THE NOTE: How the Huck's Stealing Iowa

If we knew the answers to these 10 questions, we'd feel comfortable making bold predictions about the most wide-open nominating contests any of us are likely to ever witness:

1. Has Mike Huckabee peaked? (And does Mitt Romney have the Christmas spirit to take him down a few more pegs?)

2. Does Barack Obama have any tricks left to ensure that he hasn't peaked yet? (And will Bill Clinton help him or hurt him?)

3. Will the three biggest Democratic endorsements still out there -- Al Gore, Sen. John Kerry, and Sen. Ted Kennedy -- choose sides before Iowa? (Or will certain members of that Big Three wait for the field to thin out a bit first?)

4. Will more than three Democratic candidates emerge intact out of Iowa? (Will more than two? Or one?)

5 .Who's more likely to survive into the second weekend in January -- Fred Thompson or John McCain?


6. Whose Christmas ad will come across as least annoying? (And will any voter take away anything meaningful from any ad after Friday?)

7. Will Tom Tancredo be the last candidate to drop out before Iowa? (And who's going to blow things up on television now?)

8. Will Rudolph Giuliani quickly recover from his "flu-like symptoms"? (And is that the biggest ailment facing his campaign?)

9. Will conservative powers-that-be rally to make Mike Huckabee into the next Howard Dean? (And who will they coalesce around if that happens?)

10. Who will have more 11th-hour oppo-research dumped on them -- Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama? (And when does/should the moratorium on hit-jobs kick in?)

You know we're getting close with both top Democratic contenders have potentially damaging New York Times stories to contend with, as they do on Thursday.

Finally, The List (and Camp Clinton is perhaps most relieved to see this story finally hit): The New York Times compiles the most comprehensive account to date of the donors to the Clinton Library.

The big picture: "An examination of the foundation demonstrates how its fund-raising has at times fostered the potential for conflict," Don Van Natta Jr., Jo Becker, and Mike McIntire write.

"The examination found that while some $1 million contributors were longtime Clinton friends, others were seeking policy changes from the administration. Two pledged $1 million each while they or their companies were under investigation by the Justice Department," they continue.

And the big fish: "The $31.3 million donation, which was previously undisclosed, came from the Radcliffe Foundation run by Frank Giustra, a Canadian who has made millions financing mining deals around the world. Mr. Giustra has become a member of Mr. Clinton's inner circle, joining him on global trips and lending him the use of his private MD-87 jet."

Obama, D-Ill., is also playing some defense, with The New York Times' Raymond Hernandez and Christopher Drew accusing him of being, well -- cautious.

"An examination of Illinois records shows at least 36 times when Mr. Obama was either the only state senator to vote present or was part of a group of six or fewer to vote that way," they write.

Their tally includes a bill that would have had more juveniles be tried as adults, where both a "yes" and a "no" carried political consequences.

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