ROMNEY: The NY Times profiles Romney's years at Bain Capital, the company that made him rich. "Romney's Bain career - a source of money and contacts that he has used to finance his Massachusetts campaigns and to leap ahead of his presidential rivals in early fund-raising - also exposes him to criticism that he enriched himself excessively, sometimes by cutting jobs to increase profits. Romney, in an interview, acknowledged that Bain Capital's acquisitions had sometimes led to layoffs but said that he could explain them to voters. "Sometimes the medicine is a little bitter but it is necessary to save the life of the patient," he said. "My job was to try and make the enterprise successful, and in my view the best security a family can have is that the business they work for is strong."
The L.A. Times examines Romney's campaign to win the Ames Straw poll. He's spending A LOT of money. But is it too much to the point of scaring away the other frontrunners?
Did you know there was a Mormon legend that states a Mormon will one day save the Constitution? We didn't either.
F. THOMPSON: The big news today is the start of Thompson's fundraising. As of this weekend, the campaign planned no "visual" for today's fundraising proceedings.
Before his speech to the Virginia GOP on Saturday night, Thompson sat down for a co-exclusive interview with AP and NBC. Some highlights:
-- On his qualifications post-9/11: "Since I've been out of the senate I've had a chance to chair an advisory board of the State Department on international matters. I served on the China commission for a while, so I've maintained my interest in what goes on in the world, but it's ultimately up to the American people. What they think about it. There are probably an awful lot of people who think they'd make a good president. … I've never desired to hold the office particularly, in fact, not at all, but at this stage of things, I sometimes think I do desire the opportunity to do some of the things that only a president can do.
-- On his lack of ambition for the presidency: I think that if a person craves power for the sake of power or craves the office for the sake of holding the office, then he's got his priorities mixed up. You cant be totally uh dragged kicking and screaming into the office, you've got to desire to do the things to hold the office but its a desire to do something not to be something
-- On the "lazy" charge: Well, you know, that's one rap that you can cure, so we'll just have to wait and see.
-- On "greatest" senate accomplishment: Well, I facetiously said 'leaving the Senate' the other day, when somebody asked me that question. But, I don't guess I ought to say that again. There are a lot of things, you know..uh … I would take a while, I guess, in discussing all of that. Doesn't always have to do with putting your name on a piece of legislation. There's an awful lot of bad legislation that i had to stop, for one thing. I managed the Homeland Security bill when it was on the Senate floor, and several other things. We'll get a chance to get into all of that when I start talking to everybody about what a wonderful person I am. But we're not quite at that stage yet.
The New York Times covers Thompson's speech to the Virginia GOP: "In a preview of the themes he is likely to emphasize in a presidential campaign, Fred D. Thompson tossed some red meat to Republicans here Saturday night, assailing the immigration bill in Congress and warning of a mushroom cloud he said radicals around the world were waiting to see rise over the United States."
Thompson backers are pushing back on this "laziness" attack, so reports Newsweek. "Anyone who says he's not a hard campaigner doesn't know what they are talking about," Tenn. GOP chair Bob Davis, a former Thompson aide, says. "I was there, they weren't." Still, it's true that Thompson is preparing to mount a somewhat untraditional bid for the GOP nomination. "Aides say he will spend less time on the road than his competitors and will instead rely on new forms of communication with voters, including blogs, online videos and other Internet tools. Thompson allies acknowledge that might not always fly in early-primary states where candidates are often judged as much by their ability to flip a pancake as on policy issues."
Who will sign on with Thompson in South Carolina.
BTW, if you missed "Meet The Press"' new "Take Two" feature available EXCLUSIVELY on MSNBC.com, you missed Mary Matalin outing herself as a Fred Thompson person, calling herself a "volunteer" for now.