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Oh-eight (R): YouTube debate still on?

The New York Times writes about anti-abortion conservatives who are a bit worried about the GOP presidential field.

Conservative bloggers have drawn up a petition urging the GOP presidential candidates not to shun the Republican CNN/YouTube debate, which is set for next month. The petition says, "Attend the YouTube debate, and you may get a tough question or two. Don't attend, and millions of Americans will wonder if you were too afraid to answer questions from the Internet, just as Democrats were afraid to go on Fox News. None of you could have gotten to where you are now without showing real political courage. Is that really how you'd like to be known?"

But the Washington Post reports that Romney might be willing to participate in the YouTube debate, if the date is moved.

More potential YouTube debate questions are being posed at Giuliani than any other candidate already, the New York Post reported on Sunday.

GIULIANI: The Washington Times writes that Giuliani will follow in the footsteps of Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney in courting Margaret Thatcher when he travels to London in September. Giuliani is "perhaps best placed to capitalize on nostalgia in America for Mrs. Thatcher and her close friendship with Ronald Reagan, who is still lauded for winning the Cold War and restoring hope and confidence in the country," because of his post-9/11 leadership.

The New York Post notes that one of Giuliani's chief fundraisers runs a hedge fund whom some believe preys "on the debt woes of impoverished Third World countries."

MCCAIN:

Another profile of what's wrong with McCain -- this one from the Washington Post. But check out this line about the "war on terror." McCain, asked what's changed for him since '00: "I think the aspect of the presidential campaign that's changed fundamentally is 9/11," he says. "I do believe the struggle against radical Islamic extremism does overlay the whole campaign. You notice I try and avoid the 'War on Terror' phrase. I just don't like that phrase. I think the dimensions are too complex. I think it's best described as radical Islamic extremism and I think that overlay has fundamentally changed the dynamics of the campaign."

The Arizona senator did the Q&A with the New York Times Magazine's Deborah Solomon. Some of the highlights: He said he wouldn't borrow money from his wife to help finance his campaign; his wife made him sign a prenuptial agreement when they married in 1980; he still supports the surge ("You got to do what's right"); and he's not quitting the presidential race ("We're staying in. I've had a lot tougher days than these").

There was also this exchange at the top: Solomon: Now that your presidential campaign is falling apart and approaching bankruptcy, the consensus is that you're finished. But some of us have faith in your ability to reinvent yourself.
McCain: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
Solomon: Especially since the other Republican candidates don't exactly stand out.
McCain: Don't put words in my mouth, darling. Listen, I'm sure that in the fall, when people are focused, I'll out-campaign them. I can do the town-hall meetings, the kind of campaign that wins elections.

PAUL: The Union Leader profiles a Ron Paul campaign volunteer.

ROMNEY: The New York Times does a CW-setting piece on Romney and the Ames Straw Poll. "Although some top Romney advisers said that matching Mr. Bush's 7,418 vote total in the straw poll in 1999 was a goal, Gentry Collins, the campaign's Iowa director, said it would be 'extraordinarily difficult' to attain. Mr. Romney has built leads in some polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, but in most national polls he continues to trail Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Thompson and even Mr. McCain, whose campaign has been struggling."

The candidate will be sitting down for the full hour later this week with WHO-TV's Dave Price and other reporters for the Iowa-based WHO show "The Insiders"

F. THOMPSON: Over the weekend, the New York Times looked back at Thompson's tough week. "A week of personnel turnover that extended from his campaign-manager-in-waiting down to volunteers raised questions about whether the Thompson camp is prepared to jump fully into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a race in which his rivals have had months to establish their campaign organizations, raise money and hone strategy. It also ignited speculation in Republican circles about who is really in charge, and in particular about the extent of the role being played by Mr. Thompson's wife, Jeri Kehn Thompson, a former political operative." 

Bob Dole believes that the fall of his candidate (John McCain) benefits Thompson. Dole believes many of McCain's supporters will end up with Thompson, which is counter to the CW that says McCain's supporters are just as likely to end up with Giuliani as they are with Thompson.

T. THOMPSON: Correct us if we're wrong, but isn't Tommy Thompson changing his own expectations again? Now he says he has to finish first or second in order to stay in the race.