The Note: Midway Mayhem:


Elizabeth Edwards again causes a stir with her made-for-Drudge blunt talk: "We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman," she told Edward Cone of CIO Insight, an online business journal. "Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fundraising dollars. Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all."

"Re-rereading Edwards, it seems that she's making a less incendiary (still debatable) point: that Obama (and Clinton) get too much press (unearned media) only because of their race and gender," The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder writes. "The press (in Elizabeth Edwards's view) has apparently decided that it's a two person race, and that if someone else drives a storyline, it's irrelevant to the story. Hence, the campaign has turned to less traditional outlets."

The Edwards campaign today will announce a big Iowa "get": veteran strategist Jeff Link, a former top aide to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and former governor Tom Vilsack, D-Iowa. Remember: It's Iowa or bust for Edwards.

But it's Obama who is showering lawmakers in key early states with money from his leadership PAC, The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports. "In June, Obama gave $5,000 contributions from his PAC, Hopefund, to every Democratic member of Congress from Iowa and New Hampshire," Bolton writes. That helped Obama secure the endorsement of Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., but the biggest fish in either state -- Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa -- tells Bolton that he's unlikely to make an endorsement before the caucuses. (Can't imagine why -- that Howard Dean thing worked out so well. . . .)

HuffingtonPost's Thomas Edsall looks behind the Obama/Edwards rhetoric on lobbyists' money and finds "few candidates with clean hands." Edsall finds former lobbyists littered throughout their inner circles, and sees them raising millions from those closely aligned with special interests such as trial lawyers, hedge-fund managers, and real-estate executives. "Edwards and Obama may not be taking contributions from federally registered lobbyists, but that does not mean that their money is as pure as they'd like us to believe," he writes.

The Wall Street Journal's Miriam Jordan looks at Obama's efforts to reach out to Hispanic voters -- and sees it as easier said than done. "Despite becoming this presidential race's phenomenon, with the power to draw huge crowds and raise millions of dollars, Mr. Obama remains relatively unknown among the country's fastest-growing electorate," Jordan writes. "Across the U.S., tensions simmer between Hispanics and blacks who regard each other as rivals for jobs, educational resources, housing and political power."

Former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., speaks to an actual real-life journalist to defend his wife. "She has taken a lot of comments that should have been directed toward me," Thompson tells Byron York of National Review Online, apparently not referencing comments on Jeri Thompson's neckline. "I think the problem is that Jeri refuses to go out in public and behave like a candidate's wife before I'm a candidate."

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