The Note: Eliot's Mess

"I don't know how someone in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person in first place," Obama said in Mississippi, per ABC's David Wright, Sunlen Miller, and Andy Fies. "If I'm not ready how come you think I'd be such a great VP?"

"They are trying to hoodwink you," Obama added, per Scott Helman of The Boston Globe.

Per The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Julie Bosman: "Mr. Obama felt compelled Monday to try to stop the chatter by offering his most expansive answer yet on the issue. With a steady smile, his tone ranged from amused to mocking to derisive."

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times: "The Obama campaign is trying to solidify Obama as the front-runner -- important in wooing the superdelegates -- and the vice president talk from the Clintons was seen as presumptive and diminishing."

(On superdelegates, since March 4, it's Obama with four new endorsements, Clinton with none.)

On the vice-presidential talk, Clinton tells ABC's Jake Tapper: "This thing has really been given a life of its own." (Yes, and it was brought into existence by Clinton and her husband.)

Clinton backer Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., (fast becoming our favorite surrogate of the cycle) says he'd be happy with Clinton-Obama or Obama-Clinton: "That would be great either way," Rendell said, per The Washington Post's Perry Bacon Jr. "I'd be happier if she were the presidential candidate, but I think that would be a good thing. We need to come together."

Credit Clinton communications chief Howard Wolfson for a solid effort in trying to thread the needle: "Senator Clinton will not choose any candidate who has not, at the time of choosing, passed the national security threshold, period," Wolfson said, per ABC's Teddy Davis. "But we have a long way to go between now and Denver."

Anyone ready for a crash-course in Clintonism? "Asked what Obama could do to prove his worth by August, Wolfson avoided the question," Peter Slevin writes in The Washington Post.

Obama pushes back at Clinton's experience claims in a Tuesday morning memo. Writes Greg Craig: "There is no reason to believe, however, that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. . . . The Clinton campaign's argument is nothing more than mere assertion, dramatized in a scary television commercial with a telephone ringing in the middle of the night."

And a fresh comment emerges Tuesday as likely campaign fodder. Clinton backer Geraldine Ferraro has the blogs buzzing by attacking "a very sexist media" in an interview last week with the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif.: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she Ferraro said. "And if he was a woman [of any color' he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Camp Clinton is saying this does not reflect the campaign's sentiments. (But since when has that been enough? Ferraro is a member of Clinton's campaign finance committee.)

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