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Oh-eight (D): Hsu revisited

BIDEN: Biden said illegal immigration is a problem that starts in Mexico. "They're being irresponsible," Biden said of Mexico while in Iowa. "This is the second-wealthiest nation in the hemisphere - we're not talking about Sierra Leone. This is a dysfunctional society."

CLINTON: Former congressman -- and presidential candidate -- Dick Gephardt campaigned with Clinton yesterday. 

Apparently, Clinton's campaign in Nevada is using the names of a couple of union members without permission. "The latest twist in an ongoing fight over the backing" of the Nevada SEIU.

The timing of the latest Norman Hsu story in the Los Angeles Times isn't coming at a great time for the Clinton campaign, as it begins to raise questions about Obama's campaign finance issues. "Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times show how Hsu's business associates traded on his connections -- going so far as to claim that former President Clinton was a Hsu client -- to lure investors into a scheme that took in tens of millions of dollars nationwide. A marketing brochure distributed by an Orange County firm to attract investors to Hsu's business claimed the 56-year-old Hong Kong native's 'extensive political investment community includes former President Bill Clinton, who continues to invest to this day.'"

"Howard Wolfson, a Clinton spokesman, denied that the former president had invested with Hsu. And Sen. Clinton's financial disclosure statements show no investments or income from Hsu for her or her husband."

The Clinton camp is rolling out a policy initiative today, but who knows how much attention it will get. "Clinton Monday will call for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures on homes with subprime mortgages and a five-year freeze on the interest rates those borrowers must pay. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who is poised to announce the Bush administration's response to the housing troubles today, Clinton warns that foreclosures threaten to cause 'incalculable' cost to the economy."

EDWARDS: Edwards has nabbed the endorsement of fellow trial lawyer and freshman Iowa congressman Bruce Braley (D). "He is the first of Iowa's three Democratic members of Congress to announce his endorsement. The value of any endorsement is always an open question, but as Mr. Edwards seeks to compete for attention and support with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, this rollout signals the beginning of an intense final month of the Iowa caucus campaign."

NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller was with Edwards in Iowa yesterday. At one event, following a question on immigration, a man near the back of the gathering told the former senator that he wanted to support a credible candidate, and asked whether his promise to withdraw members of Congress' health care if they don't pass universal health care was credible. "Hundred percent credible," Edwards replied. "The president has veto authority over the budget, number one. Number two, the president has the bully pulpit… If the president of the United States submits legislation to the Congress saying if you have not passed universal health care by July of 2009 that the politicians lose their healthcare, think about this with me: First of all, every Democrat is for it because they're for universal health care, so we're talking about the Republicans. I want to see a Republican senator or congressman who takes the position that they're going to defend their health care and vote against health care for their constituents, because I will go to their congressional district as president, and I will go to their state if they're a senator and make sure that every voter in their state knows they're protecting themselves against the people they represent."

Edwards is up with a new TV ad in New Hampshire, the AP reports. "Edwards on Monday planned to air a television ad in New Hampshire that blames lobbyists for keeping 47 millions Americans without health insurance… 'You're going to sit at a table with drug companies and oil companies and they're going to give away their power. Right,' Edwards says as the ad shows voters laughing at his sarcasm. 'You have to take their power away from them. There's nothing we can't do - if we do it together.'" 

OBAMA: If there is one thing Iowan's don't like, it's shenanigans. The Des Moines Register's Yepsen has a VERY provocative headline, "The Illinois Caucus." The piece is about a brochure the Obama camp is passing out explaining to out-of-state Iowa college students that they can participate in the caucuses as long as they register to vote in Iowa. Yepsen: "While it's legal for college students to register to vote in Iowa to do that, this raises the question of whether it's fair, or politically smart. No presidential campaign in memory has ever made such a large, open attempt to encourage students from out of state, many of whom pay out-of-state tuition, to participate in the caucuses. No other campaign appears to be doing it in this campaign cycle."

Didn't Paul Simon, Dick Gephardt, and Walter Mondale all have similar efforts in '84 and '88? All three were from adjacent states. That said, this piece is going to grow in legend. This is the type of stuff the Clinton-supporting blogs will run wild with.

The Sunday New York Times looked at the Obama campaign's stepped up efforts to target women. "This week the Obama campaign held a wave of house parties focused on women in early voting states; Mrs. Obama bluntly told 700 women activists linked by conference call Wednesday night, 'We need you guys.' The campaign also announced that Oprah Winfrey, cultural arbiter for millions of women, will join the cause in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina next weekend."

It may have been a coincidence, but Obama was in Boston last night rallying supporters and asking for Massachusetts residents to cross the border and help him in New Hampshire. "I just got back from Iowa, where it appears we're doing pretty good," Obama told the crowd of nearly 2,000 people who had braved snow and below freezing temperatures to hear him speak. "It's amazing how you go from being D.O.A. to being a genius in about three weeks. But right now we're doing pretty good in Iowa, and we're doing pretty good in New Hampshire, because the American people are ready for change and this campaign is about change that you can believe in."

NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy reports: Scattered throughout the crowd in the large Park Plaza Castle were nearly 50 volunteers with clipboards taking down contact information for supporters who were interested in traveling to New Hampshire and canvassing for Obama. A pair of volunteers who stood out in the cold recruiting canvassers as they waited in line to get into the event had each come from nearly an hour outside of Boston to help signup more volunteers.

More frontrunner-like scrutiny for Obama: The AP takes another look at Obama's relationship with lobbyists while he was in the Illinois senate. Obama did nothing illegal with lobbyists, though his actions in the Illinois senate appear to contradict some of his current rhetoric, which is the point of this piece.

RICHARDSON: At the Iowa Brown & Black forum, the "most humorous exchange of the night," the Des Moines Register's Yepsen writes, "was when Bill Richardson smiled and asked Hillary Clinton if governors make good presidents. Cute question. She smiled, let the laughter subside, and replied they also make good vice presidents. The crowd loved it and it's likely to renew speculation he's angling to be her vice presidential pick."