The Note: Frontrunners Were Made to Be Broken

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20

If you skipped television and the papers over the President's Day weekend, you are in grave, grave danger.

To the rescue, complete with all due modesty, with your weekend must-sees and must-reads, The Note:

Roger Simon, Dan Balz (with 2!), and Adam Nagourney tone poems on The 2007 Spirit of John McCain. LINK, LINK, LINK, and LINK
(Note the campaign officials talking on background about strategy and division in that last one.)

NOTE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE: WHEN, IF EVER, IS MCCAIN GOING TO GO INTO FULL-TIME HAPPY WARRIOR MODE, AND CAN HE WIN IF HE DOESN'T?

George Stephanopoulos, ABC News, and Newsweek on Mitt Romney, who just might be a Mormon flipper, but not, his defenders will tell you, a flip-flopper. LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, LINK, and LINK

NOTE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE: WILL ROMNEY'S NEW (EARLY!) TV AD HELP, AND WHAT ARE HIS CAMPAIGN STAFF TELLING HIM "PRIVATELY" ABOUT HOW THE FLIP-FLOP FOCUS IS PLAYING WITH THE GANG OF 500? (Hint: read Richard Cohen's column on Romney maybe renouncing his Mormon faith. LINK)

Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register on the Republican Big 3 and their lust for the Right LINK, and David Yepsen on the enthusiasm gap between the parties that favors the Democrats. LINK

NOTE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE: WHO WILL WIN THE YEPSEN PRIMARY AND WHICH REPUBLICAN -- CANDIDATE OR NOT -- WILL CONVINCE HIM THAT 2008 CAN BE A GOP YEAR?

Hillary Clinton's enemies are gearing up LINK

or, alternatively, are surprisingly dormant LINK

NOTE QUESTION ABOUT THE FUTURE: DOES JOHN PODHORETZ'S MUST-READ NEW YORK POST COLUMN -- IN WHICH HE FREAKS OUT ABOUT CHRIS RUDDY AND RICHARD M. SCAIFE NOW CLAIMING TO THINK THAT BILL CLINTON WAS "A PRETTY GOOD PRESIDENT" -- FORESHADOW THE CRACKING UP OF THE ANTI-CLINTON MOVEMENT? LINK

Case Study #2 in our series "How Barack Obama's campaign is going to deal with scrutiny," courtesy of the Los Angeles Times and Robert Gibbs. LINK and LINK

NOTE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE: DOES THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN HAVE SOMEONE GOING CAREFULLY THROUGH HIS TWO BOOKS -- FOR STARTERS -- TO LOOK FOR EVERY LANDMINE, AND IS OBAMA COOPERATING IN THAT PROCESS?

What happens when the Boston Globe actually turns on a candidate not from Massachusetts, in Rick Klein's three-dimensional-chess piece on the Kerry camp claiming, contrary to John Edwards' post-facto claim, that Edwards did not clamour to fight back again Bush-Cheney in 2004. LINK

NOTE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE: WILL EDWARDS TRY TO DEFUSE THIS TENSION NOW BEFORE IT STRIKES AGAIN, AND DID ELIZABETH EDWARDS READ THAT GLOBE PIECE WITH A HIGHLIGHTER IN HAND?

What Hillary Clinton is doing instead of apologizing for her Iraq vote (courtesy of Pat Healy's must-read in the New York Times LINK -- Note the campaign officials talking on background about strategy and division in this one, along with the Big Hand of Mark Penn), and why Paul Krugman is not pleased LINK, and Dick Morris is (not) afraid. LINK

NOTE QUESTION ABOUT THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE: DID CLINTON GET THE APOLOGY BUGABOO OFF OF HER BACK AS THE CAMPAIGN INTENDED?

The more immediate question for Clinton is what will happen tonight in La-La Land, when the Hollywood four-some of Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Andy Spahn host a closed press fundraiser this evening for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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