The Note: Politics of Okey-Doke

McCain could have bigger problems, though. He was quick to throw the Rev. Rod Parsley overboard, but not everyone liked what they saw: "The candidate's abrupt turnabout brought criticism not only from secular viewers, who questioned why he had aligned himself with controversial religious voices, but also from evangelicals, who said he may have alienated a powerful bloc of potential Republican voters," Kimberly Kindy reports in The Washington Post.

Says political consultant Doug Wead: "For McCain to have to repudiate these people is much worse than ever having their endorsement in the first place."

And transparency has clear limits: McCain isn't the only candidate who's holding closed-door fundraisers, per Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. "On Tuesday, likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama slammed GOP rival Sen. John McCain for holding a fund-raiser with President Bush with 'no reporters' around. [Wednesday], Michelle Obama is headlining a fund-raiser in California for Hollywood elites that the campaign did not announce."

"Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have reputations as crusaders for transparency in government and campaign finance, but neither presidential contender has shown much interest in letting the sun shine in on their own fund-raising events," Josh Gerstein writes in the New York Sun.

Here's a story the Clinton campaign could have used, say, three months ago (don't worry, McCain is watching): "Obama has not emphasized any signature domestic issue, or signaled that he would take his party in a specific direction on policy, as Bill Clinton did with his 'New Democrat' proposals in 1992 that emphasized welfare reform or as George W. Bush did with his 'compassionate conservatism' in 2000, when he called on Republicans to focus more on issues such as education," per The Washington Post's Perry Bacon Jr.

Also from that department: "A high-profile supporter of Barack Obama accused American Jewish groups of engaging in 'McCarthyism,' a statement that could further complicate the Illinois senator's appeal to Jewish voters," per the New York Daily News' Michael Saul. Said Zbigniew Brzezinski: "It's not unique to the Jewish community -- but there is a McCarthy-ite tendency among some people in the Jewish community. . . . They operate not by arguing but by slandering, vilifying, demonizing."

No Rezko verdict yet, but more trouble for Tony himself: "Las Vegas judge has issued a felony arrest warrant for a politically connected Chicago businessman whose ties to Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama have become an issue in the campaign," Jeff German writes in the Las Vegas Sun.

The Sked:

Clinton campaigns in South Dakota, while Obama is down in Chicago (in time for the Resko verdict?). McCain campaigns in Wisconsin, and President Bush continues fundraising, in Utah and Kansas.

Get the full political schedule in The Note's "Sneak Peek."

The Kicker:

"I . . ." -- Hillary Clinton, not finishing her thought in front of Mount Rushmore, when a reporter asked her if she could see her own face going up on the monument one day.

"I can assure you, I will feel the same way then that I feel now, that I can say to Scott, 'Job well done.' " -- President Bush, April 2006, seeing a day where he and Scott McClellan would reminisce about the old days.

"If you look back at his past comments and his past actions, they contradict his current rhetoric." -- Scott McClellan, March 2004, on Richard Clarke's new book.

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