SNEAK PEEK: 'Kerry'd Away'

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5 days until the Michigan primary

9 days until the Nevada caucuses

As Republican '08ers prepare for their 9:00 pm ET Fox News debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., consider the ways in which the Mac is Back:

1. A new Fox News poll of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina shows McCain doing better in the state than he had previously and Mike Huckabee doing less well (the poll shows them even among evangelicals). (The poll was conducted Jan. 9 and is the first reasonably sound poll conducted in the state since Dec. 17).

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Fox, 1/9/08, 500 LVs

McCain       25  

Huckabee     18

Romney       17

Thompson     9

Giuliani     5

Paul         5

Hunter       1

No opinion     19

2. McCain's once cash-strapped campaign is now raising money at a faster clip, according to campaign manager Rick Davis. As The Washington Post's Dan Balz reported, McCain is now unlikely to accept federal matching funds. If he had been forced to accept matching funds while running against a Democratic nominee operating outside of the system, it would have hobbled the Arizona senator through the spring and summer.

3. While McCain was the Republican who came under fire in South Carolina in 2000, this time Huckabee might be in for equally rough treatment: The Wall Street Journal's Susan Davis reports that an anti-Huckabee group is going on the attack during Thursday's Fox News debate. The group, Victims Voice, features Lois Davidson, the mother of Carol Sue Shields, who was raped and murdered by Wayne Dumond, who was granted parole by Huckabee when he served as governor. "If not for Mike Huckabee, Wayne Dumond would be in prison and Carol Sue would be with us," her mother says in the ad. Watch the ad here.

4. After months of neglect from the DNC, McCain is the subject of a research memorandum which portrays him as "Bush 2.0." Dr. Dean's team is also raising money off of his caught-on-tape willingness to keep U.S. troops in (a stable) Iraq for a hundred years (or longer).

Once the GOP debate gets underway, you can follow the live blogging of ABC's Rick Klein here:

As for the Democrats, no "This Week" viewer should have been surprised by John Kerry's decision to back Barack Obama following his win in the Iowa caucuses.

Endorsing Obama is chance for Kerry to claim that his '04 campaign spawned a political legacy.

It was at Kerry's '04 convention, after all, that Obama was introduced to a national audience.

In an October 2006 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Kerry patted himself on the back for picking Obama as the 2004 keynote speaker and said that his confidence in the Illinois Democrat had "been obviously ratified."

"The bottom line is, I think he's a very interesting and very powerful communicator with a great deal of skill," said Kerry when asked if Obama was ready to be president. "I wouldn't have picked him if he didn't. And I'm really pleased to see the way in which the country is ratifying my judgment on that."

The kicker: "When it comes to making the case against Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama comes across as a vitamin-starved Adlai Stevenson."

--Karl Rove on Barack Obama in The Wall Street Journal

On the campaign trail…

JOHN MCCAIN

-- Meets with voters and holds media availability, Pawleys Island, SC

-- Meets with voters and holds media availability, Mount Pleasant, SC

-- Meets with voters at event, Summerville, SC

SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK (campaigning for McCain)

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