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Oh-eight (D): Edwards' match game

BIDEN: Biden scored his 10th Iowa state legislative endorsement yesterday.
 

Biden's hometown paper, the Wilmington NewsJournal praises him in an editorial for passing his Iraq legislation, saying it "marked a successful day in his presidential campaign … and has also made Sen. Biden stand out from the rest of the Democratic presidential candidates as the only one to have a specific idea to implement." 
 

CLINTON: Is Hillary presidential? That's what Salon's Tim Grieve asks in an article about Wednesday night's debate: "We thought Hillary Clinton finally came off like the front-runner that she is in Wednesday night's Democratic debate in New Hampshire. John Edwards and Barack Obama both looked worn down and thin, and neither scored anything like the knockout blow that must be feeling increasingly necessary." 
 
The Washington Post's Howie Kurtz gets both the editor of GQ and the writer of the spiked GQ-Hillary story, Josh Green, to talk. GQ claims they spiked the story because it wasn't the piece they expected. Green said, "GQ told me it was a great story and a hell of a reporting job, but they didn't want to jeopardize the Clinton-in-Africa piece," he said. "GQ told me the Clintons were unhappy and threatened to revoke access to Bill Clinton if the Hillary story ran."
 
Green's article for GQ dealt with the history of conflicts in the coterie of staff surrounding Clinton. It focused in particular on complaints about her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, and questions about the compensation of communications director Howard Wolfson.
 
The L.A. Times looks back at Wednesday night's debate and concludes that all of Clinton's rivals are getting more comfortable taking on Clinton more directly over her role in the first Clinton admin. Although nobody directly addressed the impeachment fight that defined so much of President Clinton's second term and still colors the way many Americans view the Clintons, it was clearly a backdrop to the discussion -- as when Biden, filling an awkward silence following his "old stuff" remark, added: "When I say 'old stuff,' I'm referring to policy -- policy."
 
EDWARDS: NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller reports that after a town hall in Conway, N.H., Edwards defended his choice to ask for public financing this far into the campaign. "I don't think anybody anticipated the amount of money that would be raised in this campaign," he said.
 

The former North Carolina senator said he was not concerned about state campaign finance limits. "One thing that's clear is that we have plenty of money to compete," he said. In a sign that the campaign is struggling to raise money and to meet its original $40 million '07 goal, the campaign announced it would accept public financing. The move means that on Jan. 1, the campaign will have achieved short-term financial parity with Clinton and Obama but will limit the campaign's ability to raise or spend much money for the Feb. 5 states.
 
The campaign apparently will raise somewhere between $7-8 million this quarter, which ends Sept. 30. At best, that amount could be only a third or less of what Clinton and Obama raise. 
 
Many reports note the spending limits the campaign COULD face in Iowa and New Hampshire as well, but there are enough FEC loopholes to allow the campaign to get around that. The big impediment that accepting public financing creates is that the campaign will face an OVERALL spending limit.
 
This is what happened to Edwards in '04. After he won the South Carolina primary, he had to pick and choose what states he could seriously contest while Kerry, who didn't accept public financing and therefore wasn't constrained by an overall spending (and fundraising limit), could contest every state. Nevermind the issue of what happens if Edwards actually became the nominee; he'd be without money until Labor Day.
 
Some other takes: Politico's Cummings: "Edwards' decision to accept public matching funds to finance his campaign is a political blow but it's probably also the only lifeline he has to stay in the race." 
 
The Boston Globe: The move "allows Edwards to take up to about $21 million in matching funds in exchange for abiding by a primary-season spending limit of $50 million. But the move is likely to be perceived as an acknowledgment that he has been unable to compete with senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the fight for Democratic dollars."
 
Edwards answered town hall-like questions in an online forum co-sponsored by MTV.com and MySpace. "Despite having the technology to give him a virtual thumbs-down, the online instant-polling tool showed that 90 percent of viewers liked what they saw of Edwards overall. And viewers soon will get a chance to have the same experience with other candidates. " Most of the other frontrunners (on both sides) plan to also participate in this series of MTV/MySpace town halls. The forum, in fact, will include every major candidate -- except Fred Thompson, who, apparently, doesn't want his MTV.
 
NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller reports Edwards took a variety of questions at the forum, many focused on foreign policy and education, from a crowd of about 300 students at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. To fund a College for Everyone program that would allow students to work their way through college, Edwards said he would get rid of banks as intermediaries on student loans and collect capital gains taxes that aren't currently being paid.
 

OBAMA: The campaign held a rally in NYC last night where they attracted some 20,000+ supporters. In a giant rally in the backyard of Senator Hillary Rodham, Mr. Obama, of Illinois, drew distinctions between himself and his leading rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, insisting that only a fresh candidate could truly change Washington. Twice, he singled out Mrs. Clinton. "Even your senator from New York wasn't clear about the Yankees," he said, laughing at his own joke. "I know who I'm rooting for!" Obama was referring to Clinton's waffling on who she would root for in a Yankees-Cubs World Series. 
 
So we know definitively that Michelle Obama didn't say if Obama loses Iowa, it's over. But even though she didn't say it, what was attributed to her was actually a very truthful statement. Frankly, if Obama doesn't win Iowa, it's hard to imagine how he wins the nomination.
 
The AP reports that the Obama campaign is trying to soften Michelle Obama's comments that "If Barack doesn't win Iowa, it is just a dream." The campaign's Iowa spokesman said: "Every campaign has said it's important to do well in Iowa, and that's our goal."
 
Portfolio's Matt Cooper wonders if Obama doesn't get too hot at a debate because of his race. 
 
NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan gets a peak at Obama's convocation speech today at Howard University. At this historically black university, He make an appeal to African-American voters and try to put to rest criticism that he may not be committed to civil rights issues. "Like Katrina did with poverty, Jena exposed glaring inequities in our justice system that were around long before that schoolyard fight broke out," Obama will say according to excerpts released by the campaign.

Obama will outline the disparities that continue to persist within the American legal system. "We can have a crime policy that's both tough and smart," Obama will say. "If you're convicted of a crime involving drugs, of course you should be punished.  But let's not make the punishment for crack cocaine that much more severe than the punishment for powder cocaine when the real difference between the two is the skin color of the people using them."

Other aspects of the plan include: (1) strengthening the civil rights division at the justice department; (2) the creation of a voting rights section within the justice department; (3) increase the number of public defenders; (4) equalize the punishments for illegal substances including crack cocaine versus powdered coke; (5) review mandatory minimum drug sentencing.