THE NOTE: Colbert Seeking Votes, Laughs

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Giuliani is being endorsed by a real Republican governor this morning: Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, who assumed the governor's office when George W. Bush became president. "He brings added cachet as a Southerner and a social conservative, although he is not uniformly well-regarded by conservative elites in Washington," The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reports. "He may -- or may not be -- a vice presidential prospect. He is in the party's center on immigration, and has clashed, at times, with various wings of the Texas Republican Party."

Why should all Republicans be worried? Here's another reason (not related to Sen. Larry Craig): "More than a third of the top fundraisers who helped elect George W. Bush president remain on the sidelines in 2008, contributing to a gaping financial disparity between the GOP candidates and their Democratic counterparts," Chris Cillizza and Matthew Mosk write in The Washington Post. "A sizable number still have a wait-and-see attitude, despite the fact that the field appears to be set after the late entry of Thompson and the decision by former House speaker Newt Gingrich to stay out."

There is much to parse in this astounding sentence: "Hillary Clinton raised more money on Wall Street last quarter than Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney combined," Bloomberg News' Kristin Jensen and Julianna Goldman report.

That's part of why the RNC would rather not have upset the big donors who shelled out between $1,000 and $15,000 in the hopes of seeing their top presidential candidates speak. All but Romney backed out at the last minute, per ABC's Christine Byun and Bret Hovell.

AP's Liz Sidoti reports that the RNC's media advisory "indicated that Romney, McCain, Thompson and Paul were scheduled to give public remarks at the annual dinner. Giuliani had been listed in an earlier advisory but his name was stripped from the final version when aides notified the RNC of a scheduling conflict. Still, Giuliani was to be in Washington on Wednesday morning to speak to the anti-tax Club for Growth. Thompson, who lives in suburban McLean, Va., also was scheduled to speak to that group."

Massachusetts voters yesterday chose another Democrat to represent them in Congress: Niki Tsongas, the widow of the late senator Paul Tsongas, D-Mass., defeated James Ogonowski, the brother of one of the hijacked 9/11 planes, in the race to replace Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass. "It was the closest race in the district since Democrat Chester Atkins beat Republican John McGovern of Harvard in 1990," the Lowell Sun reports, with Tsongas winning with a 51-45 margin.

A loss is a loss, but Republicans had little real chance at a pick-up in Massachusetts, so they're happy just to have come close. "Ogonowski drew a blueprint for the party's Congressional candidates to follow next year, as he sought to tie Tsongas to the Washington status quo," writes Reid Wilson of Real Clear Politics. Said one "GOP strategist": "Now every Republican challenger can go out there and just point his finger at Washington and say, 'That place sucks. That is not what you and I are about.' "

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