From NBC's Chuck Todd
Just a quick reminder: NBC's Mark Murray is on the ground in N.H. at St. Anselm College, site of tonight's Democratic debate. Both of us will be live-blogging the debate bringing attention to things we think either WILL be newsworthy or SHOULD be newsworthy. Check in early and often. Here are some early things we'll be looking for
-- Which 2nd tier Democrat will take the first shot at Clinton? Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson are all struggling to climb into the 1st tier. Dodd and Richardson, for instance, have been aggressive on the TV airwaves, drawing both subtle and not-so-subtle contrasts with the frontrunners. For my money, I'm guessing Dodd may be the aggressor tonight.
-- Will Obama mark time are attempt make a mark? If I were in charge of his debate strategy, I'm not sure what I'd do. It's too early to engage Clinton. Maybe I'd try to find a foil (a la Giuliani and Ron Paul) and try and get THE soundbite that way. It's a tough call; he's been stagnant as far as the national press corps is concerned so there will be some in the media LOOKING for Obama to do something to shake things up a bit.
-- Speaking of shaking things up, I'd expect Edwards to take a few subtle jabs at both Obama and Clinton. I think he may try to lump the two as part of the establishment and flash some outsider credentials.