THE NOTE: Rudy and Mitt's Nasty Fight

Look for this story to make its way onto the trail this week. "On the campaign trail, Rudy Giuliani rails against congressional spending set aside for lawmakers' pet projects. In Washington, his law firm fights to obtain them," Bloomberg's Jonathan D. Salant writes. Just a few weeks ago, "Bracewell & Giuliani LLP won $3 million worth of projects for its clients in defense-spending legislation. . . . While the firm's earmarks account for only a small fraction of the defense bill's $7.9 billion in such projects, they show that Giuliani's business interests continue to collide with his campaign rhetoric."

Romney probably caught something of a break with the Judge Tuttman story breaking over Thanksgiving. But American Spectator blogger Jennifer Rubin still sees him with a "Willie Horton-like problem," even after Romney's call for the judge to resign. "Rather than apologize for appointing a judge who let out someone to murder again he says he really wasn't responsible for the judicial appointment and calls for the judge to resign," Rubin writes. "Does this sound like the 'not responsible' for the 'independent Connector Authority' that included abortions in the Commonwealth healthcare plan? Or his recent comment that he's not responsible for the fines on Massachusetts residents for failing to abide by the individual health insurance mandate?"

The New York Sun's Josh Gerstein takes a deep look at Clinton's 1971 clerkship "at one of America's most radical law firms, Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein." Plenty of nuggets that will find their way into general-election attacks, should she get that far. "To this day, Mrs. Clinton's decision to work at the unabashedly left-wing firm is surprising, even shocking, to some of her former colleagues there and to those supporting her bid for the presidency," Gerstein writes. "To the former first lady's enemies and political opponents, her summer at the Treuhaft firm is yet another indication that radical ideology lurks beneath the patina of moderation she has adopted in public life."

The Concord Monitor's Melanie Asmar has one secret to Huckabee's success: The television show he hosted as a pastor, which covered Little League scores and city events as well as religious issues. "But the same skills that made him memorable in the pulpit helped him succeed in politics: He could deliver a heavy moral message in such a light, folksy way that you didn't even notice the proselytizing. He remembered everyone's name. And he had a way of winning support for his good ideas by making the deacons think the ideas were their own," Asmar writes.

And Robert Novak reveals several (not-so) secrets that could stop Huckabee in his tracks: "Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know he is a high-tax, protectionist, big-government advocate of a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans," Novak writes in his Chicago Sun-Times column. "Huckabee is getting enough favorable buzz that, when combined with his evangelical base, it makes real conservatives shudder."

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