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More Oh-Eight (R)

In his latest National Journal column, NBC political analyst Charlie Cook looks at the frontrunners in the GOP field, noting that they all have obstacles to overcome in order to win their party's nomination.  "For both McCain and Romney, the biggest hurdle may be convincing their party's conservative base that nothing disqualifies them.  Giuliani ought to realize that's one hurdle he could never clear."

Seemingly on cue, The Politico reports that the co-host of an upcoming fundraiser for Giuliani is a former top aide of his with whom Giuliani's first wife publicly accused him of having an affair.  Giuliani and the aide consistently denied the charge.  "The decision to involve her in the Giuliani campaign is consistent with an apparent decision not to make much effort (which would probably be fruitless anyway) to conceal a personal life that some Republicans think will damage him."  

The New York Post reports that the state GOP has lined up McCain "to star at a major party fund-raiser alongside [Giuliani], a move some see as a diss of the former mayor in his home state.  Some political watchers and supporters of Giuliani … saw it as a strange move, since it gives McCain a platform and forces Giuliani to share the spotlight with his main primary challenger on his home turf." 

The Washington Times says a February 5 California primary -- or more specifically, a partial early primary involving a specified portion of delegates -- could wind up hurting McCain's chances.  McCain "is expected to benefit from the tacit support and perhaps formal endorsement of [Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger.  But many Republican leaders in the state -- who would vote in the February convention... -- oppose Mr. McCain."  

USA Today profiles Rep. Duncan Hunter, who's hoping to sell himself as "the conservative's conservative."