THE NOTE: Countdown to Iowa

And without naming names, Obama said some 'in other quarters' were pushing the argument that the United States wasn't ready to elect a black president." And this from Edwards: "The glitz associated with a couple of the Democratic candidates . . . has waned considerably as we get to a serious judgment about who should be president."

It's not clear who's getting through with what, with bowl games to watch and champagne bottles to pop and snow to shovel.

"The rhetoric fueling the unsettled Republican and Democratic campaigns intensified as candidates spread out across Iowa to close the final weekend before Thursday night's caucuses, bolstered by an unrelenting stream of TV ads from campaigns and independent groups," Rick Pearson and John Chase write in the Chicago Tribune.

"The candidates vowed no holiday letup as they scheduled special events to mark the ringing in of the 2008 presidential election year."

Your bottom line three days out: Anyone who says they know what's going to happen in Iowa is lying.

The Republican race in Iowa is a two-way fight -- and we do mean fight. "On Sunday talk shows and in new TV ads, the White House hopefuls escalated their rhetoric in the wide-open contest for the GOP nomination," David Jackson writes in USA Today.

The three-sentence roundup: "Mike Huckabee accused Mitt Romney of running a 'dishonest' campaign, while Romney's campaign responded that it was only pointing out the 'wrong policies' of the former Arkansas governor.

In New Hampshire, where people vote five days after Iowans, John McCain unleashed a new TV ad hitting Romney on immigration. Fred Thompson, meanwhile, criticized Huckabee and McCain during his turn on national television."

Yet this is where the fight may really matter: "Republican rivals Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney took their battle over Christian voters to the pews as both attended services while their campaigns spanned Iowa in a final Sunday pitch to evangelicals," Perry Bacon Jr. and Michael Shear write in The Washington Post.

With some evidence that Romney attack ads are working, Huckabee is set to push back on the airwaves: "Adviser Ed Rollins said Huckabee would spend part of the day taping a television ad, to run Monday, aimed at making sure that 'the voters know the facts about the governor's record and Governor Romney's record,' " Shear and Bacon write.

(That's the big news Huckabee is unveiling at a noon CT press conference at the downtown Marriott in Des Moines -- a location that's guaranteed to draw maybe a few members of the national press corps.)

Huck hits the "Tonight Show" Wednesday night -- caucus eve, and on Leno's first show back since the writers' strike.

In this Festivus season, Huckabee staffers have as sharp a sense of humor as their candidate. Per ABC's Jake Tapper, "Huckabee's campaign said that the Romney standard for truth-telling is comparable to [George] Costanza's memorable advice that closes this scene, from the February 9, 1995 episode: "Jerry, just remember. It's not a lie . . . if you believe it."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is getting more aggressive with Romney in New Hampshire. He responds to Romney's ads in devastating style: Speaking directly to camera, per ABC's Bret Hovell. "You know I find it ironic Mitt Romney would attack me on the issue of immigration," McCain says in his new ad, which debuted on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

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