THE NOTE: Can She Win?


[From that same story, pay attention to the expectations-setting among the Republicans. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden: "Look, the whole country was on vacation. It's a tough quarter." And Bill Lacy, former senator Fred Thompson's campaign manager: "We are running what I would call an insurgency-style campaign." (Even insurgents would rather have money, no?)]

Clinton turned in a masterful Sunday, somehow answering questions on all five shows without giving her opponents any significant new ammunition. Among the few news tidbits: Her health plan won't cover illegal immigrants, she told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week." Of the lessons of 1993-94, she said, "I think that what is so uniquely American about the American experience is that, you know, you get knocked down, you get back."

Clinton also fleshed out her position war funding (nothing too controversial here in a Democratic primary): "I will not vote for any funding that does not move us toward beginning to withdraw our troops," she said on Fox News Sunday. Per the Los Angeles Times' Jim Puzzanghera, Clinton's appearances "reinforced her position as the Democratic presidential front-runner" -- and she laughed out loud when asked whether she and her husband have too partisan a view of politics. "If you had walked even a day in our shoes over the last 15 years, I'm sure you'd understand," she said.

The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut saw Clinton turning in a "filibuster." She took 225 words to tell Stephanopoulos that she wasn't sure whether she'd remove all US troops from Iraq by the end of her first term. "Above all, though, in a morning of appearances that yielded virtually no news, Clinton illustrated her ability to talk. And talk. And talk," Kornblut writes.

Clinton can still afford to be nice to Obama, it appears. Asked last night whether he's qualified to be vice president, ABC's Eloise Harper reports that Clinton said, "Assuming I can win the nomination, I will give serious thought to him and to others who I think will bring a great deal not only to the ticket -- which is the political side of the equation -- but much more importantly to governing our country."

On the Republican side, Romney picked up another straw-poll win over the weekend. "Romney used his Michigan connections to good advantage over the weekend in easily winning a presidential straw poll of registrants to the Michigan Republican Party's biennial island conference," per Dawson Bell of the Detroit Free Press. Giuliani came in fourth, behind (!) Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

As he racks up victories, Romney, R-Mass., is engaged in a tidy bit of political positioning. "Even as he tries to distance himself from his moderate record, Mr. Romney also embraces it to reach voters in the middle -- both Republicans uncomfortable with the direction of the party and independent voters he would need in a general election," writes The Wall Street Journal's Mary Jacoby. "Mr. Romney's stump speech can sound at times part Rush Limbaugh, part Bill Clinton, braiding red-meat conservative lines with feel-your-pain prescriptions for health care and retirement security."

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