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Oh-eight (D): Introducing Raffaello Follieri

BIDEN: The candidate takes his criticism of Giuliani's $9.11 fundraiser a step further, and is capitalizing on the event. The Chicago Tribune reports that Biden's campaign is asking people to register their objection with a contribution of $20.08, $200.80 or even $2,008.00. Biden campaign manger Luis Navarro writes that they have "had enough of Republican candidates exploiting 9/11 for political purposes."

At last week's AARP forum, Biden was critical of Richardson being governor of small state New Mexico, but the Los Angeles Times' Don Frederick points out Biden's own state, in which he is a senator not governor, has a population of 853,476 versus New Mexico's 1,954,599.

CLINTON: Has Clinton oddly benefited from low expectations throughout this campaign? One could argue that. In fact, check out this Bloomberg News report suggesting that Clinton might overtake Obama on the money front this quarter. Frankly, it's been shocking that Obama has outraised Clinton in the first half of this year. But if Clinton tops Obama this quarter (even if just by a little bit), it will be an exclamation point on what's been a great three-month run for Clinton.  

Speaking of Clinton's front-runner status, the New York Times looks at the potential downside of being in that position. "Clinton's advisers have clearly decided that being known as the front-runner is a good thing. It is a way to corral supporters and contributors; it helps to erase the idea that she is unelectable. But the evidence suggests that it is not necessarily helpful in predicting who the Democratic nominee is going to be."

More: "The truth is, there is no evidence that the Democratic primary voters have fallen head-over-heels for Mrs. Clinton. And any event that reminds Democratic voters of the lingering concerns about her could topple her from her perch."

The Boston Globe has an analysis of Norman Hsu's fundraising activities that shows how Norman Hsu was used to raise money for Democrats on behalf  of Clinton. "In at least some cases, Clinton or her aides directly channeled contributions from Hsu and his network to other politicians supportive of her presidential campaign, according to interviews and campaign finance records. There is nothing illegal about one politician steering wealthy contributors to another, but the New York senator's close ties to Hsu have become an embarrassment for her and her campaign."

Could it be that all the Hsu money that found its way to other Democrats did so at the direction of Clinton folks? That's the implication of this Globe story.

Speaking of money, the Wall Street Journal looks at Bill Clinton business dealing gone bad, which was orchestrated apparently by a former personal aide, Douglas Band. "Since leaving the White House, Mr. Clinton has earned more than $40 million giving speeches, has raised billions of dollars for his own charitable foundation and other causes, and has entered into business relationships with Mr. Burkle and others. Today, heads of state, business leaders and other notables will gather in New York for the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization that obtains charitable pledges from various sources. Mrs. Clinton's presidential run is likely to draw scrutiny of her husband's recent activities."   

EDWARDS: The SEIU has decided to hold off endorsing any candidate. This is more of a blow to Edwards than anyone else because he needs the endorsement to catch up on the resources front. "One board member said that a majority of board members favored Mr. Edwards, who has been outspoken on behalf of universal health coverage, one of the S.E.I.U.'s main goals. But those members, taken together, do not come from locals representing 60 percent of the union's membership, the threshold required for the board to make an endorsement."

OBAMA: He might not be the front-runner, but he's still drawing huge crowds.

Under the front-page headline, "Obama strives to put race aside," the Columbia State's Roddie Burris takes a look at Obama's struggle to balance race in South Carolina. He "must walk a racial tightrope, especially in South Carolina, as he fights to attract both black and white Democrats without alienating either."

The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus writes, "Last week, I saw Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama give two speeches. The first was enthralling, the second disappointing. Together, they offered a pointed reminder of Obama's undeniable promise as a politician and the fundamental, unanswered question of his candidacy: Is Obama truly the different, transformative kind of politician that he holds himself out to be?" She was impressed with the SEIU speech (had all the 2004-like convo inspiration). But she wasn't impressed with his tax policy speech, because it sounded just like every other run-in-the-mill Democratic policy speech.

Marcus concludes: "The question about Obama is not 'where's the beef,' Mondale's famous putdown of Gary Hart's 'new ideas.' It's: Where's the audacity?"