The Note: Kissing Ben Nelson

And check out this historical context: "In June 2002, I made my first trip to New Hampshire for the 2004 presidential cycle. Observing Feingold and Warner this weekend for the first time in a primary state, I was intrigued to discover that both candidates are more adept at this stage than their counterparts were four years ago."

"As the Senate's longtime naysayer, Feingold offers an authenticity in his left-wing political persona that Howard Dean -- the moderate governor of Vermont who went on to oppose the Iraq war -- could never match. Warner boasts the magnetic appeal of a John Edwards and the easy charm of a winner. (Asked about his resemblance to Bobby Kennedy, Warner joked, 'It's my horse teeth.') But, unlike Edwards in 2002, Warner brings with him a hefty record of accomplishment as a governor."

"In fact, maybe the best headline for the weekend should be, 'New Hampshire Democrats Get Along Fine Without Hillary.'"

The Union Leader on Feingold and Warner's battle cry at the New Hampshire Democratic Convention. LINK

The Concord Monitor on the same: LINK

Feingold and Warner pledged to keep New Hampshire first when speaking at Saturday's Democratic convention in that state, the Union Leader reports. LINK

In a Q&A with the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Dan Balz, Sen. Feingold criticizes paid political pundits and paid political consultants -- many of whom served in the Clinton Administration -- who make their living coming up to the Capitol and telling the Democratic leadership that a clear consensus position on Iraq is a loser. LINK

"'You can't do a timetable. You can't talk about censure. You can't talk about illegal wiretapping. What you just have to talk about is domestic issues or sort of just talk about homeland security in the sense of port security.' This is the advice. I've heard it given. It is bad advice. It is advice that we got in 2002 and 2004. And we lost because we were perceived as unable to take the tough stands that are needed to change course in the fight against terrorism. So it is a Washington problem of people listening not to their constituents but of listening to the paid political operatives who run this town."

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) told Tim Russert on Meet the Press yesterday that he would vote against a federal amendment banning gay marriage, saying, "We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act. . . . Nobody has violated that law. There's been no challenge to that law. Why do we need a constitutional amendment?" LINK

Also on "Meet the Press," Biden said "Gore would be a strong candidate if he entered the race," the AP reports. 'He would be viable, and he would be welcome,' Biden said. . . 'It would add to the debate in this party to have him.'" LINK

Yepsen on Vilsack - it doesn't get much better than that, folks. LINK

The Sacramento Bee's Maragaret Talev analyzes the historical background for political comebacks, such as those of potential candidates Kerry, Edwards, and Gore in 2008. Her conclusion? The men should find another job. LINK

Take out your calendars and circle these dates. Sen. Clinton's summer fundraising tour may soon be coming to your town (if you live in the New York-Hamptons-Washington corridor).

In addition to today's Manhattan luncheon. . .

For $4200 per person, donors will get to dine with Sen. Clinton at her Washington, DC residence on Wednesday June 7.

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