ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Since both sides agree that July "belongs" to Kerry and August to Bush, it is quite understandable that Senator Kerry seems a bit more on the upswing now. But whatever bad news there is out of Iraq continues to stay off the front pages and out of the TV leads. And that is a necessary condition for the Bush comeback.

Advantage: tie.

Men

IF George Bush loses this race, the poetry of his underestimating his opponent just might be part of the explanation.

Is John Kerry as good a politician as Bill Clinton? No.

But he is a heck of a lot better at all this stuff than the last Democratic nominee for president. If Kerry gives a boffo acceptance speech as part of an overall successful convention, he will be on track to put himself in a position to win this.

But the president is an incredibly competitive man, and a great politician and he knows what it takes to win.

Advantage: tbd.

And let us take a moment to Note the success of the so-called Third Man — one Terence Richard McAuliffe.

The Democratic National Committee Chairman has at times been derided, but his successes as chair are manifest.

Although we aren't the first ones to point this out, and although we do it on the merits, it never hurts to tell the world what a great job the head of the party about to hold its convention is doing.

What with credential, party, and informational needs abounding for ABC News in Boston.

Consider what McAuliffe has accomplished to aid and abet John Kerry:

1. a front-loaded nomination process that produced the desired early nominee, allowing Kerry months and months to raise money and stop taking intra-party shrapnel.

2. the inclusion of states from the Southwest in the front-loading, including as nomination debate sites, stoking Democratic activity and Kerry visibility in those general election battlegrounds.

3. a re-making of the computerized voter file (and, yes, Terry, we used to laugh at that part of the speech).

4. a constant and thorough whipping up of the anti-Bush sentiment through all means of message delivery, a key component of Kerry's fundraising and grassroots support.

5. rebuilding the DNC fundraising operation in a post-Shays-Meehan-McCain-Feingold world.

6. the new DNC headquarters building, which puts the office set of "Thirtysomething" to shame — and still maintains Tortilla Coast proximity!!!

Today's must-reads:

--Adam Nagourney and Dick Stevenson's preview of August and all it means to the Bush campaign — and what the KE04 folks will have to dodge. LINK

--The campaign fundraising analysis brought to you by the Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei and Tom Edsall, who we've no doubt pored over many a campaign disclosure form in their time. LINK

And as always, we remind you that you can follow all of the breaking political news of the day on ABCNEWS.com with our very own Noted Now: LINK (Those paying close attention will Note the new link!!!)

President Bush signs the BioTerror Act this morning at 9:40 am, right around the same time his campaign and the RNC will be arguing the Democratic platform is "an extreme makeover" of Sens. Kerry's and Edward's voting records. At 10:10 am ET Bush participates in a photo-op with survivors and their families of the Apollo missions, and tonight at 7:15 pm ET speaks at that Washington dinner held in his honor by the NRCC and the NRSC.

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