The Washington Times, meanwhile, says that "Democrats' growing pack of presidential hopefuls is fraught with problems. Mrs. Clinton remains one of the most polarizing political leaders in the country, with nearly half of the voters polled earlier this year saying they did not like her. Mr. Kerry, who hurt himself in the final weeks of the midterm elections when he told a joke that suggested only uneducated soldiers ended up fighting the war in Iraq, has fallen in the polls since then. And both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama have thin experience on their resumes."
In his latest Congress Daily column, NBC News political analyst Charlie Cook says that while Washington is abuzz about whether Obama gets into the presidential race, Clinton's stock -- per a recent Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll -- has gone up.
Obama yesterday stepped on Clinton's home turf to meet with prospective donors, including billionaire George Soros. "One of the donors who met with Mr. Obama, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to offend Mrs. Clinton, said that he and several others had supported Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaigns but were not committed to her as a presidential candidate."
The AP writes that while he was in New York, Obama had some nice things to say about Clinton, whom he called smart and tough. "'I'm not one of these people who thinks she can't win,' he told reporters at a news conference after the charity event."
In advance of Obama's fist trip to New Hampshire this coming weekend, the Manchester Union-Leader sent out an alert yesterday that Clinton's people are reaching out to New Hampshire Democratic activists, though one activist tells us it's not all that new -- they've been calling at least one person for months. The paper also reports that if Clinton runs, former Dean New Hampshire campaign chief Karen Hicks will be on board.
Clinton also began making calls to Iowa Democrats on Monday to inquire about the political landscape, "with an eye toward its 2008 presidential nominating caucuses," says the Des Moines Register.
Continuing his kick-off tour in South Carolina yesterday, Vilsack said he's not afraid of any competition in the second primary state. "'I respect everyone and I fear no one,'" Vilsack said. And another Des Moines Register article notes that Vilsack told a group of influential black Democrats that Iowa still has "work to do" to root out racial bias in state government. "Vilsack's comments were an indirect reference to revelations in October that three state agencies faced claims of racial discrimination." and
Sen. John Kerry (D) does MSNBC's Hardball tonight.