The Note: Bad Humor

Are these the right moves? "While Obama has clearly reframed his Iraq position with an eye toward November, he also has good substantive reasons for backing away from some of his past rhetoric," The New Republic writes in an editorial. "All in all, the recent flaying of Barack Obama makes for a depressing object lesson in how our press and our political discourse treat nuance. If Obama, as we've been told, suddenly has a 'problem' on Iraq, it's only because American politics has a much deeper one."

And is this the right move? "Senator Barack Obama on Sunday proposed offering tax breaks to small businesses as an incentive to provide health care to their employees, borrowing an idea from a former rival in the Democratic presidential race," Jeff Zeleny writes in The New York Times.

"This is an adoption of a part of Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care plan -- and one that Obama gave Clinton direct credit for during his announcement," per ABC's Sunlen Miller.

It "marks the first policy-related olive branch he has offered to his vanquished rival,"the New York Sun's Russell Berman reports.

Is it just remotely possible that the Obama campaign is having second thoughts about forgoing public financing? Don't answer that until you watch David Plouffe's new fundraising video: "We have to make sure that we are matching [RNC spending}, and the only way we can do that is for you all to continue to help us," Plouffe says in the appeal. "The cavalry does not exist."

The battle for Latino voters is joined, again. "The two men face very different tasks. Obama is seeking to solidify his standing among a group that has historically leaned Democratic, whereas McCain is working to convince Latinos that he deserves their support, based on his stance on immigration and experience as a border-state lawmaker," Perry Bacon Jr. and Juliet Eilperin write in The Washington Post.

With his gap among the critical Latino constituency dangerously wide, McCain, R-Ariz., on Monday goes before the National Council of La Raza Annual Conference in San Diego to push back at Obama on the issue of immigration reform:

"I cast a lot of hard votes, as did the other Republicans and Democrats who joined our bipartisan effort. So did Senator Kennedy. I took my lumps for it without complaint," he plans to say, per his campaign.

"My campaign was written off as a lost cause," he'll continue. "Senator Obama declined to cast some of those tough votes. He voted for and even sponsored amendments that were intended to kill the legislation, amendments that Senator Kennedy and I voted against. . . . I do ask for your trust that when I say, I remain committed to fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform, I mean it. I think I have earned that trust."

"Mr. McCain's campaign has tried to drive a wedge between Mr. Obama and Hispanic voters, arguing that the Democrat worked against the 2007 bill by voting to halve the number of future immigrant workers that would be allowed," per The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan.

What Obama said Sunday on the subject: "When [McCain] was running for his party's nomination, he abandoned that courageous stand and said that he wouldn't even support his own legislation if it came up for a vote."

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