THE NOTE: Can She Win?


Now we know: Bill Clinton is better off playing Bill Clinton than John Kerry. The New York Daily News' Michael Saul followed up with some of the world leaders the president claims are rooting for Hillary to win -- and comes up empty. An aide to Jacques Chirac says the former French president "believes he should not publicly express himself on the American presidential campaign." Ditto the former prime minister of Singapore, and several African leaders. Clinton spokesman Jay Carson responds that the former presidnet "never cited specific countries" whose leaders support his wife. (So that makes it OK to say?)

Obama hates lobbyists on the campaign trail, but he worked with them back in the Illinois state senate, The Boston Globe's Scott Helman reports. Describing a 2004 health-care bill, Helman writes, "Obama had written three successful amendments, at least one of which made key changes favorable to insurers. Most significant, universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy. . . Lobbyists praised Obama for taking the insurance industry's concerns into consideration."

Get ready for the South Carolina showdown -- and this is where the battle for black voters will matter. "Of the Democratic candidates, Obama seems best suited to challenge Clinton," The State's Lee Bandy writes in his Sunday column. "In South Carolina, Obama has put together a high-tech and grass-roots get-out-the-vote campaign unmatched by anything seen in the state before. Obama is organized in all 46 counties. Much goes on outside of the public eye or, as campaign organizers are fond of saying, below the radar."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., will get a Senate vote on his plan for an Iraq partition tomorrow. Per The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray, "It's a non-binding resolution, so even if it does pass, it won't force President Bush to do anything. But sources close to Biden describe the senator as positively giddy about the exposure."

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is using his candidacy as "the most public chapter in his career-long quest for his father's redemption," writes Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times. Dodd's brother, Thomas Jr., on why Chris Dodd is running for president in such a crowded field: "I don't know what the thinking is on this thing, but he sure is enjoying it."

Edwards today unveils his plan to combat HIV/AIDS, with particular attention to be paid to the African-American and Latino communities. "This is a fight for people's lives. We have a moral imperative to do much more, and do it much better," Edwards plans to say today, per his campaign.

Ready for the congressional budget battles? President Bush is -- but some moderates in his party aren't. Veto threats have "blocked Congress from forcing troop drawdowns in Iraq and given Bush substantial leverage on children's health policies, federal spending and other issues," the AP's Chuck Babington writes. "But some say it carries a political risk. By thwarting congressional efforts to wind down the war and redirect spending to popular domestic programs, Bush could help Democrats portray Republicans as out of step with voters in the 2008 elections."

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