The Note: Playing Hardball

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Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., got really rich, really fast since his service in the Clinton administration ended in January 2001, the AP's Barry Massey reports. "Richardson has enjoyed as much as a 10-fold increase in assets after working in the private sector for two years as a consultant, lecturer and corporate board member -- including for energy industry companies -- and then as governor of New Mexico since 2003," Massey writes.

While Thompson gives his presidential run more thought, the Iowa Republican Party is making up his mind for him, at least as it relates to the Ames Straw Poll. "The ballots had to be sent to the printer, and we asked Fred Thompson last week if he had any last words for us before we hit the send button, but he didn't," the Iowa GOP's executive director, Chuck Laudner, tells Radio Iowa. Giuliani and McCain will also have their names on the ballots, even though they've said they aren't competing in the straw poll. So when Romney wins this going away, how much will we have to weight it downward to get anything close to a true sense of sentiments?

The kicker:

"I think 'none of the above' currently would beat them." -- Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., commenting to the New York Post on the current crop of GOP front-runners. Gingrich has said he'll make a decision about running himself this fall.

"Pretty good. . . . But if you're in a room any higher than the eighth floor, the flushing can be a problem." -- Todd Taylor, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, testing the plumbing at one of the hotels his state's delegation may stay in for the Democratic National Convention -- to be held in Denver in August 2008.

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