SNEAK PEEK: It Happens

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It happens.

No, we're not talking about the Barack Obama perspective on Mitt Romney's Obama-Osama gaffe -- which, you will no doubt note, is far different than his campaign's perspective. LINK

Or the need for senators running for president to cancel some of their Wednesday events to be in D.C. for a close cloture vote on Judge Southwick (a 5th Circuit judicial nominee) and an 11:30 am-ish close cloture vote on the American Dream Act (a measure which would give the children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship).

We're talking about the second look that Fred Thompson may soon start getting from members of the media who pilloried his lazy-like-a-fox demeanor.

Thompson is earning that second look by laying out base-friendly policy details on immigration, stepping up to the plate on Social Security, and showing some passion when talking about the end-of-life decision he faced in his own family.

He also showed at Sunday's G.O.P. debate that his record on right-to-life issues gives him latitude to go after Rudy Giuliani on abortion.

To be sure, Thompson still faces considerable hurdles.

As Thompson adviser Rich Galen notes, before Thompson can present himself to G.O.P. voters as the Republican with whom they are most comfortable, he must first convince them that he: (1) can win the war on terror and (2) can beat Hillary Clinton -- two areas where Giuliani is perceived as strong.

He also has to contend with: (1) Giuliani preparing to step up his criticism of Thompson as "the biggest obstacle to tort reform in the United States Senate," (2) a potential attack from Romney for being open to cutting Social Security benefits for all seniors without regard to income, (3) the chance that Mike Huckabee catches Romney in Iowa and catapults himself into contention, (4) the continued difficulty to complete a sentence without coughing, and (5) the x-factor of whether or not there is enough room in the GOP contest for TWO candidates with a Jan. 29/Feb. 5 strategy.

As for Wednesday, in addition to the DREAM Act vote, the immigration issue will intrude on the Democratic race when Bill Richardson delivers a 4:30 pm ET policy address on Latin America at UCLA.

As he did at the Univision debate, Richardson plans to criticize Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden for voting to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

"They talk about change," Richardson plans to say according to excerpts given to ABC News. "But they voted for the most blatant example of old-style Washington solutions-- expensive, dumb, and entirely the product of political calculation."

As for President Bush, he makes 1:20 pm ET remarks on Cuba at the State Department. On Thursday, he heads to fire-ravaged California at the invitation of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

SENATE:

--11:30 am: Senate holds cloture vote on American Dream Act, Washington, D.C. --TBD: Senate holds cloture vote on Judge Southwick nomination for 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Washington, D.C.

As for the Democrats . . .

BILL RICHARDSON

--4:30 pm ET: Delivers Latin American policy speech at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA --Holds evening fundraiser, CA

HILLARY CLINTON

--Returns to Washington, D.C., for Senate votes --3:30 pm ET: Holds rally, Oskaloosa, IA (tent.) --6:30 pm ET: Delivers lecture to center for women and politics at Iowa State University, Ames, IA

BARACK OBAMA

--Returns to Washington, D.C., for Senate votes

JOHN EDWARDS

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