The Note: Frozen in Place

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McCain, R-Ariz., may be struggling in the polls and in the fundraising game, but he found a crowd yesterday that's foursquare behind him -- and showed again that his campaign is one that's anchored on positions. "As long as there is a prospect for not losing this war," he said, "then we must not choose to lose it."

And the questions about the Maliki government extend far beyond the Democrats in Congress. "Senior U.S. military commanders in Iraq are increasingly divided over whether Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his weak coalition are capable of making the necessary compromises that might help end the fighting in the country," write Vochi J. Dreazen and Greg Jaffe of The Wall Street Journal.

Obama, D-Ill., and former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., appear before the VFW gathering today. (President Bush speaks tomorrow.) Just in time for his VFW speech, Obama today picks up the endorsement of Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., the only Iraq War veteran in the House. Murphy was an Army captain who received a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, and he won his seat last year in the Democratic takeover of Congress.

Don't invite "Obama Girl" to come along. A clever lead from the AP's Nedra Pickler: "Obama girl has upset Obama's girls." "Sasha asked Mommy about it," Obama told Pickler in an interview. "She said, 'Daddy already has a wife' or something like that. . . . I guess it's too much to ask, but you do wish people would think about what impact their actions have on kids and families."

And Obama isn't letting himself be portrayed as inexperienced. Here's an interesting argument: "I've been in public office longer than Hillary Clinton has," Obama said yesterday, per the AP's Ron Fournier, counting his seven years in the state Senate and not counting Clinton's three decades in public life with her husband. "I've been in public office longer than John Edwards has." Does that mean you're not the outsider candidate, senator?

Thompson's refusal to make his candidacy formal is drawing him renewed scrutiny, including a new lawsuit filed by a liberal activist accusing him of violating campaign-finance laws. He's kept his campaign in the "testing-the-waters" phase, though critics say he "has long since surpassed that designation and that he, for all intents and purposes, is a candidate for president," ABC's Jake Tapper reports. "In June Thompson signed a long-term lease on a Nashville location for his national campaign headquarters. He's been to Iowa and New Hampshire, and headlined GOP dinners," Tapper writes. "Moreover, when Thompson filed his disclosure form with the IRS, he revealed that $72,000 of the $3.4 million raised is to be used for the general election."

The complaint was filed by Lane Hudson, the same ex-Democratic staffer who posted the Mark Foley e-mails. The Thompson camp says the senator-turned-actor is following the law, and he has 15 days to respond formally. "By then, though, he may already be a candidate," writes The Washington Post's Michael Shear.

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