Morning Road Map

By Michelle Levi and Steve Chaggaris

Obama is in Ohio today where he continues his week-long focus on energy issues. He holds town hall meetings in Youngstown at 9am and in Berea at 2pm. At the Youngstown event he's expected to call the energy crisis "the great challenge of our time" as he breaks down his version of the differences in energy policy between himself and McCain. "So to sum up, under Senator McCain's plan, the oil companies get billions more, we don't pay any less at the pump, and we stay in the same cycle of dependence on oil that got us into this crisis. The oil companies have placed their bet on Senator McCain, and if he wins, they will continue to cash in while our families and our economy suffer and our future is put in jeopardy," Obama will say, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.

McCain also talks energy today in Michigan. He will tour the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Plant in Newport, Mich., outside Detroit, at 2pm.

NEW OVERNIGHT:
Politico reports that Obama has a new contrast ad out today which attempts to characterize McCain as a status quo Washington candidate while Obama offer a "new energy" plan. A narrator explains that McCain has, "been in Washington for 26 years. And as gas prices soared and dependence on oil exploded," and "was voting against alternative energy, against higher mileage standards." http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0808/Obama_National_Priority.html?showall


Obama let the press corps eat cake last night, in honor of his 47th birthday. He came to the back of his campaign plane for a quick press conference where he described the gift his daughters gave him - the tie he was wearing - and talked about spending the day with them on Sunday. He said his foreign trip "accomplished what I wanted to accomplish." He spoke about the excitement of big campaign events, his energy policy versus McCain's but shoved aside questions about a VP pick. He joked, "I'm not going to answer your question, but I'm going to consider - I'm going to consider the question. And maybe tomorrow I'll think about it some more. No I - I told you, until I introduce my VP nominee, you're not going to pry anything out of me."

McCAIN vs. OBAMA: ENERGY
Wall Street Journal, "Obama Backs Using Oil Reserve"

Washington Post, "Obama Urges Opening Up Oil Reserves"

NY Times, "Obama, in New Stand, Proposes Use of Oil Reserve"

Lansing State Journal, "Obama speech fueled by energy plan"

Philadelphia Inquirer, "McCain: Congress should reconvene to deal with energy"

Wall Street Journal, "Speak Softly, and Carry a Good Tire Gauge"

Time Magazine, "The Tire-Gauge Solution: No Joke"

McCAIN vs. OBAMA
Associated Press, "Negativity the norm in presidential campaign"

NY Times' Brooks, "Where's the Landslide?": "Why isn't Barack Obama doing better? Why, after all that has happened, does he have only a slim two- or three-point lead over John McCain, according to an average of the recent polls? Why is he basically tied with his opponent when his party is so far ahead?"

Huffington Post's Castellanos, "The Molten Core of Barack: Why Obama Can't Win": "Barack Obama should not have to hit a three-pointer to win this election. It should be a lay-up. Yet if Senator Obama is doing so well, why is he doing so poorly? And if John McCain is doing so poorly, why is he doing so well?"

Washington Post's Hiatt suggests Obama accept town hall meetings with McCain, "Answering McCain's Attacks"

VEEPSTAKES
Chicago Tribune, "Guessing VP is no game for Obama staff"

Indianapolis Star, "Long campaign stop in state amplifies Obama-Bayh buzz"

Washington Post, "Mitt For Veep, Stopping Joggers In Their Tracks"

Wall Street Journal, "McCain Vets Cantor as Running Mate"

Washington Post, "Cantor Won't Talk About the VP Slot"

Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Kaine, Cantor: modest to millions"

CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISING
LA Times reports on a top executive from Hess Corp., "Oilman greases skids for McCain campaign"

Boston Globe, "Birthday bash draws $5m for Obama, party"

Boston Herald, "Bay Staters dish out $4M to dine with Barack Obama"

LA Times, "Happy birthday, Barack Obama": "Obama celebrates his 47th birthday at a Boston fundraiser. Such is the life of a presidential candidate."

BATTLEGROUND STATES
NY Times, "G.O.P. Drops in Voting Rolls in Many States"

Washington Post, "Alaskans for Obama: A Rare Democratic Push in the Last Frontier"

LA Times, "McCain campaigns at another sort of rally in Sturgis, S.D."

ALSO:
Gwen Ifill interviews Barack and Michelle Obama for Essence Magazine

WCBS-TV, "It's Party Time Hillary Style At Gracie Mansion"

NY Times, "Denver Police Brace for Convention"

Washington Post, "The Race for Comedian In Chief"