The Note: Beyond Iraq

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The Thompson scrutiny has officially begun. Newsweek's Holly Bailey explores Thompson's Senate papers and finds some intriguing tidbits. In January 1994, he told an interviewer that while he was "pro-life," he had doubts as to whether life begins at conception: "I don't know in my own mind if that is the case so I don't feel the law ought to impose that standard on other people." He also wrote a thank-you note to Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., the Democratic sponsor of the campaign-finance law that is loathed by many conservative activists: "You were essential to our success."

Another bad home-front headline for former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, R-N.Y.: The New York Times' Michael Wilson looks at Giuliani's sometimes troubled relationship with firefighters. "He wound up with this 'America's Mayor' image. Those of us who had to deal with him before and after 9/11 don't share that same sentiment," Robert Keys, a FDNY battalion chief, tells Wilson.

Here's an interesting path to political revival for the president: pardon "Scooter" Libby. The White House is being told in a "subtle" lobbying push that either a pardon or a commuted sentence "would be a way for an embattled President Bush to reassert himself, particularly among conservatives," Politico's Mike Allen reports. "Friends of Bush and Libby have been quietly working cocktail parties and other venues, laying out their logic for a pardon." That's all well and good, but is the president ready for a 19 percent approval rating?

The kicker:

"We ran your license plate," over-eager Romney aide, to New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who was apparently following the governor's car a little too closely in New Hampshire.

"This really is about can we govern, or are we going to let the union halls and the talk radio take over this debate and we walk away saying we can't deal with this issue now?" Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on "This Week," laying out the stakes in the immigration debate in terms his party may not like to be reminded of about a few months from now.

Youtube victim of the day: John Edwards.

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