THE NOTE: New Realities

In the grand tradition of choose your own adventure, it's create-your-own-reality time on the trail (and not just when candidates find ways to ask themselves friendly questions):

Former senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., is trying to make a lobbying group's word worth 10,000 handshakes.

Former president Bill Clinton wants boys to be boys (as long as they don't beat the girls).

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., wants to dictate his own turning-point moments.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., wants a world where her sealed documents don't matter, but Obama's do (and where her Facebook friends are voters, but his aren't).

Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, R-N.Y., wants new math where losing Iowa and New Hampshire won't matter (not that he'd mind winning one or the other).

Former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., wants the campaign to follow the rules of the corporate boardroom.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., wants us scared out of our wits (or just scared enough to vote for him).

Former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., wants to avoid a Question All Candidates Must Answer (and the countdown is on to see how long he holds out).

Surely Edwards knows the drill: You hem and haw and say you expect to win yourself, but yes, of course you will support the Democratic nominee for president. But Edwards wouldn't go there when asked whether he'd support Clinton if she wins the nomination: "I'm not willing to talk about that at this point," Edwards told The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny.

So Edwards (and the other Democrats) will be talking about that on Tuesday, while the Republicans will be talking about a rare piece of welcome news for Thompson. Lagging in the polls and disappointing on the trail, Thompson will be able to boast of a stamp of approval from the National Right to Life Committee.

Thompson came into the race expecting social conservatives to fall into line and has instead seen that happen -- for other campaigns. The new endorsement is "a boost in his efforts to court conservative voters," The New York Times' Marc Santora reports. "The group spurned Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, who had sought its support by promoting their anti-abortion stances. The endorsement reflects the allowances many prominent conservative groups are making for candidates who do not fully embrace conservative orthodoxy."

Doesn't he sound elated? "I just think that it would mean that those who look at these matters the most and consider them the most carefully know my record and know me and would be supportive of me," Thompson tells Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson.

Doesn't he sound engaged? "I don't think the poll numbers are low. I think that we're doing fine," he said, per the Des Moines Register's Jonathan Roos.

Doesn't he sound humble? "Not to brag, but I'm the only so-called front tier runner nationwide here that's never lost an election and I don't intend to lose this one either!" he said, per ABC's Christine Byun.

Doesn't he sound like he really, really wants the job? "If the answer is no, so be it," he said, USA Today's Jill Lawrence reports.

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