The Note: Gradual Push-Me-Pullback

Ed Tibbetts of the Quad City Times believes that "by now, Iowans who think, talk and write about Vilsack's presidential ambitions inevitably attach the words 'long shot bid' to his candidacy." LINK

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein has Park Avenue's Lewis Cullman, a New Yorker who gave $2.7 million to Democratic causes in 2004 and who is now straddling between Vilsack and Clark, saying of Iowa's governor: "This guy is a Democratic governor in a red state. To have a Democratic candidate from that section of the country would change the whole dynamics." LINK

While in West Des Moines, IA for a book signing, the Associated Press has Edwards saying Vilsack would be "a force" in Iowa's caucuses but that it wouldn't scare anyone off. LINK

Obama faces criticism from conservatives for abortion position:

The Rev. Rick Warren's decision to invite Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to speak from the pulpit to the 20,000-strong Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA is drawing criticism from some conservative Christian radio hosts and pundits, as well as some evangelical preachers.

Saddleback Church responded to the criticism by defending Obama's appearance at the conference while Noting Warren's disapproval of some of his political beliefs.

"Let it be made very clear that Pastor Warren and Saddleback Church completely disagree with Obama's views on abortion and other positions he has taken, and have told him so in a public meeting on Capitol Hill," the statement said.

In a story that quotes radio host and blogger Kevin McCullough asking "Why would Warren marry the moral equivalency of his pulpit -- a sacred piece of honor in evangelical traditions -- to the inhumane, sick and sinister evil that Obama has worked for as a legislator?," the Los Angeles Times Seema Mehta refers to Obama as a "liberal black politician". LINK

The Washington Post on the fracas: LINK

The Orange County Register includes the statement from Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, describing Obama's political views as "the antithesis of biblical ethics and morality, not to mention supreme American values." LINK

The AP's Ned Pickler writes that "Obama declined an interview request. But in a statement, he said while he respects differing views on abortion, he hopes for unity 'to honor the entirety of Christ's teachings by working to eradicate the scourge of AIDS, poverty and other challenges we all can agree must be met. It is that spirit which has allowed me to work together -- and pray together -- with some of my conservative colleagues in the Senate to make progress on a range of key issues facing America,' Obama said." LINK

"Brownback, who has close ties to conservative Christians, responded to the dispute with a statement also calling for unity. 'To win the fight against AIDS we must each set aside our differences and join together as human beings from all political, religious, and nonreligious walks of life, fighting for the lives of people who are suffering and dying,' he said."

2008: Democrats:

Ian Bishop of the New York Post Notes Sen. Clinton has been largely out of sight during the current Obama boomlet -- which includes tomorrow's appearance on The Tonight Show, the upcoming New Hampshire Democratic rally, and a keynote address for an anti-child poverty benefit in New York City on Monday. LINK

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