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Oh-eight (D): Past is Obama prologue

CLINTON: She "rallied with rescue workers yesterday in support of a bipartisan bill to expand medical monitoring and treatment for New Yorkers exposed to the filthy Ground Zero air after the 9/11 attacks," the New York Post reports.

On Saturday, the Washington Post took an extensive look at the Clintons' ties to the Indian-American community, and how the issue of outsourcing has helped Clinton politically with Indian-Americans -- but has caused her some problems in her courtship of labor.

Also over the weekend, the New York Times did its version of the "who is Norman Hsu" story. Reading it, one gets the sense that many Democratic campaigns are going to find more tainted money. The big question: How many donations did others make to candidates that Hsu repaid? And campaign finance investigations linger for months, if not years, though voters usually don't seem to care as much as the media.

DODD: The Connecticut senator was the subject of the weekly Q&A in the New York Times Magazine

EDWARDS: Per the AP, here's Edwards hitting Clinton over the weekend on health care: "For more than 20 years, Democrats have talked about universal health care. In 1993, Democrats controlled both chambers in Congress" and voters had elected "a president who actually had the courage to propose a plan for universal health care. It was completely killed" by lobbyists for insurance companies and the health care industry, Edwards said. "You don't have to take my word for it," he said. "You can ask the person who was in charge." That, of course, would be Clinton, her party's presidential front-runner.

Clinton's campaign fired back. "Voters aren't looking for which Democrat can launch the angriest attacks on other Democrats," spokesman Howard Wolfson said via e-mail. "They are looking for the candidate with the strength and experience to bring real change to Washington on day one, and that's Hillary Clinton."

Here's an "ouch" story if we ever saw one. The Columbia State looks at Edwards' ties to a subprime lender who may foreclose on at least 130 South Carolina homeowners. The lender in question was a subsidiary of Fortress (the hedge fund Edwards worked at part-time a few years ago). This is the same lender that the Wall Street Journal reported on last month and noted the foreclosures taking place in New Orleans. Here's the Edwards response in THIS article: "Edwards' campaign spokeswoman Teresa Wells told The State last week any lender that uses deceptive practices, hidden fees and abusive terms 'are predatory, and (Edwards) opposes these shameful lending practices that compromise our economic security as a nation and hurt working families.'"

She said Edwards never "invested a dime with Green Tree, never worked for Green Tree and had nothing to do with its operation." Unlike the earlier Wall Street Journal piece, there's no promise in here of Edwards personally dipping into his pocket to bail out folks.

An interesting nugget from the AP's Ron Fournier, who learned that Edwards keeps a list of possible cabinet appointments with him, and it includes "more than one" Republican. Edwards: "I want to be ready for when I get sworn in."

RICHARDSON: He tried some awkward one-liners in Las Vegas. The AP notes there were "groans" and "tepid chuckles." 
The Columbia State looks at Richardson wooing union leaders in South Carolina. The paper describes him as "a large man with an intense gaze," who "had made a positive impression."

OBAMA: The Los Angeles Times does a profile-type story about Obama's political past and concludes, "From Chicago to Springfield, his past is filled with decidedly old-school political tactics -- a history of befriending powerful local elders, assisting benefactors and special interests, and neutralizing rivals. Obama may be packaged as something new among presidential contenders, but in this town where politics is played like a blood sport he fit right in." That's music to Clinton and Edwards' ears.

On Sunday, the New York Times wrote about Obama's 2000 congressional primary loss to Rep. Bobby Rush (D). "The episode revealed a lot about Senator Obama -- now running for president, against the odds again and with a relatively slim résumé. It showed his impatience with the frustrations of his state Senate job; his outsize confidence; his fund-raising powers; his broad appeal; and his willingness to be what Abner J. Mikva, a former congressman and supporter, calls 'a very apt student of his own mistakes.'" It also showed his difficulty wooing working-class African Americans. 

By the way, this piece sparks a thought we've noted before: Candidates who have experienced a loss at the ballot box usually handle the bumps in the presidential road a bit easier. Check out the last 12 presidential nominees, all of them experienced a ballot box loss before their successful nomination.
Bush 43 ('00 and '04) House race in '78
Kerry ('04): House race in '72
Gore ('00): presidential race in '88
Clinton ('92, '96): gov. race in '80)
Dole ('96): VP in '76 AND '88 presidential)
Bush 41 ('88 and '92): Senate race in '70
Dukakis ('88): gov race in '78
Mondale ('84): VP nominee in '80 loss
Reagan ('80 and '84): presidential in '76

The Oprah fundraiser in Santa Barbara was a who's who in attendance.

"When you have been called, no one can stand in the way of destiny," Oprah said at the fundraiser, per the Chicago Tribune.

On Saturday, in addition to his fundraiser with Oprah, Obama spoke to a crowd of more than 5,000 people in Santa Barbara, CA, NBC's Samantha Mehrotra notes. He focused his speech on change and called for an end to the Bush Administration's policies. "[Americans] are sick and tired of being sick and tired… They are tired of an Administration that seems to be riddled with incompetence." Obama further advocated for change by talking extensively about political reform and the need to "put an end to a certain brand of politics that has come to dominate the scene in Washington." And he addressed talk about his experience (or lack thereof) by saying that "time does not guarantee good judgment."

The Chicago Tribune notes that some of Obama's contributors benefited from one Iowa town's labor woes (due to Whirlpool's acquisition of Maytag).