BIDEN: The AP writes, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad on Thursday for a one-day visit to assess the military and political situation ahead of a report from the top U.S. commander. He was scheduled to meet with Iraqi government officials in the capital and visit tribal leaders in Anbar province. He also was to meet with U.S. troops and other military officials."
CLINTON: Calling her the "clear" frontrunner, The Washington Post's David Broder decided to devote his off time to reading up on Clinton. He concludes: "Her marriage is the central fact in her life, and this partnership of Bill and Hillary Clinton is indissoluble. She cannot function without him, and he would not have been president without her. If she becomes president, he will play as central a role in her presidency as she did in his. And that is something the country will have to ponder."
The New York Times front-pages this headline in its print version: "Clinton Donor Appears to Be a Fugitive Again." How quick will Clinton's opponents begin to compare Norman Hsu's fugitive status with one-time fugitive Marc Rich?
Hsu's attorney said he doesn't know where he is and Hsu "even hoodwinked his office, sending them on a wild-goose chase for his passport at his Manhattan condo." After a 90-minute search, the passport was not found.
While unveiling a new GAO report on EPA's second program to address 9/11 contamination, the New York senator did not miss the opportunity to attack the Bush Administration, NBC's Lauren Appelbaum reports. "Where the Bush administration and the EPA has failed, we must do everything we can to succeed," Clinton said, with New York Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney standing by her side. The trio said the report shows serious flaws in the EPA's ability to address indoor contamination in New York after 9/11.
Clinton also said the Bush Administration has a "disregard for scientific evidence" and promised to send the EPA "back to the drawing board" to come up with a plan to test and clean up dangerous contaminants and to ensure the EPA is prepared for future disasters with an indoor contamination component. "The EPA, in fact the entire government under this Administration, is not prepared for the present," she continued. "We need to be sure it is prepared for the future."
DODD: He's calling for a ban on all Chinese imports.
EDWARDS: The campaign nabs another union endorsement today, via the Transport Workers Union. The campaign notes: "Close to half of the TWU members and retirees live in states that will caucus or vote on or before February 5th including 8,000 members in Nevada, 10,000 active and retired members in Oklahoma, 12,000 active and retired members in California, 8,000 active and retired members in New Jersey, and over 50,000 active and retired members in New York."
Meanwhile, look for the Edwards camp to tout the new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio that shows him doing better against all of the GOP candidates than Clinton.
OBAMA: The Illinois senator continues to sharpen his attacks on Clinton, taking on her failure to pass health care reform in '93.
Carroll County-based Iowa columnist Doug Burns is impressed by Obama's most recent stopover in the area.
Obama also made headlines yesterday by claiming that experience isn't an issue between him and Clinton and Edwards. "I've passed more bills, I'm sure, than either of them. Certainly on the state legislative level." Obama's campaign staff told the AP that he was referring to his work in the U.S. legislature and the U.S. Senate. (As NBC/National Journal campaign reporter Aswini Anburajan notes, this is a comment that's dying to be fact-checked.)
By the way, Obama's appearances in Iowa may be resonating with voters there. The National Review online says that the most surprising convert from a 50-attendee coffee for Obama was the host herself. "'I've always been a Rush Limbaugh listener,' Stephanie Frederick says. 'And sometimes I find myself thinking, you know, a lot of the things that school of thought thinks... Of Obama, she says, "A lot of what he had to say really made a lot of sense to me.'"