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Happy 58th birthday, President Bush!

Suddenly, we're pretty sure that tomorrow's planned Democratic counter-demonstration to your appearance in Raleigh will be both well attended and well covered.

And today is a good day for Shrum, Devine, and Donilon.

And for Fred Baron. LINK and LINK

Also a good day for North Carolina GOPers eager to help with a much-expanded RNC/BC04 field operation in the state!

Sen. Kerry likely did himself a favor by conducting the VP search -- and dragging out the guessing game -- as long as he has.

The apparently deliberative process allows him to say that he has spent time with John Edwards and learned about the experience and qualities that qualify him to be vice president -- and president.

He can also say that by taking his time and assessing Edwards, he wasn't stampeded by popular opinion.

From THE e-mail: "I want you to know why I'm excited about running for president with John Edwards by my side. John understands and defends the values of America. He has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and those struggling to reach the middle class. In the Senate, he worked to reform our intelligence, to combat bioterrorism, and keep our military strong. John reaches across party lines and speaks to the heart of America -- hope and optimism. Throughout his own campaign for President, John spoke about the great divide in this country -- the "Two Americas" -- that exist between those who are doing well today and those that are struggling to make it from day to day. And I am so proud that we're going to build one America together."

The Bush-Cheney '04 rapid response team swung into action, perhaps too quickly, calling Edwards Kerry's second choice, saying that Kerry turned to a "poll tested" running mate as a way to close the "charm gap" with voters, and that the ticket represents the most-liberal and fourth most-liberal members of the U.S. Senate. They also are pointing out Kerry's criticisms of Edwards' experience during the nomination process.

BC04 also says that Kerry and Edwards are anti-growth (voted against tax cuts, oppose free trade agreements), oppose the priorities of America's families (succumb to trial lawyer pressure on medical liability reform, oppose partial birth abortion laws) and do not support the troops (voted against body armor and increased health care for troops).

Alas, BC04 sent the recall message 10 minutes after it went out -- and after it had been reported.

Spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish explained the e-mail traffic to ABC News:

"While we welcome our friends in the media to talk off our talking points, they are typically created to help our surrogates, friends and allies communicate on behalf of the campaign. They were distributed to hundreds of grassroots supporters this morning. They are a public document, and I believe they are posted on our website. They were recalled because at the time, we intended to send you the ad script."

"The email is now posted on the web site: LINK"

Look at what else Tim Griffin has been working on: LINK

That McCain ad we told you about on "This Week." The size and scope and duration of the buy are TBD at this point.

Sen. McCain: "It's a big thing this war." "It's a fight between right and wrong, good and evil." "And should our enemies acquire for their arsenal the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they seek, this war will become an even bigger thing." "It will become a fight for our survival." "America is under attack by depraved enemies who oppose our every interest and hate every value we hold dear. It is the great test of our generation and he has led with great moral clarity and firm resolve. He has not wavered, he has not flinched from the hard choices, he was determined and remains determined to make this world a better, safer, freer place. He deserves not only our support but our admiration. That's why I am honored to introduce to you the President of the United States, George W. Bush."

President Bush: "I'm George W. Bush and I approve this message."

Sen. Kerry, as of this writing, plans to keep his day schedule, kicking off a three-day focus on "restoring responsible leadership" with a 9:00 am ET speech in Pittsburgh, Pa. followed by a 12:20 pm ET address to the AME in Indianapolis, and then back to Pittsburgh. Tomorrow, the ticket heads to Ohio. Thursday to Florida. TBD is the big Radio City Music Hall fundraiser in New York City on Thursday night. On Friday, they head to West Virginia, and on Saturday to North Carolina.

But we'll see if that stays true.

After the NEA event: A senior source involved in the planning of the roll-out tells ABC News that the plans call for Edwards to meet Kerry in Pittsburgh tonight, where the two will have a brief photo-op for cameras -- the first time we see them mug for the photogs. The plans also call for their campaigning together tomorrow in Ohio, and there are tentative plans on Friday for an event in North Carolina. These plans are subject to change, but as of now they are being put into motion.

The President meets with the Prime Minister of Iceland at the White House this morning.

And in a bit of serendipitous poetry: The Senate reconvenes for an executive session on a judicial nomination. A roll call vote will occur at 5:00 pm ET on the nomination, at which point Senators will begin debate of class action lawsuit legislation.


Must-read: The New York Times' Halbfinger and Nagourney got tons of details about how the Kerry VP announcement might unfold. LINK

In that already-famous, unbylined and unsourced "exclusive," the New York Post reports that Sen. Kerry has chosen Rep. Dick Gephardt as his running mate. LINK

We await the Deborah Orin explanation.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer and Dan Balz had this: "Kerry and his running mate are expected to campaign together on Wednesday in Ohio and again on Thursday, when the Democrats hold a major fundraising gala in New York. The Democratic ticket will also go to the home state of the vice presidential nominee at the end of the week." LINK

Note the contribution by staff writer John Wagner! Annapolis or bust, we say.

The Boston Herald's Jack Meyers talks with some campaign donors who attended fundraisers yesterday with Edwards. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray reports that the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has thrown down the gauntlet: if John Kerry picks John Edwards for the ticket, the chamber will "work feverishly to defeat the Democratic ticket." The reason business leaders don't want Edwards in the VP spot, according to what Murray's heard: he's a trial lawyer. LINK

Excerpts from Peter Jennings' "Who Is John Edwards?" interview in December. LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: Sen. John Kerry:

John Harwood profiles Kerry advisor Bob Shrum for the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

It is a no-brainer must-read, even on a day such as this.

The story includes a shot at Shrum's alleged class warfare from California-based Democratic operative Garry South, whose bad blood with Shrum dates back to the 1998 California governor's race.

It also details how Shrum joined Kissinger in a 1965 Harvard Law School debate defending the Vietnam War. The story looks back at some of Shrum's blunders, including his 1992 ad, highlighting protectionist themes, for free-trader Bob Kerrey, and looks at the disagreements Shrum had in the 2000 campaign with younger aides such as Chris Lehane, who wanted Gore to go after Bush's readiness to be President.

But, overall, it is the kind of story that even someone who was, theoretically, hyper-sensitive about negative press, probably wouldn't mind.

The New York Times' Todd Purdum traces Kerry's journey from "idealistic man" on Yale's campus to "realistic sailor at war." LINK

John Kerry courts the Hispanic vote with remarks on Venezuela and Cuba, Lesley Clark of the Miami Herald reports. LINK

Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe writes that the tide has shifted in the political money game and John Kerry appears to have closed the gap significantly. LINK

The AP reports that the National Education Association, the nation's largest union, endorsed Sen. Kerry for President on Monday. LINK

WE HEAR THAT . . . Kerry spokesgal/road warrior Stephanie Cutter went out shooting after Kerry was done on Saturday and hit all but one of the targets. There is apparently photo evidence. But we have not been able to confirm that she is now known throughout the Midwest as Stephanie "Spinning, Shooting, Sweetcakes" Cutter.

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

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign will attack Sen. Kerry's running mate as his second choice, report Dick Stevenson and Jim Rutenberg of New York Times in a must-read story that talks about Bush campaign strategy for the summer, including the prospects (or, perhaps, lack thereof) for a new presidential domestic agenda. LINK

The duo Note that the "effort to turn Mr. Kerry's flirtation with Mr. McCain against him is part of a multipronged strategy to offset what the Bush campaign assumes will be a sharp swing in the polls for Mr. Kerry."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution picks up on Matt Dowd's latest expectations/polling memo, which lays out the 15 point bounce that Kerry could receive this month from the Democratic convention. LINK

Keying off of the new job numbers, the New York Times' Krugman asks of the Bush campaign: "When does optimism-- the Bush campaign's favorite word these days - become an inability to face facts? LINK

Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times looks at image making in the Bush Administration, Noting that this White House is "setting new standards in presidential stagecraft." LINK

The Orlando Sentinel's Evan Weiner writes about BC04's appeal to 18- to 34-year-old males with ESPN ad buys. LINK

The Washington Post's Rick Weiss reports that the Washington, D.C. Board of Medicine, which takes disciplinary action against physicians, was "unaware for five years that Vice President Cheney's personal internist was under treatment for an alleged addiction to prescription drugs because of a confidentiality agreement the agency maintains with a physicians group, officials involved said yesterday." LINK

The land of 5+2=7:

The Washington Post's Anne Gerhart looks at the ground game being mapped out by ACT head Steve Rosenthal, with $100 million and "more than a thousand paid foot soldiers marching up to doors in 17 battleground states. They come armed with Palm handhelds loaded with voter registration data and streaming video about education and jobs." LINK

Battleground states:

Part three of the Orlando Sentinel's reporting on battleground Florida looks at the "Redneck Riviera" and bigger picture of North Florida. LINK

The Boston Globe's Brian Mooney reports "Republicans appear to have an early lead in the battle to register new voters for the fall election, but Democratic activists are pushing back, making inroads in recent months in several states that could be crucial to the presidential contest." LINK

Tort wars:

The Washington Post's Helen Dewar reports that "Senate Republicans will target huge legal fees in class action lawsuits this week as they try to salvage at least one key element of their "tort reform" agenda to revamp the nation's civil litigation system." We wonder how big a campaign issue this becomes with a certain very successful trial lawyer in the Number Two spot on the Democratic presidential ticket. LINK

The conventions:

The Washington Post's John Mintz describes the unprecedented security surrounding the conventions in New York and Boston, including their designation as "National Special Security Events, which gives the U.S. Secret Service the lead in coordinating security. The Secret Service has long-standing expertise in heading off violence through intelligence-gathering and thorough planning, officials said." LINK

The Boston Globe's Frank Phillips reports "fears of a terrorist attack have led Boston's convention host committee and nine downtown businesses, office buildings, and hotels to purchase special insurance coverage to cover the FleetCenter and the businesses for losses from terrorism." LINK

Elise Castelli of the Boston Globe writes that security in forces have turned to canines to ensure extra safety. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Getter Notes "with most other avenues for corporate political spending cut off, this summer's conventions are gushing with special-interest money." LINK

The Washington Post's Brian Faler reports "the Democratic Party plans to give media credentials to a select group of bloggers" who want to cover the party's convention in Boston. LINK

TODAY'S SCHEDULE (all times ET): —9:00 am: Sen. John Kerry delivers a speech kicking off a three-day focus on "restoring responsible leadership" at Market Square, Pittsburgh, Pa., naming Sen. John Edwards as his running mate —9:45 am: The Senate reconvenes for an executive session on a judicial nomination —9:45 am: Off-camera press briefing by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan —10:20 am: President Bush meets with the Prime Minister of Iceland at the White House —11:00 am: Former President Bill Clinton appears on the "Diane Rehm Show" —12:00 pm: The Republican and Democratic Caucuses hold their weekly policy luncheons —12:20 pm: Sen. Kerry speaks about responsible leadership at the African Methodist Episcopal Church conference at the Indianapolis Convention Center, Indianapolis, Ind. (tentative) —12:30 pm: On-camera press gaggle by Press Secretary McClellan —12:30 pm: Former President Clinton signs copies of his memoirs "My Life" at Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C. —1:00 pm: Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Frank Wolf hold a news conference on their trip to the Sudan at the Capitol, Washington, D.C. —2:00 pm: The House of Representatives reconvenes for legislative business —3:00 pm: The Republican National Convention Committee holds a sign-painting party celebrating President George Bush's birthday, New York, N.Y. —5:00 pm: The Senate holds a role call vote on a judicial nomination —10:00 pm: Gov. Howard Dean attends a "low dollar fund raiser" for Democracy for America at the Century Club, Los Angeles, Calif. —11:00 pm: Ralph Nader appears on Comedy Central's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart"