The Note: 41+42-43=44?


She can't sing (Thanks, MSNBC LINK), and she is often accused of dancing and acting too much, and/but. . . Hillary Clinton just might be the next president of the United States.

The RNC knows it. (They hit her on her ethanol gymnastics yesterday -- but do they remember George W. Bush's Des Moines Marriott conversion on the issue in 1999, a moment that made even Howard Fineman blush?)

The White House knows it. (They hit her on her uppity Iraq comments yesterday -- but do they know that the war is politically over?)

The Obama and Edwards campaigns know it. (They are giving an awful lot of thought to how to play this weekend's DNC meeting, as part of an effort to beat her unconventionally and without nearly the same amount of money -- but do they know that running against Mark Penn won't work?)

John McCain knows it. (Look at this "people will say we're in love" photo from yesterday's event in San Antonio LINK -- but does Kevin Madden already have it clipped from the New York Post hard copy and tacked up above his desk?)

The Old Media and New Media know it. (The question might be asked: IS there ANY story about the Clintons that is too minor to get expansive coverage on TV, talk radio, and at Manhattan watercoolers -- but the answer ("NO!!!") is obvious.)

The Bush 43 political team knows it. (But they have bigger fish to fry.)

And now, amazingly, mark your calendars: Bush 41 seems to be showing his hand.

The Union Leader's Mark Hayward reports that former Presidents Bush and Clinton will jointly deliver the commencement address at the University of New Hampshire on May 19. LINK

Read to the end to find out that Professor Scala agrees that this helps Sen. Clinton big time with her biggest problem: "The more Bush-41 and Bill Clinton appear together, the less vulnerable Hillary Clinton is to very vitriolic Republican attacks."

After a day of official business, Sen. Clinton hosts the hot 2008 event of the news cycle when she throws a book party for her Empire State colleague Sen. Chuck Schumer at Hunan Dynasty in Washington, DC. (Perhaps the Schumer household made sure to put out the huge news about Commissioner Weinshall leaving the Bloomberg Administration yesterday so as not to step on Sen. Schumer's book party coverage tomorrow. LINK)

Not to be outdone, President Bush tours Caterpillar, Inc at 12:10 pm ET in Peoria, IL, and then delivers remarks on the economy at 12:40 pm ET. The President plans to showcase the Caterpillar plant as an example of how his Administration's trade agreements and tax breaks can boost global sales and create jobs for American workers.

But the trip to the heartland and the focus on the economy (even with a high-profile network interview with ABC News' Betsy Stark, which you can watch on "World News with Charles Gibson") is not likely to move Iraq off the front burner.

To wit. . . House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and fellow CODEL members hold a 3:00 pm ET press conference where they will share their thoughts and observations from their recent trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, James Baker and Lee Hamilton, testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today at 1:00 pm ET. Earlier in the day, Chairman Biden's committee holds hearings on the nomination of John Negroponte to be Deputy Secretary of State.

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