The Note: (F.B.)I. Spy

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne chides Murtha's "right-wing critics" for questioning the circumstances surrounding the awarding of two Purple Hearts to Murtha because of wounds he suffered in the Vietnam War. LINK

Plantation politics:

Let the blogging and analysis begin!

Speaking at an MLK Day event in Harlem, Sen. Clinton assailed the Bush Administration as one of history's worst and compared the GOP-controlled House to a "plantation where dissenting voices are squelched," the AP reports. LINK

The New York Post has GOP Senate candidate John Spencer responding to Sen. Clinton's "plantation" remark thusly: "That's outrageously dishonest about our government, and typical Hillary Clinton pandering by the use of a word like that ['plantation'] on Martin Luther King Day and then insidiously saying, 'You know what I mean.' " LINK

Sen. Clinton's remarks were greeted with derision from the RNC, but black Democrats are firmly behind the Senator's remarks, per the New York Times' Ray Hernandez. LINK

A Democrat familiar with New York politics observes the following to The Note this morning: If Sen. Clinton is offending anyone, it's Republicans like Rep. Peter King and Rep. Vito Fossella -- not people of color. The people in the room loved it, and the African American leaders who commented echoed her point.

The New York Daily News has a host of responses to Sen. Clinton's rhetoric. Among the comments: Rev. Al Sharpton joking that the Senator stole his material, and saying, "I absolutely defend her saying it because I said it all through the '04 elections." LINK

The New York Daily News has a full analysis of the brouhaha and the effect they may have on the Senator's political future. LINK

Newsday: LINK

2008: Republicans:

In a National Journal piece looking at whether GOPers want a third Bush term in 2008, James A. Barnes writes that "the most anticipated" message of any Republican '08er "may well be McCain's."

In the Palmetto State yesterday, McCain previewed his 2008 message at the Spartanburg GOP Dinner.

McCain aped the President's determination to win in Iraq while distancing himself from the borrow-and-spend policies that currently prevail in GOP-dominated Washington.

"So how come the party that believes in the principle of small government has begun to adopt the practices of our opponents who believe the bigger the government the better?" McCain asked in his speech. "I'm afraid it's because at times we value our incumbency more than our principles."

McCain called on Congress to address the corruption that stems from earmarking. He also touted his opposition to the troubled prescription drug benefit.

In a Mark Leibovich profile for the Washington Post's Style section, Gov. Huckabee laments that his band, the Capital Offense, doesn't have any groupies of the young, female variety. LINK

"'I keep hearing about these bands that have girls throwing their underwear onstage,' he says, bemoaning that Capital Offense doesn't have any groupies. 'But given our demographics, we're more likely to have old men throwing their Depends at us.'"

When Gov. Pataki introduces his final budget today, the package will include tax credits for parents who send their kids to private schools, the New York Post reports. LINK

In a New York Post op-ed, Robert Ward has answers for each argument against tax cuts. LINK

A Wall Street Journal editorial is semi-pro Pataki.

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