"The Democratic field for the presidential nomination is already crowded, and now Joe Biden and Wesley Clark are hinting they may become candidates Nos. 10 and 11, a prospect that leaves Republicans practically giddy with anticipation and a few Democrats wondering whether it's time to draw the line." LINK
"Some Democrats have started talking about requiring the candidates to meet a threshold of support reflected in public opinion polls to participate in debates and forums. It's a move unlikely to get past the discussion stage as it would likely alienate many in the party's base."
"In the meantime, Republicans are gleefully rubbing their hands."
"'It's an intramural battle on the Democratic side,' White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told The Associated Press during a visit to New Hampshire earlier this week. 'They'll be playing A-ball, hoping to get up to Double A, then maybe getting up to Triple A before they get to the majors. I think we've got to let that process mature.'"
"Republican consultant Scott Reed said: 'Candidate forums will turn into reruns of 'Hee Haw.' They will become out-of-control events that diminish all of the candidates and lower everybody's expectations.'"
Meanwhile (Note the seamless transition … ), there are twin Bush-Cheney '04 fundraisers tonight. POTUS travels to Greensboro, Georgia.
Pool press only — continuing a practice that is now becoming all too routine.
ABC's Ann Compton reports that Bush's speech tonight will probably be a carbon copy of the one he delivered Wednesday evening.
And she expects few reporters to bother trying to gain access. Not only is the event designated for pool coverage only, the press charter down to Georgia is, by normal standards, expensive.
"A tiny airport. Bush going in on small plane — even the travel pool is on a separate charter — that's a White House first," Compton Notes.
The Bush campaign won't say how many people they expect tonight, nor how much money they want to take in.
FLOTUS is in Chattanooga, Tennessee for her own event. We wonder what coverage for that event will be (like).
Along with the Democratic state chairs hosting a serial procession of presidential would-bees today, Congressman Gephardt is in Missouri, and Senator Edwards is in Iowa.
Tomorrow, Governor Dean, Senator Edwards, Representative Gephardt, Senator Graham, Senator Kerry, Representative Kucinich and Reverend Sharpton will participate in the Jasper County, Iowa presidential candidate forum--several via videoconference.
On Sunday, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Democratic presidential candidate forum features all the candidates sans Senator Edwards.
The Des Moines Register previews the Jasper County hoo ha: LINK
The Minnesota papers go gaga over today's presidential candidate forum:
"DNC chair Terry McAuliffe says the forum gives candidates a chance to speak directly to the foot soldiers of the 2004 presidential contest." LINK
"'These are the people who are in charge of the party operations in their respective states. You have the people here who are talking to the, literally, the thousands of people that they deal with on a weekly basis in their states, who go out, who we count on to deliver the votes to the polls, to do the door-knocking, to make the phone calls, and do what we need to do. So, I think it's absolutely critical,' according to McAuliffe."
Finally, the Los Angeles Times' Ed Chen has exclusive details on a presidential injury: