THE NOTE: Rudy Set for Conservative Slam


Now that Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is here to stay, what next for the libertarian/constitutionalist/gynecologist? Per ABC's Z. Byron Wolf, Paul "faces a philosophical contradiction: Is he the principled agent provocateur, known as 'Dr. No' on Capitol Hill, trying to bring about a grass-roots anti-big-government uprising in American politics? Or is Paul a Republican presidential candidate with a libertarian bent, seeking big money contributions to fund a traditional campaign? More important for Paul, can he be both?"

How did Paul raise $5.3 million last quarter? His contributors include a wizard, a circus clown, and a street performer. "Paul has seemingly tapped into an affluent segment of fantastical occupation holders," per the Center for Responsive Politics' write-up. "The wizard gave him $500, and $2,300 checks -- the maximum allowed for the primary -- came from both the self-described clown and someone who toils as a 'human.' "

Michael Mukasey's glide path toward confirmation as attorney general is taking a tortuous route through torture. Mukasey "declined Thursday to say if he considered harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which simulates drowning, to constitute torture or to be illegal if used on terrorism suspects," Philip Shenon writes in The New York Times.

If Al Gore can't be drafted into the race, some of his supporters are intent on writing his name in, in New Hampshire. "Farrell Seiler of Hanover, the head of the Draft Gore, New Hampshire! campaign, said he was holding a series of meetings across the state to discuss his plan, especially given the fact that Gore was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to raise awareness of global warming," John P. Gregg writes in the Concord Monitor.

What ever happened to the Nevada caucuses that were supposed to matter so much? Jon Ralston, in the Las Vegas Sun: "I knew The Little Caucus That Could was getting the Rodney Dangerfield treatment back East. But what's worse than that? How about being Claude Rains -- and I don't mean 'Casablanca,' I mean 'The Invisible Man.' "

Louisiana elects a new governor tomorrow, and the favorite in the first post-Katrina race is Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., who may even avoid a run-off by cracking 50 percent. Jindal, 36, is a Rhodes Scholar who would become the first Indian-American governor in the United States. Reid Wilson of Real Clear Politics previews the race.

With Republicans descending on Florida this weekend for the state GOP convention and a Sunday debate, Florida Democrats are having some fun. Three words: Draft Katherine Harris.

The kicker:

"I'm part of the hippie generation." -- Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., railing against the earmark for the Woodstock museum.

"This is a very sad day for anyone who is a Yankee fan." -- Giuliani, on Torre, inviting dissenting opinions.

Wondering why Brownback is dropping out? This picture has the answer.

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Interns for the ABC News Political Unit:

The ABC News Political Unit is now seeking three full-time spring interns in Washington, D.C.

The internship begins Monday, Dec. 31, and runs through Friday, May 25.

Not only do Political Unit interns attend political events and write for the politics page of, they also help us by conducting research, maintaining contact lists, and building the next day's political schedule.

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