THE NOTE: Opening Night for Thompson


This one hurts: The SEIU has decided against making a national endorsement in the Democratic primary, saying there are too many good candidates to choose from. But this also just about says that the union isn't convinced that Edwards, D-N.C., can win. "The long-anticipated announcement is a setback for former Sen. John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat who came close to scoring the nod," Christina Bellantoni writes in the Washington Times.

"Sometimes no news is the worst news of all," Tim Dickinson writes on his Rolling Stone blog. He quotes top SEIU official Anna Burger as telling him earlier this year about the union's "special relationship" with Edwards. Dickinson writes: "With his modest fundraising to finish the third quarter, and recent slippage in the polls in Iowa, Edwards really needed this kind of momentum booster."

While Edwards dials up the rhetorical heat on Iran, he's not worried about the polls. "People look much more intensely at you as a candidate the closer you get to the caucuses, and a lot of the celebrity fades away," he said in Iowa, per the Des Moines Register's Jonathan Roos. "So I think, as a practical matter, that bodes well." (So he doesn't want to be a celebrity?) And this: "I lived through the inevitability of Howard Dean."

And Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., was talking about policy when he referenced Hillary Clinton's "old stuff," right? Well -- kind of sort of. "It's really not her fault," Biden tells The New York Times' Michael Cooper. "But you know, and people know, there is going to be that great 'vast right wing conspiracy' -- it's going to mobilize. And I think people are going to start sitting there thinking, whoa, wait a minute. Do we want to go there again?" And on that Iran resolution (which he voted against): "The idea of giving the president an excuse to be able to go to war with Iran I found absolutely mindless."

Also in the news:

When former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, R-N.Y., starts railing against Hillary Clinton this afternoon, remember that he not-so-secretly wants her to look like the inevitable nominee, writes's Chris Cillizza. "He needs her a lot more than she needs him these days," he writes. "The stronger that Clinton looks in the Democratic primary -- and she looks pretty darn strong at the moment -- the more Giuliani's 'head over heart' appeal to conservatives will resound." (This is all well and good -- but where does Hizzoner stand on the pressing matter of Joe Torre's fate?)

The Chicago Tribune's Tim Jones profiles former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass. "Is the smartest guy in the room trying too hard to prove to GOP voters that he's what they want him to be?" Jones writes. Here's a comparison Romney won't like, on the subject of shifting positions: "The changes have provoked the inevitable comparisons to the resolute George Romney."

Beware the latest e-mail hoax, Iowans: Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa chairman for former governor Mike Huckabee's, R-Ark., campaign, says he is "not leaving my guy any time." The e-mail says that Vander Plaats has become a Romney supporter.

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