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First thoughts

From Chuck Todd and Mark Murray
*** Bedtime for Gonzo? Panned by GOP senators and lampooned on the Daily Show, Alberto Gonzales certainly didn't have a good day before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Perhaps the most damning line came from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R): "You said something that struck me, that sometimes it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time. If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?"

*** Lone Star Falling: Speaking of Gonzales' tough day, has/did anyone from Bush's Texas gang had/have a good second term? There's Harriet Miers and Scott McClellan. Karen Hughes, in her new post, hardly seems to be winning over the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. And Karl Rove, especially after the Social Security push and then the midterms, appears to have lost his mojo. Did these folks stay in Washington too long?

*** Tough Being the Front-runner? McCain's "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" rendition of the Beach Boys song gets tons of play. Eight years ago, when he was first running for the presidency, many would have described it as another example of how funny the off-the-cuff McCain can be. But are some in the media applying a different standard to McCain now that he's a front-runner and not an insurgent?
*** Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do… : In the last 48 hours, the FBI has raided the homes/offices of two Republican congressmen -- on two different coasts. Does it seem like 2005-2006 all over again for the GOP?

*** Hitting the Airwaves: On Monday, Richardson will begin running a pair of TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire (at a buy of about $100,000), making him the first of the Democrats to go up on the air. Romney was the first to go up on the GOP side. And much like Romney, Richardson is trying to boost his name ID as he competes among better-known candidates for his party's nomination. Richardson also seems trying to avoid being drowned out when the better-funded candidates begin airing their own ads.

*** You Go, Girl: After being postponed due to the flooding in the Northeast, Clinton finally speaks at Rutgers, where we're sure she works in a line or two about Imus' recent controversial comments about the women's basketball team. But as with Gonzales' testimony, did the floods (and later Virginia Tech shootings) knock this speech out of the spotlight it once would have commanded? Afterwards, Clinton heads to Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention, which will also hear from Mike Gravel. 

*** On the Trail: Biden is in Iowa; Brownback keynotes the New Jersey Right to Life dinner; Dodd is in New Hampshire; Edwards takes his rural-recovery campaign to Iowa; Giuliani gives a speech at Texas A&M University; Huckabee stops in South Carolina; McCain has a finance event in Arizona; Obama campaigns in New Hampshire and Boston; Richardson visits Iowa; and Romney stumps in Iowa and Indiana.