From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
*** He shoots, he Gores: Well, he did it -- Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the UN climate panel. He issued this statement: "I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- the world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis… My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100% of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis." Gore also will hold a media avail today in Palo Alto at 1:30 pm ET. Now to the questions at hand: Will he use the publicity to make a White House bid? Would he run as a third-party candidate? If he doesn't run, whom will he endorse? One thing is for sure, as we anticipated yesterday: More and more people are now asking these questions.
*** Is Hillary bulletproof? On Saturday Night Live in the late 1990s, after the Clinton
impeachment proceedings had ended, Darrell Hammond -- who was playing Bill Clinton in the skit -- went up to the podium and said these three words: "I … am … bulletproof." Can the same also be said for Hillary? Ironically, during the same time that she's become THE Democratic front-runner, she has experienced perhaps the roughest stretch so far of her campaign. Norman Hsu. Her comment that Republicans would benefit after a terrorist attack. Dodging tough questions (over Iran, Social Security, and the Clinton Presidential Library's donations) at last month's debate with NBC's Tim Russert. More recently, she's received criticism from her rivals and the press for her vote on Lieberman-Kyl and her decision to keep her name on Michigan's ballot.
*** Or are we just halfway through this movie? Despite all those things, Clinton keeps soaring in the polls, both nationally and in key states. Much like her husband turned out to be, is she made out of Teflon? Or is it still too early to tell? As the New York Times' Nagourney wrote earlier in the week, "With the first of the nominating contests only three months away, the campaign is entering what promises to be a turbulent period in which Mrs. Clinton will come under greater attack from both inside and outside her party."
*** Will this be another trouble for Hillary? Yesterday, per the AP,
Clinton said that she'd engage in negotiations with Iran -- without preconditions -- which has made the Obama campaign jump for joy today, given that Clinton whacked Obama over the summer for saying he would meet with rogue leaders without precondition. In fact, the Obama camp tells First Read that we can expect to hear Obama address this when he speaks at Drake University at 11:30 am ET. The Clinton campaign responds that Hillary didn't say the same thing as Obama did -- engaging Iran is different, they say, than meeting with rogue leaders in your first year without conditions, which was the question at the summer debate. But if this initial coverage is any indication, Obama's scoring a rare spin win.
*** Rudy-Romney as Hillary-Obama? As we've noted, the recent Romney-Rudy spat over the "lawyer test" reminds us of the Hillary-Obama clash over world leaders. And as a tactical move, Giuliani's challenge to Romney yesterday to admit he made a "mistake" when saying he'd consult attorneys before making a decision on Iran was brilliant. Very clever -- and very tough for Romney to respond to. His campaign did issue a statement, but didn't directly acknowledge the "mistake" attack. Score this post-debate debate for Giuliani.
*** The Outsiders: This Tuesday, Democrats Niki Tsongas (the widow of the late Sen. Paul Tsongas) and Republican Jim Ogonowski face off in a special congressional election to replace Democratic Rep. Marty Meehan (who resigned to become the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell). Tsongas is expected to win, but Ogonowski has run an interesting campaign -- by portraying himself as the outsider running against a well-known Democratic name aided by insiders (Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton)."I think that it is the smartest bit of strategy a Republican has embarked on in 2007," says David Wasserman, who monitors House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Is it a model for other Republicans in 2008? Remember, the Ohio-02 special in May 2005? Democrat Paul Hackett lost, but he provided a blueprint for other Democrats running in 2006. Will Ogonowski be to GOP hopefuls in '08 what Hackett was to Democrats in '06?
*** Other Quick Hitters: Imagine the level of grief Clinton would have gotten if she had re-recorded a five-year-old speech in order to give the campaign better audio for use in paid advertising? That's exactly what Obama did… Have the distractions hovering over the Edwards campaign allowed Obama to re-assert himself this week as the chief Clinton challenger? Judging by today's clips on Iran, it sure looks like it… The smart money is on Gore endorsing Obama if he endorses any Dem, but isn't Edwards going through the identical soul-searching, anti-political consultant transformation now that Gore went through four years ago? Don't Edwards and Gore have more in common in their political journeys?… Is next week Romney's last best week to secure some significant support in the evangelical community? Possibly. Next week's Values Voters forum will be big.
*** On the trail: Biden and Brownback talk about their plan for Iraq, and then Brownback heads to California to address the Western Conservative Political Action Conference; Clinton campaigns in Atlanta, GA; Edwards is in Chapel Hill (where he has no public events); Giuliani remains in South Carolina; McCain is in Iowa, where he continues to talk about health care and later appears on MSNBC's Hardball; Obama stumps in Wisconsin; Paul participates in the libertarian Mises Institute's 25th anniversary celebration; Richardson campaigns in New Hampshire; and Romney visits Nevada.
Countdown to MA-05 special election: 5 days
Countdown to LA GOV election: 8 days
Countdown to Election Day 2007: 25 days
Countdown to LA GOV run-off (if necessary): 36 days
Countdown to Iowa: 83 days
Countdown to New Hampshire: 88 days
Countdown to Michigan: 95 days
Countdown to SC GOP primary: 99 days
Countdown to Florida: 109 days
Countdown to Tsunami Tuesday: 116 days
Countdown to Election Day 2008: 389 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 466 days
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