The Note: Eliot's Mess

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney sees Clinton coming close to GOP talking points: "It is one thing for Mr. McCain to say he would be better at protecting the American people from danger than Mr. Obama. It is another for Mrs. Clinton to say it," Nagourney writes. "Should Mr. Obama win the nomination, Mr. McCain will cite Mrs. Clinton as an expert on Mr. Obama's shortcomings as a commander in chief many times. And should Mr. Obama lose in November, it's a good bet that when the when the finger-pointing starts, Mrs. Clinton would be one of the top targets for recriminations."

As we enter a period of the campaign where the clock moves more slowly, the pressure will be on Obama to find the appropriate balance in responding to attacks. "As Hillary Rodham Clinton throws harder punches – a strategy that analysts say helped her win the Ohio and Texas primaries a week ago – how hard can he hit back without undercutting his message of uplift?" Ariel Sabar writes in the Christian Science Monitor.

And what can Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., do other than smile? As he prepares for his European trip next week, McCain got a check-up on Monday and reported that "everything's fine" with his physical condition, Dan Nowicki writes in the Arizona Republic.

Said McCain: "I got the full cancer check a couple of weeks ago, with my dermatologist," McCain said. "[On Monday] I just went through a regular routine. . . . Like most Americans, I go to see my doctor fairly frequently."

The AP's Jim Kuhnhenn and Matthew Daly have new details of McCain's role in the Airbus-Boeing competition. "Top current advisers to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign last year lobbied for a European plane maker that beat Boeing to a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, taking sides in a bidding fight that McCain has tried to referee for more than five years," they write.

"Two of the advisers gave up their lobbying work when they joined McCain's campaign. A third, former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler, lobbied for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. while serving as McCain's national finance chairman."

The Washington Post has an interesting read about a Cuban psychoanalyst who interviewed McCain while he was a POW -- and who displays the newspaper clipping to prove it. "[Fernando] Barral said McCain was 'boastful' during their interview and 'without remorse' for any civilian deaths that occurred 'when he bombed Hanoi,' " the Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia writes. "McCain has a similar recollection, writing in his book that he responded, 'No, I do not' when Barral asked if he felt remorse."

And this: "Barral said he follows U.S. politics in clippings sent to him from friends and relatives abroad, and has taken a shine to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) because he 'represents change.' 'I don't know if McCain would be a good president,' Barral said. 'And I don't care.' "

Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. offers up a liberals' guide to bashing McCain: "Liberals can't ignore their past praise of McCain and trash him now just because he's the Republican nominee. After all, isn't he the guy many liberals once wanted the GOP to nominate?" he writes.

"Yet neither does it make sense for liberals to ignore all the issues on which they disagree with McCain -- for starters, his commitment to continuing the occupation of Iraq indefinitely, his flip-flopping on those tax cuts, his opposition to government-sponsored universal health coverage -- even if aspects of his persona are appealing."

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