The Note: Image Nation

Convention scheduling just may leave room for some of these folks: Republicans for Obama has been formally launched, with former Rhode Island senator Lincoln Chafee, former Iowa congressman Jim Leach, and former Bush fundraiser Rita Hauser headlining the new group.

Said Chafee (who eagerly received McCain's help in his unsuccessful 2006 reelection bid): "Seeing the two different John McCains is a fracture in his credibility."

In this race for the center, these are folks worth watching: "Their reasons for crossing party lines are diverse, ranging from the war in Iraq to overspending in Washington, and signal unhappiness not just with the candidacy of Republican Sen. John McCain, but with the Republican Party as a whole," Elizabeth Holmes and Amy Chozick write in The Wall Street Journal. "The departure underscores the GOP's struggle to define itself in the shadow of an unpopular president and in the wake of defeat in the 2006 midterm election."

"With so many voters seeking an end to partisan gridlock, both Obama and McCain have long been delivering a message of uniting the country," ABC's Jake Tapper and Natalie Gewargis report. "And they have remarkably equal appeal across the aisle --13 percent of Democrats say they're likely to vote for McCain; 13 percent of Republicans prefer Obama."

The Obamacan crowd would love to see Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., on Obama's ticket. But Hagel's staying out -- at least for now: "Senator Hagel has no intention of getting involved in any of the campaigns and is not planning to endorse either candidate," Hagel spokesman Jordan Stark tells USA Today's Kathy Kiely.

And so Obama is still looking for his Joe Lieberman, almost certainly in the convention line-up (as the keynote or just notable).

Lieberman, I-Conn., gets stronger in his words by the day: "In my opinion, the choice could not be more clear: between one candidate, John McCain, who's had experience, been tested in war and tried in peace, another candidate who has not,'' Lieberman said Tuesday in York, Pa. "Between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not."

Lieberman tells ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg and Howard L. Rosenberg: "If there's one public official who has consistently put his country ahead of his party, working across party lines to get things done in Washington, it is John McCain. . . . It's not Barack Obama, with all respect." (The respect, we're sure, is appreciated.)

Other than the keynote announcement, new from the Obama campaign Wednesday: "The Obama campaign will also announce a new TV ad today focused on the economy to air beginning Thursday in battleground states," campaign spokesman Bill Burton says.

New from the McCain campaign Wednesday: time to celebrate an anniversary. "One year ago today, Barack Obama accused our men and women in Afghanistan of 'just air-raiding villages and killing civilians' in this country's fight against radical Islamic extremism. Whether those words were a product of inexperience or just bad judgment, they were not the kind of words we expect from any candidate for our nation's highest office."

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