The Note: Rocky Roads

The choice of Biden may heighten the import of national security in this race -- but listen carefully and you'll hear pocketbooks picking up the pace. "My main goal at this convention and through my speech is to convey a sense of urgency that so many families are feeling across the country," Obama, D-Ill., tells The Denver Post's Karen Crummy. "And to present a clear choice between continuing the same economic policies that have caused record foreclosures, rising unemployment, rising inflation, flat and declining incomes and wages, and a new approach to economic policies that I believe will create prosperity, growth and fairness."

Writes Crummy: "Going on the attack when running a campaign for change is risky, Obama acknowledges." Said Obama: "It's something I worry about and wrestle with all the time. I really prefer having a debate about issues."

Friendly advice: "While Obama can continue to try to reassure resistant Clinton loyalists in Appalachia that he's not a bogeyman from Madrassaland, he must also move on to the bigger picture for everyone else," Frank Rich writes in his New York Times column. "He must rekindle the 'fierce urgency of now' -- but not, as he did in the primaries, merely to evoke uplifting echoes of the civil-rights struggle or the need for withdrawal from Iraq."

Rich continues: "R.I.P., 'Change We Can Believe In.' The fierce urgency of the 21st century demands Change Before It's Too Late." What Denver will mean is a week to answer the critics -- those who say he can't/shouldn't/won't win.

And could any of those critics matter more than those associated with an ex-candidate named Clinton?

McCain has already been using Biden's words to undermine Obama -- now come Clinton's (hitting the sorest of sore spots). "She won millions of votes. But isn't on his ticket," says the announcer in the new McCain spot. "Why? For speaking the truth." (And Rezko is back.) "Erasing any doubt that McCain has his sights set on Clinton voters, the new ad uses Clinton's own words to suggest that Obama passed her over because of the tough campaign she waged," Michael Shear writes for The Washington Post.

(We look forward to the ad Democrats will cut a week from now -- whether or not former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., is on McCain's ticket.)

Not that anyone is giving up on mining Biden's. The quote GOPers will circulate Sunday (might they roll out one a day?): "It is not enough to surround yourself with smart people," Biden told the Concord Monitor in March 2007. "You better be as smart and as informed as the smart people you gather around you. It can't be on-the-job training."

Setting up shop in Denver: The RNC's "Not Ready '08 Response Center." We're told you can count eight HD TVs, a full kitchen, a press briefing room -- and headliners who will include Romney, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., and former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, R-N.Y. Walk-throughs available Sunday afternoon . . .

These folks are waiting in Denver, too: "It's a total diss to Sen. Clinton, in my opinion," Diane Mantouvalos, co-founder of the Just Say No Deal Coalition, tells the AP's Stephen Ohlemacher. "It just speaks volumes about how Barack Obama doesn't stand for anything."

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