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The world of political reporters cleaves neatly into two groups: those who wonder about the short term and those who wonder about the long term.

On this day, the short-term questions include:

-- What song will John Mellencamp play at the big Kerry-Edwards Radio City Music Hall event tonight?

-- Will the dominant media coverage of the Ken Lay indictment have a pro-Bush or anti-Bush tinge?

-- Is Deborah Orin right about the return of the word "liberal"?

-- To how many states, besides the Tar Heel one, does the selection of Edwards extend the TV ad war battle?

-- In the first round of reputable polling, will the presidential-led effort to suggest that John Edwards isn't ready to be the commander in chief move the needle?

-- Will the Kerrys remember to wear bibs tonight during their Larry King taping?

-- Will we soon start to see any impact on the presidential race of bad news from Iraq having receded from the headlines dramatically for quite some time? (Surely, you've Noticed . . .)

-- How much touching will the Senators John do on camera during their "60 Minutes" taping?

-- Which presidential campaign is seeing more polling not done or paid for by them on what impact, if any, the Edwards pick is having on the race?

-- Have Pataki and Giuliani talked to Al D'Amato this week?

-- Will someone who loves John Kerry make him watch video of himself telling those jokes on the stump yesterday?

-- Does the cover of Time and the feature in People magazine mean that veep rollout will indeed last two weeks?

-- Will the Senate gay marriage amendment debate and vote bring floor speeches from either Kerry or Edwards (who is very pro-gay)?

-- What will John Edwards' campaign schedule look like once the ticket mates go their separate ways? How about Elizabeth Edwards?

The longer term questions include:

-- Who will marry Jack Edwards?

-- How will the moderator of the Cheney-Edwards debate divide the time between domestic and foreign policy questions?

-- In his introductory on camera shot during that debate, how broadly will Mr. Cheney smile, as compared to the instructions he has been given about how broadly to smile?

-- By election day, how many Nexis and Google News hits will the search "Kerry Edwards overshadow" yield, as compared to the number of times any actual voters think about the concept?

The Labor Department reports a steep decline in jobless claims last week, marking the lowest level of people applying for unemployment since October 2000. According to the jobless report 310,000 workers applied for unemployment for the first time, 39,000 fewer than the week prior. LINK

AP's Jennifer Aversa points out that the decline could be exaggerated by adjustment problems stemming from seasonal auto plant closings. In addition, the number of people who remained on state unemployment after collecting benefits for a week fell to 2.87 million at the end of June.

Sens. Kerry and Edwards continue their rollout with a 11:00 am ET rally in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. before traveling to New York City for a gala fundraiser tonight with Dave Matthews, Paul Newman, Wyclef Jean, Meryl Streep, and many others. Sen. Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry also appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" on tape.

President Bush meets with the king of Morocco in the Oval Office at 11:25 am ET and addresses the LULAC convention via satellite at 2:10 pm ET.

This morning, CIA Director George Tenet gives his farewell address to intelligence employees.

Vice President Cheney gives pool reporters a tour of the updated Homeland Security operations center at 2:00 pm ET (They will take no questions, we're told.).

And the Senate continues debating the class action lawsuits bill.

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei hit the road with the Kerry-Edwards team Wednesday, and Notes the focus on economics and closing the gap in Edwards' "Two Americas," despite the prominence of Iraq and the war on terror in the campaign. Edwards will be the voice of the ticket's economic message, and Kerry will talk about national security issues, VandeHei reports. LINK

"In picking Senator John Edwards as his running mate, Senator John Kerry signaled that he would renew emphasis on economic anxieties and try to refute President Bush's assertion that good times have returned," writes the New York Times' Edmund Andrews. LINK

The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren wraps Sens. Kerry's and Edwards' jaunt through Ohio Wednesday, borrowing "phrases from each other's stump speeches to heap praise on each other as they promised to help hard-pressed Americans and promote the values of "faith, family, opportunity and responsibility.''" LINK

Note to Jodi: what's so great about being blond?

Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe is two for two in his "cute moment of the day" two days in a row. His recap of yesterday's Kerry-Edwards barnstorming contains this Edwards kids' moment:

"Later, aboard Kerry's campaign plane, an aide laughed while recalling that Jack had said moments earlier, "'You know what I'm thinking about? Oreos.'" LINK

In their recap of yesterday's Kerry-Edwards roll-out, the Los Angeles Times' Gold and Barabak observe, "Any residual tensions from the two men's competition during the Democratic primaries seemed to have evaporated. From the moment they stepped before a bank of more than 50 cameras Wednesday morning, emerging from the elegant Pittsburgh-area estate of Kerry's wife, Teresa, Kerry and Edwards looked like a couple on a blind date that had gone unexpectedly well." LINK

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times asks and answers this question: "Does John F. Kerry plus John Edwards equal Al Gore?" LINK

The AP's Liz Sidoti observed that Sen. Edwards may have achieved exactly what Democrats wanted: he seemed to have lightened up the uptight John Kerry yesterday. LINK

Howard Kurtz highlights Kerry's $18 million ad blitz meant "to capitalize on the choice of Sen. John Edwards as his running mate." LINK

Kerry launched television ads in Republican-leaning North Carolina yesterday. The AP writes, "Edwards may help put his traditionally GOP state -- and its 15 electoral votes -- in play, along with other Southern venues." And saturating the airwaves in his home state won't hurt. LINK

In writing up the re-emergence of Sen. Edwards on the campaign trail, Raja Mishra of the Boston Globe Notes, "In the run-up to Kerry's vice presidential selection, many people speculated he would pass over Edwards for fear of looking dull in comparison. Indeed, Edwards garnered more applause than Kerry in Cleveland yesterday during his 11-minute address."LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny wraps the first day on the trail for the KE04 ticket, making sure to include President Bush's comparison of Vice President Cheney and Sen. Edwards and the polls by CNN/USA Today/Gallup and CBS News showing that voters say they're largely satisfied with the choice. LINK

Jill Lawrence details a day of "Kodak moments and gaffes" where Kerry-Edwards electrified Ohio, but may have lost the bald vote. And that new way for John Kerry to connect by playing the loving (grand)father to the adorable Jack and Emma Claire Edwards! LINK

The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich reads the body language and paints a picture with all the visual cues on the first day of the "Double-Date Tour." LINK

The Baltimore Sun's Julie Hirschfeld Davis describes the trail lovefest yesterday, harkening back to the picturesque first days on the trail for the Clinton-Gore ticket in '92. LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's Rob Christensen follows the first big day, with lots of fun commentary by BC04's Reed Dickens. LINK

The New York Post's Marsha Kranes assesses the bounce that she calls a bump. LINK

Bob Novak says Edwards makes for a lopsided ticket, pairing two liberal candidates. "There is no sign Kerry was serious about reaching out to a more moderate running mate as John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Michael Dukakis did with mixed results. Nor do Kerry's advisers take seriously the notion that Edwards, who looked like a loser for re-election in his own state of North Carolina this year before he dropped out, can win Southern electoral votes against George W. Bush" LINK

The AP Notes, "Americans have a choice in November -- they can vote for millionaires John Kerry and John Edwards, or cast their ballot for millionaires George W. Bush and Dick Cheney." LINK

"Democrats Wednesday looked across the South and suddenly saw a land rich with possibilities, thanks to John Edwards," writes the Hartford Courant's David Lightman. LINK

They may not all be like tonight's concert at Radio City Music Hall, but "Concerts for Kerry has organized close to 40 concerts, including three at rock clubs in Boston. The organization's Web site,, includes links to help bands set up pro-Kerry gigs. As of this week, Concerts for Kerry reported having raised $114,000." The Boston Globe Notes that musicians from Emmylou Harris to Lenny Kravitz have participated. LINK

The New York Daily News reports Kerry-Edwards and the Dems will rake in $5 million at the Radio City Music Hall fund-raiser tonight featuring Dave Matthews Band, Whoopi Goldberg, and Wyclef Jean. Expect the surrounding area to be virtually impassible as soon at 3:00 pm ET today when security preparations go full-throttle. LINK

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg profiles Elizabeth Edwards. LINK

Airport worker Bryan Smith may not be married to a Fed chair, but some say he broke the Edwards story. LINK

Kerry-Edwards '04: Southern living?:

Anne Kornblut writes in the Boston Globe that Edwards' Southern appeal may not be such a help to the Democratic ticket in the South. Here's an anonymous quote from a senior Bush official saying that a Kerry attempt at the Southern vote "gives us a chance, when he pokes his head up, to say: 'You know, you're against the tax cut. You voted against the partial birth abortion ban. You voted against parental notification [on abortion]. You're wrong on the flag. You're a liberal, and you're from Massachusetts.'" LINK

USA Today's William Welch writes that "while more than a regional candidate, Sen. John Edwards' selection as Democrat John Kerry's running mate boosts his party in the Republican-leaning South, especially in Edwards' home state, North Carolina." LINK

Ivy-covered Jack Bass writes a poetic op-ed in the New York Times that claims "the choice of Mr. Edwards means that President Bush can no longer take the South for granted." LINK

Reaction to the Democratic ticket:

MoDo writes that "the John-John ticket might seem a bit off-putting -- a little too glib, a little too ingratiating, a little too forced, a little too expedient, a little too eager to please. But when the competition is two oilmen who don't seem to want to please anybody but Halliburton and the Saudis -- ask Pat Leahy, Old Europe and the 9/11 panel -- overeagerness is a relief." LINK

The Washington Post's dashing Tom Edsall writes that by choosing a trial lawyer as his running mate, Sen. Kerry has pushed tort reform to the forefront of the campaign, opening the Democratic ticket to both the support of trial lawyers and consumer groups and the opposition of big business and other lobbies. Edsall takes a look at the money that Sen. Edwards has raised from trial lawyers in his Senate and presidential bids -- $16.7 million of a total of $25.1 million requiring the disclosure of donors' occupations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. LINK

Joan Vennochi opines in the Boston Globe, "John Kerry has the right resume but lacks the Kennedy charisma. John Edwards has charisma but lacks the Kennedy portfolio. Like pieces of a puzzle, the two Johns might just make one Jack. That is the party bet."LINK

The New York Times' Elizabeth Rosenthal surveys the generally positive voter reaction to the newly-minted Kerry/Edwards ticket in a manner so subjective as to be wondrous. LINK

Jeff Miller of the Allentown Morning Call reports that Sen. Arlen Specter begged off yesterday's Republican attacks on Sen. Edwards. LINK

Stu Rothenberg recalls the first time he met Edwards and his first impressions of the man who would be number two in today's Roll Call. Rothenberg likes the pick but doesn't buy the assertion that North Carolina is in play -- just yet.

The Washington Post's Richard Cohen contemplates "what can't be measured, what is never mentioned in a résumé, is that quality I found in Edwards at lunch that day -- a fierce passion for social justice. It's something that does not come with experience but out of experience. In that sense, Edwards is ready." LINK

The New York Times' ed board posits "politics was once seen -- at least in myth -- as a career for poor kids with good people skills. Now we're getting rich recluses with ambitious handlers." LINK

The AP's Ron Fournier takes his stab at the Edwards experience issue. LINK

Recently debachlored Ryan Lizza says in the New Republic that Sen. Edwards adds many things to the ticket but perhaps most importantly -- he gives Kerry a tailor-made, battle-tested message. "...[T]he more Kerry emphasized the middle class economic anxieties from the Edwards primary campaign, the more it made sense to bring it on board." Also included: an intellectual history of the Two Americas concept.

Jeff Jacoby writes in the Boston Globe about Edwards' obvious weaknesses -- highlighted not by Republicans, but by John Kerry himself. LINK

Sidney Zion gives Edwards full-faith pat on the back that the North Carolinian Senator can handle attacks from the GOP (without using three words he knows they'll understand). LINK

The Boston Globe's Ellen Goodman Notes the lack of known women contenders for the veep pick. LINK

Check out page 3D in the Life section of USA Today for a photo of Glen Johnson and Matea Gold tucked behind yesterday's New York tabloids (at least the caption says it's them . . .) as Jim VandeHei looks on. Both tabloids covers take shots at the Post's Kerry-Gephardt gaffe.

Edwards in the battleground state media:

The team got rock-star like coverage as they departed Pittsburgh. LINK

And how's this for a "dream" reaction?

"Some said Edwards' presence softened Kerry."

"'They're down-home people; they look like the people next door,' said Maude A. Anthony, a 59-year-old registered nurse from Cleveland Heights. 'They don't look rich or famous . . . even though they are.'"

The Steelers versus Browns rivalry was quiet -- for a day. LINK

In Florida, the line to get in was more than a half a mile long. (We hesitate to ask, but would it be as long if Kerry had chosen someone else?) LINK

Mark Silva Noted Sen. Kerry's flirty line: "'I brought my own rough rider from North Carolina. . . . He's a lawyer; I'm a lawyer. His name is John; my name is John. He was named People magazine's sexiest politician of the year; I read People magazine.'" LINK

Read the rest of Silva's article for a good debate about whether Edwards helps Democrats north of Orlando.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert has the Edwards impact in Wisconsin, complete with local pol reaction and a report on yesterday's dueling conference calls. LINK

A possible sign: Tait Sye's mother in Flint, Mich. loves the ticket. LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Lawrence O'Rourke profiles Minnesotan Jim Johnson and his part in the veepstakes process. LINK

Only one step behind the GOP attack machine, the Union Leader attacks the "campaign rhetoric" of the John-John ticket on middle-class tax cuts. LINK

According to the Albuquerque Journal's Andy Lenderman, Kerry and Edwards will attend a rally at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Barelas, New Mexico on Friday.

The "Edwards Draw," as it will henceforth be known in some quarters, will be rural voters that "will clearly help Democrats win the White House," according to the Des Moines Register's David Yepsen. LINK

Swept-away headline writers may soon run out of superlatives for the Edwards effect on Democrats, but for now the Des Moines Register's Frank Santiago has found more room in the thesaurus with "electrifies." LINK

Taking "woe is me" to a national level, the Des Moines Register's Bill Reiter chronicles how Gov. Tom Vilsack's non-nomination is just a blip in the long line of Iowa disappointments. LINK

The Tucson Daily Star says three factors will make Arizonans like Sen. Edwards: he "talks straight," "seems approachable," and "happens to be very smart." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Pulling double duty, the AP's Liz Sidoti reports that the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign is expanding its advertising to North Carolina and launching a new ad rollout on Friday that will cost $8 million over the next two weeks. LINK

Sidoti also Notes that BC04 might expand the current ad, "First Choice," featuring Sen. John McCain and airing on national cable, to local markets in the states the campaign has previously put up ads.

President Bush had a strong reaction to reporters' questions yesterday in North Carolina about the new Kerry/Edwards ticket. When asked how Edwards stacks up against Vice President Cheney, Bush retorted: "Dick Cheney can be president. Next."

The Washington Post's Mike Allen wraps Bush's criticism of Edwards, which "reflected the determination of the White House to undermine him and prevent the Democrats from getting a significant boost from the choice, especially in the South," and "surprised officials in both parties, especially as Bush had no national experience when he was elected to the top job in 2000." LINK

Allen Notes the Republican strategy: "blanket local radio and television in southern political battlegrounds with interviews asserting that Edwards is Kerry's ideological soul mate. Republican officials plan to try to blunt the favorite-son effect by shifting the attention from Edwards back to Kerry."

The New York Times' Nick Lewis (a Note favorite!) looks at the subtext of President Bush's comments yesterday, Noting that "[u]nderlying the exchange was a nasty, three-year-old battle between Mr. Bush and Senate Democrats over judicial confirmations."LINK

President Bush connected Sen. Edwards to the judicial battle and "complained that Mr. Edwards was personally responsible for holding up confirmation of two North Carolina nominees," Lewis writes.

Nick Anderson and Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times Note President Bush dropped "the cordial tone he struck when Edwards was named to the Democratic ticket a day earlier." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt and Jake Schlesinger report "President Bush signaled his opening strategy for fighting John Kerry's ticket: jab vice-presidential candidate John Edwards on his qualifications and hit both Democratic rivals on their values."

New York Post: LINK


Washington Times: LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's Matthew Eisley Notes that despite the jabs at Sen. Edwards and the timing of the trip, the President's trip was an official trip not a campaign jaunt because of the focus on the judicial nominations. LINK

Eisely reports that the $2.35 million fundraiser was a record for a Tarheel State political event. "Bush can declare immediate victory on his visit's main goal: raising money for national Republican advertising and other party activities."

The Charlotte Observer's Griffin and Durhams lead their write up of the President's trip to Raleigh with the coincidence of the timing, but Note that "the trip was planned weeks ago."LINK

The New York Times' Carl Hulse and David Sanger look at the Republican line of attack on Sen. Edwards, which will focus what party leaders say is his "greater vulnerability" -- his lack of experience. LINK

Former New York Senator Al D'Amato said on Tuesday that President Bush should drop Vice President Cheney from the Republican ticket and pick up either Secretary of State Powell or Sen. John McCain.

The New York Times' Hernandez reports that in a statement, D'Amato "did not back off his original contention that Mr. Cheney should be removed from the ticket, asserting that 'hard decisions' had to be made at a time of war."LINK

Bush-Cheney '04 spokesman Terry Holt said in a statement: "Vice President Cheney has an experienced record of leadership on all the important issues facing our country, and President Bush is proud to have a running mate with the expertise and commitment it takes to help keep our economy growing awhile also making our nation safer and stronger."

The AP's Mark Humbert Notes that President Bush "has long maintained he wants Cheney to be his running mate." LINK

The New York Daily News writes up D'Amato's comments and Note that Gov. Pataki "quickly distanced" himself from the former Senator's opinion on the Vice President.

BC04 response in the Daily News:

"'I think the fact our campaign is called 'Bush-Cheney '04' says it all,' said campaign spokesman Kevin Madden. 'Dick Cheney has one of the most substantive vice presidencies in our great nation's history.'"LINK

And well, the New York Post headline cuts to the chase: "D'AMATO TO PARTY BIGS: DUMP DICK." LINK


The Des Moines Register wants John McCain to be vice president in the second Bush term -- sort of. LINK

President Bush will attend a rally in Duluth, Minn. on Tuesday as part of a two-day bus tour, writes the Pioneer Press' Rachel Stassen-Berger. LINK

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the skinny on this coming Wednesday's BC04 Wisconsin bus trip. LINK

The Des Moines Register's Lynn Campbell on First Lady Laura Bush in Des Moines on Wednesday doing her First Lady thing -- promoting reading? Check. Criticizing Fahrenheit 9/11? Check. Supporting her husband's chances in Iowa? Double check. LINK

The Washington Post' Rick Weiss gets one person he interviewed to claim that Vice President Cheney knew for a long time about his internist's addiction problem. LINK

This is one reporting-heavy piece!!!

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

The New York Post's Deb Orin recounts the President's knock on Edwards and Kerry's defense of him, but the most interesting sentence of the article might be this one: "Kerry, at 6-foot-4, towers over Edwards, and his manner was that of an older man promoting his kid brother." LINK

Orin also writes about the return of the "liberal" criticism by BC04. LINK

The Charlotte Observer's Anna Griffin and Sharif Durhams write about how the President just happened to be in town to talk about the new Tar Heel running mate. LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's John Frank wonders what the Cheney-versus-Edwards debate will be like. LINK

On her trip to North Carolina with President Bush yesterday, Kimberly Wilson of the Baltimore Sun chatted with some folks from Raleigh about Kerry's choice and talked to Duke University political scientist Michael Munger, who predicted Kerry will lose North Carolina anyway, though the choice forces Republicans to defend their Southern strongholds. She also stopped by John Edwards' old law office, where the room where he once worked is now used as a war room. LINK

Battleground states:

Local reaction to the Kerry/Edwards stops in Ohio varied throughout the state: in Akron, the Beacon Journal Noted that some Ohioans feel "Edwards can relate to working men and women who face tough economic times"; in Canton, the Repository says "Edwards came close to stealing the show from the less oratorical senator who tops the ticket"; the crowd in Cleveland, according to hometown paper the Plain Dealer, "clearly appeared energized by Edwards' addition to the ticket, enduring long lines and a brief shower to see them"; and the Columbus Dispatch reports that Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin says Edwards "is seen as the person that represented the underdog, and right now Ohio feels like the underdog." LINK and LINK and LINK

The Cincinnati Enquirer says the Kerry/Edwards stop in Dayton yesterday was no accident: the Democrats' campaign, the paper reports, "looks at Dayton as a key within a key -- a city of independent-minded "swing voters." LINK

The Charleston Gazette reports unconfirmed rumors that President Bush will come to Raleigh County, W.Va. on July 16 -- exactly one week after the Kerry/Edwards team stops in the Republican-leaning region of the state. LINK

Sen. Edwards will have some explaining to do when he arrives in W.Va. on Friday, says the Charleston Daily Mail: voters in the swing state are "deep in the debate over medical practice," having "seen a physician walkout over the high cost of insurance rates, a mudslinging state Supreme Court battle over lawsuits . . . and a millionaire trial lawyer who was twice turned back in his bid for Congress." LINK

In Washington state, the secretary of state announced yesterday that electronic voting machines will be required to produce a paper voting trail -- but not until 2006. LINK

Gas prices are making headlines again in Missouri, after many St. Louis-area drivers awoke Wednesday morning to costs per gallon $0.23 higher than when they had gone to bed the night before. LINK

The Reno Gazette-Journal editorial board urges Nevada's voters to take advantage of the state's battleground status and make the "candidates and their parties think about this state and what it needs." LINK

One of those issues important to Nevadans, of course, is Yucca Mountain. Las Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius says it is a "litmus test" for the state's voters, but few on the national stage seem to realize that. LINK

The best of the best: The "latest source of positive reinforcement for the health of the Nevada economy" came yesterday from the FDIC, which called Nevada's economy the best performer of the country's Western states, which itself is the leading economic region of the country. LINK

Susan Greene of the Denver Post reports five Coloradoans make the "Rangers" and, even better, "Super Rangers" fundraiser rank for President Bush and the GOP, wrangling at least $200,000 to $300,000 each. That must be some ranch! LINK

Top Senate Democratic money raiser Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar raised $2.5 million in campaign donations for his U.S. Senate bid. LINK

The Coors campaign and the Rocky Mountain News reminds voters Salazar got a head start. LINK

The politics of national security:

The Washington Post's John Mintz reports that the Pentagon says it will hold hearings for all 595 Guantanamo Bay detainees in response to the Supreme Court ruling last week that they are being denied due process. LINK

The New York Times' Christopher Marquis describes the procedures that the Pentagon is attempting to put in place -- and the problems that go with them. LINK

Tort wars:

The Wall Street Journal's Shalaigh Murray writes about how the American Trial Lawyers Association does its thing, Noting that ATLA has "outmaneuvered the White House and its business allies at almost every turn [and] stirs public sympathy for victims that typically trumps Mr. Bush's complaints that lawsuits are clogging the arteries of the American economy."

The Los Angeles Times' Elizabeth Shogren looks at the argument over amendments that yesterday stalled the Senate bill to limit class-action lawsuits. LINK

The politics of national security meets casting and counting:

The Washington Post's John Mintz reports that election officials nationwide are just starting to discuss concerns that terrorists may try to disrupt the election by attacking the U.S. on election day. "Election officials around the country say they are eager for advice on how to address security worries but say they are baffled at the idea of securing the nation's 193,000 polling places." LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

A group of center-left voter groups are challenging Florida's administrative rule that touchscreen machines are exempt from mandatory manual recounts because voter intent is clear. Not so, say those who brought the suit. LINK

The conventions:

The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum looks at who's giving the $103.5 million in private donations to the Democratic and Republican conventions. A study by the Campaign Finance Institute shows that the top fundraisers for the Democratic convention include Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and three of Sen. Kerry's top fundraisers. On the Republican side, Birnbaum reports, nine of the 12 top fundraisers "either contributed to President Bush's reelection campaign directly or have raised more than $100,000 for him." Not to mention the corporate donations on both sides. LINK

According to a study released Wednesday, "the host committees for the Republican and Democratic conventions this year will draw almost $104 million in private contributions, 12 times what-they did a dozen years ago," reports the New York Times' Raymond Hernandez and Glen Justice. LINK

"We're in the money . . ." is being sung in the heads of those planning the conventions. While the Boston Globe's Klein and Vascellaro focus mainly on the private funding helping Boston 2004, they Note the increase in private donations to both conventions this year. According to a report by the Campaign Finance Institute: "Private sources are on track to contribute about $110 million to this year's Democratic and Republican conventions combined, some 13 times what they gave for the 1992 conventions." LINK

Security in Boston is continuously being beefed up as we get closer to the convention, and yesterday, local and federal officials began random bad searches on inbound buses -- previously the bag-searching has focused on T passengers on subway and commuter rail. LINK

Apparently Verizon and the other wireless companies are working hard to ensure complete coverage for delegates, guests, and journalists attending the Boston convention. Note to telecommunications companies: We speak for all news organizations when we say "Make it work because tired reporters on deadline are not fun when e-mail and phones don't work."LINK

The politics of Iraq:

"A bipartisan Senate report to be issued Friday that is highly critical of prewar intelligence on Iraq will sidestep the question of how the Bush administration used that information to make the case for war," reports the New York Times' Douglas Jehl. LINK

Fahrenheit 9/11:

Variety's Gabriel Snyder Notes that in its second big distribution boost, "Fahrenheit 9/11" will start playing in an additional 286 theaters beginning tomorrow, bringing its total to 2,011.

Meanwhile released a new poll yesterday claiming that "nearly half of all presidential voters have seen or plan to see 'Fahrenheit 9/11.'" The poll's numbers, despite being strikingly high, present a little more nuanced picture.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, suggests that only 6 percent of all likely voters have seen "Fahrenheit 9/11" but that 38 percent said they intend to. We were most certainly not math majors -- we took Stat 101 -- but if there are, say, 100 million likely voters in the country, and around 6 million of them have helped the movie gross $63.9 million, then an additional 32 million of them would mean "Fahrenheit" would rank somewhere between "Jurassic Park" and "The Return of the King" (You'd never guess what does rank between those two movies: LINK) which we seriously doubt. Which is not to say that the popularity of "Fahrenheit" is not impressive, but it ain't no "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

The poll also found, as expected, that the movie's audience is overwhelmingly Democratic -- 86 percent of movie-goers said they planned to vote for Kerry. But do Note that a full 26 percent of movie-goers said they were independents, assuming people don't lie (see above paragraph), and that means something. If you want, here's the release that has only a glance at poll's findings: LINK

We've always liked reading the Guardian's leads, and today it fails to disappoint with its wrap of "Fahrenheit's" popularity in France: "It's official: Fahrenheit 9/11 is the favourite film of the so-called 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys,' otherwise known as the French." LINK

And we hope you all notice this towel snap from First Lady Laura Bush in a media avail yesterday in Iowa according to the official transcript:

Q: "Mrs. Bush, have you seen the movie Fahrenheit 9/11?"

Laura Bush: "No, of course I haven't seen it."

Q: "Do you have any thoughts about how it's portraying your husband?"

Laura Bush: "Well, that it's propaganda."

Laura Bush was much more responsive than Sen. Kerry was yesterday. Cox News' Ken Herman reports that during the Cleveland rally, an audience member yelled "Michael Moore," to which Kerry replied, "I don't know." LINK

And kudos to Reliable Source Richard Leiby, who finds the saliva donator who helped Deputy Defense Secretary manage his coif for a live shot: Kevin Kellems, now communications director for Vice President Cheney. "Would that qualify me for hazardous duty pay?" Kellems asks Leiby. We think so. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Last Thursday, Ralph Nader put three phone calls in to John Kerry, to discuss Democratic involvement in efforts to block Nader's ballot access, and other issues. Wednesday, at about 10 a.m. John Kerry returned them.

At a press conference last Friday, Nader explained why they needed to talk. "We have to get a clarification if they're going to engage in dirty tricks," Nader said referring to recent efforts to block Nader's ballot access in Arizona and Illinois on behalf of Democrats.

Nader says the two candidates discussed Kerry's veep selection; late last month Nader sent a letter to Kerry urging him to tap Edwards. When Nader asked Kerry if he knew anything about dirty tricks on behalf of "Democratic Party operatives" Nader says Kerry said he didn't -- but he'd look into it.

Today, Ralph Nader continues to promote his new book, "The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap" with radio and television appearances. LINK

On the Hill:

Which party is in control of the Senate? That's right, not the party of Sens. Kerry and Edwards. Could that be why a debate on class-action lawsuits was slated for yesterday and the gay marriage debate is scheduled to begin next week, the week before the Democratic convention? The Boston Globe's Susan Milligan takes a look. LINK

The Washington Times' Charles Hurt leads more emphatically with the point Milligan's trying to make: "One day after Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry picked a personal-injury lawyer to be his running mate, Senate Republicans took up a bill aimed at curbing class-action lawsuits." LINK

The politics of same-sex marriage:

Amy Fagan of the Washington Times looks at the efforts by House Republicans, led by Majority Leader Tom DeLay, to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, including not only a constitutional amendment but also the jurisdiction of federal courts to rule on cases involving marriage. LINK

"As the Senate Republican leadership quietly gauges GOP support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, some Democrats are considering the merits of allowing a direct vote on the issue, rather than trying to derail the GOP effort by a procedural move," Roll Call reports. LINK

Liberal gay rights activists have begun to "out" closeted staffers who work for Senators who favor the amendment. LINK

Nine same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in Maryland yesterday, challenging the state's 1973 law declaring marriage to be only between a man and a woman and adding Maryland to the list of states -- including Oregon, New York, Florida, Washington, and New Jersey -- (Note those battlegrounds!) in which gay-rights advocates have brought suit. LINK

Proponents of an initiative to ban same-sex marriage in Oregon are confident they'll get their measure on the November ballot. LINK

"Leaders in each party are gaming out strategy in anticipation of next week's battle over gay marriage -- a showdown prompted by Republicans' desire for a wedge issue they can use with undecided voters in November," writes Roll Call's Mark Preston.

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

"The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterparts by a 2-to-1 margin in June and by roughly $4 million from April 1 to June 30, marking the first quarter it has "won" the fundraising race in the 2004 cycle," according to Roll Call's Chris Cillizza.

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan writes that "The Illinois Republican Party is under fire from grass-roots groups who say the party forced U.S. senatorial candidate Jack Ryan to withdraw from the race, and they want his name returned to the ballot." They've reportedly gathered thousands of signatures on a petition to bring the candidate back. LINK

The politics of abortion:

The Wall Street Journal's ed board writes, "Liberals will keep their private views private, but conservatives cannot be trusted to do so. If Mr. Kerry's Catholic beliefs don't disqualify him from becoming President, and they shouldn't, then the same religious beliefs of conservative judicial nominees shouldn't disqualify them from serving as federal judges."


The Hartford Courant's Kathleen Parker explores the wisdom, or lack thereof, found in unsealing candidate's divorce records, from Jack Ryan to John Kerry. LINK

The Washington Post's Spencer Hsu reports that the plane that carried Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher to Washington, D.C. for President Reagan's funeral last month was nearly shot down by an F-16 fighter that was scrambled when it wandered into protected airspace near the Capitol. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

Ken Starr has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today called "My Job." You can probably guess how that one goes.

The Washington Post's reliable Richard Leiby catches Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe causing a commotion in Georgetown over that must-read Mark Shields' column. LINK

ABC News' David Chalian's Kerry-Edwards '04 campaign report:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., July 7, 2004 -- You don't know Jack . . .

. . . don't worry, you will!

You can hardly blame a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old for needing some well deserved rest after a seen-'round-the-world photo op and a "Cleveland Rocks" rally.

All three Edwards children returned to Washington, D.C. yesterday afternoon, but that didn't stop John Kerry from placing Jack Edwards front and center at the subsequent rallies in Dayton, Ohio and St. Petersburg, Fla.

You have no doubt heard that Jack has "taken over the campaign," "does a mean cannonball," and "can keep his head above water."

Sen. Kerry's eldest daughter Alexandra's favorite Jack Edwards moment of the day occurred on the Kerry/Edwards campaign plane, when Jack ever-so-subtly and hopefully said, "You know what I'm thinking about right now? I'm thinking about how much I love Oreos." No word on whether or not he got his hands on his favorite cookies.

Teresa Heinz Kerry chatted up reporters on the flight from Ohio to Florida and shared her favorite Jack Edwards story from Tuesday night at the Heinz farm where she worked with him on his diving skills. (We look forward to Jack's Ma & Pa's first visit to the press cabin.)

It seemed almost everyone had Jack Edwards talking points, clearly understanding the power of the image of the youngest campaigners of the newly formed KE04 family.

We will likely not see Jack and his big sister Emma Claire again until the weekend in North Carolina. And we also don't expect to hear, "Jack, from Raleigh, North Carolina go ahead" come from Larry King's mouth this evening.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —8:30 am: The Labor Department releases the weekly report on initial jobless claims —9:00 am: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and FBI Director Robert Mueller hold a briefing for Senators at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —9:45 am: Off-camera gaggle by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —10:00 am: The House of Representatives meets for legislative business —10:00 am: The Senate resumes debate of a bill that would restrain class-action lawsuits —10:00 am: Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks about U.S. policy on Africa at the CSIS conference, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: Interior Secretary Gale Norton releases a report that says National Parks are receiving record funding, Washington, D.C. —10:15 am: U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow participates in a photo-op at the Portland Fish Exchange, Portland, Maine —10:30 am: Secretary Snow tours the Gulf of Maine Institute Construction Site, Portland, Maine —10:45 am: Rep. Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly press conference, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards hold a "Shared Vision for a Stronger America" rally, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. —11:00 am: Secretary Snow attends a presentation of the New Market Tax Credit Award to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, Maine —11:00 am: Sens. Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer hold a news conference on raising the minimum wage, Washington, D.C. —11:00 am: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge holds a news conference to discuss recent homeland security efforts, Washington, D.C. —11:25 am: President Bush meets with the King of Morocco in the Oval Office —12:00 pm: Sens. Wayne Allard, Sam Brownback and John Cornyn debate the same-sex marriage amendment at the Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C. —12:00 pm: Secretary Snow speaks to the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Holiday Inn By the Bay, Portland, Maine —1:30 pm: On-camera briefing by Press Secretary McClellan —2:00 pm: Vice President Cheney and Secretary Ridge give pool press a tour of the updated Homeland Security operations center, Washington, D.C. —2:10 pm: President Bush speaks via satellite to the LULAC convention —3:00 pm: The Federal Reserve Board releases the May consumer credit report —5:15 pm: Sen. Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry tape an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live" —6:45 pm: Sens. Kerry and Edwards attend a fundraiser concert and dinner at Radio City Music Hall, New York, N.Y. —7:00 pm: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean debates Colorado Gov. Bill Owens about civil liberties and the war on terror at the ACLU conference, San Francisco, Calif. —9:00 pm: Sen. Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry appear on CNN's "Larry King Live"