The Note: Who's in Charge Here?

Steven Weisman of the New York Times reports that the United States and its European allies are working to assure Russia that they are not pressing for immediate Security Council sanctions against Iran. LINK

The 2008:

A poll by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics shows former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner easily beating current Virginia Sen. George Allen in a head-to-head presidential matchup. LINK

2008: Democrats:

In a get-tough speech on Iran delivered at Princeton University late yesterday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) said the United States "cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran."

The Senator called on the United States to move "as quickly as feasible" for UN sanctions.

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein reports: "While Mrs. Clinton's comments on Iran were generally in line with the Bush administration's position, she also suggested that President Bush erred by 'standing on the sidelines' while Britain, France, and Germany attempted to broker a deal with the Iranians. 'I believe that we lose critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and outsource the negotiations,' she said." LINK

More Gerstein: "Mrs. Clinton said one reason for American to maintain a presence in Iraq is to ward off interference from Tehran. 'It will send a message to Iran that they do not have a free hand in Iraq, despite their considerable influence and personal and religious connections there,' she said."

Celeste Katz of the New York Daily News also writes up the Princeton speech and leads with Sen. Clinton's call for UN sanctions against Iran. LINK

The New York Post's Deb Orin writes up First Lady Laura Bush's comment calling her predecessor's "plantation" comment "ridiculous." Orin also gets some entertaining reaction from some of Sen. Clinton's Democratic Senate colleagues. LINK

Orin covers much the same ground in her column with an eye towards the First Lady's raw political skill and Republican attempts to paint Sen. Clinton as "shrill." LINK

The New York Daily News prints the First Lady's commentary as well. LINK

It might seem early, but Clinton picked up an endorsement for 2008 yesterday from former Czech President Vaclav Havel. LINK

While appearing on "Fox and Friends" this morning, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) described Iran as "a real menace" and announced that he is planning to introduce legislation in the Senate tomorrow addressing the development of a nuclear plan in Iran.

Possible measures could include economic sanctions, cultural sanctions, travel bans, and an international ban on gasoline export towards Iran.

In the February issue of GQ, Michael Crowley details the unpropitious fallout John Kerry may be experiencing with some Democrats. Crowley interviews over a dozen former Kerry staffers and Democratic Party insiders to get a feel for the current mood towards Kerry. LINK

"Kerry -- who Democrats almost unanimously say is keenly interested in running for president again in 2008 -- keeps reminding people of the bad old days, when the country had a choice and chose Bush. 'There was so much pent-up anti-Bush anger that has not dissipated,' says Carter Eskew, former chief strategist to Al Gore in 2000. 'There was no catharsis, and he's a reminder of that frustration and anger.'"

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