CLINTON: The New York Times runs this front-page article: "Only a few months ago, the vast majority of black elected officials in New York were expected to support the presidential candidacy of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. But no longer. In a series of interviews, a significant number of those officials now say they are undecided about whether to back Mrs. Clinton or one of her main rivals for the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the only black politician in the race."
A new Sienna College poll has Clinton's unfavorable rating rising in New York now. "Clinton was viewed favorably by 50 percent of voters and unfavorably by 42 percent. Last month her favorability rating was 56-37 percent. Senator Barack Obama's favorability rating is 55-23 percent. And Senator John Edwards has a 52-29 percent favorability rating."
Clinton is ramping up her low-dollar events, as evidenced by a big one in New York City last night.
The campaign named Kelly Adams, who helped lead Howard Dean's South Carolina effort in 2004, as state director there.
EDWARDS: At the first annual National Jewish Democratic Council Conference, John Edwards addressed the crowd of high- profile Jewish Democrats on the anniversary of Israel's independence, says NBC's Lauren Appelbaum. He altered the emphasis of his typical speech slightly, opting to focus on more international than domestic issues. On Iraq, Edwards received a loud applause after he mentioned that he made a mistake voting for the war and said, "It is very clear to me America should be leaving Iraq." He discussed his plan for withdrawing combat troops from Iraq in less than one year, yet added that America must be prepared to send more troops back to Afghanistan.
Edwards also spent a good deal of time on Iran and said the only path to a successful outcome is to "drive a wedge between [Ahmadinejad] and his own people." Edwards received the largest applause while talking about genocide in Darfur.
And the $400 haircut resurfaced. Repeating a line he used over the weekend, Edwards talked about his Two Americas and how several people in the room may have worked their way up from nothing. Making a joke, he stated, "You can come from nothing to spending $400 on a haircut." After some laughter, Edwards said softly "It's so embarrassing by the way."
OBAMA: Locally, some Chicago TV stations aired their versions of the Sun-Times reporting on Obama's ties to Tony Rezko. Today, the paper continues its examination of Rezko. Oddly, today's story mentions Obama's name exactly once.
Meanwhile, Obama did address the Rezko matter yesterday, saying he accepted campaign contributions from Rezko without knowing that Rezko was a slumlord with problem buildings in the state Senate district Obama represented at the time. "Should I have known these buildings were in a state of disrepair? My answer would be that it wasn't brought to my attention,'' Obama … said at a South Side campaign stop. His comments came in response to a Chicago Sun-Times report that he had done previously undisclosed legal work between 1995 and 1998 on a series of troubled low-income-housing deals involving Rezmar Corp., owned by the indicted businessman.
In his foreign policy speech yesterday, according to the AP, "Obama proposed increasing spending on foreign aid to $50 billion by 2012, including $2 billion to establish a global education fund, from the current amount of about $20 billion annually. Obama did not specify whether the cost of Iraq was included. Obama also pledged to lead a global effort to secure nuclear weapons and materiel at vulnerable sites around the globe within four years.
The Chicago Tribune: "Obama offered a spirited defense of the value of strong ties with foreign allies and international institutions such as the United Nations, arguing they magnify American power more than they constrain it. And he said the United States should counter the challenge of Islamist terrorism with a greater emphasis on winning the support of the public in developing nations."
And the Wall Street Journal dives into "Obamanomics": "While Mr. Obama's economic platform is still in its formative stages, interviews with his aides and a review of his congressional record and speeches suggest that Obamanomics may place him somewhat to the left of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but to the right of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, another rival for the 2008 nomination."