In his latest National Journal column, NBC political analyst Charlie Cook wonders whether Obama will become one of a small handful of possible alternatives to Clinton, battling with former Sen. John Edwards and perhaps others for that title, or whether Obama will break the race open somehow.
Obama tells USA Today in an interview that "the brevity of his political résumé is his 'greatest strength.'"
At his book party last night, Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe was asked about Clinton's decision to reject federal matching funds -- and thus spending and fundraising limits -- for both the primaries and general election. NBC's Lauren Appelbaum and Andrew Merten report that McAuliffe replied that it's wrong for candidates to take taxpayer money: "We shouldn't take taxes to run our campaign," he said. "We can raise our own money and run our own campaign." McAuliffe also said he's proud of Clinton for being the first candidate to opt out of the public financing system, because she's a leader.
The New York Daily News notes that Clinton was just one of four Democrats and 10 Republicans to oppose Casey's overwhelming confirmation to head the US Army. "The 'no' vote… distinguishes her from three of her Democratic White House competitors who have positioned themselves as stronger anti-war candidates but backed Casey - Sens. Joe Biden (Del.), Barack Obama (Ill.) and Chris Dodd (Conn.)."
Edwards is declining to fire two campaign bloggers who posted comments criticizing the Catholic Church. "Edwards has never met the two bloggers, and his first conversation with them was when he called to discuss the uproar," the AP reports. "He told reporters in South Carolina: 'It will not happen again. That you can be sure of.'"
While Edwards was in South Carolina yesterday, The State asked him about criticism of his 24,000-square-foot estate in Chapel Hill, NC. "Edwards said growing up in modest means as the son of a mill worker made him want to do more for his family. A wealthy trial lawyer, Edwards said he is able to do more for his children. 'You don't want your kids' lives to be like yours. You don't want it to be as hard.'"
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies yesterday, Gov. Bill Richardson kicked off a foreign policy speech by criticizing what he charged is the Bush Administration's dogmatic approach to international affairs, which he said has squandered America's military power, depleted its financial resources, emboldened its enemies, and isolated its friends. Playing off of Bush's memorable "axis of evil" line, Richardson called for "an axis of reason" to confront urgent global problems.
The Denver Post's new "Washington and the West" blog notes that a "half dozen foreign countries had their ambassadors at CSIS to hear Richardson speak."
By now, we've gotten used to presidential candidates speaking a little Spanish on the campaign trail -- and embarrassing themselves in the process. That won't be the case for Richardson, who would become the nation's first Hispanic president. Richardson held an impromptu press conference after giving his speech yesterday. Proving to be more aggressive than their English-speaking peers, Spanish-language reporters asked nearly all of the questions during this session, and Richardson replied with long answers in fluent Spanish.
Former Gov. Tom Vilsack hosts a conference call for reporters today to talk about "the early strength of his Iowa field operation," per the campaign press release.
The Chicago Tribune looks at the Democratic candidates' courting of the party's biggest donors and bundlers. "With a change in campaign finance laws eliminating huge donations and capping checks at $2,300 a pop, proven money-raisers with large networks of friends and business contacts are in great demand as the top candidates try to raise from $50 million to $100 million."