5 days until the South Carolina primary (Democrats)
8 days until the Florida primary
For once, Rudy Giuliani was not the only one gaming out the Sunshine State: on Monday, the Clinton campaign seized on Barack Obama's decision to launch a 50-state national cable buy as evidence that the freshman senator has broken his pledge not to campaign in Florida, a state which flouted Democratic Party rules by scheduling its primary before Feb. 5.
"In the heartland, words matter, promises matter, pledges matter," said former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Clinton supporter, on a conference call with reporters. Before penetrating a substantial number of Florida homes with its paid message, the Obama campaign consulted with the chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Carol Fowler told the Obama camp "unequivocally" that she "did not consider" a national cable buy to be in violation of the pledge made to the early states of South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Iowa.
On a conference call that was chock full of Florida reporters, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe accused the Clinton campaign of "looking for some time now to try to find a way to break their word."
"To ascribe any kind of import to [Florida's Jan. 29 primary] would be a serious mistake," said Plouffe. "First of all, there are no delegates at stake. And secondly, there is no campaign. So there is now way to evaluate the appeal of the candidates."
On behalf of the Clinton camp, Vilsack took a very different tack when discussing the Sunshine State's importance.
"Florida counted yesterday as much as it counts today," said Vilsack.
Even though the Obama camp acted with Fowler's blessing, the Clinton campaign's Monday call will likely boost the bragging rights which the former first lady can claim if she comes out on top in the Jan. 29 balloting.
On Monday night, the top three Democratic '08ers -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards -- meet in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a debate co-sponsored by CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus.
The 8:00 pm ET debate, which will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer, will run two hours.
You can follow Rick Klein's live blogging of the debate here.
Who Among Us Does Not Love NASCAR?
Rudy Giuliani took the courtship of NASCAR dads to a new level on Monday.
After taking a lap around the Daytona International Speedway in his campaign bus, America's Mayor asked if he could drive a pace car.
Told, "sorry sir, we gotta get you to the town hall, we got people waiting," Giuliani started pouting.
"I wanna ride the pace car . . . during the campaign, I wanna ride a pace car! Will you let me ride a pace car? Do I need a license for that? . . . One time, boys. One time." "We're all little boys," he added, "don't you know that?"
Watch it here.
Read more from ABC's Jan Simmonds here.
"We don't think this is a problem. They think it is a problem." --Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on the Obama's national cable buy
On the campaign trail…
-- 10:00 am ET: Attends rally with Florida Military Veterans, Pensacola, FL
-- 11:00 am ET: Holds media availability, Pensacola, FL
-- 12:15 pm ET: Attends rally with Florida Military Veterans, Fort Walton Beach, FL
-- 6:00 pm ET: Attends fundraiser with supporters, New York, NY
SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK (supporting McCain)
-- 9:30 am ET: Speaks at Blogs for Life Conference, Washington, DC
-- 10:00 am ET: Holds media availability, Washington, DC