CLINTON: The New York senator won the first endorsement by a national union in the 2008 campaign from the 125,000-member United Transportation Union.
The Los Angeles Times follows up on yesterday's Wall Street Journal article about Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu (who has also donated to Biden, Obama, and other Democrats over the years). "For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish… Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York… Hsu [also] has focused on delivering hefty contributions from citizens who live modest lives and are neophytes in the world of campaign giving."
Said Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson in the article: "During Mr. Hsu's many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question or to return them."
The Wall Street Journal runs another piece on Hsu (but not including the bit about the grand theft). "People who have met him at events describe Mr. Hsu as warm, giving, charming and well-dressed. But unlike most big fund-raisers this cycle -- such as hedge-fund magnate Paul Tudor Jones for Mr. Obama and buyout pioneer Henry Kravis for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain -- Mr. Hsu remains remarkably low-profile. Even some other Clinton fund-raisers say they don't know him at all and have been surprised to see him emerge as a top fund-raiser."
The New York Post writes there is "furor" over that family in the lime green house that's given her $45,000. "Campaign aides yesterday said they won't return tens of thousands of dollars contributed by a seemingly low-income family living in a tiny bungalow tied to one of the Democratic Party's biggest donors."
DODD: The Hartford Courant's Lightman on Dodd picking up the endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters: "The 280,000-member union, whose backing was sought by most major candidates, will provide Dodd with an instant network of local workers throughout the country as well as some potential for more fundraising." More: The union … has long been close to Dodd, who wrote major legislation in 1999 to provide more federal dollars for training and equipment. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he pushed for state and local grants that would allow fire departments to hire more personnel… Dodd will … immediately embark on a multi-state tour with firefighters, who are particularly active in New Hampshire, the nation's first primary state."
The Washington Post calls the news the "first significant prize in the competition for labor union endorsements." "The firefighters count 281,000 members, meaning they are only the 10th-largest union in the AFL-CIO. But they are among the most politically active and symbolically prized labor groups in the country, in part because of the heroic actions of firefighters at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001."
EDWARDS: USA Today reports on Edwards recent campaign swing through New Hampshire. "With his megawatt smile, unruffled demeanor and smooth accent, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards looks and sounds like the optimistic, positive guy he claims to be. But on his second trek along the primary trail, Edwards has a dire message for voters and increasingly pointed criticism of his opponents."
"'I'm the same person I've always been, very positive, very optimistic by nature. And I always speak true,' he says in an interview. 'I see some truths that need to be spoken, and I do see the need for real, specific, substantive change.'"
RICHARDSON: Richardson is setting the bar for himself in Iowa. "I think that in order for me to do well, I have to beat one of the three major contenders," he said.