The Note: "Grave and Deteriorating"

The Chicago Tribune ed board writes Obama should run now, and not in 2012 or 2016. Here's the nut graf: "To run for president would be a big leap for someone who just a couple of years ago was commuting to Springfield as a state senator. There is a plausible case why Obama should bide his time and burnish his credentials for the future--plausible, but not persuasive. When a leader evokes the enthusiasm that Obama does, he should recognize that he has something special to offer, not in 2012 or 2016, but right now." LINK

The Associated Press reports that John Edwards needs to raise some "quick cash" as three other Democrats seeking the presidential nomination have over $10 million while Edwards has none. The AP has former Rep./Edwards campaign manager-in-waiting David Bonior (D-MI) adding, however, that "he's not going to have to spend millions introducing himself to voters. Our dollars are going to go further the second time around." LINK

Gov. Vilsack touts energy independence as a path to security at a luncheon with USA Today. LINK

2008: Independents:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Bolton's departure from the United Nations the result of "a cheap political stunt" and he went on to label it an "outrage," reports the New York Post's David Seifman. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

President Bush is scheduled to meet with leaders of the conservative Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions on Friday, the Hill reports. LINK

2008: House:

Nancy Pelosi could make a decision on the next DCCC chairman by the end of the week reports The Hill. On the short list to replace Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) are Reps. Chris Van Hollen (who was stellar when he filled in for Emanuel opposite Rep. Tom Reynolds at the National Press Club), Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Arthur Davis, Kendrick Meek, Mike Thompson and Xavier Becerra. LINK

The Hill's Cameron Joseph reports that incoming NRCC Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) is moving Pete Kirkham, his chief of staff from his House office, to the NRCC , where he will become executive director. LINK

Rice and Kerry:

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports that "in a bit of post-election outreach to Democrats, Condoleezza Rice hosted Sen. John Kerry at the State Department yesterday for a one-on-one discussion on Iraq. And it wasn't just Kerry. Secretary Rice had a separate meeting today with Vermont Democrat Pat Leahy (you know, the guy Cheney once told to 'F--- off')."

"The Leahy meeting is not a surprise. He's about to become the chairman of the Senate appopriations subcommittee that funds the State Department."

"But the Kerry meeting is unusual. It happened because a short while ago, Kerry called Rice to talk about Iraq. Several minutes into that discussion, Rice invited him down to the State Department for a face-to-face meeting. As you might expect, they had a good meeting and 'a frank exchange of views.'"

Cheney's daughter expecting a baby:

Mary Cheney, the Vice President's openly gay daughter, is expecting a baby this spring with her longtime partner Heather Poe, the Vice President's office confirms to ABC News' Karen Travers.

"The Vice President and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild," spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride tells ABC News.

More from the Washington Post: LINK

And the Associated Press: LINK

FL-13:

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