July 29, 2008 -- In the first of what could be many close encounters, John McCain and Barack Obama will both be campaigning in Missouri tomorrow, the first time the two candidates have hit the same battleground state on the same day since the general election started.
At this point in the campaign the battleground map is anywhere from 12-18 states depending on who you are talking to. But as we get closer to Election Day, that map will shrink and the candidates will spend their time in a handful of key states. As the pace gets more frenetic on the campaign trail, McCain and Obama are bound to run into each other or get pretty darn close.
(Remember the bank heist in Davenport IA in August 2004 when John Kerry and President Bush were both holding events at the same time? Or the time their motorcades played Chicken and nearly crossed paths on I-70 in Western Pennsylvania, missing each other by about a half hour?)
Sometimes the battleground states just aren't big enough for the both of them but tomorrow McCain and Obama will share the spotlight as they compete for Missouri's 11 Electoral Votes. Missouri is considered the classic bellwether state – it has gone with the winner in every election since 1900 except for one, when the state voted for Adlai Stevenson over Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.
McCain will be stumping for dollars tomorrow night in Kansas City while Obama travels around the state with one of his top surrogates, Sen. Claire McCaskill. Obama holds two town hall meetings, in Springfield and Rolla, and attend a barbeque in Union.
McCain starts his day in Colorado and will deliver remarks on energy policy at the Wagner Equipment Company outside Denver.
Sen. Ted Stevens indictedIt was already a challenging election year for Senate Republicans, with 23 seats currently held by Republicans up for grabs on Election Day. Today that task grew a bit more daunting with the news that Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was indicted by the Department of Justice for seven felony counts of making false statements.
ABC News' Jake Tapper reports that Stevens has stepped down from his leadership positions as top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee and as top Republican on the Appropriations Committee's defense appropriations subcommittee, per Senate Republican rules for indicted officials. Stevens will remain on those committees.
Stevens is up for re-election in November, running a tough race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Today's news puts Stevens in even deeper hot water now.
Next up for Stevens is the state's Aug. 26 primary where he is competing against five minor Republicans. The Fix's Chris Cilliza reports that it is too late to remove his name from the ballot but perhaps the best hope for Republicans is that Stevens wins the primary and then steps out of the race, allowing the party to put in a stronger candidate to challenge Begich.
But that of course depends on Stevens getting out and all indications so far have been that he has no plans to go anywhere, even as the cloud of scandal turned into an actual indictment.
Veepstakes watch. . . Still no discernible movement on the Veepstakes front on either side but ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg and Howard Rosenberg report that since he arrived back in Washington D.C. early Monday, Obama has spent hours with the co-chairs of his vice presidential committee search team -- Caroline Kennedy and attorney Eric Holder.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is suddenly a lot more popular after recent reports that he is on the very short list for Obama. Gov. Kaine downplayed speculation on that today and told reporters in Washington DC, "I haven't sought it, I'm not running for it, I'm not asking for it."
From ABC News' Tahman Bradley, Teddy Davis and Ayana Harry:After his interview with WTOP, Kaine was greeted by a swarm of reporters asking whether he told friends that he's talking with Obama about being a vice-presidential candidate.
"My conversations with the campaign stay with the campaign," Kaine said, adding that he did not meet with Obama today and is not planning to do so. Obama is in Washington DC Tuesday for meetings.
However, Kaine joked that news reports that he is on Obama's list of candidates are making his mother happy. "My mom loves seeing me on the lists, that's fun for her," he said.
On the campaign front. . .
-- 12:45 pm ET: Attends event with employees of the Wagner Equipment Company, Aurora, CO.
-- 7:00 pm ET: Attends fundraising event, Kansas City, MO.
--11:00 am ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters on economic security, Springfield, MO.
-- 4:00 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters and Senator Claire McCaskill on economic security, Rolla, MO.
-- 7:00 pm ET: Attends BBQ event with voters and Senator Claire McCaskill, Union, MO.
At the White House. . .
-- 10:10 am ET: Attends cabinet meeting, White House.
-- 11:15 am ET: Makes statement with Cabinet members in the Rose Garden.
-- 3:05 pm ET: Signs the Tom Lantos and Henry Hyde U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization of 2008.
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES ON ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Jan Crawford Greenburg and Howard L. Rosenberg: Obama's VP Short-List Shortcomings LINK
ABC News' Tahman Bradley, Teddy Davis and Ayana Harry: Kaine on Obama's VP List: 'I'm Not Running for It. I'm Not Asking For It' LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper and Theresa Cook: Feds Indict Republican Senator for Lying LINK
ABC News' Teddy Davis and James Gerber: AFL-CIO Mailing Seeks to Dispel Obama Rumors LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Stevens Gives Statement, Steps Down From Leadership Posts LINK
ABC News' Rick Klein: Liberal Group: Media Hearts McCain, not Obama LINK
ABC News' Bret Hovell: McCain: Obama Retains Title of Dr. No on Energy LINK
ABC News' Sam Donaldson: Donaldson Examines the Ways of the Senate's 'Dr. No' LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Candidates Come Home on Economy, Energy LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: From The Fact Check Desk: Obama and the Surge LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Clintonism and Feminism -- VP Edition LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: The Best Detail from the Stevens Indictment LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Barack Obama's Fake Facebook Page LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO ON ABCNEWS.COM
Stevens Indicted for False Statements
Acting Asst. AG reveals Sen. Ted Stevens is indicted in corruption case. LINK
VP Buzz Gets Louder
Speculation on potential presidential running-mates heats up. LINK
Sam Looks to Define Senate Popularity
ABC News' Sam Donaldson examines GOP Sen. Coburn's one man fight against waste. LINK
99 Days and Counting
Presidential nominees count down to Election Day. LINK
U.S. Faces Record Budget Deficit
Deficit could reach half a trillion dollars by 2009. LINK
Presidential Candidate Checkup
Both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain have recently had health concerns. LINK