The Note

Yeah, though it's a little too cute by half. Wouldn't Roger Ailes be the first one to complain if MSNBC teamed up with the Congressional Black Caucus for a debate? Can you just imagine how much play that'd get on your network? Because doesn't a debate sanctioned by an interest group lend implicit credibility to the views of that interest group? Not to mention that Fox is effectively giving the CBC the free production costs and national distribution for the event.

Ailes would tell Steve Doocy to say that John Siegenthaler looks like his dentist … Fox would interrupt programming with regular Fox News Alerts to showcase MS's manifest liberalism. Fox's dynamic primetime would consist of an hour of present-tense verbing from Shepard Smith (we remember you from WCPX in Orlando, Shep!) "MSNBC … showing their biasing … according to some … teaming up with the Congressional Black Caucus to do a debate … "; Bill O'Reilly, "I wish MSNBC would just shut up and admit how liberal it is. That's ridiculous."; Hannity: "MSNBC is driving the nation down a moral sewer"; Colmes: "I disagree."; Greta Van Susteren: "Up next, more on the Laci Peterson case … ""

But we digress. You get the idea.

The debate begins at 8:00 pm ET with a short statement from CBC chair Rep. Elijah Cummings. The moderator, Brit Hume, will introduce the panelists: Ed Gordon, Juan Williams, Farai Chideya. Hume will NOT ask questions … but will keep things moving.

No opening statements. Questions will focus on foreign policy and within the 5 CBC policy areas specified …

Questions will last 30 seconds; candidates will get a minute to respond; depending on the answer, Hume can allow the journalists to ask follow-ups; follow-up answers are a minute in length. Depending on the answers, other candidates may get rebuttals. Or maybe not.

There will be three rounds and two commercial breaks; one at 8:40 ET; the other at 9:20 ET, followed by one-minute closing statements.


The Associated Press notices Senator Lieberman's 'Tidal Wave Tuesday' strategy. Of the February 3 primaries: "Lieberman, Connecticut's junior senator, will have to win several of the tidal wave states to stay afloat, and that won't be easy. Dick Gephardt has a solid hold on his home state of Missouri; no one is concentrating on South Dakota; and Dean and Kerry are ratcheting up their races in South Carolina and Arizona. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, has run television ads in most of the Feb. 3 states. North Carolina Senator John Edwards has run ads in South Carolina. But Lieberman has yet to hit the airwaves. There are 334 delegates up for grabs in the seven states, four times as many in Iowa and New Hampshire combined. And the states are more representative of the nation, with greater racial diversity and more moderate political philosophies than the whiter and more liberal Democrats who live and vote in Iowa and New Hampshire." LINK

David Lightman says Lieberman's views on defense may not hurt him in many of those post Iowa and New Hampshire states. LINK


"Republican Party officials and political advisers to President Bush admit that they underestimated Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and say they now consider him a formidable potential adversary," USA Today 's Judy Keen reports. LINK

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