The Note:

Nelson's hire is clearly a huge get, but will not come without controversy. Nelson made political headlines in the 2006 cycle as the strategist tapped to head up the RNC's independent expenditure which was responsible for that extremely controversial ad in Tennessee against Harold Ford, Jr. featuring a young blonde actress portraying a woman who met Ford at a Playboy party and who suggestively asks him to call her at the end of the ad. (It caused enough heartache for one of Nelson's other clients, Working Families for Wal-Mart, that they sought and received his resignation after the episode.) Nelson was also tied up in the recently settled New Hampshire phone jamming case and in Tom DeLay's TRMPAC troubles from his days at the RNC.

The left-leaning blogs will certainly jump on this with gusto. Here's a little preview of what may be coming from a September 2006 posting by MyDD's Matt Stoller. LINK

DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton offered this to The Note this morning: "With the hiring of Terry Nelson, It's clear that McCain's 'straight talk' on ethics reform has gone out the window. He's willing to do or say anything to win."

Chris Cillizza of reports on the other huge hire from the McCain camp today -- RNC Communications Director Brian Jones will head up the national press effort for McCain's presidential campaign. LINK

The Arizona Republic's Billy House writes that although Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) agreed with the Iraq Study Group's proposal for troop increases, he did not support the firm timetable for withdrawal saying, "our troops should be sent to Baghdad, or anywhere in Iraq, in order to complete a defined mission, not to serve until some predetermined date passes." LINK

Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla, Catherine Dodge, and Nicholas Johnston report that while many Democrats and Republicans praised the ISG Report, Sen. McCain and Rep. Murtha "ripped the panel's proposals from different ends of the spectrum." LINK

Matthew Benson of the Arizona Republic reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hired Kurt Davis and Wes Gullett to lead his exploratory committee. LINK

She may have lost the election, but with Gov. Romney (R-MA) globetrotting, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has been in the Bay State driver's seat, Notes the Boston Globe. LINK

Eli Lake of the New York Sun reports that Mayor Giuliani has not read the ISG report's recommendations and he "can't imagine all of them will be implemented - but some of them will be very, very useful." LINK

Russell Berman of the New York Sun reports that Mayor Giuliani (R-NY) views the prospect of running against Sen. Clinton (D-NY) "deja-vu all over again." Although he has not officially announced his intentions to run, Giuliani stated that "the people that talk to me are very, very encouraging." He added that he would be careful because "generally the people that don't want you to run don't come up to you and tell you that." LINK

2008: Democrats:

The Washington Times picks up on South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Joe Erwin announcing that the South Carolina Democratic Party is hoping to host a Democratic presidential debate some time around the April 27 Jefferson-Jackson dinner and state party convention. LINK

ABC News' Teddy Davis reports that Gov. Richardson took a swipe Wednesday at the new Democratic congressional majority for not consulting the nation's Democratic governors more. LINK

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