THE NOTE: Between Rounds


Thompson has a defender in Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, notwithstanding James Dobson's harsh words about his candidacy. Land tells the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody that Dobson is guilty of "mischaracterizing" Thompson's positions. "To say that he is for 50 different views of marriage in 50 different states is a gross mischaracterization of his position," Land tells Brody. "Secondly, do I wish that he attended church every Sunday? As a Baptist pastor, of course I do. But does that make him a person of unbelief? That's harsh and unwarranted."

The Washington Post editorializes against Obama's tax-cut plan -- and in favor of Edwards'. "These are the sort of have-a-cookie proposals that sound great to voters, especially Democratic primary voters, so they might be smart politics. That doesn't make them smart policy," the editorial says of Obama's plan. Edwards, meanwhile, "has a tax plan that is less expensive (about $25 billion a year) and smarter, targeted at taxpayers who need the most help and at creating incentives for savings."

President Bush hits the United Nations today, and a much different president will be on display, per USA Today's David Jackson. "The president who challenged the United Nations to take a hard line with Iraq will take a softer approach when he addresses Tuesday's annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. "The more conciliatory tone may reflect Bush's desire to enlist international help in areas beyond the Iraq war."

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. doesn't get why the president is keying up his biggest spending clash with the Democratic Congress over health insurance for poor children -- and neither do we. "On no spending issue do Democrats have broader public support -- or more Republican allies -- than on expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program," Dionne writes.

With Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, getting his next (and probably final) day in court tomorrow, the prosecutor in the case says in a court filing that he urged Craig to get an attorney. "In order to believe the defendant's claim that panic drove him to his plea, the court would have to believe that this state of panic lasted over a period of a month and a half," Christopher Renz writes in his court filing, per McClatchy's Erika Bolstad. "The defendant's current pursuit of withdrawal of his guilty plea is reactionary, calculated, and political." Perish the thought!

Donna Brazile calls out the Floridians today in her Roll Call column -- in a worsening spat between the Democratic National Committee and one of the most influential state Democratic parties. "Their blatant contempt for rules they once supported is not only a sign of arrogance, but worse, it's a sign of desperation from a state party that felt powerless in confronting its Republican-controlled Legislature," Brazile writes.

Welcome, Cliff Clavin, to the campaign trail. John Ratzenberger (of "Cheers") kicks off a series of town hall meetings for the Alliance for American Manufacturing today in Manchester, N.H.

The kicker:

"Don't mess with me fellas. This ain't my first time at the rodeo." -- Caption on the "Hillary Clinton" Ace of Spades in the 2008 edition of "Politicards," which the Clinton Presidential Library has declined to sell, per the Rocky Mountain News' M.E. Sprengelmeyer. The 2004 cards, which portray Clinton as the "Queen of Denial," remain on sale at the library.

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