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5 days until the Democratic convention 40 days until the Republican convention 104 days until election day

NEWS SUMMARY: Don't get distracted by Sandy Berger's troubles (or his pants, or even his socks) — there are some big things going on out there that will actually determine who wins the election.

Tonight, post-network news, President Bush is expected to deliver a version of some sort of semi-"new" stump speech — and the setting couldn't be more symbolically resonant.

In a city he rails against (Washington), to an audience who already fervently supports him (loyal Republican donors), for an event that represents the area of both his greatest political success and a diminished advantage (a big GOP fundraiser), Mr. Bush will become Pre-butter in Chief of the upcoming Democratic convention.

BC04 Spokesgal Nicolle Devenish tells ABC News that tonight, ""President Bush begins to discuss his vision for a second term as part of a process that begins in earnest in early August. Tonight's speech begins to touch on some broad themes."

The president road-tested the speech New Haven-style yesterday.

(On the other big Bush campaign news — the presidential offspring's protruding tongue, apparently aimed at the media on the campaign trail yesterday), Devenish says of Jenna Bush," She's a spirited campaigner who was having fun on the campaign trail.")

Yesterday, the president self-consciously suggested to one audience that he wasn't going to be just about running down John Kerry, but that remains a big part of the BC04 campaign strategy.

Several big newspapers this morning eat Dan Balz's dust in pointing out that reporters, Democrats, and even some Republicans have increasingly demanded to know what a re-elected George W. Bush would actually do with the office.

Forget Labor Day — that will turn out to be the third or fourth unofficial campaign kick-off of 2004.

The day after the Democratic convention ends, both campaigns will be out there full throttle on the road, fighting for every advantage.

So it's never too early to size up the two sides on the Big Ms — money, message, machine, momentum, and Men.


For most of the Bush years, Democrats have been at a practical and psychological disadvantage on money, even with all the union spending. And Republicans have rightly pointed out that the president's hard dollar donations were a sign of fervent grassroots energy.

Who knows which side will eventually end up having more global resources, but John Kerry and Democrat/liberal 2004 fundraising — raised more by anti-Bush ire than love of Kerry — is one of the biggest political stories of the last 25 years.

Advantage: tie.


We'll see what the president comes up with to add to the security, tax, and family values messages that are pretty effective. But from where we stand right now, with the Kerry campaign message still hard to discern, it is quite possible that the incumbent actually holds the weaker hand.

Advantage: Kerry.


Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove have built the most organized, well-funded, and technically proficient presidential campaign machine ever, including coordination with state parties and major down ballot candidates. The Kerry campaign is trying to catch up, but it never will.

Advantage: Bush.


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.


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 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.

Jenna and Barbara Bush spend their first full day campaigning on their own, beginning with a volunteers appreciation coffee in St. Louis followed by a "Students for Bush" and other volunteers event in Columbus, Ohio.

Senator Kerry travels from Nantucket to Boston to Detroit today but has no public events as of this writing. He will appear on both the NBC Nightly News in an interview with Tom Brokaw and CBS' Evening News in an interview with Dan Rather tonight.

Senator Edwards travels from Washington to New York today to raise money at the cool Maritime Hotel and the uber-cool Crobar with his daughter Cate Edwards and Senator Kerry's stepson Chris Heinz. He and Mrs. Edwards appear tonight on CNN's "Larry King Live."

The House continues to debate whether to extend certain tax cuts today while the Senate debates the Morocco Free Trade bill.

The politics of Sandy Berger: Is it us or are the DOJ/FBI handing out details like candy?

We are less interested in the timing of the disclosure than in the ease with which reporters seem to be getting information about the investigation.

As we have said before, we are all for leaks to the press, but criminal probes are supposed to be secret, and this sentence from USA Today is typical: "Three government officials who have been briefed on the investigation said Berger was seen placing some of the material in his clothing …

The well-sourced Wall Street Journal 's editorial board raises some interesting questions:

"There's only one way to clear away the political smoke: Release all the drafts of the review Mr. Berger took from the room."

"If it's all as innocent as Mr. Berger's friends are saying, there's no reason not to make them public. But there are good reasons for questioning Mr. Berger's dog-ate-my-homework explanation. To begin with, he was not simply preparing for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. He was the point man for the Clinton Administration, reviewing and selecting the documents to be turned over to the Commission."

"Written by Richard Clarke for the NSC, the key document was called the Millennium After-Action Review because it dealt with al Qaeda attacks timed for the eve of the Millennium celebrations. In his own 9/11 testimony, Mr. Berger described these al Qaeda plans as 'the most serious threat spike of our time in government.' He went on to say that they provoked 'sustained attention and rigorous actions' from the administration that ended up saving lives.'"

"Sources tell us that Archives staff noticed documents missing after one of Mr. Berger's visits. After gently raising the issue with him, they were shocked to have him return other documents they hadn't even noticed missing. The result was that the next time Mr. Berger went to the Archives, the documents he was given were all marked."

"Mr. Berger attributes the disappearance of this classified information to the kind of 'sloppiness" that comes from reviewing 'thousands of pages of documents.' But it strikes us as amazing that mere sloppiness could account for how Mr. Berger seized on the same memo during two different visits."

"We're not interested in rehashing what the Clinton Administration or even Mr. Berger did or didn't do vis-a-vis the al Qaeda threat pre-9/11. Nor are we much interested about Mr. Berger's troubles with the law. What does interest us is what this memo might tell us about how America should respond to terror."

This story is still a moving target substantively.

What tick tock facts emerge in the coming days, and whether Berger is indicted, are obviously huge elements in determining where this goes.

You'll notice that the Bush campaign has said next to nothing on the record about all this, and the Kerry campaign is standing pat with the short paper statement from the candidate.

The general Republican view can be summed up thusly: isn't this suspicious; what did Berger do exactly?; what did Kerry know and when did he know it?; and how can Democrats try to get away with this and will the press let them?

Now, do more forthcoming GOPers actually think that there is some automatically big political story here? Maybe not. But they are going to try to make it one.

The general Democratic view can be summed up this way: Berger did a really stupid thing; how could he not have told the Kerry campaign he was being investigated?; the timing of the leak is absurd; and Republicans have completely ruined their chances to make political hay over this by having the Hill and talk radio make this a shrill, partisan fight about someone who no longer works for the Kerry campaign and about whom the public knows next to nothing.

The Democrats are pushing back from some classic boogeymen tactics that we won't even repeat here.

So, our questions:

1. Are there Archive employees whose tales will be told who will put out at least a Rashomon version of what Berger did?

2. Is taking Notes out of the Archive — as Berger admits he did — a crime or simply a violation of Archive rules? In either case, what are the penalties?

3. Since several news organizations reported that Berger put documents in his socks, and attributed it to government sources, and Berger's spokespeople denied it — what are we to make of that?

4. How many Lannys does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

5. Who wrote the anti-Berger, anti-Kerry talking points that seemed to be being uniformly used by Hill Republicans, Rush, Sean, and unnamed Republicans close to the Bush campaign?

6. Why Gordon Smith?

Berger attorney Lanny Breuer made the morning show rounds today, telling ABC's Charlie Gibson that it is "absolutely false" that Berger put documents in his socks, and added "scurrilous" to the charge when talking with NBC's Katie Couric. ABC's George Stephanopoulos Noted on "Good Morning America" that "without those socks, this thing would not have taken off like it did yesterday."

The Washington Post 's Susan Schmidt reports on Berger's withdrawal from advising the Kerry campaign, and includes this detail: "A government official with knowledge of the probe said Berger removed from archives files all five or six drafts of a critique of the government's response to the millennium terrorism threat, which he said was classified 'codeword,' the government's highest level of document security." LINK

"A Kerry adviser said the expanding controversy convinced the campaign that Berger's departure was essential because of the serious distraction it posed for Kerry in the week before the Democratic Party nominates him for president," Schmidt reports.

USA Today 's Mimi Hall and Jill Lawrence Note at the very end of their story, "Some Republicans, including White House spokesman Scott McClellan and Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz. and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., were more restrained than their party colleagues. McCain called Berger 'a fine and honorable man who we should presume innocent until proven guilty.'" LINK

The New York Times calls him a "senior adviser" to Kerry and leads their Berger story with his resignation. LINK

The New York Post calls it the "sock-doc probe" and uses the ABC News Web site as a source: LINK

The New York Post editorial page perpetuates the sock theory as well. LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports, "Breuer said the Justice Department considered Berger the subject of a criminal investigation, meaning that he had information of interest but that he was not a target, and so charges were not likely. FBI agents have searched his home and office but have not interviewed Berger . . ." LINK

This is how the New York Daily News team of Bazinet and Meek lead into their quoting of President Clinton calling the timing, "interesting." LINK

"That a fresh Clintonista scandal is now tainting the Kerry campaign was lost on no one, least of all the former President."

The Washington Times ' Bill Sammon and Stephen Dinan wrap yesterday's developments, from Berger's departure as an informal adviser to the Kerry campaign to the partisan back-and-forth over accusations of wrongdoing and questions of timing over the story of the investigation into the missing documents. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Money in Politics: The Washington Post 's Jim VandeHei and Tom Edsall report that "John F. Kerry and the major Democratic Party committees have collectively outraised their Republican counterparts this year, blunting one of the GOP's biggest and longest-standing political advantages, new Federal Election Commission reports show." LINK

It's the first time since 1992 that the Democrats collectively have outraised their Republican counterparts during a six-month period during an election year, the duo Note: $292 million on the Dem side, $272 million on the GOP side. And the benefits are trickling down-ballot.

We can't not include this paragraph:

"[RNC spokeswoman Christine] Iverson said the Democratic numbers are overblown because Bush did the bulk of his fundraising in 2003. But a top Bush fundraiser said Republican donors might not be as universally excited about the election as Democrats are: 'The [Bush] campaign itself is still the best I have ever seen. It's the product that has got some problems right now.'"

ABC News' Marc Ambinder reports that Senator John Kerry's campaign raised $36.5 million in June and $185 million so far this cycle — more than $140 million in the past four months — the fastest fundraising pace ever for a candidate . . . and the most EVER raised by a challenger.

Kerry had approximately $36 million on hand as of June 30.

Kerry will likely transfer whatever's left on July 29 to the Democratic National Committee, which can run ads on his behalf.

The DNC can coordinate with the campaign to the tune of roughly $16 million. The DNC had about $63 million in the bank as of June 30.

"The pace of Democratic fund raising, which exploded three months ago, shows no sign of abating, signaling that Republicans will have little financial advantage prior to the critical general election period," reports Jeanne Cummings of the Wall Street Journal .

Glen Justice in the New York Times on the parties' roles in fundraising: LINK

The Los Angeles Times has a look at the fundraising figures too. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's John McCormick looks at the record $185 million raised and $149 million spent by the Kerry campaign through the end of June, outlining the planned DNC ads between the party nominations of Senator Kerry and President Bush.


ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Alan Borsuk previews Edwards' scheduled visit to Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday. LINK

In an interview today on "Good Morning America" with ABC News' Claire Shipman, Elizabeth Edwards defended her husband against charges by President and Mrs. Bush that he does not have enough experience to be Vice President, saying, "That's an odd response coming out of this president. John has six years in the Senate and four years on the Intelligence Committee and a lifetime of work and fighting and advocating for American families. That he doesn't have the kind of experience needed? This president had considerably less experience."

Working hard to counter what some voters see as an overly-liberal John Kerry, the Democratic Leadership Council yesterday "slammed the methodology behind National Journal's ratings system, in an effort to defend Senator John Kerry from the "'liberal'" charges levied against him by Republicans," The Hill reports. LINK

The Boston Herald's Kerry profilers of the week, Andrew Miga and David Guarino look at how Teresa Heinz Kerry's money has helped her husband's political career. LINK

And the two follow-up with a diddy on how they could be each other's match (a tad bit more flattering than the other). LINK

The Boston Herald's Guarino looks at the Heinz-Kerry past ties to Cheney-operated Halliburton. LINK

Mark Mellman comments in The Hill on the inundation of public polls today, Noting that while early polling does not always offer insight, it "certainly leads to confusion and perhaps a net loss of knowledge." LINK

Dick Morris claims the current divide within the Democratic Party is the Kennedy (and Kerry) vs. Clintons divide. He uses Chris Lehane (who, according to Morris, was "sent" to the Kerry campaign by the Clintons) and Mary Beth Cahill as well as Senator Clinton's initial omission from primetime convention speakers to buttress his overstretched thesis. LINK

William Keck writes in USA Today 's Life section about Bush-bashing by celebrities, over whom the Kerry campaign's Allison Dobson reminds us they have no control whatsoever. And there are a few interesting insights from historian Doug Brinkley here too. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect: The Washington Post 's Dana Milbank Notes President Bush's mix of positive and negative campaigning on the trail, including a new version of his stump speech stop that will be further unveiled tonight in a speech in Washington. LINK

Milbank's take on the presidential campaign tone:

"Bush, aiming to discredit Kerry without appearing unpresidential or gloomy, has been alternating between an optimistic message and a caustic assessment of Kerry. His advertisements have been overwhelmingly negative. But his speeches, though occasionally angry and defensive, more often have an upbeat and folksy delivery."

Milbank gets down and dirty with the president's stump speech and finds it breaks down like this:

"45 percent on war and security, 25 percent on the economy and taxes, 10 percent on domestic issues and 20 percent criticism of Kerry."

The New York Times ' Nagourney and Stevenson preview the month of August and the planned "monthlong offensive" from the Bush campaign "that will blend criticism of the Democratic ticket with what aides said would be Mr. Bush's first effort to set out a second-term agenda." LINK

Nagourney and Stevenson Note that "[a]ides said, though, that the change did not mean Mr. Bush's television commercials would sharply change." The campaign would add more positive spots "but not abandon those attacks that Republicans say are crucial to Mr. Bush's hopes."

Names like Pawlenty and Fabrizio offer assesments that the president needs to switch gears.

So: — perhaps what President Bush does best — clear and concise explanations of why he merits a second term. The campaign will add more positive ads to the mix, too. Still, we wonder who will keep track of all Matthew Dowd's expectations setting? Up, down, 15 points, slightly better than expected. Oh my.

A fun quote ends the piece:

"'We never attacked Dole,' said Doug Sosnik, who was President Bill Clinton's political director, referring to Bob Dole, Mr. Clinton's Republican opponent in 1996.

DNC (allegedly) coordinated ads don't count?

The Wall Street Journal 's Jackie Calmes looks at the unveiling of a second term agenda for President Bush and reports that the "goal is for Mr. Bush to lay out his second-term vision at the Republicans' New York convention late next month, and perhaps preview proposals before then to maximize attention." LINK

Calmes Notes "advisers are struggling to craft a domestic agenda that he will soon begin promoting in his bid for a second term — even as they are trying to salvage initiatives in the current term" and reports that "[h[ealth advisers, for example, were brought in over the weekend" to work on plans to reduce the number of insured.

USA Today 's Benedetto leads his coverage of the president in Iowa yesterday with Bush's emphasis on a safer world. LINK

The New York Daily News' Katz and Bazinet take a look at President Bush as a "peace president," Noting that his own description of himself as a war president "has been a cornerstone of his reelection push." LINK

Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times picks up on the president's emphasis on a safer America in his speech yesterday and Notes that the theme "contrasts sharply with many recent speeches in which he warned of the continuing dangers that Al Qaeda and its terrorist allies posed to the United States." LINK

"A White House official did not dispute the shift but said that Bush had been moving away from the dire scenario in recent weeks."

President Bush's visit drew some 3,000 to a rally at Kirkwood College in Cedar Rapids Iowa, where the message remained largely upbeat, but included some jabs at his opponents, writes the Des Moines Register 's dream duo of Thomas Beaumont and Jonathan Roos. LINK

The Iowa City Press-Citizen's Vanessa Miller writes up President Bush's visit to eastern Iowa. LINK

Democrats called Bush's rally at a community college ironic, pointing to the president's record on cutting services to such small colleges, writes the Des Moines Register 's Jane Norman. LINK

The Washington Post 's Hanna Rosin suggests Bush's support is waning among military families. LINK

The New York Times ' Steve Lohr previews the Bush Administration's plan, to be announced today, for "a long-term plan for modernizing the nation's health care system with information technology, bringing patient records and prescriptions out of the realm of ink and paper and into the computer age." LINK

President Bush will head west to California in August to raise campaign funds and lend support for Senate candidate Bill Jones, the Los Angeles Times' duo of Martelle and McManus reports. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Miller and Wallsten report on a grand jury investigation into Halliburton, "into whether the oil services giant violated federal sanctions by operating in Iran while Vice President Dick Cheney was running the company." LINK

The Washington Post 's Robert O'Harrow Jr. looks at the latest on Halliburton, and reaction of Democrats like Senator Lautenberg. LINK

Note to Senator Lautenberg: if you run into Dick Cheney, don't act all chummy.

The Washington Post 's Harold Meyerson examines the demise of Ag Jobs under Bush's watch. LINK

The St. Paul Pioneer Press' Tom Webb writes that Minnesotans "overwhelmingly" believe that President Bush has made America safer since 9/11 and continue to give him high marks on all issues terror-related, according to a Pioneer Press/Minnesota Public Radio Poll. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney v. Kerry-Edwards: The Wall Street Journal 's Schlesinger and Jordan write in a must-read that population shifts in the west have created both opportunities and challenges for John Kerry and the Democratic Party.

"The challenge: The old Democratic strongholds in the Northeast and industrial Midwest continue to shrink. The states carried by Mr. Gore have lost seven of the 267 electoral votes they had in 2000. Four of those votes have landed in the Western states Mr. Kerry is targeting."

"The opportunity: Demographic and economic trends are making the region more receptive to the Democratic Party's message. Many new arrivals are lower-income workers drawn to the booming resorts, social liberals migrating from California and, most importantly, Hispanics, who tend to vote Democratic by a two-to-one ratio. In Nevada, Latinos are expected to cast 10% of all votes this year, up from 3.9% eight years ago, according to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey. In New Mexico, Hispanics this year will cast one of every three ballots."

USA Today 's Peronet Despeignes writes about how the latest economic news plays into the fight over battleground states and he reports, "Job growth showed continued strength across much of the USA in June, but there was weakness in employment in" Michigan and Ohio. LINK

Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn and William Douglas write about Bush and Kerry's courting of African-American voters, Noting that an "examination of their records reveals that they share similar beliefs on how to foster racial reconciliation and that neither can fairly claim to be 'the' civil-rights candidate." LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's John Harwood takes a look at the missing platform debates within today's political parties. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Peter Wallsten keys off some new Midwestern battleground state poll numbers and wonders if Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik might serve as President Bush's spoiler as some believe Ralph Nader might for John Kerry. LINK

The New Hampshire Telegraph editorializes on the likely expiration of the assault weapons ban, both criticizing Bush for allowing it to sunset and challenging Kerry to make it an issue. LINK

The Boston Globe 's gossip-y page looks at the genealogy of the presidential tickets, and while the Bush/Kerry New England blue blood connections are interesting (NOT!), how about this: "They're not related, but what is interesting is their kin: Edwards is related to the late novelist Walker Percy, and Cheney's got ties to Salem's Susannah Martin, who was executed for being a witch." LINK

Democratic National Convention: Convention goers could find out today whether they will have to make a decision to cross BPPA picket lines to events in Boston. The AP's Peter reports that the arbitration between the city and the union has begun. LINK

Globe Columnist Eileen McNamara sticks up for the unions, "[T]he notion that picketing is somehow a subversive tactic by ungrateful public servants demonizes union members and deprives them of what little leverage they have in negotiations with those who control the purse strings." LINK

Elizabeth Mehren of the Los Angeles Times leads her curtain-raising wrap on Boston security, traffic, and labor strife thusly: "As the Democratic National Convention prepares to open here Monday, Boston is girding for it as if a monstrous, four-day snowstorm was about to hit in July." LINK

Internment camp? That's what a netting installer called the "free-speech zone" in Boston where "Cement barriers, 8-foot-tall chain-link fencing, and heavy black netting have been installed," according to the Boston Globe 's Saltzman. And now protest groups are wanting to boycott the free-speech zone. LINK

To defray the rising cost of security in the host cities, Congress is "on the brink," according to the Boston Globe 's Vascellero, of granting each city an additional $25 million for the costs associated with protecting cities against a potential terrorist attack. LINK

Those in Boston's surrounding areas fearful of not getting to work on time by land, the Boston Globe reports private boat shuttles that can get you into the city. LINK

According to an AP delegate survey, more than a quarter of the delegates to the Democratic convention name Senator Hillary Clinton as their first choice in 2008 if the KE04 ticket does not win in November. Seventeen percent favored Senator Edwards. LINK

The show must go on? Kerry convention liaison extraordinaire Jack Corrigan seems to have found a back-up executive producer for the not-yet-confirmed Kerry give-back-to-the-city Boston Pops concert and fireworks during the convention. The AP reports that longtime event producer Tom Bates replaced David G. Mugar and said he, unlike his predecessor, can hold the event within its budget. LINK

The Boston Globe 's Abraham: "Mugar, who spent $1.2 million of his own money on this year's Fourth of July concert, said he had spent about $87,000 of his own funds in recent weeks organizing the Kerry event, and said he would have needed to commit hundreds of thousands more dollars for deposits to subcontractors to keep the event on schedule." The host committee is expected to pay Mugar back. LINK

It's Christie Vilsack's turn to shine, writes the Des Moines Register 's Rekha Basu, as she takes the spotlight from her husband for a while by giving a speech at the Democratic National Convention. LINK

Brian DeBose and Christina Bellatoni of the Washington Times Note how Maryland Democrats will use the Democratic Convention as a way to position themselves for the 2006 gubernatorial run, as well as the Thursday speaking slot for Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. LINK

Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post urges Democrats to use New England's economic self-reinvention as a parable in this convention, and not run aground trying to deflect all the "Massachusetts is a liberal state" stuff. LINK

The picture of the lobster rolls isn't terribly appetizing, but Johnny Apple's prose is. LINK

FOOD! The Boston Globe 's Samburg looks at what's being served at the delegate par-tays LINK

Of course part of what next week's convention represents is the beginning of the wooing of party leaders by city officials hoping to host a 2008 convention. Anaheim, California (yes that of GOP friendly Orange County) is taking its sales pitch to Boston and New York this summer. LINK

Rudy Giuliani: another Re-butter-in-chief! Hizzoner gets the primetime slot for the opposition operation in Boston on Thursday night, reports Deborah Orin of the New York Post . LINK

The BC04/RNC team plans to unveil its latest creation in honor of the Democratic National Convention in a conference call with Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman and RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie today at 10:00 am ET: the Democrats' extreme makeover: LINK. ABC News' Karen Travers reports that the site will be your one-stop shop (though there's little likelihood of it all being in just one place) during the Democratic convention for the daily message from the BC04/RNC shop(s), and links to their Real John Kerry and the Real John Edwards .

Today's message from RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke:

"It will take an extreme makeover of John Kerry and the Democrat Party's rhetoric to make both presentable to Americans. For four days the Boston Convention will serve as the Democrat's great salon. Those who have been watching the Democrats over the last year may not recognize what emerges each day, but don't worry. We will be there to help, ready with the real record."

Republican National Convention: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that the city would appeal a federal court ruling restricting searches and other police tactics during protests at the Republican National Convention next month," reports Diane Cardwell of the New York Times . LINK

A look at the more conservative speaking lineup just announced by the GOP, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times: LINK

And be sure to Note Christine Iverson's attempt at brushing off the suggestion that the new lineup had anything to do with conservative critics of the more moderate speaking lineup announced previously.

Stefan Friedman of the New York Post adds up the latest Quinnipiac poll numbers which show 75 percent of New Yorkers in favor of giving Central Park the protesters — temporarily, of course. LINK

Maggie Haberman of the New York Daily News covers the same ground (pun intended). LINK

Ms. Haberman also writes up a Miss America's just-announced GOP convention role. LINK

The politics of national security: The Washington Post 's Dan Eggen and Mike Allen preview the release tomorrow of the 9/11 commission findings, Noting that the report will detail as many as 10 opportunities the Bush and Clinton Administrations missed to either find out about or prevent the terrorist attacks — "but the panel stops short of saying the attacks should have been prevented, according to government officials and others familiar with the document." Six of those opportunities came during the Bush Administration, the duo report, and four were on President Clinton's watch. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's John Crewdson reports that as intelligence agencies are following up on President Bush's order to investigate possible links between Iran and the 9/11 attacks, the Iranian government called the suggestion of a link "ridiculous." Crewdson lays out the information linking Iran and al Qaeda, including an FBI interview in April 2001 with an informant who spoke of an impending attack using commercial planes. LINK

The Washington Post 's John Mintz reports that fewer Americans fear a terrorist attack and have preparedness plans in place for their own families — which worries experts who worry about preparedness. LINK

Ambassador Joe Wilson comes to his own defense on the op-ed page of the Los Angles Times. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: battleground states: Lost of good news on the state by state jobs numbers front for the Bush-Cheney campaign. The Los Angeles Times reports 14 of 17 battleground states posted jobs gains in June. However, the report also includes job loss numbers for Ohio, Michigan, and New Hampshire which, if you were to look at a 2000 electoral map, consists of two Red states and one Blue. LINK

"Ohio, a presidential bellwether wielding 20 electoral votes, shed 14,100 jobs in June. Michigan, which casts 17 electoral votes, lost 5,400. Both states have been hit hard by the four-year decline in factory employment that began shortly before Bush took office."

"New Hampshire, another battleground state, also posted a loss last month, with employment declining by 2,700."

"Elections this fall in 134 House districts across Minnesota will help determine whether political power has permanently shifted to a growing bloc of Republican voters in the Twin Cities suburbs," according to the Pioneer Press' Patrick Sweeney. LINK

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans held a press conference yesterday to denounce the Bush Administration's Medicare bill as a "political gimmick," according to the Manchester Union Leader's Warren Hastings. LINK

Iowa, of all places, leads the nation in tax cuts, according to the Des Moines Register 's Lynn Campbell. LINK

On the other side of the spectrum from Iowa, Arkansas was one of three states to raise taxes more than five percent, according to the Arkansas New Bureau's Doug Thompson. LINK

More than 2,000 students in nine Cincinnati Public Schools should be getting additional after-school tutoring and mentoring thanks to a $5.1 million federal grant announced yesterday. LINK

Congress praised Nevada for its exemplary voting system plans — pairing the electronic machines with printers that spit out a paper audit trail. LINK

Two ballot initiative petitions — one to raise the minimum wage by $1 an hour and the other to ban frivolous lawsuits — qualify for Nevada's November ballot. LINK

"A top Bush administration official on Tuesday challenged legislation that maps a corridor to transport water from a rural Nevada county to thirsty Clark County, saying the government should decide where to run the pipeline," the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. LINK

"A flock of sheep grazing on the outskirts of Reno could hold the key that one day ends the anguish of people waiting for organ donors and provides a new way to treat genetic defects in unborn children," reads an article in the Reno Gazette-Journal regarding stem-cell research being conducted at the University of Nevada, Reno. LINK

Arizona Democrats are riding high today in response to a new poll being release validating their insistence that last week's state poll numbers putting Bush almost 10 points ahead of Kerry were wrong. The Arizona Republic reports today "The statewide poll by Arizona State University indicated Tuesday that instead of trailing Bush by 12 points, as shown in the same pollster's results just three weeks earlier, or by 10 points, as logged by a different organization two weeks ago, the Democrat has edged ahead, 42 percent to 41 percent, with 17 percent undecided." LINK

The Miami Herald : "A federal appeals court on Tuesday delayed indefinitely a long-awaited Miami trial to decide whether more than 600,000 former felons in Florida could have their voting rights automatically restored." LINK

Republican Senate candidate Bill McCollum makes his air wave debut in Florida, reports the Tampa Tribune. LINK

That along with the stumping on his behalf by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey could boost the morale of the McCollum campaign, according to the Orlando Sentinel, right after the National Right to Life campaign endorsed his main Republican opponents. LINK

The Tampa Tribune looks at the legal strategies being put in place in Florida by the two presidential campaigns for vote-counting time. LINK

Gov. Rendell announced a $145 million rail project that could have passengers from Philadelphia and Harrisburg — lickety split! LINK

A busy day for Rendell, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports his administration recommended expanding Megan's Law to post the names of sex offenders who live in Pennsylvania on the state's website. LINK

Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers will head up the NRCC's Battleground 2004. LINK

Detroit may not be the #1 tourist destination but it sure is getting a lot of visitors. About 15,000 people will converge on downtown Detroit today through Sunday for the National Urban League's annual conference. LINK

And the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People just announced that it will hold its annual convention in Detroit in 2007, the first time since 1989. LINK

A Michigan man has spent six weeks making a saddle for President Bush, a gift valued at $3,500, which is to be presented to the president later this year. LINK

The referendum campaign that is pushing a 1 percent cap on Maine property taxes just got $25,000 from a prominent businessman and more large business contributions are likely on their way. LINK

Thirty-four West Virginia counties reported higher unemployment rates in June than in the previous month, the AP reports. LINK

But, West Virginians paid more for auto insurance in 2001 than people in all but 15 other states. LINK

Hauling a slice of a 420-year-old Douglas fir to downtown Charleston, W.Va., yesterday to protest Bush Administration forest policies, members of the Ancient Forest Roadshow are traveling the country to raise public awareness of threats to public forests. LINK

On the Hill: The Washington Post 's Helen Dewar reports "Democrats yesterday blocked the appeals court nomination of former Interior Department solicitor William G. Myers III, rekindling the Senate's bitter struggle over President Bush's judicial choices just before the two parties' national conventions." LINK

"Senate Democrats on Tuesday used a filibuster threat to block yet another of President Bush's judicial candidates, asserting that William G. Myers 3rd, a longtime lobbyist for large ranchers and mining interests, was unsuited to be a federal judge," reports Nick Lewis of the New York Times . LINK

The Washington Times ' Charles Hurt reports that another vote has been scheduled on Judge Henry W. Said, a nominee to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — also expected to be filibustered. LINK

Conservatives say that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is committed to using a controversial procedural tactic that would rewrite the chamber's filibuster rule, Alexander Bolton of The Hill reports. LINK

Roll Call reports Senate Republicans scheming a "major floor action" to end judicial filibusters led by Democrats. LINK

Independent Senator Jim Jeffords will fundraise for Dems in Boston. LINK

"House panel gave initial approval to a $128 billion domestic-spending bill that would shift billions of dollars from space, science and environmental programs to shore up funding for veterans' medical care, a major political issue this election year," reports David Rogers of the Wall Street Journal .

Georgia and North Carolina primaries: Dick Pettys of the Associated Press reports that Rep. Johnny Isakson will face either Rep. Denise Majette or businessman Cliff Oxford in November — Majette and Oxford are going to a runoff race for the Democratic nomination. In North Carolina, Former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot and former state Senator Patrick Ballantine will compete in a runoff for the Republican gubernatorial nomination to oppose Gov. Mike Easley in the fall. LINK

In Georgia: Isakson advances cleanly; the Democrats face a run-off. LINK

The Los Angeles Times provides a nice wrap of yesterday's primary news out of Georgia and North Carolina, complete with Gov. Sonny Perdue's prediction that Georgia will soon be represented by two Republicans in the United States Senate for the first time in history. LINK

The Charlotte Observer's Jim Morrill reports that there will be runoffs in the 5th and 10th districts in North Carolina after some crowded and close primaries yesterday. LINK

The Raleigh News and Observer's Amy Gardner and Dan Kane report that former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot and former state Senator Patrick Ballantine finished "virtually tied with 30 percent" each in yesterday's Republican primary, and they will now face off in an Aug. 17 runoff. LINK

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, last night Cynthia McKinney called her primary victory "one of the greatest political comebacks in history" while Johnny Isakson "cruised to victory without a runoff" in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. LINK

Elections in Georgia — who's headed for a run-off, who isn't. LINK and LINK

Lots more in Georgia, county by county. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate: The Washington Times ' Steve Miller reports that Jack Ryan, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois who promised to drop out of the race, has not yet forfeited his spot on the Illinois ballot, becoming "an official thorn in the side of the party because no new candidate can be named until he submits the withdrawal paperwork." Miller also lists a couple possibilities for replacements, including Ted Nugent. You read that right. LINK

Fahrenheit 9/11: What does it say when a puppet show that includes sex and references to masturbation, not to mention shots at President Bush, is compared to "Fahrenheit 9/11," at least in terms of its effect on Las Vegas?

Linda Ronstadt got booed off the stage in Vegas for praising Michael Moore a couple of nights ago, and today the New York Times ' Jason Zinoman wonders whether a city that reacted so strongly to the Moore praise will be accepting of the fabulous puppet play "Avenue Q." LINK

And just to remind you that Vegas isn't all, well, politics: LINK

And today Variety's Gabriel Snyder is reporting that the Wallace Theaters chain, which operates the only theater not only in places like Topeka, Kan., but also in Crawford, Tex., will finally get prints of "Fahrenheit 9/11." Snyder Notes that the conspiracy theorists were peaked when the closest theater to President Bush's ranch wasn't showing the movie, but it turns out that the cause was more business than politics a spat over the distribution of another Lions Gate movie: "Punisher."

The politics of taxes: The Chicago Tribune's William Neikirk looks at how a small tax bill is turning into a package of tax breaks for multinational corporations including General Electric, as well as breaks for "among others, bow-and-arrow makers, Oldsmobile dealers, NASCAR racetrack owners and producers of fishing-tackle boxes and sonar fish-finders — not to mention a $12 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. . . . Land developers, ranchers, small-airplane manufacturers, commodity traders and distillers also would benefit from various tax provisions, as would makers of ceiling fans." LINK

"The Republican governors of the four most populous states have asked congressional tax writers to include $19 billion in tax breaks targeted at energy companies in a massive corporate-tax bill," The Hill reports. LINK

Nader-Camejo: Michigan Republicans are accusing Michigan Democrats of outsourcing work to check Nader' s petitions. The AP reports Democratic Exec. Chairman Mark Brewer has said the party is testing the validity of every signature. Challenges must be made by 4:00 pm ET Thursday. LINK

The Chicago Tribune Notes Nader raised roughly $500,000 during June and started July with $207,000 in the bank. LINK

Nader volunteers submitted 1,460 signatures in New Jersey — almost twice the number he needs to get on the ballot. And attorney for the campaign warned the state's Democratic Party not to challenge the Nader petitions as parties have in Oregon, Illinois, Florida and Arizona. Executive director of the New Jersey Democratic Party Adam Green told the Philadelphia Inquirer he was disappointed that Nader would likely be on the ballot, but that it would not challenge his petitions. Nader won about 3 percent of the vote in New Jersey in 2000. LINK

Today Ralph Nader will issue a release today asking Democratic and Republican Parties to stop interfering with his presidential bid. Or as he puts it: "stop maliciously trying to entangle our campaign with their own desperate maneuvers." LINK

The AP reports a Portland activist plans to file a complaint against Citizens for Sound Economy for helping recruit attendees to a June 26 to help Nader get 1,000 voter signatures and qualify him as a candidate in Oregon. A Washington-based group has filed a similar complaint. Tracey Schmitt of BC'04 says the campaign would "make an appropriate response" once it saw Lowe's complaint. LINK

Nader in Alaska. LINK

Columnist Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press says that GOPpers helping Nader out in Michigan is really "the Clintonian thing to do." LINK

Politics: In USA Today , Erin Kelly writes about how Gov. Dean spends his days. LINK

The AP reports on P. Diddy's plans to make voting "fashionable." And then there's this proclamation from Mr. Combs about his new group: "When he said the group would charter a jet to travel to swing states to make an impact, he added: 'We will have mimosas on the jet. We're going to have the sexiest jet!'" LINK

The New York Times ' Kocieniewski and Mansnerus profile New Jersey's United States attorney, Christopher Christie, and his war against political corruption in the Garden State. LINK

America's Protestant majority will soon be a minority. LINK

"Senator John W. Warner's office acknowledged yesterday that the Virginia Republican arranged for religious activists to use a Senate office building last March for a ceremony in which the Rev. Sun Myung Moon declared himself the Messiah and said his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be "reborn as new persons,"" the Washington Post 's Chuck Babington. LINK

San Francisco is testing the waters on non-citizens voting in school board elections. LINK

The AP reports on the intensifying efforts of groups against gun violence. LINK

Texas Monthly's S.C. Gwynne caught up the elusive Cecile Richards and spins a tale of 'her momma was beaten by she's getting her revenge.' The America Votes super psychologist, in charge of keeping all elements of the Democratic interest group coalition from stepping on each other's shows, was born with politics in her blood. Of interest to those seeking nuggets is her work with faith-based organizations. Read the whole thing in this month's Texas, ah, Monthly.

Corrections: In Monday's Note, we wrote of Phillip Gourevitch's excellent New York Times piece: "[the] author inexplicably quot[es] from something he says explicitly was off the record from a Kerry staffer."

This was not accurate. Mr. Gourevitch was in fact describing what the Kerry campaign tends to say off-the-record about Senator Kerry's $87 billion Iraq vote. His source for that bit of campaign mechania provided the information on background. So Mr. Gourevitch did not, as we suggested with our phrasing, quote a source's off-the-record remarks. We regret the confusion we caused and did not intend to impugn Mr. Gourevitch.

Also from Monday's Note: Republican and Democratic candidates for Zell Miller's seat in the U.S. Senate squared off in live debates Sunday night. We inadvertently characterized the Democrats' exchange as between Republicans.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET):

— 9:00 am: Off-camera gaggle by the White Press Secretary Scott McClellan — 9:30 am: The Senate convenes for morning business — 9:40 am: President Bush signs S. 15, Project BioShield Act of 2004 — 10:00 am: The House of Representatives meets for morning business — 10:00 am: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies before the House Banking Committee at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. — 10:10 am: President Bush participates in a photo opportunity at the White House with the living members and spouses of the Apollo 11 missions on the 35th Anniversary of the first landing on the moon — 10:30 am: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life sponsors a news conference and discussion on "One Electorate Under God? A Dialogue on Religion and American Politics" with Reps. David Price and Mark Souder at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C. — 10:45 am: Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others hold a news conference to discuss Medicare at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. — 11:00 am: Marriage Protection Act author Rep. John Hostettler and the bill's co-sponsors hold a press conference at the Capitol prior to House consideration of the bill, Washington, D.C. — 11:30 am: The Senate votes on the Morocco Free Trade Agreement — 12:00 pm: Senator Bill Nelson holds a closed meeting at the Capitol and speaks to the press with Paul Johnson III, son of Paul Johnson Jr., a Lockheed Martin contractor who was abducted and beheaded in Iraq, Washington, D.C. — 12:00 pm: Former President Bill Clinton signs copies of his memoirs "My Life" at Chapter 11, Atlanta, Ga. — 12:45 pm: Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at the 50th anniversary of the Food for Peace conference at the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, D.C. — 1:00 pm: Rep. Carolyn Maloney holds a news conference to introduce her "Restoring Democracy to the U.S. Congress Act of 2004" at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. — 1:00 pm: On-camera briefing by Press Secretary McClellan — 1:00 pm: Lawrence Jacobs, professor and director of the 2004 Elections Project, discusses a new survey of the battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 2:00 pm: The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on funding for the Reserves and the National Guard with Govs. Jeb Bush and Joseph Kernan and others at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. — 2:00 pm: Ralph Nader meets with volunteers and campaign supporters at Eclectica, Anchorage, Alaska — 2:25 pm: President Bush meets with the Prime Minister of Romania at the White House — 3:00 pm: 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton hold a meeting with members of the Senate at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. — 5:15 pm: holds a press briefing on a its Cross-Party Convention Celebration for Singles with special guests James Carville and Mary Matalin at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. — 6:00 pm: Senator John Edwards attends a campaign fundraiser at the Maritime Hotel with his daughter Cate Edwards and Senator Kerry's stepson Chris Heinz, New York, N.Y. — 6:00 pm: Members of Congress and the press participate in a Q&A before a screening of Robert Greenwald's "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" — 7:15 pm: President Bush speaks at the 2004 President's Dinner at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. — 9:00 pm: Senator Edwards attends a campaign fundraiser at Crobar, New York, N.Y. — 9:00 pm: Senator Edwards and his wife Elizabeth Edwards appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" — 11:00 pm: Ralph Nader speaks at First United Methodist Church, Anchorage, Alaska