THE NOTE: Fred in the Fray


Is Giuliani serious about Iowa? "For skeptics, there's plenty of evidence that the answer is no," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports. "Giuliani's entire strategy, as made plain by candidate and campaign alike, is based on performing well in the large states that will hold their primaries after the traditional early contests." He adds this intriguing (and obfuscating) detail: "Asked about how many more visits Giuliani would make in the 78 days before the caucuses, a senior campaign aide said it would be 'more than in the last six weeks but perhaps still fewer than other candidates.' "

Rudy does have a new cut on his electability argument. "If we're not careful -- if you don't elect me -- this country could be to the left of France," he said yesterday, Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson reports. (Bad marital news today for Rudy's friend Nicolas Sarkozy -- but Giuliani can probably recommend a divorce attorney or two.)

Romney, as the latest candidate to visit Clinton, Iowa, isn't a fan of the French much, either: "She couldn't get elected president of France, let alone president of the United States," he said yesterday, per the Des Moines Register's Grant Schulte.

The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins has a major look at "bundling" in the 2008 race, beyond the Norman Hsu scandal. "The number of bundlers working for presidential campaigns has nearly doubled since the last election, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from campaigns and watchdog groups," Mullins writes. "The volume of cash they funnel to individual campaigns, as a percentage of all money raised, has soared as well. Bundled donations account for more than one-quarter of presidential campaign contributions this year, up from 8% in the 2000 race."

HuffingtonPost's Tom Edsall reports on another source of GOP money woes: "The defense industry this year abandoned its decade-long commitment to the Republican Party, funneling the lion share of its contributions to Democratic presidential candidates, especially to Hillary Clinton who far out-paced all her competitors," he writes. "An examination of contributions of $500 or more, using the Huffington Post's Fundrace website, shows that employees of the top five arms makers - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics -- gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to Republicans."

Check out these big spenders: Clinton spent $11.88 on iTunes last quarter. "That's one way to get a copy of Celine Dion's 'You and I,' which won out as the former first lady's campaign theme song earlier this year," ABC's Jennifer Parker and Nitya Venkataraman write. "Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., the feisty defender of the Constitution who raked in over $5 million in summertime donations, spent $7.60 at the International House of Pancakes. And, ever blazing a new age path, Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Ill., campaign paid out $20 to Blue Turtle Yoga in Charleston, South Carolina."

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