THE NOTE: Last GOP Debate Means Last Chances

" 'Here's the bottom line: They had not worked this state,' said Teresa Vilmain, the Iowa state director, who was brought in here in a quiet campaign shake-up that took place early last summer, when Mrs. Clinton first saw signs of problems here."

Howard Wolfson is set to join much of the rest of the senior staff in Des Moines, and while Hillary works the Des Moines Register for an endorsement, Bill's getting restless: "her aides described former President Bill Clinton as increasingly frustrated that his wife's campaign has not fought back even more forcefully against efforts by Mr. Obama and former Senator John Edwards to raise questions about Mrs. Clinton's character. They said that Mr. Clinton had warned for weeks that they were taking a toll on his wife's candidacy," Nagourney and Healy write.

Another Bill gem, quoted by the Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni: "I literally don't know a single Palestinian in America who is not a college professor or a millionaire." (Maybe you should get out more?)

Building on a cleanly executed oppo hit Tuesday, Clinton is trying to turn the campaign to questions of Obama's electability in advance of Thursday's Democratic debate in Iowa.

If Iowa doesn't work out -- get ready for Comeback Kid: The Sequel. "Clinton's Democratic team is preparing television ads [in New Hampshire] criticizing Barack Obama's health care plan and working to build what campaigns call a firewall," the AP's Beth Fouhy and Philip Elliott report. "The Clinton campaign ordered focus groups in New Hampshire last weekend to test television ads against Obama on his health care plan, which does not mandate universal coverage as Clinton's does."

Yet as firewalls go . . . it's best to avoid terms like "statistical tie." "According to the latest WMUR/CNN poll [in New Hampshire], Hillary Clinton's 20-point lead has vanished. She now has 31 percent support, with Barack Obama in a statistical tie at 30 percent. John Edwards is third with 16 percent, and Bill Richardson has slipped slightly to 7 percent."

ABC's Diane Sawyer scores the first post-rally interview with Oprah, who says she may hit the trail again for Obama, but isn't going to appear in campaign ads. "That's not the best use of my time and my service," Oprah said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday. "This past weekend was a really good use of my service."

On why she endorsed Obama: "It's not because of the color of his skin, it's because of what he represents. And I do think that he represents a sense of hope. He is a black man, and I'm very happy about that, but that is not the reason that I would be supporting him."

And Denzel Washington signs up: "I like Barack Obama."

Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh rounds up the endorsements (including Joe Biden's strong showing among Iowa lawmakers) and pronounces Oprah a winner for Obama: "Having walked the long line waiting to enter the Verizon Wireless Arena on that snowy evening, and having witnessed the tremendous excitement Winfrey and Obama created inside the hall, I think this is an endorsement we'll remember. With it, Obama has staked a powerful claim to final-month momentum."

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