The Note: Leftward Bound

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This won't help Thompson's standing in the GOP: He likes -- gasp! -- trial lawyers. "His work representing white-collar criminals, drug defendants and lawsuit victims has given Thompson an affinity with one of the Republican Party's perennial targets, trial lawyers, and he carries that connection with him even today as he prepares to seek the GOP presidential nomination," reports John Solomon of The Washington Post. "It also helped shape a view on lawsuit reform that has frequently put him at odds with his own party."

But Thompson could be getting some timely help from a big name: former House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. Gingrich has indicated that he's unlikely to run if Thompson does, and now evidence is emerging "of a possible Thompson-Gingrich alliance in 2008," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports. Thompson and his wife have recently dined with the Gingriches, and "some of [Gingrich's] closest advisers have been meeting with -- and, in at least one prominent case, going to work for -- the lobbyist-actor and former Tennessee senator."

Former governor Mitt Romney's campaign has found a category Romney is ahead in -- and the Romney camp is "just tickled" by it, Politico's Martin reports. Romney, R-Mass., has been the subject of 61 DNC press-shop attacks this year, according to the Romney campaign's own count; McCain is second, with 48. (So this is what all those staffers do over there.) Romney aides say this proves he's the most-feared candidate, though it's also remotely possibly that he's given Democrats the most to work with. The DNC let Carly Simon handle its response.

The Chicago Tribune's Mike Dorning and John McCormick explore the true strength of the Obama money empire -- and it's built on more than $5 key chains. "His campaign has built an old-school political fundraising machine that relies heavily on the wealthy and the powerful, including a Chicago-based hedge fund manager who earned $1.4 billion last year," they write. "The Obama fundraising operation provides a contrast to an image that the campaign has ceaselessly cultivated as a movement powered by everyday Americans."

Reid Wilson of Real Clear Politics writes up Clinton's outreach to the netroots -- up to and including communications director Howard Wolfson's decision to defend DailyKos on "The O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday night. "It was one of the last steps in a comprehensive outreach program to the liberal netroots that has won Clinton praise in the blogosphere, and one that has, for now, neutralized what might have been a powerful tool in the attempt to undercut the Democratic frontrunner," Wilson writes.

Obama seeks to one-up Clinton in the endorsement game today. Yesterday, Clinton accepted the endorsement of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., but this morning in Concord, N.H., Obama received the backing of a freshman House member who could be more important to a presidential campaign: Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H. He is Obama's biggest score in the Granite State, per The Boston Globe's James Pindell. (And it's an appearance before the cameras that provides another shot for Obama to continue his feud with Clinton.)

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