THE NOTE: Trading Places

Somebody explain why the Giuliani campaign didn't want this out there many, many months ago: "Rudy Giuliani is no longer chairman and chief executive of Giuliani Partners LLC, the consulting firm he founded five years ago after leaving the New York mayor's office," Mary Jacoby writes in The Wall Street Journal. "The firm's new chairman, Peter J. Powers, said in an interview yesterday that the Republican presidential candidate stepped down from his management roles in the spring, shortly after launching his campaign. But there was never any formal announcement of the change."

McCain let himself play the "what-if" game at Monday evening's MTV-MySpace.com forum.

"Were John McCain President over the last seven years, Donald Rumsfeld wouldn't have had the President's ear, federal spending wouldn't have mushroomed, and China would be shamed for not doing enough to stop genocide, the Arizona senator said last night," Mark Hayward writes in the Manchester Union Leader.

The Chicago Tribune's Jim Tankersley profiles Edwards. "The man America met as a Southerntwanged, hope-is-on-the-way, sunny son of a mill worker emerged in the Lower 9th Ward grimmer, better traveled and quicker to attack, his policies more ambitious, detailed and liberal," Tankersley writes. "The tone and manner were as if Edwards' persona had been transformed, or at least as if Edwards listened to different people now. Was that true? 'Yeah,' he says. 'I listen to me.' "

And on the question of authenticity: "If I were choosing a president and I wasn't running . . . I would be looking -- absolutely require -- that the person I vote for be honest and sincere," Edwards said. "I'm perfectly happy to answer that question in front of America and let them judge me. . . . Am I phony or not? I think they'll say that I'm not."

There would be at least one Republican in Edwards' hypothetical Cabinet -- just like there would be in Gov. Bill Richardon's, per the Des Moines Register's Tony Leys.

And forget the $400 haircut: Elizabeth Edwards spent $500 at a New Hampshire hair stylist -- as part of a fundraiser for autism research. (Everyone appreciates a sense of humor.)

Clinton is a liberal group's target in a new ad slated to run in Iowa (though we're not convinced that any actual caucus-goers will ever see it).

"The group, Democratic Courage, has accused Clinton of making policy decisions on the basis of polls, not convictions," per the AP's write-up. "Glenn Hurowitz, the group's president, described the spot as a modest buy that would run on cable only, meaning it won't be seen as much as ads by Clinton and rival Barack Obama, who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads in the state."

The National Intelligence Estimate's findings on Iran became immediate campaign fodder. "The campaigns of the leading Democratic candidates seized Monday on an intelligence report showing that Iran halted its development of nuclear weapons, saying the findings justified their more cautious approach to Tehran," Marc Santora writes in The New York Times.

It was enough to get Rudy to stop rattling his saber, at least for a day: "Sanctions and other pressures must be continued and stepped up until Iran complies by halting enrichment activities in a verifiable way," Giuliani said.

Yes, Virginia, there is still a president -- and he's planning a news conference at 10 am Tuesday at the White House.

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