The Note: Good, Bad, or Ugly

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It's Clinton 47, Obama 43, in the McClatchy survey. "In Ohio, the New York senator has lost the double-digit lead she had long enjoyed until a few weeks ago," McClatchy's Stephen Thomma writes. "She clings to a small lead thanks largely to the rise of the economy as an issue."

Mark Z. Barabak and Michael Finnegan lay the stakes out simply and concisely in the Sunday Los Angeles Times: "In a campaign that has frequently defied expectations, a consensus emerged as the candidates caromed across the country: Clinton must win Texas and Ohio to have any serious hope of sustaining her bid to become the nation's first female president. A split decision would not suffice, analysts said, and winning narrowly may not help."

But don't discount the pressure on Obama, who had two previous chances -- in New Hampshire, and on Super Tuesday -- to effectively end this campaign. "This is Barack Obama's third chance to knock her out. If he can't close the deal this time, maybe he can't close the deal, period," Michael Goodwin writes in his New York Daily News column.

"Either the third time is the charm for him, or it could be strike three against him. Any result tomorrow that doesn't finish her off lets her argue that Democratic voters' love affair with Obama was just one of those flings."

In the Republican race (such as it is), it looks like former governor Mike Huckabee's campaign is nearing its end (he said he remembers the Alamo, you'll recall). But "those around him say he won't disappear and is poised to claim political leadership of conservative evangelicals," Stephen Dinan writes in the Washington Times.

"Mr. Huckabee's inner circle says he's the perfect bridge to re-establish the Christian right, which has suffered over the last decade, as a political force that speaks for millions of voters."

And/but: Huckabee, R-Ark., says he's looking forward to Mississippi and Pennsylvania. "I'm not understanding why some people are in such a rush to get this settled when I don't know there is a bomb sitting under anybody's chair that's going to go off if we don't have the nominee all settled," Huckabee said Sunday, per the Houston Chronicle's Bennett Roth.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is set to be endorsed on Monday by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Gov. Sonny Perdue, R-Ga., ABC's Ron Claiborne reports.

McCain can relax a bit -- treating reporters to barbecue at his home in the Arizona mountains on Sunday.

But USA Today's David Jackson notices something else the campaign is doing: "The Arizona senator's campaign is busy fielding questions over his decision to pull out of the public financing system, his support of the Iraq war, lobbyists working in his campaign, an endorsement from a controversial evangelical, and even his place of birth," Jackson writes. "It's not defense, McCain press secretary Brooke Buchanan said. . . . 'We are not going to let the Democrats define us,' she said."

Clinton and Obama both spend the night in Houston, with Clinton starting her day in Toledo, Ohio, and Obama staying put in Texas. Huckabee and McCain both concentrate on the Lone Star State.

Also in the news:

The ringing-phone ad has Obama talking about the war again, and on Sunday he seemed to suggest that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., voted against the war, ABC's Sunlen Miller reports. (Actually, it was former chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., who voted against it after reading the National Intelligence Estimate).

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