The Note: Dems Face Civil War in Bitter Clinton-Obama Battle

Both sides are crossing lines: "The bottom line is that it's time for a timeout," ABC's George Stephanopoulos said on "Good Morning America." "Nerves are frayed, they're exhausted -- and they're making mistakes. . . . There's going to have to be a pulling back from this kind of rhetoric."

It's "a war that, at least theoretically, threatens to open wounds that could be tough to heal," McClatchy's David Lightman writes. "Concerns are starting to grow that this year's Clinton-Obama contest could fracture the Democratic Party."

There are still two candidates who enjoy wide support.

Obama's February fundraising: $55 million (putting Clinton's $35 million haul into perspective). Clinton's post-March 4 tally: $4 million.

Among the Obama campaign's mistakes: Managing expectations (there's confidence, and then there's something more than that).

"Senior Obama advisers said they learned a hard lesson about managing expectations ahead of their defeat in Texas, where they had anticipated doing better," Anne Kornblut and Krissah Williams write in The Washington Post. "Rather than accepting the notion that Pennsylvania will be decisive, they plan to play down their chances in the Keystone State and keep their focus on states such as North Carolina, where they expect to win."

As for the Clinton campaign, doesn't the phone ever ring at, say, 3:30, or maybe 4 am, or even 2 pm on a Tuesday?

"It may be time to put the phone references on hold," The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes. "Sorry to break in on this party line, but here's an important announcement for Democrats: You are doing John McCain's work for him. While the presumptive Republican nominee rests, the two remaining Democratic candidates are working as hard as they can to make each other appear unfit to lead."

"Some Democratic officials fear that Clinton now seems willing to do whatever it takes to defeat Obama, regardless of the risk that she may be irreparably harming him if he is the eventual Democratic nominee," ABC's Jake Tapper reports.

The Chicago Tribune's Mike Dorning and Christi Parsons go a little deeper on the question of Clinton's experience: "While Hillary Clinton represented the U.S. on the world stage at important moments while she was first lady, there is scant evidence that she played a pivotal role in major foreign policy decisions or in managing global crises," they write.

Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel keeps us updated on the Tony Rezko trial -- and Obama's name came up, briefly, during opening arguments. (Here's guessing Obama would not be running for president if he had accepted that job with Rezko's company way back when.)

On the Republican side, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is just about dropping out of the presidential race. In a Web video, "Paul indicated that the 2008 presidential campaign portion of his revolution is over," ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports. Said Paul: "Elections are short-term efforts. . . . Revolutions are long-term projects."

What fun would this be without a final taste of conspiracy theories? Wolf reports: "The video was briefly available on Paul's Web site and YouTube before being pulled for what the campaign termed 'technical difficulties.' " And the Web army has noticed that Paul does not use words like "dropping out."

(RONPAUL 2012, anyone?)

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