The Note: Clean as a Whistle

Keying off Sen. Biden's presidential announcement, Johanna Neuman writes "(the Senator), whose 1988 campaign ended with charges of plagiarism, immediately found himself at the center of a new controversy, having to explain comments he made this week in which he criticized his rivals in the Democratic presidential field." LINK

ABC News' Mark Halperin reports on Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) attempt on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" to laugh off his comment about Obama. LINK

You can catch a couple of clips "The Daily Show" here: LINK

"Mr. Sharpton started off the conversation reassuring Mr. Biden about his hygienic practices. 'I told him I take a bath every day,' Mr. Sharpton said," writes Adam Nagourney on the Biden flap that Nagourney writes has "injected race more directly into the presidential contest." LINK

Nagourney's story is below a "Biden Unwraps His Bid for '08 With an Oops!," headline, which has a previous generation of Sulzbergers rolling over in their graves.

.ABC News' Teddy Davis on Sen. Obama toughening his assessment of Sen. Biden as the day progressed. LINK

Under a "Nothing clean or bright in Biden's '08 opener" header, the Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni reports how Obama initially told reporters "we have more important things to think about" before issuing his statement calling the comment "historically inaccurate." LINK

On NBC's "Today," host Meredith Vieira said that Sen. Biden was now "fighting to regain his footing," on his first official day out when, as NBC's Norah O'Donnell described it, Biden "quickly got caught with his foot in his mouth."

Chris Matthews, who commented that with such a long way to go, things are "getting ugly early," and offered a glimmer of hope for Sen. Biden saying, "The silver lining to this is that people are paying attention to Joe Biden. Let's see what he says in the next couple of days."

Bush ed board with the Wall Street Journal:

In an interview with the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, President Bush said Congress can put caps on total deployments in Iraq through its power of the purse; he said the United States has to be careful about nativism taking hold and this era becoming like the 1920s; he thinks Social Security can be resolved without raising taxes but he wants people to bring their best idea to the table; and he said that Vladimir Putin has "kept his word on everything he's said to me." LINK

On the recent decision to subject his NSA warrantless wiretap program to judicial review, President Bush said, "'Scrap the program' is not accurate."

"'. . . The program is ongoing, giving me the tools and others in the government the tools necessary to protect us,' Mr. Bush said."

In its accompanying editorial, the Journal writes: "It sounds to us as if the President believes he's made a tactical concession in order to achieve what he thinks is a larger strategic victory. Let's hope he's right."

The Journal also writes: "If Mr. Bush is beaten down by the polls and his party's loss of Congress, he isn't showing it."

And the piece basically says that the ed board swooned when the President went all macho off the record.

Democratic agenda:

Providing the likely Democratic talking point of the day, "Exxon Mobil Corp. has posted the largest annual profit in U.S. history at $39.5 billion, despite a 4 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit," reports the Associated Press.

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