The Note: Of Clintons and Clintonistas

They continue: "Some Democrats and political scientists have cautioned that Joe Biden could still press for a 'placeholder' commitment from any potential appointee -- including [Lt. Gov. John] Carney -- obliging them to step aside in 2010. Voters must pick a candidate to finish Biden's original term in that year."

Said Carney: "I would take it if offered under any circumstances," including a two-year stint, "if that's what was contemplated by those who made the decision."

That didn't take long: McCain '10. McCain "is setting up a political action committee as a first step in running for a fifth term in the Senate," the AP's Laurie Kellman reports. "A McCain spokesperson says the 72-year-old senator decided with his senior advisers Tuesday night to set up the fundraising PAC. The spokesperson spoke anonymously because the decision had not yet been made public."

Joe Lieberman, still a Democrat (sort of). "In a 42-13 secret ballot vote, Democratic senators approved a resolution stripping Lieberman of a subcommittee chairmanship, but allowing him to remain chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee," per ABC's Jonathan Karl and Z. Byron Wolf.

He almost apologized: "Some of the things that people have said I said about Sen. Obama are simply not true," Lieberman said. "There are other statements that I made that I wish I had made more clearly and there are some that I made that I wish I had not made at all. And, obviously, in the heat of campaigns, that happens to all of us, but I regret that. And now it's time to move on."

Moving on, toward a magic number: "The move ensured that Sen. Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, would remain within the Democratic fold, and it kept alive the Democrats' quest to reach a filibuster-proof 60 senators," Naftali Bendavid reports in The Wall Street Journal.

Just like that: "Sen. Joe Lieberman and the Democratic Party have made up. The ugliness is over, and the senator would clearly like to move on from his near-brush with becoming a Senate nonentity," Jesse A. Hamilton writes in the Hartford Courant.

Some Obama blowback: "Since Barack Obama apparently made clear that he didn't want any purges in the Senate, and had his faithful Senate lieutenants Durbin and Kerry deliver that message to the Democratic caucus, can we assume that the same applies for the executive branch -- you know, the branch of government that Obama will actually lead?" Markos Moulitsas blogs.

Bill Clinton campaigns in Georgia Wednesday for Senate candidate Jim Martin, set for his run-off against Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

In Minnesota: "Two weeks after the closest U.S. Senate election in Minnesota history, a massive hand recount of all 2.9 million votes gets underway today, with local officials working under the scrutiny of top lawyers brought in by both candidates," Patricia Lopez and Mike Kazsuba write for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Back to business, briefly: The lame-duck session still looks likely to produce precious little.

Bloomberg's John Hughes and Nicholas Johnston: "U.S. auto company executives today will make their plea for government aid for the second straight day, as prospects for a Democratic-backed assistance plan waned. . . . A plan by congressional Democrats to make the money available to automakers from a $700 billion fund created to stabilize financial institutions isn't likely to pass amid opposition from President George W. Bush and Senate Republicans."

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