The Note

This Sunday, the Democratic presidential candidates will get together in Detroit for another DNC sanctioned debate. This one is sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and will take place at the historic Fox Theater in downtown.

ABC News Vote 2004: The Invisible Primary: Lieberman and Clark Can Now Oppose Ethanol:

Beyond Nagouney's story, the two most important narratives of this key tale are Tom Beaumont's in the Des Moines Register LINK and the Weiss/Mishra effort in the Boston Globe . LINK

Beaumont lets Clark and Lieberman spokesguys take their whacks at explaining why this change is a sign of sense and not weakness, even though, as best as The Note can tell, neither campaign did any of the groundlaying with the 25S that we have long advocated for those looking to do some paradigm shifting.

Says Jano Cabrera, Lieberman's guy and a man who has changed a paradigm or two in his time: "Unlike years past, there aren't just two early primary states, there are nine. What that means for the candidates is that each will have to focus their resources where they think they will prove the most effective. Without a doubt we think this is a winning strategy."

Beaumont also has political analyst Tom Vilsack giving Lieberman a pass but scolding Clark, and pointing out, correctly and implicitly, that John Edwards now has to decide what fourth place in Iowa is really worth and/or if he can do better than fourth.

Finally, Beaumont quotes a fella named Steve Hildebrand approving of Clark's strategy ("There's more than one way to get to the presidency … Clark may be able to perform better and get the nomination by skipping Iowa."), and points out that Hilde has deep Iowa roots.

What he doesn't mention, and which Hildebrand oh-so-reluctantly told The Note on Friday, is that the Modest Man is now officially supporting Clark's candidacy (and letting that Iowa talent go to waste), including with cash money, as the FEC Web site makes clear! LINK


The Globe has Lieberman being swayed by McCain strategist John Weaver, and the Nutmeg State Senator calling Vilsack and Attorney General Tom Miller himself to let them know the news.

As for the Nagourney story, it doesn't have much in the way of reaction from the Big Four who will play in Iowa, but one Clark adviser's metaphorical explanation of the strategy caught at least one eye.

"'What we'll do is what I call the General MacArthur strategy,' a senior Clark adviser said. 'General MacArthur was very successful in World War II because he skipped over the Japanese strongholds, where they were more organized, and instead picked islands that were favorable or neutral terrain. Which means we would choose not to focus resources on Iowa and instead focus them on New Hampshire and on Feb. 3 … .'"

In response, a strategist for a rival campaign tells us he/she finds it "strange that the Clark campaign would choose to use the MacArthur analogy. Since, like Clark , MacArthur was humiliated by being relieved of his command."

"Also, he hopped islands NOT because they couldn't be won (like Clark in IA) but because he didn't have to bother."

David Lightman, naturally, focuses on Lieberman, saying he will do the debates, but maybe not the J-J, and DL has the John Weaver thing too. LINK

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