The Note

After spending some time on Gephardt's campaign trail in Iowa, Feldmann writes, "Gephardt understands that in marketing his brand — the new and improved Dick Gephardt, who didn't emerge from a test tube in the Capitol building — he can't indulge in Beltway shorthand. For the most part, he's jargon-free. More than ever in his career, he's also engaging in the politics of the personal — talking about his son's life-threatening illness, one daughter's experience as a low-paid teacher, the other's divorce and emergence as a lesbian.

From ABC News' Gephardt campaign reporter Sally Hawkins:

The Gephardt campaign is broadening its punching bag horizons, adding Senator Kerry to the attack list. Those rumors of collusion that the Gephardt and Kerry camps were joining forces to attack Dean may now be squashed forever. Gephardt campaign manager Steve Murphy took jabs at the Dean and Kerry camps on Tuesday when he spoke to ABC News about the new playing field since Kerry's behind-the-scenes turmoil became public.

On a cable program, Murphy declared that Kerry would be the next candidate to drop out of the race. Not Moseley Braun, not Kucinich, or perhaps Sharpton, but Kerry? Later he told ABC News, "the Clark campaign, the Lieberman campaign, and the Edwards campaign are not working, but they all have some sort of plausible scenario for February 3. We totally disagree with that strategy since nobody's ever been able to wait that long and win. History is prologue here."

"John Kerry is an example of this. Dean is way ahead in New Hampshire, Dick has a significant lead in Iowa, but Kerry is way behind in both states. Kerry's put a lot of money and staff in those early states, but there's no support base. Kerry is far from the support among labor households and support of African American voters that we have. His message, or lack thereof, isn't working better in any of those states. He's got no February 3rd backup plan."

Read more from the trail with Gephardt on LINK


The Washington Post 's Ed Walsh writes up Edwards editorial meeting. LINK

Here are excerpts: LINK

From ABC News' Edwards campaign reporter Gloria Riviera:

Sound the bell, round one between General Clark (or at least his communications director) and Senator Edwards has begun.

In a letter criticizing Senator Edwards' association with General Hugh Shelton on the grounds that Shelton has engaged in a "smear campaign" and "character assassination" against his boss, Clark's communications director Matt Bennett said Edwards "should insist that General Shelton either repudiate his attacks or back up his charge with an ounce of evidence or a shred of substantiation."

The campaign released the letter Edwards wrote back, addressed directly to Clark. In it Edwards says that while he values the General's advice, Shelton has yet to officially endorse any candidate. "He is a fellow North Carolinian and has been a friend and adviser for many years. I will continue to seek his advice. When I talk to the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it's about the safety and security of our men and women in uniform, not about politics."

Read more from the trail with Edwards on LINK


David Lightman says Lieberman and other candidates have to be careful when reaching out to veterans. "Concern for military people is one thing; using that concern for political gain is another." LINK

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