Clinton has an event at Ground Zero today. Starting this evening, she'll hold a series of 30-minute online "conversations" in which she will appear live and will take questions submitted online by visitors to her website. (Aspiring questioners have to register with the site.) NBC's Andrea Mitchell points out that the webchats are an updated version of the town meetings she held when she first ran for the Senate.
Per yesterday's Des Moines Register, "Clinton plans to visit Des Moines and Cedar Rapids on Saturday and name Iowa campaign leaders early this week, aides said." And she could make her first appearance in New Hampshire sometime in mid-March.
The Wall Street Journal says Clinton's entry "is underscoring new doubts among Republicans about how formidable [McCain] might be against" her in a general election because of how Clinton has adapted her position on Iraq, compared to McCain's unpopular stand in favor of more troops. "Further McCain slippage in the polls... would undercut his top selling point among Republican voters long suspicious of his maverick ways and his past criticism of Christian conservative leaders: The belief that Mr. McCain is the Republican who is best able to beat their nemesis, Mrs. Clinton." (That said, all three of the Republicans currently viewed as the "top" contenders have come out in favor of an increase in US troops in Iraq.)
USA Today covers some Democrats' concerns that she can't win.
A New York Daily News poll shows that registered New York City voters would choose Clinton over Obama by 49%-23%. "The survey points out a significant strength for Clinton: She bests the Illinois senator, who is black, in a liberal bastion with a heavy concentration of minority voters. But it also shows Clinton is vulnerable in a presidential contest, failing to get more than 50% of the vote in the heartland of her support."
The Washington Post covers Clinton's health care event in New York yesterday, at which "she signaled that she will use her uniqueness as a woman -- and more specifically as a mother -- to stake out her ground in the crowded presidential field... Using her first appearance as a candidate to present her domestic side -- rather than the tougher side she has displayed as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and on her recent trip to war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq -- suggested that, at least initially, Clinton would like to strengthen her appeal to women."
The Los Angeles Times reports that Clinton won't take public matching funds in either the primary or -- if she becomes the nominee -- the general election. In fact, neither nominee is expected to accept matching funds in the general. "Abandonment of the public financing system would threaten the survival of a Watergate-era measure that was supposed to limit the influence of big donors in presidential politics and enable more candidates to compete... But it remains to be seen whether the heavy spending forecast for 2008 will... trigger public disgust and lead to changes."
Richardson will hold a news conference at his Santa Fe campaign HQ today. He said on ABC that if he does not become the Democratic nominee for president, he would prefer to continue his term as governor than to become someone's running mate. He tells the Albuquerque Journal that "he will be making campaign trips during New Mexico's 60-day legislative session," but that his "major campaigning and money-raising will commence with a formal announcement event after the legislative session concludes in mid-March."
The New York Times notes that the video of Richardson's announcement was in both English and Spanish. More: "Mr. Richardson is an enthusiastic campaigner. According to his campaign, the Guinness Book of World Records cites him as the politician who shook the most hands in one day - 13,392 - during his 2002 campaign for governor, beating President Theodore Roosevelt's record of 8,515, set in 1909."
Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) will hold a press conference call today to pre-but the State of the Union.
The Hartford Courant says that Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd "still has to convince people he can be a credible candidate."
The Boston Herald runs excerpts of former DNC chair turned Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe's new memoirs, in which he slams Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid, "calling it 'one of the biggest acts of political malpractice in the history of American politics.'"
On the GOP side, Sen. Chuck Hagel "told C-SPAN's 'Newsmakers' program Sunday that he also was considering a presidential bid, perhaps as an independent."
Missing Bush's State of the Union address, and the chance (or need) to comment on it, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is on a trip to Israel sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition. Roll Call reports today that House Minority Leader John Boehner has not yet endorsed Romney but "is leaning strongly in his favor."
The Boston Globe profiles the activist who wants to ensure that Romney doesn't pass muster as a conservative. Brian Camenker and volunteers have "searched the Internet for material to disprove Romney's assertions that he is a conservative" and made it into a "10,000-word dossier, 'The Mitt Romney Deception.'"
The New York Times front-pages how early this presidential contest has begun, "exposing an ever-growing field of candidates to longer, more intensive scrutiny and increasing the amount of money they need to remain viable."
The Washington Post observes that "if last year was the year of the rogue videographers, the already-underway 2008 presidential campaign is likely to be remembered as the point where Web video became central to the communications strategy of every serious presidential candidate."