THE NOTE: Oprah, Bill Face Off

Lott is "the latest in a string of prominent Republican lawmakers to leave Congress," ABC's Z. Byron Wolf writes. And sing a final tune: "When Lott resigns from the Senate this year and when Sen. Larry Craig opts against running for reelection next year, it will be the death knell of the barbershop quartet known as the Singing Senators."

And brace for the leadership battle: "Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl appears all but certain to get the whip post now held by Mr. Lott and would bring a more confrontational style to the No. 2 leadership job," The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers writes.

"Skirmishes were already taking shape yesterday between younger Senate conservatives and the Republicans' increasingly isolated moderate wing, which is trying to hold onto a place in the party leadership."

Also in the news:

Mideast peace talks start Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., and in advance Bush administration "aides played down expectations for an immediate breakthrough, while Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, made clear that it expects an aggressive administration attempt to broker a final deal," The Washington Post's Michael Abramowitz and Glenn Kessler write.

"Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were already having trouble agreeing on a document that would outline the parameters of negotiations -- one sign of the huge obstacles awaiting the two sides when they sit down to bargain over such thorny issues as the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees."

Bush is tempering expectations in his introductory address Tuesday morning. "Achieving this goal will not be easy -- if it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago," he plans to say, per excerpts released by the White House. "Our purpose here in Annapolis is not to conclude an agreement. Rather, it is to launch negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., talks faith with the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody. "Like a lot of people, my faith came roaring back when I needed it the most, when tragedies began to strike," Edwards said. And this response, on whether he believes Sen. Clinton "can be trusted": "I believe I can, and I'm going to let the American people make their own judgment about her."

And where does this fit into the Democratic battle for black voters? Jesse Jackson uses a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed to chide the Democrats -- including Clinton and Obama, though not by name.

"The Democratic candidates -- with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign -- have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country," Jackson writes.

"The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention. No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, La., not one candidate showed up."

For a window into how and why the Clinton campaign operates, the Los Angeles Times' Stephen Braun profiles the hyper-organized, always prepared Clinton of the first lady years.

"Clinton's all-access pass into the West Wing gave her an intimate education in presidential decision-making that none of her opponents can claim. She observed at close range how big government works, and she learned painfully from her missteps how easily it bogs down," Braun writes.

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