THE NOTE: Fred's Fumbles

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ABC's Jennifer Parker looks at the (sort of) controversy over Rush Limbaugh's comments. "Democrats have pounced on the controversy -- amplified by bloggers, interest groups and news media outlets -- calling on Republicans to condemn Limbaugh's comments," Parker writes. "Democrats are stepping up their public relations game to portray perceived slights against the troops as proof that the GOP and other war-supporters do not care as much as they do about military veterans."

Helen Thomas takes the Democrats to task over their reticence to confront the president over Iraq. "President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy," Thomas writes in her Hearst Newspapers column. "These Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., today are filing their promised lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee, alleging infringement of voting rights by the DNC's threat to strip Florida of its convention delegates if the Sunshine State holds an early primary.

In the meantime, the "pledge" to avoid Florida actually means something, Beth Reinhard reports in the Miami Herald. "Barack Obama pulled his Florida political director out of the state," Reinhard reports. "Hillary Clinton nixed her brother's appearance at the Weston Democratic Club. John Edwards rebuffed a Fort Lauderdale banquet honoring gay Democratic activists."

And the calendar maneuverings aren't close to over. Here comes South Carolina: "S.C. Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Khare Fowler will ask the Democratic National Committee for permission to move the 2008 presidential primary up 10 days to Jan. 19 to coincide with the S.C. GOP primary," reports The State's Aaron Gould Sheinin. Says Fowler, "This is a South Carolina thing, not a Florida thing." Perhaps, but whatever it is, it's Howard Dean's headache.

The kicker:

"Democrats would raise taxes on people here in Massachusetts anywhere between $3,000 to $4,000 per person." -- Giuliani, campaigning yesterday in Salem, N.H., about four miles from the Massachusetts border.

"Can't get any more Hispanic than that." -- Former senator Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, boasting of the Central American origins of two of his aides. We know -- he has two aides?

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