Bloomberg's Al Hunt looks at this tweener period between the primaries and the general, and notes that Obama appears to be winning this middle period. Hunt also previews Obama's August a bit. "Obama's eight-day trip to the Middle East war zones and Europe was almost perfect. The Democratic candidate looked and sounded presidential and reassuring, while avoiding missteps. The contrasts, often unfairly, with McCain at home were stunning. One looking vigorous in a helicopter over Iraq, the other in a golf cart with former President George H. W. Bush -- 155 years of age between them."
Hunt also previews Obama's August a bit, too. "The Obama camp anticipates a good next month. He's planning a 'Biography Tour' aimed at filling in the blanks -- and alleviating concerns -- about his life and values. They have the skill and resources to do this well. The Denver convention plans are different, too. For the final speech, instead of speaking to a hall full of delegates as candidates of both parties have done for seven decades, Obama, 46, will deliver his acceptance speech outdoors before 75,000 people at Invesco Field. The symbolism is clear. (If Obama's luck holds, it will be a clear night, as they calculated it rarely rains in Denver in August.)"
"The convention's first three days will also be different. They want to downplay the parade of candidates trying to get television exposure, with evenings built around central figures. If it works, there will be simultaneous town meetings and forums around the country interactively linked to the site of the convention."
The cover of the NY Daily News: "Obama's poll vault." The paper cites Obama's nine-point (49%-40%) lead in the Gallup Daily tracking poll.
"With 100 days remaining in the race for the White House, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama says he has succeeded in expanding the electoral map in his race against John McCain, principally in southern and southwestern states but also in Montana and North Dakota. 'It doesn't mean we're going to win all those states but at least we're making it a contest and giving voters something to choose from,' he said in an interview aboard his campaign jet on the way back from an overseas trip. 'Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia are all states where we are competitive," he said, adding he is going 'toe to toe' with his rival in New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada."
MICHIGAN: The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman notes that this could be a challenge for Obama in the fall. "This normally reliable state for Democrats may not be so reliable this year as issues of race and class cloud the election and voters say they still know little about the Democratic nominee because of a botched primary that kept him away."
OHIO: RNC Chairman Mike Duncan says that, although the map is rife with new battlegrounds, the old favorites are still king, "From a practical standpoint, Ohio is going to be ground zero again," he said during his visit there last week.
PENNSYLVANIA: A very good piece by the McClatchy folks taking a look at how economically depressed white voters in the northeast part of the state aren't yet on the Obama bandwagon.