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Morning Road Map

By Michelle Levi and Steve Chaggaris

McCain spends the day in Pennsylvania today. He'll begin the day with a statement to the press about the conflict in Georgia at 9am before taking a tour of the GE plant in Erie, PA with former Gov. and possible running mate Tom Ridge at 10. McCain will spend the night in Harrisburg.

Obama continues his vacation in Hawaii with no public events scheduled.

NEW TODAY: Obama released a new TV ad playing off McCain's "Celeb" ad and the Republican candidate's insistence that Obama is a "celebrity" candidate. The ad says, "For decades, he's been Washington's biggest celebrity" and goes on to run clips of McCain on various TV shows before criticizing him for supporting tax breaks for oil and drug companies. It also features several shots of McCain and President Bush together.

The latest New York Magazine features four articles on Obama and race: "The Impossible Conversation"

NY Times' Bumiller, "For a Week, McCain Has the Trail to Himself"

LA Times' Riccardi and Reston, "Between a maverick and a hard place": "McCain defends his outsider image after having embraced GOP dogma for the primary."

Associated Press' Italie, "Obama policy book coming out Sept. 9": " He's written million-selling books about his early years and the meaning of public life. Now, Sen. Barack Obama, with the help of his campaign staff, has another side to share with readers: policy wonk. 'Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise' is coming out Sept. 9 as a paperback with an announced first printing of 300,000 copies and a list price of $13.95. Looking ahead to the digital market, the e-book, also $13.95, will go on sale the day before."

Politico's Thrush, "7 worrisome signs for Obama": "A few weeks back, Time magazine was musing that John McCain was in danger of sliding from 'a long shot' to a 'no-shot.' Around the same time, a hard-nosed former Hillary Clinton insider declared the race 'effectively over' thanks to the McCain campaign's ineptitude, the tanking U.S. economy and Obama's advantages in cash, charisma and hope. And Obama, up by three to six points nationally, was about to leverage a much-anticipated trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe into a pre-convention poll surge. Instead, his supporters are now suffering a pre-Denver panic attack, watching as John McCain draws incrementally closer in state and national polls – with Rasmussen's most recent daily national tracker showing a statistical dead heat."

Salon's Schaller, "Why isn't Obama crushing McCain?"

Bloomberg's Salant and Burger, "Obama Uses Cash Edge, Opens Offices in Indiana, North Carolina"

Washington Times' Dickson, "McCain, Obama target trade's impact"

Washington Post's Dionne, "Obama as Incumbent": "The core strategy of John McCain's campaign is to turn Barack Obama into the incumbent, the man who is too familiar yet still mysterious."

USA Today's Dilanian, "Vetting teams scour pasts of potential VPs": "Some issues involving potential running mates that the vetters may be mulling: Bayh's wife, attorney Susan Bayh, has earned $1 million a year in recent years, and nearly $2 million in stock options, through her service on 10 corporate boards, according to The Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind., including drug and insurance companies that have been denounced by Obama as overly powerful special interests... Pawlenty amended his financial disclosure forms in 2003 after revealing that a businessman had paid him $4,500 per month — a total of $60,000 — for legal consulting while he was campaigning for governor in 2002. He had listed his consulting business, BAMCO and Associates, as an investment on the state form designed to disclose his income... Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine accepted a $12,000 trip to a Democratic governors meeting in Aspen, Colo., in 2006 from Barr Labs, a drug company with a large presence in his state, according to his financial disclosure statements. He also let Dominion, a Richmond-based energy company, spend $1,356 to pay his way to the NCAA basketball tournament in Indianapolis and conferences in West Virginia and New Orleans, the records show. In a state with no limits on campaign giving, he has accepted $660,000 in three years from a single donor, billionaire venture capitalist Randal Kirk, records show... Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., has been a prolific fundraiser from the lobbyists and interest groups that McCain says hold too much sway in Washington. In 2006, he donated to charity $10,000 he had received from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who had named a sandwich after Cantor at a deli he owned, according to the Jewish newspaper The Forward. McCain helped expose the Abramoff scandal."

Washington Post's Cillizza, "Obama Nearing a Veep Decision?"

LA Times' Malcolm, "Obama's VP choice imminent via website, e-mail, text message"

Wall Street Journal's Meckler, "Georgia Conflict Tests Candidates on Foreign Policy"

The Hill's Alarkon, "As Russia goes to war, McCain camp sees benefit"

Wall Street Journal's Jacoby, "McCain Adviser Was Lobbyist for Georgia"

NY Sun's Berman, "McCain Aide Portrays Obama As 'In Sync With Kremlin'"

Associated Press' Pickler, "Clinton to headline second night of convention"

The Hill's Cusack, "Plans for Clinton convention rallies intensify": "Frustrated supports of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) are planning multiple rallies at the Democratic convention in Denver, coupled with television and print advertisements. The disenchanted Democrats want to express their disappointment with the party's presidential primary process."

Washington Post, "Michelle Obama to Speak On Convention's First Night"

Wall Street Journal's Chozick, "Democrats Seek Unity in Preparing Party Platform"

Denver Post's Chakrabarty, "Dems plan parties aplenty for mixing and mingling"

USA Today's Lawrence, "Analysis: Edwards scandal paints uncertain future"

Newsweek's Darman, "What Rielle Hunter Told Me"

NY Daily News' Lupica, "John Edwards is a liar and cheat who has mastered the sleazy art of hypocrisy"

NY Times' Kovaleski, "Behind a Meeting That Exposed Edwards's Affair"

Huffington Post's Westen, "Catching the Wrong John: Why Are the Media Talking About John Edwards' Infidelity If They Aren't Going to Talk About John McCain's"

Washington Post's Kurtz, "Affair Put Press in a Touchy Situation"

Politico's Calderone, "Why I also didn't write on John Edwards"

Politico's Smith, "Pro-Obama 527 plans $10M for election"

Politico's Vogel, "Clinton to forfeit $13 mil loan, unless..."

NY Times' Stelter, "Endorsement From Winfrey Quantified: A Million Votes"

NY Times' Urbina, "Social Initiatives on State Ballots Could Draw Attention to Presidential Race": "Divisive social issues will be on the ballot in several states in November, including constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in Arizona, California and Florida, and limitations on abortion in California, Colorado and South Dakota."

Wall Street Journal's Brown, "Will Colorado Ballot Measure on Race Hurt Obama?"

Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Tinsley, "More voters may cross party lines in November"

Washington Post's Thompson, "For Those Once Behind Bars, A Nudge to the Voting Booth": "All but two states -- Maine and Vermont -- limit voting rights for people with felony convictions. Some felons are banned from voting until they have completed parole and paid restitution, others for life. Kentucky and Virginia have the most restrictive laws, denying all felons the right to vote, though Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) has encouraged nonviolent offenders to apply to have their rights restored."

Dallas Morning News' Jeffers, "Obama, McCain charging for yard signs": "Want a yard sign expressing your support for Barack Obama or John McCain? Be prepared to pay for it. Campaign yard signs have traditionally been free, but when Lake Highlands resident Mike Norris contacted the local Obama headquarters about picking one up, they told him to bring cash. The $5 price was $3 cheaper than the signs Mr. Obama hawks online, but Mr. Norris, 59, felt he shouldn't have to pay anything."

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