Rudy Guns for NRA Backing

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The Senate voted to condemn MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad yesterday, and it most mostly served to put the presidential candidates on the spot. Clinton and Dodd voted against the measure, while Obama and Biden missed the vote. The president even allowed himself to get into the politics, labeling the ad "disgusting" at his press conference. "That leads me to come to this conclusion: that most Democrats are afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.org -- or more afraid of irritating them than they are of irritating the United States military," he said.

Obama dismissed the vote as "wasting time," but the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman points out that he did manage to vote on two other Iraq-related measures yesterday, including a Democratic alternative "reaffirming strong support for all men and women in the military."

Obama's adding some campaign help -- from an old friend and ally. Valerie Jarrett is coming on board in a formal capacity. Per the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet, "Though she will be part-time, Jarrett will be one of the most visible and powerful African-Americans in the top rungs of the Obama operation. . . . In a campaign filled with staffers who are Washington insiders, Jarrett brings a different perspective—an outsider who can drive blindfolded through Chicago's political minefields."

She was asked a direct question -- and she gave a direct answer. "How do you respond to the occasional rumor that you're a lesbian?" Clinton was asked by the gay magazine The Advocate, per Michael Saul of the New York Daily News. "It's not true, but it is something that I have no control over. People will say what they want to say."

Could we be about to hear more about Clinton's religion? David Kuo interviews Burns Strider, who heads up Clinton's faith outreach. "What people don't really know, yet, is that she has spent her entire life living out a real and productive faith," Strider says in the Beliefnet.com interview. "We renew ourselves daily, right? This epitomizes Senator Clinton."

Speaking of renewals, it's two (rough) weeks and counting for Thompson -- not that that's showing up in polls. "Thompson's candidacy is as much of an enigma as it was during his summerlong 'testing the waters' phase," writes Michael Kranish of The Boston Globe. "He has not fizzled or run away with the lead, yet there is evidence that either possibility could happen."

Thompson says he's not concerned that he's not getting James Dobson's support. "So be it," Thompson said, per the AP's Paul J. Weber. "But, I have a lot of friends, who I think are friends of his, who have a high regard for me, and I'm very proud of that."

Don't be cruel, GOP rivals: Thompson's eighth cousin once removed? Elvis Presley. "What kind of impact this revelation could have on the Thompson campaign was unclear yesterday, though most observers agreed it would most likely be positive, so long as jumpsuits aren't involved," write The Washington Post's Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts.

President Bush and Congress are still headed for a confrontation over children's health insurance, in one of those classic confrontations that both sides seem to want. The president's latest veto threat yesterday "reflects the political stakes in a newly potent health-care debate that is beginning to shake up Congress and resonate through the 2008 presidential campaign," writes Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune.

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