THE NOTE: Ad Wars

Romney's new ad attacking Huckabee on crime is, shall we say, less Christian (and no, that is not a statement on Mormonism). "With Mr. Romney regularly attacking Mr. Huckabee on the campaign trail, singling him out in mailings and using recorded phone calls to challenge him, it is unclear at what point, especially with Christmas week fast approaching, he will have crossed the unspoken line and face a backlash from his efforts," Michael Luo writes in The New York Times.

Huck's high-road response: "I think at this time, despicable tactics are the only thing they have left in their arsenal," he said, per the Los Angeles Times' Phil Willon.

And Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, goes with Mitt Romn . . . wait, sorry -- it's Fred Thompson! Notwithstanding all those Romney staffers gathered in the back of the room, apparently expecting good news for their boss, King -- a self-styled kingmaker who sees immigration as the top issue -- crowned Thompson on Monday. "I won't rub it in -- I will just say this: This ain't the last surprise you're gonna get, folks," Thompson said, per ABC's Christine Byun.

Thompson is still eyeing a top-three finish in Iowa, Time's Jay Newton-Small writes. "Thompson firmly believes he can play well with Evangelicals, sapping votes from their current favorite, Huckabee. He has been on the attack -- trying to show holes in Huckabee's record both in press interviews and in a mailing that went out last week that accuses Huckabee of being weak on immigration."

If the Clintons are looking for some Magic -- as in Johnson -- she finds it on Tuesday, with the basketball great campaigning with both Bill and Hillary in Waterloo, Iowa.

On Tuesday, Obama is also in Iowa, while Edwards is in New Hampshire. Romney hits Georgia and the Carolinas, Huckabee's in Texas, Giuliani is down, and -- of course -- Thompson is in Iowa while McCain is in New Hampshire. Get the full schedule for the candidates and the spouses from The Note's Sneak Peek here.

Also in the news:

Jason Horowitz profiles the "Hillary haters" in the January issue of GQ (and Bill won't be on the cover of this one). Anti-Hillary forces "don't appear savvy or particularly well organized. And a movement based around cartoons that trot out stale liberal stereotypes hardly seems like the kind of grassroots juggernaut that could upend a front-running presidential candidate," he writes. "Then again, few people would have guessed in January 2004 that a group of deeply partisan veterans telling a dubious tale about John Kerry's military service would ultimately shape that year's election and enter the American political lexicon."

"Already there are dozens of Web sites -- Stop Hillary PAC, Gotta Stop Hillary, and The Hillary Project to name just a few -- devoted to Hillary's demise. No other candidate in history has ever inspired a similar cottage industry of anger -- Web sites, books, and movies, not to mention the Hillary Clinton Voodoo Kit ('Stick It to Her, Before She Sticks It to You!') or the articles explaining her occult connection ('Proof Positive That Hillary Clinton is an Illuminist Witch: Exposé of Hillary's Christmas Tree')."

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