• "Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both bracing to take over a troubled economy in January," the Politico reports. "But their assessments of how dire the situation is -- and their remedies for fixing it -- are as different as the two presidential rivals themselves and their life experiences."
• "When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's stock prices plunged and rumors of their insolvency swirled, the presidential campaigns of" McCain and Obama "released terse statements about the mortgage giants, then went nearly silent," the Washington Post reports. "The risks of intervening in the firms' rescue are high, the rewards are scant, and the tentacles of the government-sponsored enterprises reach into both campaigns."
• "In the past, a common complaint among Hispanic voters has been that politicians tend to view them as a one-issue bloc, concerned only about immigration," the New York Times reports. "Both presidential campaigns are taking care to avoid that trap, emphasizing issues like education, health care and housing as much as, if not more than, immigration and related border issues."
Dems 2008: Obama Looks To Crack GOP Dominance Of The South
• "Obama on Wednesday criticized the Bush administration for failing to protect the American people from weapons of mass destruction and said he would take aggressive measures as president to lessen the threat from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and from cyber-terrorism," the Los Angeles Times reports.
• Obama's "support for troop withdrawal cuts both ways, reflecting a deep internal quandary in Iraq: for many middle-class Iraqis, affection for Mr. Obama is tempered by worry that his proposal could lead to chaos in a nation already devastated by war," the New York Times reports. "Many Iraqis also acknowledge that security gains in recent months were achieved partly by the buildup of American troops, which Mr. Obama opposed and" McCain "supported."
• Obama's "five-country European and Middle East tour... threatens to turn into Obamapalooza," USA Today reports. "In contrast to the low-key coverage of" McCain's "European and Middle East trip in March, Obama will be accompanied by a campaign plane of reporters and trailed by three network broadcast anchors."
• "Even as" Obama "prepared for an overseas trip by convening a foreign-policy roundtable Wednesday, he already was making waves overseas," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "In Germany, politicians disagreed on where the Democratic presidential contender should speak during a stop there, while officials from Ireland and Lebanon complained they had been left off the itinerary."
• "If" Obama's "historic campaign to become the first black president boosts black turnout as drastically as he predicts, he could crack decades of Republican dominance across the South. That's a big 'if.'" An AP "analysis of U.S. Census and voting data from the past four presidential elections shows a potentially dramatic impact should Obama fulfill his pledge to elevate black participation by 30 percent," which "would add nearly 1.8 million votes in 11 Southern states... enough to tip the balance in several that have been Republican strongholds."
• "Obama campaigned in Indiana" on Wednesday "with a pair of potential vice presidential picks, and will travel abroad with a third," the Washington Post reports. "Despite their differences in age and geographic base," former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and current Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., "all fit well in the experience column among contenders for the No. 2 spot on the ticket -- Washington veterans with deep resumes and credentials in government."
• "Obama's presidential campaign says it raised $52 million last month," AP reports. "The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee ended the month of June with a combined total of nearly $72 million in the bank."
• Obama "and the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday established a joint fundraising agreement with 18 state Democratic parties to funnel money into those states for Obama's White House bid," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "Party leaders believe the program can also help Democratic candidates up and down the ballot."
• "Obama's campaign announced Wednesday that it is adding 20 offices across Virginia, an unprecedented effort by a presidential candidate and another sign that he plans to compete vigorously in a state that has been on the sidelines during past presidential contests," the Washington Post reports.
• "Hillary Rodham Clinton's former campaign manager" Patti Solis Doyle, "now on" Obama's "team, says she could easily work for her old boss again if Clinton were on the Democratic ticket," AP reports. "Solis Doyle said her move came as no surprise to Clinton. Still, some of Clinton's backers were outraged by what they saw as a slight to Clinton and an indication that she would not get the vice presidential slot."
• The Rev. Jesse Jackson "apparently was caught on tape using the n-word, the racial epithet he has railed against for years, adding an ironic new twist to the controversy over his recent remarks about" Obama "during an off-air break in a televised interview," the Chicago Tribune reports.
• Bloomberg News profiles Obama's "political godfather," Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones (D). Jones urged "the three-year state senator to venture outside his Chicago social sphere and forge ties with both Democrats and Republicans from across Illinois," and "also helped Obama build a legislative record by making him the sponsor of high-profile bills, including a death-penalty overhaul."
• And the Los Angeles Times looks at the similarities and differences between Obama and his late father.
GOP 2008: Romney Will Not Pay Down His Campaign Debt
• "McCain ventured into solid" Obama "territory Wednesday when he addressed the 99th annual convention of the country's venerable civil rights organization, the NAACP," the Los Angeles Times reports. "He did not draw the crowd that greeted his Democratic opponent here Monday, where, as one organization official put it, 'even the overflow room had an overflow room,' but McCain received a respectful reception for his speech on education reform."
• The Politico looks at McCain's "lighter side." His "wisecracking persona is cutting at times, self-deprecating at others, and always amused by the political process swirling around him." But "to his detractors, some of the jokes are offensive and out of touch with contemporary mores."
• "Dozens of supporters answered" McCain's "call to write big checks to a special account set up to benefit his presidential campaign and Republican Party committees," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "The average donation, however, was $5,800, far below the $70,100 individual contribution that Sen. McCain's campaign had solicited for the joint fund-raising account."
• Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) "whose prospects of becoming" McCain's "running mate appear on the rise, is preparing to formally declare he will not seek donations to repay $45 million in personal loans he made to his failed presidential bid -- the biggest ever made by a candidate in a primary campaign," the Boston Globe reports. "The move could clear away the last remnants of a divisive primary race, ensuring that he and his financial supporters are focused on helping McCain, but it could also put him at odds with McCain's campaign reform message."
• "Few House Republicans have contributed to" McCain "since he clinched the Republican nomination at the end of February," The Hill reports. McCain "has had a far warmer reception in the upper chamber. At least 22 Senate colleagues have contributed to McCain's campaign, including Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who attends Democratic caucus meetings."
• "McCain had kind words for fellow Republican Chuck Hagel on Wednesday, but wouldn't speculate on whether the Nebraska senator might be" Obama's "choice for a running mate," AP reports. "McCain did say Hagel could have a place in his own administration, and that he'll continue to talk to him and value his opinions."