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More oh-eight (D)

The AP follows up on the New York Daily News report that the Rev. Al Sharpton, who occasionally still threatens to run for president, is descended from a slave who was once owned by the family of the late GOP Sen. Strom Thurmond. 

Al Gore passed on repeated invitations to announce another run for president at the Oscars last night.  "My fellow Americans," he said to laughter in the audience, "people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis.  It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue.  We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act, that's a renewable resource.  Let's renew it."

The Des Moines Register ran a slew of stories over the weekend about Vilsack's withdrawal from the race -- one about his bid farewell, one about reaction from his supporters and one about the reasons why he dropped out.

The Des Moines Register concludes that "Vilsack's decision Friday to quit the race shifts much of the burden of expectations in the caucuses to Edwards, the front-runner in early Iowa polls."  His "success at recapturing the Iowa momentum that vaulted him to contention in 2004 depends on Iowans' willingness to accept" changes in his positions on Iraq and on universal health care "and embrace Edwards, once the fresh face in the field, as a familiar face." 

At a Concord, NH event on Saturday, Edwards "talked only about health care... then took questions from the crowd," says one party activist who was present.  "He spoke with more gravitas and knowledge than he did four years ago...  He did say that those who became US citizens should learn English...  He also spoke against incrementalism, saying that bold steps are needed to solve the nation's problems."

The Washington Times has a story asserting that the Clinton-Obama feud could hurt the party's 2008 prospects in the long run. 

The Sunday Washington Post looked at the Clinton campaign's efforts to render her husband's impeachment a taboo subject, based on how they pounced on David Geffen's comments last week, but the paper also surmised how Clinton can't really campaign on the positive aspects of her husband's presidency without the negative aspects also being brought up. 

New York Times liberal columnist Bob Herbert has some unflattering words about Clinton: "It's ironic that the first woman with a real shot at the presidency comes off not as a compelling underdog but as the powerful front-runner at the controls of a ruthless political machine." 

The Boston Globe looks at the ties between the name Clinton has gone by -- whether or not she's used her maiden name Rodham -- and her various roles in her political career. 

Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg disputes the argument of some African-American political insiders that Obama can't win the presidency because he's black. 

The Sunday Los Angeles Times looks at the hope-versus-experience question and how other Democratic candidates looking for their footing vis-à-vis Obama are trying to cast their experience as a virtue. 

Today, Clinton has energy events around New York state.  Obama has a rally at a community college in Cleveland.  Edwards campaigns in New Jersey.  Richardson, in Washington for the governors' meeting, gets together with Schwarzenegger and some other Western governors to sign a pact to fight climate change.