And Romney's got a new ad up in Iowa where he outlines his commitment to defeating "this century's nightmare, Jihadism -- violent, radical Islamic fundamentalism." Says Romney, "As President, I'll strengthen our intelligence services, increase our military by at least 100,000, and monitor the calls Al-Qaeda makes into America. And we can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."
Back in the land of the Democrats, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., sure wants us to believe that there are huge differences between him and Clinton. But maybe they aren't so different after all: Clinton criticized Obama as "naïve" for saying he'd meet with the president of Iran without preconditions, but AP's Holly Ramer has her endorsing a (very) roughly similar approach on the stump in New Hampshire: "I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works."
That's not quite what Obama said -- he'd meet personally with leaders of rogue nations in his first year as president -- but the AP write-up blurs that distinction. Obama plans to address what his campaign is labeling the "newfound Clinton position" on Iran in his 11:30 am ET speech today at Drake University in Des Moines.
Then there are earmarks: Obama's got his $2 million for brain trauma research at the University of Chicago -- where his wife was a vice president -- while Clinton's got her $3 million for alternative-fuel development at General Motors -- "whose lobbyists include one of her biggest fundraisers" -- per The Washington Post's John Solomon and Matthew Mosk.
Obama releases his requests publicly, which makes for handy-dandy lists like this one, from $3 million for the Adler Planetarium to $500,000 for the Carpentersville Community Response Team.
Obama is growing sharper in his criticism of Clinton, as he enters what he's calling the "next phase" of his presidential campaign, per the Chicago Tribune's John McCormick. "It may be bye-bye Mr. Nice Guy," McCormick writes. Obama on CNN: "Now is the time where we're going to be laying a very clear contrast between myself and Sen. Clinton."
That contrast is focusing on the Iran resolution. Per the New York Daily News' Michael Saul, "Triggering rapid-fire shots at Clinton - with a newspaper column, a Web ad and a national TV interview -- Obama launched a new phase of combat in his fight to erase Clinton's poll lead." "Zinged" the Clinton camp: "It's unfortunate that Sen. Obama is abandoning the politics of hope and embracing the same old attack politics as his support stagnates."
Clinton herself, last night on MSNBC: "I think people have either misunderstood or decided to misrepresent the meaning of that vote."
Obama's speech this morning, in Des Moines, will (again) mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war resolution. And how much does the Obama camp want to return to 2002? So much so that Obama has recorded a new version of the speech (the campaign only had a measly 14 seconds of the old one to work with) for use in the campaign's new online ad, Jim Rutenberg reports in The New York Times. Said Obama spokesman Bill Burton: "The last time Barack recorded an audio version of his written words he won a Grammy, so he thought he'd give it another shot."