The Note: Clinton in Crossfire


Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., added his voice today on ABC's "Good Morning America," telling Robin Roberts: "I don't think that there's room in this campaign or any campaign to use terrorism as a club to beat opponents over the head with. Karl Rove and this administration perfected that politics of fear, and I think that part of what we want to see is a change from that approach to one that says, 'We're unified in making sure that America is secure.' "

Wondering why they're weighing in? "Obama has outraised Clinton, and the three leading candidates remain close in polls in Iowa, but as they prepare to gear up for an intense period of campaigning after Labor Day, Clinton is in the strongest position," writes The Washington Post's Perry Bacon Jr. "In distinguishing themselves from the front-runner, Obama and Edwards are portraying Clinton as yesterday's news."

Republicans are also making clear that they're set to unload on the Democrat they most love to hate. The "Hillary haters" were happy to talk about their mission with the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman, who profiles the folks behind and Citizens United, to name just two anti-Hillary groups that have already sprung up five months before anyone can hope to clinch the nomination. "Armed with new technologies and fueled by animus, they are bent on preventing 'four more years' of Clintonism," Zuckman writes. "Every old charge, it seems, is being repackaged and sold as new. Every rumor is given a new, blog-stoked currency."

Wondering why? Here's the GOP talking point Politico's Jonathan Martin picked up from the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference: "Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee and that could be the GOP's saving grace in an otherwise uphill battle." Republicans, Martin writes, are "unenthused or just plain uncertain about their potential White House nominee. But GOP faithful also seem quite confident and even upbeat about the prospect that the senator from New York is, as Rove put it, the 'prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.' "

Obama led off the Democratic march through New Orleans with his visit yesterday, but he's skipping the cancer forum and the New Orleans summit that Clinton and former senator Edwards are attending. (How much media attention is Obama really losing out on so far by skipping presidential forums?) "Part of what I think the next president is going to have to do is to reinspire a new generation of civil servants," Obama told Robin Roberts this morning. "There's no reason to assume that this is the last controversy or catastrophe that we're going to be dealing with in the years to come."

Obama's plan would "streamline the bureaucracy, strengthen law enforcement to curb a rise in crime and immediately close the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet in order to restore wetlands to protect against storms," per The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny. "The procession of politicians, particularly Democrats, who are set to pass through New Orleans this week are eager to use the city as an example of why Americans need their government and the challenges facing the next president."

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