The Note

Sharpton: "An op-ed in today's Arbiter argues that the other candidates should follow Sharpton's lead, and be more entertaining at the debates. It also attempts to explain why the others never challenge Sharpton. LINK

"The Wilmington Journal compares Sharpton's campaign to Jesse Jackson's, focusing on Sharpton's inability to attract white voters." LINK

From ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd:

"The Reverend Al Sharpton is the self-proclaimed mediator of this bunch. At the last debate, he stood up for Edwards and his 'I grew up a mill worker's son' story. The next day at the NAACP event in Charlotte, he defended Clark and spoke out against personal attacks among candidates."

"'I think that what some of my colleagues have done-to try to attack each other-takes our eye off the prize. What was done to General Clark last night was a democratic disgrace. We need to fight Bush.' He went on … 'I think that all of the candidates have had to grow and some changed positions. So, I don't think it's fair to act like the General has a different position … I happen to think he's been consistent.'"

"Ironically, Sharpton frequently criticizes Dean on his positions regarding race, suggesting that Dean, 'talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.' When asked what the difference is between some candidates suggesting that Clark is inconsistent and he himself suggesting that Dean is inconsistent, he replied, 'I've not criticized Dean personally. There were personal, venomous attacks on Clark. There's a difference in me challenging Dean to do what he says and them saying, 'you're disingenuous, you're a liar.'"

"Sharpton is often critical of the Democratic Party as a whole, suggesting that it leans right to get what it 'incorrectly' sees as the swing vote. And, as Sharpton so eloquently puts it, he feels the need to 'slap that donkey until it kicks George Bush out of the White House.'"

Moseley Braun: The Chicago Tribune's Dan Mihalopaulos looks at the campaign of Carol the Ideal and Carol the Real. LINK

"Carol the Ideal is the politician with charisma, a megawatt smile and an articulate seriousness of purpose that made her the vessel of so many hopes when she became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992. Carol the Real has been different, a politician clouded by bad judgment, inattentiveness to detail and a lack of follow-through that has left a trail of disillusioned aides and supporters."

Iowa: The Note has almost given up trying to stop the press(es) from letting individual news cycles be dominated by horserace polling — particularly by methodologically suspect horserace polling.

We say "almost," because, like General Clark, The Note is inordinately optimistic about America's future, and about the future of the nation's political journalism.

Another cockeyed optimist, Kerry campaign manager Jim Jordan, joins an august and long list of campaign officials who put out "internal" campaign numbers when it is the campaign's interest to do so.

In the face of some Iowa numbers that got a bit of attention, Jordan says his man is doing just fine in the Hawkeye State, and tells The Note this:

"Bad data drive good data out of circulation. And bad polling is something of a cottage industry in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Our internal numbers show us in a real position of strength in Iowa, and we simply want to correct any impressions to the contrary that might be created by lousy media polls."

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