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Morning Road Map

By Michelle Levi and Steve Chaggaris

McCain will speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Orlando, Fla., today at 9am. He will then attend an 11:15 am ET business roundtable in Cocoa Beach, FL.

Obama is in Albuquerque, N.M., where he will host a roundtable on women and the economy at 12:15pm ET followed by a town hall meeting there at 2:55pm ET.

NEW OVERNIGHT: Even though he declared, "I will win. Don't worry about that," Obama called himself the "underdog" last night at a San Francisco fundraiser saying, "Change is always tough. And electing me is change. It means that people are going to hesitate a little bit. Ba-rack O-bama. They're still getting past that name." He later added, "Even when people are having a tough time, sometimes the devil you know may be preferable to the unknown." During the introduction, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi effusively praised Obama, perhaps overly effusively, calling him "a leader that God has blessed us with at this time."

VEEPSTAKES
Politico's Smith & Thrush, "Obama likely to announce VP this week"

Washington Post's Murray, "Biden Trip to Georgia Stokes VP Chatter"

NY Times' Broder, "As Running Mate, Biden Offers Foreign Policy Heft but an Insider Image": " Mr. Biden's strengths and weaknesses as a vice-presidential nominee are glaringly obvious and in many cases overlap. At age 65, he would bring heft, knowledge and nearly four decades of experience in Washington to a ticket headed by a relative political newcomer. But that experience — he was first elected to the Senate at age 29 and has served for nearly four decades — would undercut Mr. Obama's image as an agent of change."

Wall Street Journal's Chozick, "Potential Vice Presidential Candidates Tread Lightly"

LA Times' Hoffecker, "Veep Watch: Tom Ridge negotiates the abortion tightrope on 'Fox News Sunday'"

Indianapolis Star's Groppe, "Bayh defends Obama, challenges McCain stance"

SADDLEBACK FAITH FORUM
Politico's Allen, "McCain protests NBC coverage": "[T]he campaign is objecting to a statement by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on "Meet the Press" questioning whether McCain might have gotten a heads-up on some of the questions that were asked of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was the first candidate to be interviewed Saturday night by Pastor Rick Warren at a presidential forum on faith."

NY Times' Seelye, "Despite Assurances, McCain Wasn't in a 'Cone of Silence'": "Members of the McCain campaign staff, who flew here Sunday from California, said Mr. McCain was in his motorcade on the way to the church as Mr. Obama was being interviewed by the Rev. Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book 'The Purpose Driven Life.' The matter is of interest because Mr. McCain, who followed Mr. Obama's hourlong appearance in the forum, was asked virtually the same questions as Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain's performance was well received, raising speculation among some viewers, especially supporters of Mr. Obama, that he was not as isolated during the Obama interview as Mr. Warren implied."

NY Times' Kristol, "Showdown at Saddleback": "There's no evidence that McCain had any such advantage. But the fact that Obama's people made this suggestion means they know McCain outperformed him."

LA Times' Miller, "Who's rich? McCain and Obama have very different definitions": "To Pastor Rick Warren's question, Obama says someone making more than $250,000. McCain gives a figure of $5 million per year. His campaign says he was joking."

Washington Post's Gerson, "McCain's New Hope": " It is now clear why Barack Obama has refused John McCain's offer of joint town hall appearances during the fall campaign. McCain is obviously better at them."

Wall Street Journal's Meckler, "Candidates Give Preview Of Presidential Debates in Church Talk"

LA Times' Tran, "After Obama-McCain forum, Rick Warren sermon focuses on character"

PoliticalBase.com's Nickolas, "Did McCain Steal His 'Cross in the Dirt' Story at Saturday's Forum From Solzhenitsyn?"

Beliefnet.com's Waldman, "McCain's Changing Cross-in-the-Dirt Story"

Politico's Smith, "McCain cites questionable story on 'evil'"

CBN.com's Brody, "Bauer: Obama's Chances at Evangelical Vote 'Ended' At Forum"

OBAMA vs. McCAIN
LA Times' Mehta, "Obama, back on campaign trail, calls McCain a continuation of Bush"

Las Vegas Sun's Schwartz, "Obama highlights economy in Nevada speech"

Agence France-Presse, "Sparring over, McCain, Obama gird for battle"

Christian Science Monitor's Orr, "Obama back on the campaign trail"

NY Times' Krugman, "It's the Economy Stupor": "Why isn't the Obama campaign getting more traction on economic issues? It's not the Republican offensive on offshore drilling... Nor is there any valid basis for the complaints, highlighted in Sunday's Times, that Mr. Obama isn't offering enough policy specifics... No, the problem isn't lack of specifics — it's lack of passion. When it comes to the economy, Mr. Obama's campaign seems oddly lethargic. I was astonished at the flatness of the big economy speech he gave in St. Petersburg at the beginning of this month — a speech that was billed as the start of a new campaign focus on economic issues. Mr. Obama is a great orator, yet he began that speech with a litany of statistics that were probably meaningless to most listeners. Worse yet, he seemed to go out of his way to avoid scoring political points."

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
NY Times' Zeleny and Rutenberg, "For Convention, Obama's Image Is All-American"

CAMPAIGN FINANCES
Wall Street Journal's Cooper, "Obama Shows Increased Spending": "Democratic and Republican strategists differ on the wisdom of Sen. Obama's strategy. Scott Reed, who ran the presidential campaign of former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, said Sen. Obama's deficit spending in July should trouble him. 'That's the first sign that they're going to have difficulties in the fall,' he said. 'Maintaining local offices is really expensive -- and if you have to close one, it can become a huge local news story.' But Joe Trippi, who ran campaigns for Democrats Howard Dean in 2004 and John Edwards this year said the ground presence could put Sen. Obama over the top. 'Any political operative, Obama's included, will tell you that a big field operation is good for three or four points, and in a close state, that could be enough,' he said."

San Francisco Chronicle's Marinucci, "Obama reaps big bucks at S.F. fundraisers": " Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama used his own name and heritage to make a point about change at a fundraiser that raised a record $7.8 million for his campaign in San Francisco Sunday."

KPIX-TV, "Barack Obama Fundraises in San Francisco"

Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Smith, "McCain event in Atlanta not a hot GOP ticket"

IN THE STATES
Washington Post's Craig, "Voter Registration Key to Obama's Efforts to Put Virginia in Play"

CQ.com's Giroux, "Swing-State Iowa Tilting Towards Democrats"

CQ.com's Horrigan, "This Year's Issues Favor Dems in Wisconsin"

Washington Post's Pershing, "Across the Northeast, GOP's Hold Lessens"

ABORTION
LA Times' Finnegan, "McCain and Obama try to navigate the politics of abortion": "So far -- with the exception of their back-to-back appearances at Saddleback Church -- McCain and Obama have largely played down abortion, opting to engage more forcefully on matters that voters rank as more important, such as the economy and Iraq."

Time Magazine's Gibbs, "McCain and Obama on Abortion"

NY Sun's Berman, "Obama Facing Attacks From All Sides Over Abortion Record"

ALSO:
Politico's Kuhn, "McCain reopens the national security gap"

Wall Street Journal's Brown, "Obama Plays Robin Hood": "Sen. Obama's voting record was the most liberal in the U.S. Senate last year, according to the nonpartisan National Journal. But not all liberals come down so strongly as he has in favor of redistribution, a fiscal policy that believes one socio-economic group has benefited unfairly at the expense of the rest of us and needs to pay compensation."

Washington Times' Dinan, "McCain evolves into a supply-sider"

USA Today's Kelley and Jackson, "McCain OK with aide's lobbying past"

NY Times' Kirkpatrick, "Response to 9/11 Offers Outline of McCain Doctrine"

Times of London's Baxter, "Hillary Clinton's rich friend Lady de Rothschild ambushes Barack Obama": "'We're not going to win by pretending problems with Barack Obama don't exist. He has a huge problem connecting with ordinary Americans, who think, 'He doesn't understand me.' He is not modest; he is arrogant. He radiates elitism.' ... 'It is not disloyal to raise legitimate questions about Barack Obama,' she said. 'He started running for president before he even set foot in the US Senate.'"

LA Times' O'Neil, "Could his two Grammy wins be lucky charms for Barack Obama?"

Washington Post's Copeland, "Bob Barr, the Master of a Curious Universe"

NY Times' Stelter, "Enticing Text Messagers in a Get-Out-the-Vote Push"

NY Times' Hulse, "Democrats Use a Personal Touch to Coax Voters in Congressional Races"