Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joins the chorus of the concerned: "It's John McCain who wears $500 shoes, has six houses, and comes from one of the richest families in his state," Schumer tells Politico's Ben Smith. "It's Barack Obama who climbed up the hard way, and that's why he wants middle-class tax cuts and better schools for our kids."
Peggy Noonan sees McCain finding his voice at that motorcycle rally: "There's a thing that's out there and it's big, and latent, and somehow always taken into account and always ignored, and political professionals always assume they understand it," she writes in her Wall Street Journal column.
"It has been called many things the past 50 years, 'the silent center,' 'the silent majority,' 'the coalition,' 'the base,'" she writes. And watching that McCain event -- vroom vroom -- one got the sense it is perhaps beginning to pay attention to the campaign. I see it as the old America, and if and when it reasserts itself, the campaign will shift indeed, and in ways you can even see from 10,000 feet."
Meet the new McCain: "The McCain team decided to go for broke," Time's Michael Scherer reports. "Under the direction of top political strategist Steve Schmidt, the campaign's new goal is to tag Obama as nothing more than an untested politician with considerable rhetorical talents while touting McCain as the proven independent reformer voters already know."
Better late than . . . "A month after a campaign shake-up that reshaped John McCain's field operation, aides to the Republican nominee are touting organizational changes they say are bringing them closer to Barack Obama's sprawling effort," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports.
Is a McCain ad calling Obama (subliminally) the anti-Christ? Anyone a fan of the "Left Behind" series?
"An Internet ad launched last week by the McCain presidential campaign has attracted more than one million hits by appearing to mock Barack Obama for presenting himself as a kind of prophetic figure," Douglas Belkin, Stephanie Simon, and Suzanne Sataline report in The Wall Street Journal.
They continue: "The ad has provoked a growing debate on the Internet over whether it is playing with apocalyptic themes. Those ideas are chiefly shared by fundamentalist Protestants and some other evangelical Christians. Among their expectations: the ascension of a false prophet, a one-world government and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ."
Flashback: This is the same ad team that produced a Web video that, for a split second, framed Obama's face with the letters "al qD."
What we do know is what we don't know: "A clear front-runner may emerge after the debates, but for now, polls might not even predict the past," GOP strategist Todd Domke writes in his Boston Globe column.
The Olympics start in smoggy Beijing at 8:08 pm local time (which is 8:08 am ET). (Get it? It's 8/8/08.)
The day's big event: Sen. Clinton stumps solo for Obama at a voter registration drive and rally in Las Vegas, at 3:15 pm ET.
McCain eats things on sticks: He hits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines (does it seem like a year ago that this was the center of the universe?) at 11:30 am ET, then does another one of those late-Friday press availabilities, in Bentonville, Ark.
Obama is headed to Hawaii for his vacation, and has a "welcome to Hawaii event in Honolulu."