In a story that points to the presence of the "rhetorically flammable Sharpton" at yesterday's Bloomberg presser, the Washington Post's Michael Powell and Robin Shulman report that Bloomberg enjoys "far better relations with the city's black leaders than Giuliani did." LINK
Gov. Pataki (R-NY) is with three gubernatorial colleagues in Afghanistan, reports the New York Post's Fred Dicker -- who could get no confirmation of the trip from Pataki's office, but Gov. Kulongoski's (D-OR) spokesman apparently spilled the beans. LINK
Gov. Pataki has suffered another staff defection from his PAC in Iowa. LINK
"Activist Craig Schoenfeld said Monday that he has resigned his position as executive director of Pataki's political action committee in Iowa," reports the Associated Press.
"'If he takes the next step, I won't be taking it with him,' Schoenfeld said."
"Departing Sen. George Allen, who is facing a big decision about his future, will address Virginia Republican activists at their annual Advance on Saturday," writes Peter Hardin of the Richmond Times Dispatch. LINK
"The Democratic Party's decision to shuffle its presidential primary schedule, so that Nevada's caucus closely follows Iowa's and South Carolina gets a primary week of its own after New Hampshire's, is changing the early rituals of campaigning, forcing contenders to extend themselves in more states," briefly writes David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times. LINK
Mike Glover of the Associated Press questions whether Gov. Vilsack (D-IA) will have a "home-field" advantage in the Iowa caucuses with party leaders "bending over backward to keep the start-off of the contest evenhanded." LINK
Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register writes that the support of Gary Hirshberg and Lou Susman seems to legitimize Vilsack's bid for the Democratic nomination. LINK
Jim Davenport of the Associated Press discusses Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) tough criticism of Mexico when being questioned about immigration, calling the country an "erstwhile democracy" responsible for illegal immigration and drug problems in the US because of their "corrupt system." LINK
The AP's Holly Ramer of the Granite State reports that although former Sen. John Edward's (D-NC) book tour for "Home" stops in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina, he has not made a decision about running in 2008. Sen. Edwards emphasizes that "it's not a political book at all, it's really appealing across all kinds of party lines." LINK
The Washington Times' Greg Pierce Notes a Texas Republican activist's website, StopHerNow.com, aimed at preventing Sen. Clinton from becoming president. LINK
Gen. Wesley Clark tells the talented Abe Lubetkin of Brown University's Daily Herald that he hasn't "said I won't run" for president and comments on his challenges in 2004, "I got in too late, because I had no political experience, because I had no money prior to the time I announced and because I had no staff." LINK
Tim Higgins of the Des Moines Register reports that incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-IA) named Tony Bisignano to be his chief of staff. Gov. Vilsack mentioned the death of Bisignano's son to inspire tougher state driving laws in his Condition of the State address last January. LINK
Carlos Santos of the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that Sen. John Warner (R-VA) "just might" run for a sixth Senate term because experience is "not to be replicated by many people." LINK