ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

"On Iraq and the economy, on the United States' place in the world and the candidates' views of each other, it sometimes seems as if Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are campaigning in different countries."

The New York Daily News' Helen Kennedy uses Marist's latest poll numbers to determine that neither candidate will get much of a bounce out of the convention since only 4% of the electorate is undecided according to the survey. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's Alan Murray, himself not decided, bemoans the "exceptional polarization" he sees in today's electorate and ends with a call to rethink how states redistrict Congress. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman deconstructs the fine art of campaign promises, Noting the propensity of candidates — including incumbents — to ignore the fine print (i.e., the actual costs) of their proposals. LINK

The Detroit Free Press examines how "traditional fund-raisers are giving way to a more intimate approach that allows candidates to reach out and almost touch someone," at a time when campaigns are desperately trying to make connections that will get voters to the ballot box. LINK

The conventions: The Boston Herald reports that while the three voting members of the Joint Labor-Management Committee unanimously agreed to order a contract with BPPA by 2 p.m. Thursday, the union is furious, and Mayor Menino is thrilled. LINK

Said mayor did a victory lap on CNN this morning.

And Rick Klein of the Boston Globe writes, "The union is arguing that yesterday's meeting occurred without appropriate public notice, that the committee lacks the authority to reverse its previous ruling, and that two-plus days will not give them adequate time to hash out all the contract issues with the arbitrator." LINK

"Menino said delegates should feel free to ignore police-led protests, since the union will have a contract in place by the time the convention begins."

"Seeking to prevent a dispute between the city and its police union from disrupting the Democratic National Convention, government mediators voted unanimously Monday to send the case to binding arbitration and called for a ruling to be made by Thursday afternoon, four days before the convention begins," reports the Washington Post 's Jonathan Finer. LINK

John Kifner of the New York Times reports on the union contract dispute that could result in Boston police officers and firefighters picketing during the Democratic convention. LINK

Members of the Arkansas delegation will not cross police picket lines at the Boston Convention, according to Andrew DeMillo of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Gannett News Service's Chuck Raasch analyzes the Democrats' 35-page platform, Noting that "these documents are a good gauge of the tenor of the times. Sometimes, what is left out is just as powerful a statement as what is put in." LINK

Peter Canellos writes in the Boston Globe about one speaker at the convention who will not be getting a warm reception from fellow Democrats: "When [former nominee Al] Gore takes the podium at the Democratic National Convention next week, there will be no joy in the FleetCenter. Like an invitation to a wedding that got canceled or a ticket for a flight that never took off, Gore is destined forever to represent unfulfilled hopes and bitter disappointments."LINK

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