The Note

In the Washington Post, Michael Kinsley has a good chuckle at politicians who "never say die." LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne thinks that the Republicans will soon be using this line: "Sen. John Kerry is the establishment candidate who derailed Howard Dean's brave insurgency on behalf of a frightened party leadership." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's June Kronholz turns in a thoroughly interesting look at the would-be first ladies, writing that "The role of the candidate's spouse is being rewritten as the campaign rolls on. But no one -- not the voters, not the press, and certainly not the spouses themselves -- can agree on the script."

The Washington Post's Jonathan Finer and Brian Faler truth squad Kerry and Dean on the South, Iraq, and Roy Neel. LINK

Leave it to PBS to go and try to keep the nomination fight interesting. Take a look at the just-launched Presidential Futures Market (http://www.presidentialmarket.org/) and track whether a candidate's stock is up or down, and buy or sell shares in the contenders. The winner, with the highest-valued portfolio, gets a trip to the inauguration. And even those who don't win get a little practice at the skills it'd take to manage their privatized Social Security accounts.

Charlie Cook calls John Kerry the Democrats' Lazarus, coming back from so far behind and emerging as the frontrunner. While he just may be unstoppable ("may be" is the key phrase), the others in the field are competing to be the Kerry alternative. "It could be that Dean has a fairly sizable bloc of voters who will remain loyal to him, but that someone else will nevertheless emerge from the herd as the consolidator of the non-Kerry vote. While that candidate could be Clark, right now Edwards may be the better bet."

Dick Morris is not ready to call this nomination race over just yet. He says either Edwards or Clark will emerge as the moderate alternative. LINK

"To assume the nominating process is basically over this early is to misunderstand its nature. Until a liberal beats a moderate (or vice-versa), the primaries have a long, long way to go."

Roll Call's Ed Henry reports on collusion betweent he Kerry and Edwards campaigns: each agreed not to challenge the other to a traditional Super Bowl wager. Kerry would not force Edwards to declare his Panther pride before the New Hampshire primary, and Edwards would not draw attention to Kerry's Patriots fandom before South Carolina's primary. LINK

Kerry:

From ABC News Kerry campaign reporter Ed O'Keefe:

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 29 -- There are certain advantages and disadvantages that come with the dubious title of frontrunner. On one hand, expectations, from minor daily details to the larger delegate gathering sense, could not be higher. On the other hand, the three "M's" of the nomination process -- money, media, and momentum -- all come a little easier.

So was the case when Sen. John F. Kerry's growing band of traveling press piled off three buses just before midnight Tuesday at the Hampton Inn in Columbia, S.C. Soon a look of dismay came over the Kerry press advance staff as the 100-member press corps lined up out the door and into the Southern "cold," just waiting to check into the hotel.

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