Evening Newscasts Wrap

JH: Gephardt is the safe choice that Kerry could make. He is the closest thing to somebody that you could count on not to make a mistake, but he doesn't excite a lot of people. Edwards is the guy that Kerry could turn to if he needs juice on his ticket. He's got an expressive message on bringing two Americas together. The downside is, is he ready to be President in 8 years? Also, his relationship with Kerry has been strained at times. Vilsack is a bit of a wildcard. It would be good for Kerry to have a Governor on his ticket. But his home state of Iowa may be on Democrats think they can win without him. Also, we don't know how he will perform.

CBS' Byron Pitts reports Sen. Kerry is said to be less than 24 hours away from announcing who his running mate will be. Two of the top contenders were also not talking today. Edwards is fundraising for Kerry in Boston, but last week he met secretly with Kerry in Washington. Gephardt enjoyed the holiday in Washington, even inviting the press corps to join him for a picnic. Even without a name yet, a vice presidential staff, office space, secret service detail and a chartered plane, are already in place. Whoever Kerry picks, the VP plan is set. Staffers have been told to "be ready to move overnight for a possible Tuesday announcement." Sen. Kerry will notify the winners and losers by phone, but the official announcement will be emailed to campaign supporters. Shortly thereafter, Kerry and his running mate will go on the road together. The Senator has said he wants a "leak proof plan" but party insiders say "don't bet on it." Donna Brazile: "At some point between God and calling the nominee, it will be leaked. That's just the nature of the beast."

CHENEY:

CBS' Bob Orr reports at every stop on his bus tour, Vice President Cheney was on the attack. Protestors dogged him from Ohio through West Virginia and into Pennsylvania, but Cheney is not bending. He insists there is a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda; maintains Iraq harbored WMDs before the war, and recently bragged he felt better after searing at Sen. Leahy. A CBS/NYT Poll suggests Cheney may be a "drag" on the Republican ticket. 31-percent gave Cheney and unfavorable rating. Only 22-percent gave him a favorable rating. He's very well regarded by the Conservative wing and the moderate wing of the Republican Party. The issue is whether he is attractive to swing voters and independents. Concerns over Cheney's heart problems have some insiders whispering about a possible replacement. Craig Crowford says Cheney was the President's loyalty.

AD WARS:

Brian Williams V/O: There is a new Bush TV ad in the works featuring Sen. John McCain.

WHERE DO THEY STAND? TAXES:

CBS' Mike Brzezinski reports a big issue this election year for many Americans is the tax burden. President Bush plans to make his tax cuts permanent. Mostly so does Sen. Kerry, but for families making more than 20,000 dollars, he would eliminate the tax break all together. That doesn't mean new tax cuts. He would use the 224 billion dollars raised by eliminating the tax cuts for the rich to pay for Middle Class tax credits for health care and college tuition. Both Bush and Kerry are expected to come out with more detailed tax plans before the election.

CHENEY'S DOCTOR:

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