Latest comments and numbers from the trail...
Karl Rove  sees the key battleground coming down to 4 states:
Other states will see serious competition, including Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, Missouri and Wisconsin. But Colorado, Virginia, Michigan and Ohio are likely to be the center of the action. To win, Mr. Obama needs to pick up 18 electoral votes more than John Kerry received, meaning Mr. Obama must carry Colorado or Virginia and add another small state to his column. If Mr. McCain carries Michigan as well as Ohio, it would make Mr. Obama's Electoral College math very difficult. And if Mr. McCain can limit GOP losses to one or two small states from those won by the GOP in 2004, he'll be America's 44th president.
The latest polls:
Rasmussen  puts it this way:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Barack Obama attracting 43% of the vote while John McCain earns 42%. When "leaners" are included, it's Obama 47% and McCain 46%
The race for the White House remains remarkably stable. With leaners, Obama's support has stayed between 46% and 48% every day for the past two weeks. During that same time frame, McCain has been at 46% or 47% every day.
Even the favorable numbers are neck-and-neck at 55% for McCain and 54% for Obama.
From Gallup :
Gallup Poll Daily tracking  from Aug. 10-12 gives Barack Obama a six percentage point lead over John McCain in the race for president, 48% to 42% among national registered voters.
From Pew :
With less than two weeks to go before the start of the presidential nominating conventions, Barack Obama's lead over John McCain has disappeared. Pew's latest survey finds 46% of registered voters saying they favor or lean to the putative Democratic candidate, while 43% back his likely Republican rival. In late June, Obama held a comfortable 48%-to-40% margin over McCain, which narrowed in mid-July to 47% to 42%.
Pew also notes that McCain's gains have come from consolidating GOP support...while the Dems - meaning former Hillary supporters - haven't closed ranks quite as much for him. (No wonder he doesn't want that roll-call in Denver).
Keep in mind that Rasmussen polls "likely" voters...Gallup and Pew, just "registered" voters.
Meanwhile, it appears that the drilling issue continues to cut well  for Republicans and is gaining traction.
McCain doesn't "rule out" Ridge :
Republican John McCain  says he has not ruled out choosing Pennsylvania's popular former Gov. Tom Ridge as a running mate despite his support for abortion rights, a hot-button issue that could inflame some voters among the party's conservative base.
Malkin  sees a trial balloon. Urges conservatives to visit McCain's blog  and shoot it down. Ditto. Just when the polls show the base coming around, the last thing you need to do is punch them in the gut. Yes, yes, we know we have pro-choicers in the party that we need to "work with", etc..., but that doesn't mean you put them in key leadership positions...much less potentially make them Vice-President and give them a leg up on future leadership of the party.
The Michigan GOP'ers want Romney .
John McCain came to Michigan on Wednesday to raise money. But some Michigan Republicans had another agenda: lobbying for native son and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as McCain's running mate.
U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg, for example, once a Romney-for-president supporter who faces a tough re-election battle in the fall, said he was going to recommend Romney to McCain. He is among Republicans who believe Romney would not only help put McCain over the top in Michigan - a key state this fall - but also could boost Republican candidates down the ticket.
Romney "could really help things here and (in) four or five other states in the Midwest," Knollenberg said at a McCain fundraiser in West Bloomfield.
They're right, (IMHO). For all the talk about how Romney's Mormonism might hurt McCain with evangelicals, I don't buy it. Those folks (myself included) are more apt to focus on the social issue positions of the candidates when it's all said and done. Further, I don't think you can point to a single state where Romney might "cost" McCain enough votes to lose...whereas you can more easily point to a few he might help make competitive.
Meanwhile, the Dems have picked former VA Governor and Senate candidate Mark Warner for their keynote address ...which some think diminishes the chances that the Veep will be current VA governor Kaine. Fine by me.
And the speculation continues  over whether or not Powell will endorse Barry O. (That's loyalty for you)