The Note: GOP Smack-Down:

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., continues to get the best debate reviews among the second tier. Raves Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne: "Maybe because he doesn't have much to lose, Biden was the most passionate, straight-talking figure on the stage here at Saint Anselm College."

More scrutiny for Clinton pollster Mark Penn, this time with two labor-union heads complaining about Penn's work on behalf of a company that fought a unionization effort. "If Hillary is pro-worker and pro-union, she will certainly take steps to rein in Mr. Penn," Teamsters President James P. Hoffa told The New York Times' Steven Greenhouse.

With the immigration debate restarting in the Senate, more troubles are emerging on the left. Obama said yesterday that he won't support the bill unless his concerns about the temporary-worker program are addressed. "If I don't think it's quite there, it'll have to wait until I'm president," Obama said, according to the Daily Herald's Eric Krol.

Thompson's not-yet-official candidacy is drawing a "stream of former Bush-Cheney aides," and has the support of presidential nephew George P. Bush, who sent an e-mail asking friends and associates to support the former Tennessee senator, Politico's Mike Allen reports.

Giuliani is facing new criticism over his abortion stance, just in time for tonight's debate. Providence's Catholic bishop, Thomas J. Tobin, is calling Giuliani's position "pathetic," "confusing," "preposterous," and "hypocritical" -- and is comparing Giuliani to Pontius Pilate. "I can just hear Pilate saying, 'You know, I'm personally opposed to crucifixion but I don't want to impose my belief on others,' " Tobin wrote in the diocesan newspaper, the Rhode Island Catholic.

The kicker:

"I finally asked him to please let me finish a sentence, at which point I was arrested," liberal commentator Eric Alterman, explaining the circumstances of his detention at Sunday night's Democratic debate.

"In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities," New York federal appeals court panel, explaining how Bush and Cheney's propensity for curse words means the FCC can't fine stations for airing "fleeting expletives."

I'll be blogging live from Manchester during Tuesday's Republican debate. Be part of the conversation.

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