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Hey, it's been 24 hours since The Pick (the veep kind, not the Seinfeld kind).

That's a million years in political media cycle terms, so it is time to render some grand judgments.

In fact, such judgments are long overdue (Sorry, we were catching up on our sleep.)

A. What's up with the rollout?

Every election, top communications strategists in both parties -- say, an Ed Gillespie for the Republicans, or a Rahm Emanuel for the Democrats -- cringe and scowl and bellow that if only their respective parties could plan and execute a sophisticated communications strategy, winning elections and implementing their wonderful ideas would be a snap.

Let history record that Stephanie Cutter and her secret team of ace planners put together a Veepstakes rollout plan that the media is being forced to follow along with in lockstep (even as the media is aware of and denounces the manipulation).

It will take the public a whole heck of a lot longer to even possibly sense that they are watching a slow-motion, multi-day dog and pony show.

National and battleground coverage -- running through at a minimum to this Sunday's "60 Minutes" -- has been and is on a trajectory to be in volume and quality even beyond the wildest dreams of what Cutter and Co. drew up on the blackboard.

This morning's family-friendly farm photo op in Pittsburgh got road-blocked live coverage on all the broadcast and cable networks. The children were all front and center and the spouses both got a chance to talk.

We don't know who had more physical contact -- John Kerry and John Edwards (hugga hugga!) or Chris Heinz and his step-sister Vanessa.

They did not take questions, about which the public will certainly be outraged.

OK, actually, ABC News' David Chalian reports that a reporter did manage to get in a single question to John Edwards following the photo-op:

Q: What do you think of President Bush visiting your home state today?

A: "I can tell you I spent a lot more time there than he has."

The campaign team put their rollout plan together not knowing who the Robin would be to Kerry's Batman in this political buddy film, and they were rewarded with a candidate who is perdy and energetic and will fire up the crowds as much as his selection has them fired up (when they aren't complaining about too little sleep).

Backgrounding only the details they want out there (menus two days running!!); focusing on what The Pick says about the careful, thoughtful, mature character of John Kerry; knowing what will trigger live broadcast and cable coverage; ample surrogate conference calls and talking points; earning free media for a new Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid TV ad; the distinctive Kerry-alone initial announcement; and the rollout of Jim Johnson as a sort of discreet, seasoned version of Warren Christopher -- all of that has been very effective.

BC04RNCFrist executed its own long-planned efforts to derail/smudge/splatter The Pick, but, so far, it hasn't kicked in to stop the press from the dominant storylines -- implicit and explicit -- that the media wants.

Let's be frank about what that is: We The Media love John Edwards and we like John Kerry more than before for picking him. And Emma Claire and Jack are really, really cute.

The new Democratic ticket held its first public appearance this morning, that 8:30 am ET photo-op at the Heinz farm in Fox Chapel, Pa. Sens. Kerry and Edwards then hop to rallies in Cleveland (10:30 am ET), Dayton (3:30 pm ET), and St. Petersburg, Fla. (10:00 pm ET).

B. What veep launch pitfalls have they avoided (so far . . . )?

1. Nary a discouraging word from within the party about The Pick -- and nothing at all (think Lieberman, 2000) from any of the party's wings about unhappiness with Edwards. In fact, except for Chris "I'm a Rookie" Heinz and Ed "Yes, I Really Was the DNC Chair" Rendell, no Democrat has been heard to utter a discouraging word about John Edwards for months.

2. Despite efforts to find distance between them, the press has found only thin gruel to show any meaningful issues conflicts between the top and bottom of the ticket (again, think Lieberman and Gore in 2000 and how much of the early coverage was about that).

3. The kind of bad Pick analysis that the media savvy E.J. Dionne realizes would have flowed had Gephardt been selected and not launched superhumanly:

"Kerry would have been described as 'insecure' at the prospect of standing next to the 'charismatic' and 'populist' Edwards. Fearing being 'upstaged' by the equally ambitious Edwards, Kerry would have been accused of making the 'obvious,' 'uninspired' and 'comfortable' choice. Gephardt's experience would have been trotted out to turn him into the 'tired' face of the 'old' Democratic Party. It would also have been said that Kerry, the 'elitist Massachusetts liberal,' had 'written off' the South and rural America."

4. Any of the rah rah being diluted by things like Edwards' past Senate votes or failure to vote in some elections or other stuff like that (think Dick Cheney and Nelson Mandela, or Jack Kemp and the gold standard.)

5. No media chants of "who is this guy?" (think Vilsack) and little press credence in any Quayle comparisons.

C. What is still possible to come?

1. Investigative work on old and new aspects of Edwards' background.

2. More on the implications for Senator Clinton, Al Gore, and Howard Dean for '08 and '12.

3. More of a sense of how Nader and Nader followers will react to this.

4. What happens to Tar Heel Thursdays? LINK

5. Scrutiny of Edwards' biggest cases (The man had a knack for representing sympathetic clients.).

6. Edwards' Tennessee days.

7. What Edwards can do in rural Ohio.

8. The insiders' favorite: who will win the battle between the campaign team pre-selected by the Kerry campaign for the veep-in-waiting and the big group of Edwards for President campaign staffers who are ready, willing, and able to move in and take over?

9. The stealthy release of the Faircloth, Dean, Gore 2000, RNC and/or Johnson research files on Edwards.

10. A substantive, important nationwide debate on tort reform. Okay: don't hold your breath for that, but how about -- who actually pours more money into this thing now, trial lawyers or Big Business?

11. A record-setting number of "They Said It" e-mails from the Republican National Committee (?)

12. Re-screening of that (in)famous "Meet the Press" interview and the breath-holding for a potential national security gaffe that changes the race. Pop quiz, anyone?

D. What's up with John Wagner?

On his first official day as a Washington Post reporter -- fresh from his long stint at the Raleigh News and Observer as the political reporter regularly on the road covering John Edwards -- Wagner was part of his new paper's coverage of The Pick.

Still astride two worlds, Wagner writes this today:"An analysis published in February by the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., showed that Edwards and Kerry voted identically 91 percent of the time on the 1,166 recorded votes for which both were present since 1999, when Edwards became a senator."

Of course, it turns out that Wagner's reference is to a Feb. 29 N&O story by . . . John Wagner!!!

That story said: "Since Edwards' arrival in the Senate in 1999, he and Kerry have voted the same way on 91 percent of the 1,166 recorded votes for which both were present, an analysis of their records shows."

The AP's Liz Sidoti reports John Kerry will expand his television advertising on Wednesday to John Edwards' home state, Republican-leaning North Carolina, one day after naming the Southern senator as his running mate. LINK

The Kerry-Edwards'04 campaign rolls out seven new nationwide 30-second television ads featuring the ticket together today for battlegrounds and cable, and is adding at least one new state: North Carolina, where President Bush won 56 percent of the vote in 2000, and coincidentally, campaigns today.

"Team for America" introduces the war hero veteran and the son of a mill worker as the ultimate super hero duo. "Husband and Father" and "Born in Colorado" play to the coveted NASCAR-dad vote portraying the KE04 as the ultimate he-man hockey player, prosecutor, war hero, i.e. the dad you wish woulda had ticket. Others appeal to working-class issues like taxes and security. LINK

Let's see how the Bush campaign responds. Perhaps they will feel not threatened in the South at all and say to the Kerry campaign in effect "Go waste all the money you want."

Or maybe they will feel the states could tighten up, and it is worth showing weakness by going on the air to try to stop the electoral playing field from growing.

In a pre-scheduled trip that unfair folks in the media might try to cast as defensive, President Bush travels to Sen. Edwards' home state this morning for a meeting with judicial nominees (10:35 am ET) and an RNC fundraiser (12:20 am ET) in Raleigh. He then does the same in Pontiac/Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (4:15 pm ET meeting with nominees, 5:55 pm ET fundraiser).

First Lady Laura Bush is promoting reading and raising money in the Midwest today. She pitches for summer reading at the Council Bluffs library (10:45 am ET), attends an RNC fundraiser in Omaha at 12:45 pm ET, and speaks at a "Read Out and Read" event at 3:45 pm ET.

In Philadelphia, Lynne Cheney presents the 2004 James Madison Book Award at the Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 10:00 am ET.

And the Senate debates the Class Action Fairness Bill beginning at 10:30 am ET.

ABC News Vote 2004: Kerry-Edwards '04:

The Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei wrap the Edwards choice and recount the five criteria Kerry laid out for Johnson and Cahill in a potential running mate: "someone with a distinguished record of leadership, someone committed to Kerry's core agenda, someone with the ability to campaign in all parts of the country, someone compatible with Kerry "on every level" and someone immediately ready to assume the presidency at any moment." LINK

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney writes about how Edwards balances Kerry with his vigor, personal charm, and message, Noting that "As a result, many Democrats said Tuesday, this highest-profile decision of Mr. Kerry's public life was as instructive about the party's presumed presidential candidate as it was about Mr. Edwards. It was the move of a candidate who is proving to be methodical, discreet, coolly pragmatic and exceedingly self-assured; one who is so intensely focused on victory as to be presumably unruffled by the unflattering stylistic contrasts that will surely be drawn whenever he and Mr. Edwards share a stage." LINK

An observation echoed by the Gray Lady's editorial board. LINK

The New York Times' David Halbfinger turns in a great news of day story, Noting that, in addition to (theoretically) keeping the South in play, "The choice of Mr. Edwards is also likely to have a powerful effect on the future of the party, giving a platform to a younger Democrat and setting up a potential leadership clash between Mr. Edwards, as Mr. Kerry's presumptive heir, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has ridden her husband's legacy to the Senate and is widely thought to have designs on the White House herself." LINK

Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe details the super secret running mate search process demanded by Sen. Kerry himself. LINK

Cutest detail of the day: "Yesterday, Kerry called Edwards to announce his decision. Edwards in turn called his wife, Elizabeth, who was at their home in North Carolina. When the phone rang, their daughter Emma Claire answered."

'''She said, 'Senator Kerry picked Daddy,' ' Elizabeth Edwards told reporters as she and her husband shook hands yesterday afternoon after arriving at the Pittsburgh airport to meet up with the Kerrys."

In her tick tock of the selection process, Jodi Wilgoren also featured the precocious Emma Claire. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny and John McCormick write that "Before reaching his verdict, Kerry combed through a list of at least 25 serious candidates, Democrats and Republicans alike." They also Note that the Kerry campaign printed signs, T-shirts and "other campaign trinkets for five candidates, including Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Vilsack." LINK

In his analysis, the Washington Post's Dan Balz writes that while there are many advantages to the Edwards choice, Kerry surely now faces criticism that he went the expedient route and chose the flashy running mate over other possible candidates with more experience and a more significant record. LINK


The Washington Post's David Broder posits Kerry's "choice had everything to do with Mission One, winning the election, and precious little to do with governing the nation," and concludes, "The Democrats could have done a lot worse." LINK

Note to Nick Baldick and Rob Tully: We are sure Broder didn't mean to slam you.

The New York Times' William Safire posits "in the choice between the Democrat most ready to be president and the Democrat who would enliven a stalled campaign, Kerry played it safe and chose the political hottie, Edwards." We've never seen Safire use the term "hottie" before, but we like it. LINK

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times looks at the media speculation over the ticket and how the news broke. LINK

Michael Tackett of the Chicago Tribune gives Sen. Kerry a thumbs-up for the way he announced his pick, and assesses the strengths that Edwards brings to the ticket. It's still the economy, stupid, Tackett argues, and Edwards' "two Americas" can help drive the point home. LINK

The Washington Post's ed board thinks Kerry's choice "is a smart move," although they don't approve of pandering on trade. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne thinks Edwards is the "best choice." LINK

The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich Notes that the chemistry between former rivals can be sexy on a ticket. LINK

Eric Lichtblau and Robert Worth of the New York Times look at the rich white guys on the Dem ticket. LINK

We aren't quite sure where the Republicans, whose ticket is similarly composed, are going with this one.'s David McGuire quotes Kerry spokesman saying that they have inquired about purchasing from an Indianapolis bail bondsman named Kerry Edwards but that they have taken a pass because he wanted five figures. LINK

Kerry and Edwards on the issues:

The Washington Post's John Wagner looks at the "limited daylight" between the public policy positions between Kerry and Edwards. LINK

The folks at take a short-hand look at Edwards on the issues. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's capsule summary of how Kerry and Edwards compares on the issues reports a sharp difference between the two on the death penalty, which Kerry opposes and Edwards supports, but otherwise shows them largely in agreement with some more minor differences on trade and health care.

Reaction to the Democratic ticket:

The Washington Times' Bill Sammon looks at the Republican reaction to the announcement of KE04 (way to stick to those talking points!), and talks about the expectations bar for the new vice presidential pick. LINK

"Business associations in Washington were uniformly hostile yesterday to John Kerry's choice of Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) as his running mate, promising that a trial lawyer on the ticket will energize them and their members to defeat the Democrats in November," writes the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman. LINK

Richard Oppel and Glen Justice of the New York Times examine the effect that a trial lawyer will have on the campaign -- particularly among the business and industry communities. And doctors haven't even weighed in yet. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt writes that Democratic strategists believe that if Edwards is able to help Kerry win back 10 to 15 percent of the rural vote, "it will be an election clincher." Hunt debunks a couple of misconceptions about Edwards. He Notes that he is more popular among older than younger voters and that he is one of "few Democrats who does as well with men as he does with women." One Democratic insider now says that you can take Erskine Bowles win in North Carolina to the bank. Carville says that just being competitive in North Carolina is a victory for the Democrats.

Zeroing in on the Ohio campaign target, Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards will make their first joint speech today in Cleveland. LINK

The Hartford Courant's David Lightman writes that while past VP picks have mattered little come Election Day, many think that could change this year. LINK

The VP selection has begun a "fund raising scramble," according to the Hartford Courant's Janice D'Arcy. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' (and CNN's) Ron Brownstein calls Sen. John Edwards the "safe pick" for Sen. Kerry. "Although generating an enthusiastic response from Democrats, its also means the pick may not be dramatic or surprising enough to help win Kerry a new look from undecided voters." LINK

In his write-up of the selection, Glen Johnson of Kerry's home town Boston Globe writes, "Edwards seems to not measure up to at least one of the five criteria that Kerry established in a memorandum he sent to the team that conducted his search for a vice presidential candidate, which said a running mate must be compatible 'on every level.'" LINK

Patrick Healy of the Boston Globe leads, "'Two Americas' not only is a mantra from Senator John Edwards's bid for the White House this year, it also neatly describes the sharply contrasting worlds that he and his new political partner, John F. Kerry, hail from." LINK

In his Boston Globe column, Peter Canellos writes, the picking of Edwards "says Kerry believes that working-class voters are a swing constituency across the country and that he needs more help with them than with upscale professionals." LINK

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza writes up the impact Edwards may or may not have on the race, depending on who you ask.

Roll Call's Mark Preston and Paul Kane gauge the Senate's reaction to Edwards.

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Edwards:

The Washington Post's John Harris offers up a profile of John Edwards: the complexities behind the sunny disposition. LINK

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg Notes Sen. Edwards' "swift rise in politics has been hastened by his uncanny ability to make voters believe that, despite being a fabulously wealthy trial lawyer, he is really just a regular guy -- the kind of man who eats double cheeseburgers for lunch and knows what it means to sit around the kitchen table and decide which bills not to pay." Fabulously wealthy and yet making normal people feel that he's one of them, with a nice accent to boot . . . have we heard this somewhere before? LINK

The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof writes that "Senator John Edwards is America's best natural politician since Bill Clinton, and he'll help with the Democrats' most crucial task: reconnecting the party to Middle American voters." LINK

The New York Times' Raymond Hernandez examines the Edwards effect on Sen. Hillary Clinton's trajectory. LINK

The Chicago Tribune's Andrew Zajac looks at Edwards' bio. LINK

Donald Lambro of the Washington Times compares Edwards and Cheney. LINK

Janet Hook profiles Sen. John Edwards in the Los Angeles Times. "Propelling Edwards to the front of the pack are many of the same qualities that have shaped his life: a bewitching way with words that he honed as a trial lawyer, a driving ambition that catapulted him beyond his modest mill-town origins and a willingness to take risks, which has allowed him to move gingerly from one career steppingstone to another." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Barabak and Gold look at the pros and cons of picking Sen. Edwards and highlight his voting record. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jake Schlesinger and David Rogers Note that Edwards' selection shows that Kerry is betting that the economy is the key to the election. They also Note how Edwards "makes executives nervous," and how Kerry is planning to weave Edwards' criticism of predatory lending into his own campaign platform.

In her analysis, the New York Post's Deb Orin writes that Kerry went for a "jolt of charisma." LINK

The Boston Herald looks at the importance of the Edwards' son Wade. LINK

The New York Post's Marsha Kranes writes about how the loss of Wade impacted his life. LINK

The New York Post's Andy Geller runs down the differences between Kerry and Edwards' votes on some things, and he looks at Edwards' big wins in the courtroom. LINK and LINK

Cha-ching! Andy Soltis has the story Jack Cafferty is looking for in the New York Post. LINK

Knight Ridder has a few stories: Tom Fitzgerald and James Kuhnhenn write that it's a "a new Democratic ticket that strikes a balance in geography, personal background and temperament." LINK; Steve Thomma says that it doesn't matter anyway LINK; and Anna Griffin has an Edwards backgrounder. LINK

Not to be left out, Patrick O'Connor of The Hill reports on Kerry's running mate choice. LINK

Columnist Albert Eisele says "Kerry's carefully considered choice" of Edwards has given the Kerry campaign "a much-needed shot of adrenalin as it struggles to get out of the summer doldrums." LINK

Dems may be all smiles about Edwards but that's not the case for business groups, which reacted "tepidly" to the choice of Edwards, citing concerns that he has "consistently voted against pro-business bills in Congress and that his background as a trial attorney made him a natural adversary of business interests." LINK

Some Democratic strategists and fundraisers say Kerry should seriously consider opting out of public funding in his bid to defeat President Bush this fall, predicting that he can reap more money through private contributions than through what the government would provide the campaign. LINK

The Hill's Lauren Shepherd highlights the veepstakes runners-up. LINK

Sparing no time, the GOP was ready to attack Edwards. LINK

Dem candidates call Edwards 'a huge help' LINK

The selection of Edwards "has swelled the budding rivalry" between him and Sen. Hillary Clinton and Clinton's allies say Edwards will have no discernible advantage in a future Democratic presidential primary should the Kerry-Edwards ticket fall short of victory. LINK

USA Today's Kathy Kiely observes Sen. Edwards "is a wealthy lawyer whose rise in national politics followed a personal tragedy" and reminds readers that in 2000, "People magazine named the boyishly handsome senator the year's 'sexiest politician.'" LINK

Rebeccah Cantley-Falk of Gannett News Service Notes a plethora of reasons why North Carolina is not a guaranteed win for KE'04. LINK

Jill Lawrence reports on the Kerry-Edwards match as a study in contrasts. "Kerry the Northeastern liberal, Edwards the Southern populist. Kerry the son of a diplomat who grew up overseas and in American boarding schools, Edwards the son of a textile mill worker in Robbins, N.C. Kerry the intellectual, steeped in policy for decades. Edwards the gut politician who pledged in his primary campaign to unite the 'two Americas' he sees under President Bush." LINK

Anna Griffin of Knight Ridder writes Edwards got the nod because "he out-charmed and out-hustled the other guys." LINK

For Edwards Senate staffers, yesterday was just business as usual. LINK

The Boston Globe's Milligan and Kranish do a little vetting of Sen. Edwards on their own. LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's Rob Christensen writes, "No North Carolinian since horse-and-buggy days has landed on a national presidential ticket -- a goal that eluded such famous Tar Heel politicians as Gov. Terry Sanford and Sen. Jesse Helms." LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer's Lynn Bonner writes, "The tremors of Edwards' selection rippled beyond North Carolina to South Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana." LINK

"Looking over the list of fools, felons, wannabes and has-beens who have been vice president of the United States, it is surprising that a bright and go-getter politician like Raleigh's U.S. Sen. John Edwards would get within shouting distance of such a loser job," writes the Raleigh News & Observer's Dennis Rogers. LINK

The Charlotte Observer's Tim Funk and Jim Morrill write that "Kerry gave his presidential campaign a boost of energy and signaled his intention to carry his campaign into the South." LINK

Edwards plays in the battleground state media:

Though Edwards lost by a 2-to-1 ratio in Missouri's Feb. 3 presidential primary, what got Democrats talking was where the North Carolina Senator collected most of his votes: rural Missouri, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. LINK

"John Edwards sued people for a living and he was good at it," leads an article in the Arizona Daily Star which highlights Edwards' membership into the Inner Circle of Advocates, a little-known who's who of marquee trial lawyers like Johnnie Cochran. LINK

The St. Petersburg Times editorial board praises Kerry's judgment. LINK

Graham backers in the Sunshine State are at peace with Kerry's decision. LINK

Florida's top election officials hash out the process for verifying 48,000 voters who have been identified by the state as potentially ineligible cast ballots. LINK

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert writes, "While many analysts Tuesday were touting Edwards' potential appeal to rural swing voters, it was his appeal to suburban voters that jumped out from the Wisconsin exit polls in February." LINK

Scott Fornek of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Illinois Dems are happy with Kerry's decision. Sen. Durbin says anyone else would have been a surprise. LINK

State Democrats are praising Kerry's pick in New Hampshire, and think it may put him over the top in the Granite State, according to the Union Leader's John DiStaso. LINK

The Union Leader calls Kerry/Edwards a "liberal ticket" that isn't a good ticket for anti-war protesters. LINK

The Albuquerque Journal's Andy Lenderman reports that New Mexico Democrats are applauding the pick as they prepare for a Friday rally with the candidates.

From the Iowa perspective, the Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont writes that the selection erased "any hopes that an Iowan would get the nod" and that it is the first ticket to include both the winner and runner-up of the Iowa caucuses. LINK

The Des Moines Register's tag-team of Jane Norman and David Yepsen tell us how this has all helped Vilsack LINK and LINK

And in more Iowa-centric self-praise, the Des Moines Register's Lynn Campbell adds that the selection gave "a new, heightened status to the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses." LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald and James Kuhnhenn write "Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina will campaign Wednesday for the first time . . . introducing a new Democratic ticket that strikes a balance in geography, personal background and temperament." LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Eric Black and Dane Smith write that the Edwards addition could help Kerry in the Midwest. LINK

Libby George of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tests Minnesotan's reactions to Kerry's pick. LINK

The Minneapolis Star Tribune calls Edwards "the liveliest, most complementary pairing that Kerry's vice presidential short list contained." LINK

The Philadelphia Inquirer likes lists, including a list of Kerry vs. Edwards on the issues LINK and the 10 things people don't know about Edwards LINK

What better way to keep the choice a secret than by having "Kerry/Edwards" signs printed in Bush's backyard of Texas. LINK

The Cincinnati Enquirer examines what the road trip of Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards illustrates about the importance of the state of Ohio. LINK

Want to get in touch with the local Ohio voter? Here's a conglomeration of their reaction to yesterday's Edwards pick. LINK

"For once in his life, Cheney will be like the lamb led to the slaughter," said a Kentucky attorney, one of many Kentucky residents who say they are excited by Edwards' energy, Southern roots, and keen understanding of tobacco issues. LINK

Maine's voters seems right in line with the rest of the country -- Democrats love his charm, Republicans criticize his inexperience. LINK

Maine's Kennebec Journal says the VP choice is unlikely to have a large effect on Maine's voting. LINK

The Las Vegas Review Journal insists that it will be the Yucca Mountain Project issue, and not Kerry's running mate, that ultimately closes the election in this crucial battleground state. LINK

Same headline, different state (sigh). The AP reports, "Nevada Dems like Kerry's choice of Edwards." LINK

The new dynamic duo, Kerry and Edwards, will pop by Beckley, W.Va., on Friday. LINK and LINK

Haven't heard this one before: Edwards is described as Kerry's "political dancing partner," by the West Virginia Dominion Post. LINK

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

Anne Kornblut highlights the Republican response Sen. Kerry picking Sen. Edwards -- some are disappointed. " One Republican, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the fear is that Edwards will help Kerry do what he could not do alone: make states such as Tennessee and North Carolina competitive and attract moderate Midwesterners who were otherwise unsure about the Democratic challenger." LINK

Also Note: "Even before the Edwards announcement, Bush campaign officials sought to lower expectations about their poll numbers over the next month, as Kerry is expected to steal the spotlight with his vice presidential selection and later with the Democratic National Convention. Over the weekend, Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd wrote a memo predicting that Kerry will get a significant bounce this month, putting him 15 points or more ahead in the polls by the beginning of August."

Salon's Tim Grieve on the smile vs. the scowl and other stark contrasts between Edwards and Cheney. LINK

Mary Beth Cahill does the morning shows:

Kerry/Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill appeared on both ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today."

Bottom line: the woman cannot be taken off message. She makes Karen Hughes look like Ray LaHood.

The attention turned right away to John McCain on ABC, when Cahill was asked whether McCain was really Kerry's first choice. "John McCain and John Kerry are very good friends. They served together in the Senate and talk often on the phone, but John Edwards was the first choice," said Cahill.

On the question of Edwards' experience, Cahill commented that "John Edwards has been a leader his whole life for working families and for middle class people. He understands exactly what it's like to try to pay for your health care, to put your child through college and try to keep a job." When asked how their battles in the primaries may affect their relationship, Cahill pointed out that the two have gotten to know each other very well through the process, "they got to admire each other's skills and became comfortable with each other. And everything they've done since has only added to that."

While appearing on "Today," Cahill wasted no time in praising John Edwards. "Nobody has been more supportive and helpful since he dropped out of the primary fight than John Edwards. He's done everything we asked him to. We know there is a great deal that they have in common in terms of what they want to do in this county," said Cahill.

When questioned on the possible drawbacks of having a former trial lawyer on the ticket Cahill responded, "John Edwards is an American success story. He came from humble beginnings to being a wealthy man and a fighter for the rights of the middle class... That's something the American people admire."

On the popular John McCain, Cahill also Noted that Kerry and McCain "talk often on a variety of subjects, but there was one offer made and that was to John Edwards."

New York Post's error:

The New York Post's Deb Orin's write up of Edwards' selection has three things of Note: a bland, 13-word, in-passing acknowledgement of yesterday's Post exclusive, a somewhat weird use of the word "zing" as a verb, and a seemingly unnecessary use of the word "posh" to describe the Georgetown neighborhood where both Kerry and Edwards live. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's James Bandler writes about how giddy Mort Zuckerman was yesterday.

The New York Daily News slams the Post "Leave it to the New York Post to further tarnish its shoddy reputation with yesterday's front-page "exclusive" declaring John Kerry had picked Dick Gephardt as his running mate." But Gephardt didn't fall for it. "I'm from Missouri: Show me." LINK

The New York Daily News reports they sent "12 bottles of Cold Duck and a congratulatory bottle of sparkling wine from Post owner Rupert Murdoch's home turf, Australia. A little note with the bubbly read, 'Congratulations on your 'exclusive'!!! Have a nice day.'" LINK

The anatomy of a bad scoop. Peter Johnson reports on how New York Post got it wrong. LINK

The AP Notes the New York Post's headline blunder yesterday. LINK

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

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and RNC rapid response yesterday to the Edwards announcement was indeed rapid, and extensive, with over 50 pages of background research, voting record, and past statements from the new running mates sent out to reporters almost an hour before Sen. Kerry made the announcement official.

The White House reporters all turn today to the BC04RNC introduction of Edwards. And Karl Rove was moved to do some print interviews!!!

The New York Times' Richard Stevenson reports that the rapid response from the Republicans yesterday was all part of "an effort by the Bush campaign to keep the Democrats from establishing Mr. Edwards as a Southern moderate who could help Mr. Kerry among swing voters in the battleground Northern and Midwestern states."

Republicans quickly set out yesterday to define the vice presidential candidate as "an inexperienced, unaccomplished, liberal trial lawyer who had not even been Mr. Kerry's first choice." LINK

The Republican strategy against the new Kerry/Edwards ticket will be to paint the running mates as "out of the mainstream of America when it comes to the war on terror, the economy and values," Karl Rove tells AP's Terrence Hunt. LINK

Rove "rejected the idea that Edwards' presence on the Democratic ticket would cost Bush North Carolina or threaten the Republican hold on the South" and "argued that it would have been far more daunting if Kerry's running mate were from the industrial Midwest."

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Mike Allen lead with the contrast between the President and Vice President's "cordial welcome" to John Edwards with the sharp response from the re-election campaign and the RNC. LINK

USA Today's Judy Kean leads her write up of the BC04 response by pointing out that Republicans "pronounced [Edwards] vulnerable to attack on his lack of foreign-policy experience, voting record and career as a personal injury lawyer." LINK

Kean talks to Karl Rove who repeats the talking points: "This choice says more about Kerry than it does about Edwards. In his first presidential decision, Kerry used a poll to help him decide who would be politically advantageous to pick, not who would help him govern."

Nick Anderson of the Los Angeles Times on the Republican response: LINK

Vince Morris of the New York Post looks at the role Sen. McCain played in yesterday's VP announcement, Noting the new BC04 ad and the past history between the President and the Senator from Arizona. LINK

The AP reports "President Bush said yesterday he has not decided whether he will nominate a new CIA director before the November election." LINK

"The judicial nomination wars, dormant in recent months, re-emerged Tuesday as the Senate narrowly confirmed one of President Bush's nominees to the bench who has argued that abortion is akin to the Holocaust and that the Bible requires women to be subservient to men," reports the New York Times' Nick Lewis. LINK

Battleground states:

The Orlando Sentinel's part four of four on battleground Florida. Democrats stir in the Southwest of the state. LINK

The Allentown Morning Call's Jeff Miller reports on a poll showing that the Catholic vote is evenly split between Kerry and Bush. LINK

Maybe the contradicting economic stories told by Bush and Kerry aren't too far off in West Virginia, where job numbers are down but wages are up. LINK

The conventions:

Rick Klein, the Boston Globe's Democratic National Convention protesting expert, writes, "Boston's school bus drivers and monitors are planning a picket line outside the FleetCenter during the Democratic National Convention, reviving the specter of labor unrest outside the convention arena." LINK

The Boston Globe's Estes writes of more trouble at home for Sen. Kerry -- seems his plans for a Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade during the Democratic convention are not going as well as, say, his plan to keep the veepstakes process secret. LINK

Democratic delegates are being offered a free ride in a hybrid car at their convention: LINK

The New York Post's Bill Sanderson reports that Rudy Giuliani is moonlighting as a restaurant critic for the GOP. LINK

"Angry cops, firefighters and teachers are planning a round-the-clock picket at Madison Square Garden -- and plan to ask other union members not to cross the line -- in a move that could massively disrupt preparations for the Republican National Convention," reports the New York Post's Heidi Singer. LINK

The New York Post's David Seifman reports, "Someone swiped an e-mail list of volunteers for the Republican National Convention, then advised them to contact Internet hate sites that disparage blacks, Jews and gays, The Post has learned." LINK

Fahrenheit 9/11:

"Fahrenheit 9/11" hits theaters in France today and in England on Friday, Michael Moore is chatting with the foreign press in New York, and Variety's David Rooney and Gabriel Snyder write that "the prospect of a political doc doing an unprecedented $200 million plus worldwide is becoming ever more plausible."

If anybody (does anybody?) doubts the level of Michael Moore's self-importance, here's a quote from those interviews: "I wish I had been able to go to most of your countries to do press for the film," Moore said, "but we have an election coming up here and we decided that every day I spend outside the U.S. is a day away from our mission to remove Mr. Bush from the White House." LINK

And more from those interviews: Moore hopes for "regime change" in Australia and Japan and a British "Fahrenheit" 9/11. LINK and LINK

Deep inside the Gwinnett (Georgia) Daily Post is one of the finest analyses of where "Fahrenheit 9/11" is playing and how intertwined with political history it is. Elliott McLaughlin reports that "the movie is overwhelmingly landing in suburban, metro or college cities. In Georgia, the only theaters outside metro Atlanta showing the movie are in the state's five next largest cities and Gainesville. 'Go look at the voting pattern for the last governor's race, and it would probably give you a pretty good idea of where we're showing it,' said Bill Stembler, president of the Georgia Theatre Company, which is playing the movie in three of its 26 theaters in the state. 'In mid-sized and smaller markets, it was our assessment that it would not play particularly well there.' GTC originally showed the film in two suburban Atlanta markets, but opened it in Athens on Friday after deciding it would do well in a college town, Stembler said." LINK

We thought this one was interesting: "Moviegoers at the Jordan Landing Cinemark movies in West Jordan [Utah] received a unique greeting Monday from the ticket taker if they purchased tickets to 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' To each patron, he called out: 'Vote for Bush.' When queried, he said he was following instructions from management." LINK

Variety's Nicole Laporte reports that Sony has won the sweepstakes of who gets the "homevideo" deal for "Fahrenheit 9/11" -- over current distributor Lions Gate and Universal.

"Internationally renowned political analyst" Ilya Osadchuk has challenged Moore to a debate. LINK

And we can't resist. "Spider Man-2" has made a lot of money. A lot. LINK

Nader-Camejo '04:

Whether he considered it or not, yesterday John Kerry took Ralph Nader's advice when he selected Edwards. On June 22, Nader sent a letter to Kerry urging him to choose Edwards for his strong electability, and his background as an attorney in support of a citizen's right to sue. Shortly after Kerry announced his number two, Nader issued a statement urging the ticket to "speak out against massive corporate lobbying efforts to weaken the right of citizens to sue when they are injured by corporations who produce faulty or dangerous products, put toxics in the environment, are injured by medical malpractice and other corporate negligence." LINK

This week, Nader promotes his new book "The Good Fight: Declare Your Independence and Close the Democracy Gap" with public and media appearances in New York and New Jersey. LINK

Friday is the deadline for Nader-Camejo supporters to submit signatures to appear on the Nevada ballot.

ABC News Vote 2004: casting and counting:

Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood concedes there are "unexplained glitches" with the state's voter list. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

A dozen people are vying to replace Sen. nominee Jack Ryan on the Illinois ticket. "Some names I know, some names I don't know," state GOP Chairman Judy Baar Topinka told the Chicago Sun Times. The next step is to meet with former Illinois AG Tyrone Fahner and former U.S.. Attorney J. William Roberts are vetting the candidates, whose names have not been released. LINK

The politics of the 9/11 Commission:

The New York Times' Philip Shenon reports that leaders of the 9/11 Commission are standing by their finding that Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda did not appear to be collaborating, and that they dispute the suggestion by Vice President Cheney that he "probably had access to more intelligence than the commission did about possible ties between the Qaeda terrorist network and Iraq." LINK

The politics of Iraq:

On a stop in New Hampshire, ex-presidential candidate and retired Gen. Wesley Clark said, "I can't bear to see what this administration is doing to the United States Army," according to the AP's Anne Saunders. LINK

Big casino budget politics: Medicare:

The New York Times' Robert Pear leads thusly in his story about the investigation into actions by Medicare administrator Thomas Scully regarding telling Congress the actual costs of the program: "An internal investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services confirms that the top Medicare official threatened to fire the program's chief actuary if he told Congress that drug benefits would probably cost much more than the White House acknowledged." LINK

Third graf: the report found that neither the threat nor withholding the actual number from Congress violates criminal law.

The Hill reports on the investigation and report as well. LINK

The politics of welfare:

The New York Times' Robert Pear and Raymond Hernandez look at how an election-year stalemate in Congress is affecting states' welfare programs. LINK

Judicial politics:

"The judicial nomination wars, dormant in recent months, re-emerged Tuesday as the Senate narrowly confirmed one of President Bush's nominees to the bench who has argued that abortion is akin to the Holocaust and that the Bible requires women to be subservient to men," reports the New York Times' Lewis. LINK

"The Senate voted 51 to 46 yesterday to confirm a nomination to the U.S. District Court in Little Rock after a sharp debate over his comments about abortion, women's rights and other topics," reports the Washington Post's Chuck Babington. LINK


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has hired legal council to represent him in the ethics probes in Washington and Austin, according to Roll Call's John Bresnahan.

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Washington Post's Hanna Rosin hangs out with the book lovers (and some protesters) lined up to get their books signed by former President Clinton. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —8:30 am: Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards hold a photo opportunity at the Heinz farm, Fox Chapel, Pa. —9:00 am: The House Democratic and Republican caucuses meet at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —9:30 am: The Senate convenes for morning business —10:00 am: The House of Representatives meets for legislative business —10:00 am: Lynne Cheney presents the 2004 James Madison Book Award at the Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pa. —10:00 am: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the Republican leadership discuss the importance of competitiveness at a news conference at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —10:00 am: The Human Rights Campaign holds a news conference to announce a multimedia ad campaign opposing the proposed federal marriage amendment against same-sex marriage at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. —10:30 am: The Senate begins debate of the Class Action Fairness Bill —10:30 am: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and small business leaders announce an effort to increase funding for small business loans at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —10:35 am: President Bush meets with North Carolina judicial nominees, Raleigh, N.C. —10:45 am: First Lady Laura Bush visits the Council Bluffs Library to discuss summer reading, Council Bluffs, Iowa. —11:15 am: Sens. Kerry and Edwards hold a rally at Burnham Park, Cleveland, Ohio —12:00 pm: Sens. Chuck Grassley, Herb Kohl, and Tom Carper hold a press conference urging passage the Class Action Fairness Act at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —12:20 pm: President Bush attends an RNC fundraiser, Raleigh, N.C. —12:30 pm: House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer holds a pen and pad only briefing at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —12:45 am: Mrs. Bush attends an RNC luncheon fundraiser, Omaha, Neb. —1:55 pm: Majority Leader Rep. DeLay holds a pen and pad only briefing at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —3:20 pm: Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hold a joint press conference at the State Department, Washington, D.C. —3:45 pm: Mrs. Bush participates in a "Read Out and Read" event at Blank Children's Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa. —4:00 pm: Former President Bill Clinton signs copies of his memoirs "My Life" at the 12th St. Barnes & Noble, Washington, D.C. —4:15 pm: President Bush meets with Michigan judicial nominees, Pontiac, Mich. —4:15 pm: Sens. Kerry and Edwards attend a rally at Riverscape Metro Park, Dayton, Ohio —5:45 pm: Former Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi speaks about politics and the Internet at the ACLU annual conference, San Francisco, Calif. —5:55 pm: President Bush attends an RNC fundraiser, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. —10:00 pm: Sens. Kerry and Edwards attend a rally at the Coliseum, St. Petersburg, Fla.