Why does Clinton come off as cautious and calculating? It's "passion," she tells the AP's Mike Glover (sounding like a job interviewer explaining how her biggest fault is actually a not-so-secret asset). "I see it as harnessing my passion to actually get results and make a difference in people's lives," Clinton said. On her campaign's coaching of questioners: "I think in campaigns things happen and you just go on."
Also on Monday, Clinton called for a "timeout" on new trade agreements if she's elected president -- but her rivals are pointing out that she's letting the clock run down (by supporting the Peru free-trade deal) while in the Senate. Don't miss this sharp retort from the Dodd campaign: "On Saturday, at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Senator Clinton said she stands now where she's always stood. Today she confirmed it: on both sides of every issue."
Back in Republican land, the Giuliani camp chose an early moment to start playing the delegate-math game in public. With Romney leading in Iowa and New Hampshire, Giuliani advisers on Monday detailed a strategy that they said would leave with a "triple-digit" delegate lead in the wake of the Feb. 5 primaries, per ABC's Teddy Davis and Jacqueline Klingebiel. "We are the only candidate on Feb. 5th who has, right now, a large number of delegates that we essentially can count on," said Mike DuHaime, Giuliani's campaign manager."
They're right about his strength in the big winner-take-all states, but Rudy hasn't yet been subjected to the inevitable attacks, Gerald F. Seib writes in his Wall Street Journal column. "Though the Giuliani and Clinton leads in national polls appear similar, Mr. Giuliani's grip on his party's nominating process is, in fact, less solid, and the tests he is likely to face are more severe," Seib writes. "The base of the party remains Southerners and social conservatives, the same constituencies with which Mr. Giuliani has the most trouble. . . . In addition, Mr. Giuliani hasn't faced real attacks from within his party yet, but they are coming."
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden: "Mayor Giuliani's "momentum-proof" national polling lead, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all walk into a bar… You're right. None of them exist."
Poor John McCain. How's this for a statement on his luck: Someone is spending millions on his behalf -- making him look like an American hero -- and he has to politely (actually, forcefully) decline. "Anyone who believes they could assist my campaign by exploiting a loophole in campaign finance laws is doing me and our country a disservice," McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement Monday, per ABC's Bret Hovell.
McCain is up with a new ad in New Hampshire, taking aim at pork-barrel spending (and bringing back the Woodstock museum, as well as old stock footage with a young McCain walking with Ronald Reagan).
But Tancredo takes the prize for scariest ad of the cycle (and it's going to hard to match him, at least as long as "24" is waylaid by the writers' strike). In the ad, a featureless actor in a hooded sweatshirt leaves a backpack bomb in a shopping mall, ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports. "The price we pay for spineless politicians who refuse to defend our borders against those who come to kill," intones the narrator. Then there is an explosion, and the screen cuts to black-and-white lettering: "Tancredo. Before it's too late." Yowsers.
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