday wedding. LINK

Rush & Molloy report Ken Lay has retained Washington attorney Jim Sharp, who boasts of President Bush as an occasional client. LINK

Lloyd Grove has details on Howard Dean's wallet being stolen, but sadly doesn't get digits from Stephanie Cutter. LINK

The Schwarzenegger era:

Jordan Rau (who recently traded in one budget stalemate plagued state capital to cover another) of the Los Angeles Times Notes Gov. Schwarzenegger's shift from Saturday's "girlie men" to Sunday's "acting like children" attack on California legislators. LINK

The New York Times picks up Gov. Schwarzenegger's frisky comments — he called Democratic legislators "girlie men." LINK

"Rob Stutzman, Mr. Schwarzenegger's spokesman, said the phrase was not intended to question the virility or sexual orientation of Democratic legislative leaders, who include some women. The governor was expressing his frustration with his opponents' refusal to pass his version of the budget, Mr. Stutzman said."

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

A book. A documentary. What's next for Mr. Clinton? Here, get a sneak-peak preview of the Clinton Library, only four months from completion. LINK

And there's quite a guest list for the November opening, including President Bush and former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and their first ladies. LINK

From the New York Times' corrections section: "An article on Wednesday about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's absence from the roster of speakers for the Democratic National Convention misspelled the given name of her spokesman in some copies. He is Philippe Reines, not Phillipe." LINK


Matthew Wald of the New York Times ledes "With the apparent assistance of the state Republican Party, Ralph Nader appears likely to secure a spot on the Michigan presidential ballot." Michigan Democrats have called on Nader to renounce GOP support and tell states election officials he does not want to be placed on the ballot as an independent. Nader Spokesman Kevin Zeese says the GOP's efforts were not coordinated with the Nader campaign. LINK

The Washington Post tallies the Michigan Republican Party submitted more than 40,000 signatures last week in their drive to put Ralph Nader on the state's November ballot. LINK

David Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, "Pennsylvania Republicans are salivating over the prospects of independent Ralph Nader joining the fray for president in the Keystone State." The Nader camp admits it will be tough to collect all 25,697 signatures by Aug. 2 to put him on the ballot. LINK

The Las Vegas Review-Journal opines that any national candidate with a theoretical chance should be allowed to take part in the presidential debates. LINK

A new Pioneer Press/Minnesota Public Radio poll shows Nader is "keeping the state pretty competitive." LINK

The Courier Post reports Ralph Nader has enough signatures to maker the ballot in New Jersey. LINK

Tom Teepen of Cox News Service puts the question to Ralph Nader, "Is this any way for a hyper-liberal to act?" LINK

Bob Anez of the AP reports the majority of Montana delegates to the Republican and Democratic national conventions agree Nader won't be a spoiler. LINK

And Ohio delegates think so too! LINK

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Notes while officials continue to rebuff rumors of a reinstatement of a military draft Nader warns young people "a train is coming, and it could run over their generation." LINK


The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz looks at CBS News' approach to making campaign rhetoric accessible to voters by telling them how the candidates' proposals translate to real lives. LINK

Weekend must-reads:

On Sunday, Dan Balz of the Washington Post looked at President Bush's failure to campaign on a second-term agenda beyond a promise to keep America safer.

The lackluster trifecta of proposals of manned space exploration, immigration reform, and a same-sex marriage ban notwithstanding, the president has offered few ideas in comparison to this point in his first run, Balz writes. White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett says the campaign will begin to "aggressively" talk about the president's "vision for the next four years" — after the Democratic National Convention. LINK

In Sunday's New York Times Week in Review, Adam Nagourney focused deftly on the importance of Boston to Sen. Kerry's campaign, and what the Senator will need to do to succeed there. LINK

Nagourney also described what makes the nominating conventions not only relevant but absolutely important to the election process:

"The American convention remains a singular moment in the nominating process — a relic of a bygone time, perhaps, but a relic that nonetheless keeps driving the story line of a presidential election. And that is no small matter for John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee." It's the one time, Nagourney Notes, when a campaign has complete control over how the candidate is seen by the American public.

Philip Gourevitch's New Yorker piece on John Kerry is largely about foreign policy, but it contains:

— the fruits of at least two interviews with the candidate

— great, profanity-laced advice from Joe Biden about being direct

— the author inexplicably quoting from something he says explicitly was off the record from a Kerry staffer

— some Zen quotes from George Butler, Cam Kerry, and Richard Holbrooke

— nothing totally new, but a very nice look at the possibilities and limits of John F. Kerry (through the worldview of the Upper West Side by way of Brooklyn)

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):

— 9:45 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan — 10:00 am: GAIN Executive Director Simone Ward announces the schedule for training young Democratic activists during the Democratic National Convention at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 10:00 am: holds a press conference to announce it is suing Fox News over its slogan "Fair and Balanced," New York, N.Y. — 10:00 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Inter-Continental Hotel, Washington, D.C. — 11:25 am: President Bush meets with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos at the White House — 11:30 am: Senator John Edwards attends a campaign fundraiser at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, Durham, N.C. — 12:00 pm: Former Rep. J.C. Watts, the honorable Alphonso Jackson, and actor Joseph Phillips launch the African-Americans for Bush National Steering Committee at the Holiday Inn, Detroit, Mich. — 12:30 pm: The House of Representatives meets for its morning hour — 1:00 pm: Senator John McCain and candidate for Senate Bill Jones meet with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles, Calif. — 1:00 pm: The Senate meets in an executive session to consider the nomination of William Myers of Idaho to be a circuit judge for the Ninth Circuit — 1:00 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks at the Boone County Lumber Company, Columbia, Mo. — 1:00 pm: — 1:30 pm: On-camera briefing by Press Secretary McClellan — 1:45 pm: Reps. Tim Ryan and Kendrick Meek join World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers The Hurricane and Chris Nowitski at a news conference to discuss student voting rights at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. — 2:00 pm: The House of Representatives convenes for legislative business — 2:55 pm: President Bush meets with the Malaysian Prime Minister at the White House — 3:00 pm: Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol speaks to interns across the country about the war in Iraq as part of the Washington Center's Capitol One Presidential Lecture Series, Washington, D.C. — 3:50 pm: President Bush participates in a photo opportunity with Buddy Rice, the winner of the Indianapolis 500, at the White House — 5:00 pm: Vice President Cheney speaks about healthcare costs at a rally at Dana Conference Center, Toledo, Ohio — 6:00 pm: Senator Joe Biden and former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke attend a fundraising reception for the Kerry-Edwards campaign, Washington, D.C. — 9:30 pm: Gov. Howard Dean attends the Los Angeles premier of "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," with Center for American Progress President John Podesta, Rep. Henry Waxman, and filmmaker Robert Greenwald, West Hollywood, Calif.