THE NOTE: Oprah, Bill Face Off

Be still Dick Cheney's (irregular) heart (no, not literally).

Defrost the Bush-Gore relationship (thank global warming).

Have a president over for overnights (Bill Richardson wants to sleep here).

Bring peace to the Middle East (or maybe just don't make things any worse).

And forget the candidates -- let's just turn this race over to the surrogates.

It's Bill vs. Oprah -- no last names necessary -- in the battle for Iowa (and particularly its up-for-grabs female voters, who are split between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.).

Oprah fans have to wait another week-and-a-half for the Double-O Show, but Bill's back on the trail for his wife in Iowa on Tuesday.

(In the meantime, we can only wonder about the counter-programming scheming covered by the Clinton troika of Patti Solis Doyle, Terry McAuliffe, and Mike Henry Monday night at BLT Steak in Washington -- with celebrity drop-bys courtesy of Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont.)

Back to Bill v. Oprah: "Both are legendary communicators, perhaps the two greatest in their generation," writes The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut.

"Both helped build an ethic of empathy, turning the public confession into a rite of passage. Both are world-renowned -- one for being a former president, the other for a TV show usually identified just by her first name."

"Clinton has put gender at the center of her candidacy and almost always surrounds herself with women, both prominent and not, on the campaign trail," Kornblut continues. "That is in keeping with the Clinton campaign's view that it will perform well if it can turn out people, particularly women, who did not participate last time or who have never participated."

The Des Moines Register's David Yepsen sees all the Democrats trying to reach out to women caucus-goers.

"They're providing everything from big-name celebrities to computer Web sites to recipes for chicken-noodle casseroles to help do it," Yepsen writes.

But count him as a skeptic: "At some point, the campaigns are going to rediscover the value of old-fashioned, shoe-leather campaigning. Forget this high-tech stuff. Some of the out-of-state groups rolling into Iowa to help their candidates need to get their hands dirty."

Clinton gets a New Hampshire boost from the Granite State's first lady: Dr. Susan Lynch, a pediatrician (and the closest thing to a gubernatorial endorsement in the state, since Gov. John Lynch, D-N.H., is staying neutral).

"As first lady, pediatrician and most importantly a mother, I do not take my endorsement lightheartedly," Dr. Lynch said, per the Concord Monitor's Sarah Leibowitz.

They may or may not be Oprah fans, but Clinton sees a built-in advantage among older women, Patrick Healy writes in The New York Times.

"Elderly women who turn out for Clinton campaign events have become welcome set pieces, visibly demonstrating the candidate's effort to highlight her sex and her overtures to female voters, whom the campaign is counting on to propel her to the Democratic presidential nomination," Healy writes. Clinton "has shown particular pride in the women in their 70s, 80s and 90s at her events. She spends extra time with them on the rope line and repeats their stories to audiences."

But don't forget -- presidents are plentiful -- we're on No. 43 already. There's only one Oprah.

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