THE NOTE: New Realities

Tuesday's endorsements seems to come perhaps 100 days late and $10 million short for Thompson. His campaign remains in desperate search of order, and The Washington Post's Michael Shear profiles the man in charge of making that happen (mostly unsuccessfully): Ken Rietz. "Eight months later, the team that Rietz helped assemble is largely gone. Thompson has had to reinvent his campaign repeatedly, and even his allies have questioned the way it has been run," Shear writes (in a piece that may go down as the first full-scale campaign obit of the cycle).

"What began as a lean, bold, insurgent-style political effort -- conceived by Rietz and the handful of people in what the campaign calls 'The House' -- has morphed into a traditional, big-budget campaign that has so far failed to live up to the hype Rietz helped create last spring," Shear continues. Rietz himself provides a comment that speaks to the campaign's many, many problems: "We talked about the announcement for 30, 40 days." (And don't miss Jeri Thompson micromanaging the ordering of campaign hats.)

Among the Democrats, count another instance of Bill Clinton getting his wife's campaign off message. His remark Monday that Sen. Clinton can handle the criticism from her presidential rivals even though "those boys have been getting tough on her lately" revived talk of the gender card, just as the Clinton campaign realized the strategy was getting them nowhere.

"Clinton advisers said it was simply Southern vernacular from an Arkansas native," The New York Times' Patrick Healy writes. (So you can take the boy of Little Rock -- but eight years in the White House and 15 years in national politics don't teach you that folksy phrases are dissected for subtexts?)

What did the Clinton camp do to prompt an "Official Petition Against Hillary Clinton" on Facebook.com? Only insult Facebook membership writ large.

This passage from Roger Simon's weekend Politico column from the Jefferson Jackson Dinner provides the context: "At least two of Hillary Clinton's upper-echelon advisers, Mandy Grunwald and Mark Penn, were decidedly unimpressed [with Obama's showing]. 'Our people look like caucus-goers,' Grunwald said, 'and his people look like they are 18. Penn said they look like Facebook.' Penn added, 'Only a few of their people look like they could vote in any state.' "

We get the point -- caucus-goers are substantially more likely to have AARP cards than zombie applications -- but why disparage a cohort your campaign is trying to attract? "Good strategy: A week after finally setting up your campaign's organization to attract young people, tell them they won't vote anyway so their presence is irrelevant," Peter Erickson writes at TechPresident.com. "You can either dispute the idea that Obama has broad support among young people, or you can reinforce and disparage it, but either way you might want to make up your mind first before opening your mouth."

Obama's campaign on Monday tried to create a post-J-J bump with a David Plouffe memo, saying that the campaign "sparked new momentum on the ground in Iowa." And now his wife is offering some additional commentary: "Black America will wake up and get it," Michelle Obama says in a TV interview set to air today, per Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times.

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