The Note: Solidarity Salsa

"It could be seen by some voters as a kind of link between the two. If you like Obama, you should like Smith, and vice versa," Jeff Mapes writes in The Oregonian.

Said Obama spokesman Bill Burton: "Barack Obama has a long record of bipartisan accomplishment and we appreciate that it is respected by his Democratic and Republican colleagues in the Senate. But in this race, Oregonians should know that Barack Obama supports [Democrat] Jeff Merkley for Senate."

Not there yet: "With the clock ticking fast toward November, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has yet to begin coordinating his presidential campaign with the Hill to advance the Democratic Party's message and strategy," per The Hill's Erin P. Billings and Tory Newmyer. "Regular meetings between his operatives and House and Senate Democratic leaders have not taken place, official liaisons have not been dispatched, and a blueprint for Members to

Enter Ralph Nader, dropping the insight that, in his opinion, Obama "talks white." "He wants to appeal to white guilt," Nader says in an interview with M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News. "You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

Nader, to The Washington Post's Paul Farhi: "If you're locked out of the governmental system, if you can't get a hearing, and I can't, you go to the electoral system. What's my alternative? Should I go to Monterey and watch the whales?"

Veepstakes

Speaker Pelosi adds a new name to the mix -- and she loves her institution (particularly members who have tough reelection campaigns): "I do think on the list of considerations there should be someone from the House of Representatives," Pelosi, D-Calif., tells Tammy Haddad in a Newsweek "TamCam." "[Rep.] Chet Edwards [D-Texas] is a person that many of us think would be a good person to have in the mix."

Said Edwards, to The Hill's Mike Soraghan, when asked about Pelosi's comments: "I cannot imagine too many Americans wouldn't consider it an honor to serve our country as vice president." He added: "I have not met with the Obama campaign about this."

Haddad also catches up with Obama vetter Eric Holder, an early Obama supporter who is marveling at his newfound social status: "I have a lot more friends than I used to. People think that I am taller, better looking and it's good to see them all getting on board and believing in Senator Obama as we do," Holder said.

The Washington Times' Sam Hananel takes a look at the higher profile being enjoyed by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. "The plainspoken former prosecutor and state auditor has been all over TV news and political talk shows as a top surrogate for the campaign. Obama calls her one of his closest advisers. She's even offering guidance on possible vice presidential picks and her name has popped up as a potential running mate."

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., wants the Republican brand to come in for some "freshening up" -- and guess who he thinks can do it? "We now have a candidate in John McCain who is viewed as independent-minded and taking different approaches, who is a little on the leading edge of some of the emerging issues, like energy issues and climate change," Pawlenty tells NPR's Michele Norris.

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