No, Rip Van Winkle, you didn't fall asleep and miss the primary season, but it certainly felt like that today as we saw the Republican front-runners turn their attention to their Democratic counterparts.
Rudy Giuliani blasted Hillary Clinton in a radio interview and media availability today, accusing her of spewing "political venom" in the Iraq war debate. He later went after Barack Obama, questioning his call for a timetable for troop withdrawal in Iraq, and asked "When in the history of war has an army ever been asked to give the timetable of retreat? Makes no sense," ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports.
In Texas, Mitt Romney said his first thought when he heard of Obama's call for redeployment of troops from Iraq was "Thank heavens Barack Obama wasn't president," ABC News' Matt Stuart reports. Romney went on to say that had Obama, D-Ill., been president, he would have pulled troops out of Iraq, and given Osama Bin Laden a safe haven.
Why this shift from the usual inter-party back and forth to a more general election attack mode?
Perhaps the Romney and Giuliani (and eventually the second-tier Republican) campaigns are sensing that the star power on the Democratic side may take away some of the media attention from their contest.
The Democratic candidates can use President Bush as a consistent punching bag for the policy in Iraq and other key issues and score themselves big headlines and steady media coverage. (They also have their hands so full with each other they don't necessarily need to start focusing their attention across the aisle.)
An attack on Clinton or Obama may just do the same for the top-tier Republicans - one click on the Drudge Report today shows that it is certainly worth a shot.
The Republican schedule… Romney attends a luncheon fundraiser at 12:40 am ET in Woodlands, TX in the "Nautilus Room" at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. He then attends a fundraiser in Houston, TX at 6:30 pm ET.
Giuliani is in Atlanta, GA visiting with local residents at 11:30 am ET.
John McCain has a day chock full of rallies and gaggles. First up is Rochester, NH at 3:15 pm ET and then it's on to Franklin, NH for a rally at the home of Bill Grimm at 5:15 pm ET. At 6:30 pm ET, he will attend another rally and gaggle in Concord, NH. McCain ends his day in Hudson, NH for a rally and BBQ at 8:15 pm ET.
Fred Thompson heads out to Florida, marking his first day campaigning in the state. In the morning, Thompson will be in Jacksonville, FL, then traveling to The Villages, FL and later attending an evening celebration.
Mike Huckabee meets and greets people at the Veterans Memorial Park in Bettendorf, Iowa starting at 8 pm ET as part of "Meet Mike Huckabee" events held throughout the state this week.
Sam Brownback attends Crisis Magazine's 25th Anniversary Dinner in Washington, D.C.
A minimum $500 donation grants you a breakfast or lunch with Ron Paul, who will be in San Francisco, CA for the multiple fundraisers. First up at 12:00 pm ET is breakfast at The Palace Hotel and 3:00 pm ET for a lunch at Palio D'Asti Restaurant. For those high rollers willing to spend a little more coin, a V.I.P. Reception with Ron Paul is scheduled at 9:00 pm ET followed by a mix and mingle, both held at the Westin Palo Alto, in Palo Alto, CA.
Tom Tancredo kicks off his campaign schedule in Iowa this week, hosting a "Talk with Tom" at 7:30 pm ET at the lodge of Iowa GOP Chairman Ray Hoffman in Correctionville, IA.