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First thoughts

From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
*** Nice Timing: Whether or not you think Fred Thompson has been wise to wait this long to dive into the '08 pool, you have to admit his folks picked a good time to leak the news about his upcoming "testing the waters" committee. With Congress on its Memorial Day recess, Thompson dominates today's newspaper headlines and the TV morning shows. Want evidence? Just check out today's "OH-EIGHT (R)" section.

*** L.A.'s Real Star: Speaking of what's in the news, our California spies tell us that Clinton's endorsement event yesterday with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was overshadowed in the local media (i.e. TV) by Kobe Bryant -- whose "I want to be traded, no, wait, I don't want to be traded" led the local news. Check out today's Los Angeles Times; Kobe trumps Clinton there, too.

*** The Beginning Of A Beautiful Rivalry: Campaigning in California yesterday, Giuliani attacked Clinton on taxes. And today in New York, per the Daily News, he picks up an endorsement from Bill Clinton's former FBI director Louis Freeh, who long ago dropped all pretences of being a Clinton loyalist. Also, look for Rudy to play up his electability now that Thompson is in the race, particularly when Rudy's campaigning (and raising money) in the so-called "blue" states. Primary? What primary?

*** An Uptick For Gore? A new Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania voters is out, and it has Giuliani leading both Clinton and Obama in general election match-ups. The only Democrat Giuliani trails? Al Gore. This is the first time we've seen evidence anywhere that Gore runs better than either Clinton or Obama against the leading Republican. Is this the start of a trend? A result of Gore's book tour? We'll let you know.

*** On The Trail: Elsewhere today, Biden, still in Iowa, attends a breakfast with Benton County Democrats; Clinton speaks to Silicon Valley leaders in California; Edwards holds a press conference to unveil his plan to fight rising gas prices and then attends a low-dollar fundraiser in San Jose, CA; McCain raises money in Mississippi; Obama, fresh off announcing his health-care plan, holds a health-care rally in Reno, NV; and Romney campaigns throughout Iowa.

Countdown to GA-10 Special Election: 18 days
Countdown to CA-37 Special Election: 25 days
Countdown to the Ames Straw Poll: 71 days
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Countdown to Iowa: 227 days
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Countdown to Election Day 2008: 522 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 599 days