The Note: 'Lift-off':


In Ohio, Clinton's message is the economy. In an interview with the Dayton Daily News, "the focus kept coming around to one main issue: the economy. Clinton drew similarities between Ohio's difficult economic conditions with those of upstate New York. Cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester have suffered job and population loss. If elected, she said she'd employ the lessons learned representing those cities in the U.S. Senate for the good of Ohio and other economically troubled regions."

Also: "Clinton covered issues as disparate as the Air Force's need for new aircraft to her love of the TV show 'Grey's Anatomy,' which she said she used to TiVo before the writers strike."

Driven off-message by the Politico column about possible delegate-poaching, the Clinton campaign was unequivocal on Tuesday: "We have not, are not, and will not pursue the pledged delegates of Barack Obama," communications director Howard Wolfson said. ABC's Teddy Davis talks to a senior Clinton adviser who acknowledges any such effort would likely have been fruitless: "They basically are wholly owned real estate," the adviser said.

On the superdelegates, House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., is standing by Clinton -- but he won't hold his colleagues to the same standard. Rangel's permission slip: "If you're going to use your best judgment, you've got to take into consideration what your constituents are saying," he tells the New York Daily News' Ken Bazinet.

Writes Bazinet: "Rangel expects superdelegates in Congress to go with the candidate who amasses the most delegates through primaries and caucuses, even if they endorsed the other candidate."

With January FEC reports due on Wednesday, the Clinton campaign sought to assure reporters and supporters that money is no longer an issue: They raised $15 million in 15 days. (One way to make those January numbers look less bad.)

David Axelrod says he's not the source of the shared Patrick-Obama lines: "One thing I emphatically deny is authorship of those lines or any of the great lines that Barack and Deval Patrick use," he told the Chicago Tribune's John McCormick and Christi Parsons. "I had to come to grips early on in my relationship with Barack Obama that he was a far better writer than me, and the same is true with Deval Patrick."

Democrats haven't settled their fight yet, but the DNC is picking up its anti-McCain efforts, The Hill's Sam Youngman writes. "DNC officials said this is just the start of an increasingly intense effort to define the presumptive Republican nominee as advocating the same policies as President Bush on issues from Iraq and immigration to earmarks even as the McCain campaign shifts from primary to general election mode," Youngman writes. "Democrats also hope to portray a McCain presidency as bad for the economy, which polls show is an issue increasingly important to voters."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new Web ad up, in a fall preview of a line of attack -- it's McCain, Collins, Sununu, Coleman, and McConnell, in words they'd rather not see repeated about the Iraq war.

And the National Republican Senatorial Committee has a new fundraising campaign launched on Wednesday: "Two Seats."

The kicker:

"We're having a little siesta out here -- a little party." -- Barack Obama, flashing some rusty (or sleepy) Spanish.

"This mistake was inexcusable." -- MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines, after his station was the latest to make the Osama/Obama mistake.

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