Obama?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16

Remembering always our three rings -- the multi-act play that is the political winding down of the Iraq war, the other parts of the 2007-8 legislative agenda, and the looming 2008 presidential race -- the first two rings moved along in tandem (as they will for some time) over the weekend.

On Iraq, the President had his best TV performance in years, minueting with Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes," but that was largely offset by the grim news coverage out of Iraq (and the Gang of 500 mindset, which demands a fight over funding).

Ring Two remains in suspended animation (although check out Robin Toner's must-read New York Times piece which adds another brick to the theory that the Democrats have their PR act together LINK).

On Ring Three, all eyes are on the Junior Senator from Illinois, as he gets ready, apparently, to do some kabuki toe dipping.

So, without further ado, and back by popular demand, the ABC's of Barack Hussein Obama -- questions and answers, with only the most discerning Note readers being able to tell which are questions and which are answers.

B is for bedlam, which is what we will see on the cable nets when this thing pops.

A is for Axelrod (David), Obama's chief strategist, who told an interviewer last week regarding an imminent announcement: "It could come in two steps, because legally, in order to fully plan, you sometimes need to form an interim committee or an exploratory committee."

R is for Robert Gibbs, the Obama adviser who gets more voicemails and emails a day than do John Weaver and Howard Wolfson combined.

A is for advisers to Obama, and the Chicago Tribune did a favor for bookers everywhere over the weekend with a profile of them all. (Or did they miss some?) LINK

C is for Clinton, whose extended political family includes someone(s) who, (authorized or not), will try to sew doubts about Obama's experience.

K is for King, whose holiday Obama decided not to announce on. (thank you)

H is for hope, which, if you look at the fundraising commitments, doesn't seem so audacious after all.

U is for underdog, which, we predict, is a status he will attempt to reclaim in his announcement speech.

S is for Senate, where some Democratic Clinton-Obama colleagues privately (for now) have some serious worries about Clinton Fatigue.

S is for Sweet (the Sun-Times' Lynn), who still lives in fear of being scooped by the Trib. LINK

E is for Edwards (Johnny Reid), the only other Democratic presidential candidate not named "Clinton" who currently has an effective and aggressive anti-Obama strategy.

I is for issues, and he is going to need some fast.

N is for 'Net, where, if this is real, Obama should raise millions by May 1.

O is for Oprah, whose production schedule this week has been studied by all hard-charging reporters.

B is for Barnett, one of many FOBs and FOHs suddenly feeling very torn.

A is for Andy Shaw, superstar (of WLS) who just might spring an Andy Hiller pop quiz on his hometown candidate. LINK

M is for Michelle Obama, whose role will be at least 1/3 part Hillary Rodham, but how much Judy Steinberg?

A is for "any minute now" -- so be ready.

As we wait, today's other biggest political event comes courtesy of PBS.

President Bush will do an interview today for PBS' "Newshour with Jim Lehrer." The interview is set to air at 6:00 pm ET (excerpt release TBD).

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