The Note: Now Batting, No. 44

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

Also in the news:

They can't really refuse to stray from foreign policy, can they? "The televised debates could have an unusually large impact on the presidential race this year, but organizers and candidates face an immediate challenge of making sure the first session this Friday, which is supposed to cover only foreign policy, does not seem strangely detached from the economic crisis facing America," Josh Gerstein writes in the New York Sun.

Why Obama is where he is: "The Tampa Bay area is the biggest regional battleground in the war for Florida's 27 electoral votes, and Obama's visit to Pinellas underscores the state's importance to him," Adam C. Smith writes in the St. Petersburg Times. "His Tampa-based campaign already has more than 400 paid staffers and 50 offices across Florida, and this week he can focus on the debate in seclusion while easily popping out to generate local excitement and publicity."

Expecting expectations: "The campaigns are actively trying to lower expectations, with McCain officials pointing to Obama's three days of debate camp in Clearwater, Fla., and Obama advisers noting that McCain has engaged in debates over the course of his 26-year political career," Jill Zuckman and John McCormick write in the Chicago Tribune.

Advice from Howard Wolfson: Don't stop watching at the end of the debate. "Forget about the debate. Focus on the spin. What really counts is who wins the debate over the debate," Wolfson blogs for The New Republic. "It begins with the post-debate spin rooms -- much derided by the media but still well attended by reporters -- in which operatives from each side rush out to to shape the immediate coverage. It continues on conference calls to give hundreds of surrogates across the nation their marching orders. And it plays out for days as candidates and staff weigh in on the stump and on cable TV."

Clintons . . . everywhere? "Americans turning on the television the last couple of days could be forgiven if they thought the calendars had been turned back: On every channel, it seemed, were the Clintons," Russell Berman writes in the New York Sun. "President and Senator Clinton have conducted at least 10 separate television interviews since Monday morning, with most focused on their recommendations for handling the financial crisis that has rocked the markets and taken center stage in Congress."

What is Bill up to? "It's striking how one of the world's great's political salesman is acting as an analyst, and not a surrogate, when it comes to this race, and making no real effort to boost Obama," Politico's Ben Smith writes.

New from the DNC, playing off the Obama campaign's Bermuda ad -- the John McCain Bermuda Survival Kit: A Care Package From His Favorite Tax Haven.

The Kicker:

"Oh, nice." -- Sarah Palin, responding to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's description of his son's name as "light of the house," in the most meaningful exchange overheard by reporters Tuesday.

"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.' " -- Joe Biden, fumbling history twice over.

"Sen. Schumer is going to submit a question in writing he has for you." -- Sen. Chris Dodd, to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, when Sen. Charles Schumer's CNBC hit kept him out of the hearing room.

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