The Note

The Utterly Fabulous Fred Hochberg 25 Sen. John Edwards* 17 Rep. Dick Gephardt 8 Sen. Hillary Clinton 7 Gov. Bill Richardson 6 New School President Bob Kerrey 1 Former Gov. Ann Richards 1 Gen. Wesley Clark 0 Sen. Evan Bayh 0

2. Who do you think will be selected?

Sen. John Edwards* 43 Gov. Bill Richardson 4 Sen. Even Bayh 4 Rep. Dick Gephardt 3 Gen. Wesley Clark 3 Sen. Hillary Clinton 2 New School President Bob Kerrey 0 Fmr. Gov. Ann Richards 0 The Utterly Fabulous Fred Hochberg 0

Margin of error: +/- a Craft cocktail or two

*Note: Sen. John Edwards is indeed still running for president.

The land of 5-plus-2-equals-7:

The AP's Sharon Theimer counts all the soft money that's racking up on both sides and "likely to influence this year's elections." LINK

And here's an AP rundown of the Notable groups and their numbers. LINK

This morning Gov. Vilsack of Iowa comes to town to talk tough about the President's economic policies at a Georgetown University speech sponsored by John Podesta's Center for American Progress.

The Note offers you, dear reader, a preview of the Iowan's-eye view of the current economic situation:

"I am here to talk about the state of our economy and the future of our country. For I believe we are in a slow-motion crisis -- a crisis that was preventable, predictable, and reversible."

"These policies are bad enough. What's worse is that the administration has so consistently failed to level with the public about their costs and consequences. Rarely have we seen economic policy so driven by politics."

"That is where President Bush has failed -- not because we had tough times under his watch . . . but because he has chosen policies that are so shortsighted they took a challenging situation and made it a dire situation."

The politics of gay marriage:

The Boston Globe's Rick Klein reports that the Massachusetts legislators will try it again in March. LINK

The Boston Globe's Frank Phillips reports on Gov. Romney's regular contact with the White House and the RNC. LINK

The Christian Science Monitor's Noel Paul calls Wednesday's debate over gay marriage by Massachusetts lawmakers a "decisive phase." LINK

The politics of national security:

The Wall Street Journal's Chris Cooper reports that "two former managers at a Halliburton Co. subsidiary say their bosses urged them to drive up costs on a U.S. military contract in Iraq because higher bills meant fatter profits," according to a letter from two Democratic congressmen sent to the Pentagon Thursday.

The New York Times' Jehl reports that prior to the war with Iraq, American intelligence officials were not told that much of the information that linked Iraq to WMDs came from defectors. LINK

USA Today's John Diamond reports, "A classified U.S. intelligence study done three months before the war in Iraq predicted a problem now confronting the Bush administration: the possibility that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction might never be found." LINK

The politics of the judiciary:

The Washington Post's Helen Dewar reports that "several Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans joined Democrats yesterday in supporting an investigation into the infiltration of Democratic files on judicial nominations by GOP committee staffers." LINK

The Washington Times' Charles Hurt recounts the strong words by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee denouncing staffers who allegedly accessed the computer files of committee Democrats. LINK

Politics:

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