The Note: As Annoying As the Kennedy Center Honors

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza reports that Sen. Bayh will host a meeting of his top financial backers in Washington "later this month." Cillizza also reports that he is interviewing media consultants. Anita Dunn, Bayh's longtime media adviser, "will not play that role should he run for president but will remain a senior strategist for the campaign." LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Walter F. Roche Jr. reports that Bayh is "well behind" Clinton and Obama in name recognition. LINK

2008:

In Saturday's Los Angeles Times, Michael Finnegan reported that Sen. Obama told more than 2,000 evangelical leaders in Orange County that he "respectfully but unequivocally" disagrees with those who oppose condom distribution to fight the AIDS pandemic while adding that the relationship between sexuality and spirituality "has broken down, and needs to be repaired." LINK

(Note to Sen. Obama, re: your Leno appearance: Is that REALLY your best telling of the Dijon joke?)

In his column, Clay Harris of the Financial Times includes Geraldine Ferraro's musings on the 2008 presidential contest. She predicted Hillary Clinton would be at the top of the Democratic ticket (it's "much too early" for Obama, she says) with Gov. Vilsack, Gov. Rendell, or Sen. Bayh as her running mate. On Rudy Giuliani she is quoted saying, "He's kidding himself if he thinks he's going somewhere." As for Sen. McCain, who she expects to be the GOP nominee, she said she has urged him to pick her friend Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) as his running mate. LINK

2008: Republicans:

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is expected to file a presidential "exploratory" committee with the FEC as early as today.

Newsweek's Holly Bailey looks at Sen. McCain's call for additional troops in Iraq and wonders if it will be a help or a hindrance to his potential presidential campaign. LINK

The Washington Post's George Will remembers that Sen. McCain recently told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that "it would be 'immoral' to keep asking the same number of troops 'to risk life and limb so that we might delay our defeat for a few months or a year.'" LINK

Joel Connelly writes in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Sen. McCain is moving himself farther to the right this year and even taking on some former Bush campaign veterans now that "McCain's guru, John Weaver, has buried the hatchet with Bush's political brain, Karl Rove." LINK

Kimberly Atkins of the Boston Herald reports that Gov. Romney is heading to Asia to "immerse" himself in a "self designed" foreign policy venture. LINK

The Boston Globe over the weekend had the detailed Romney Asia schedule. LINK

The Globe also kept up on the Romney immigration front. LINK

Vilsack tours:

While in New Hampshire on Friday, Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) dismissed Sen. McCain's call for more U.S. troops in Iraq, saying it would be wrong to "make a big mistake bigger." LINK

Over 100 people attended a reception for Vilsack at Stonyfield Yogurt's Gary Hirschberg's house on Friday. Guests included Governor Lynch, Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes, the three Democratic Executive Councilors, Senate President Sylvia Larson, House Speaker Terie Norelli, other state senators and state representatives, and activists including Mary and John Rauh and Arnie Arnesen. Hirschberg introduced Vilsack by saying 'the season is upon us and I'm finished with my shopping' and explained why he was supporting him.

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