The Note: Patriot Games

Michelle Obama tells USA Today's Jill Lawrence that she's being careful on the trail: "I don't want to be a distraction. I want to be a part of the solution," she said. On the way she's been attacked, she said: "I'm no different from Hillary [Rodham Clinton] or anyone else who has been a political target. There is strategy involved. It's not personal."

Per Lawrence: "This summer, the primaries finally over, Obama is filling in her schedule with events that underscore her roles as girlfriend and working mom."

Barack says "no" to a Michelle makeover: "She doesn't need to be retooled. She's fabulous as she is," Obama said in an interview with Black Enterprise's Ed Gordon. "The only thing I thing that we want to make sure of is that when she's attacked, she's defended, because of the other side hasn't had quorums about trying to mischaracterize her or attack her in ways that I find very offensive."

Map-Making:

Where to play? "The emerging political reversals of the two Virginias are part of a national shift that has been underway for at least a decade and is expected to reveal itself more clearly than ever this November," Alec MacGillis writes in the Sunday Washington Post. "As the gap grows between places that are prospering and those that are not, Democrats are strengthening their hold in major metropolitan areas, particularly in places faring well in the technology-driven economy."

"Democrats face a strategic decision that has bedeviled their party for 40 years: How hard should they fight in the South?" Robin Toner writes in The New York Times. "Officials in Mr. Obama's campaign say they are bullish on the South, and they have signaled their aggressiveness with early campaign appearances in North Carolina and Virginia, major voter registration drives in the region, and television advertising in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia."

If that's going to work, it's going to be because this works: "Sen. Obama reckons that a surge in black voters will put in play long-solid Republican regions across the country, lifting Democratic candidates for all offices, from the White House to Congress to state legislatures," Christopher Cooper and Susan Davis write in The Wall Street Journal.

Key observation: "The presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, has no parallel major voter-registration operation," Cooper and Davis write.

Obama wants this to work, too: "On Saturday, more than 4,000 people hosted Unite for Change house parties -- some with cutesy food names -- in honor of the presumptive Democratic nominee, an effort to build the campaign's grass-roots supporters into a force that can't be stopped in November," Christina Bellantoni writes in the Washington Times. "It's part of the multifaceted 'persuasion army' Team Obama hopes to build to do much of its work in the final days of the election, convincing neighbors block by block why the Democrat should be president."

He wants this to just stop: "Here in Findlay, a Rust Belt town of 40,000, false rumors about Obama have built enough word-of-mouth credibility to harden into an alternative biography," Eli Saslow writes in The Washington Post. "Born on the Internet, the rumors now meander freely across the flatlands of northwest Ohio -- through bars and baseball fields, retirement homes and restaurants."

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