John Kerry on the Campaign Trail

Flying further south, the Senator slogged through the Memphis rain late Monday, hustling into a raucous rally, accompanied by the district's favorite son, Rep. Harold Ford, Jr.

The Southern-accented Ford reminded folks (who probably didn't need reminding) that the lanky Bay Stater is from out of town.

"I just want to introduce you to someone who knows a little more about clam chowder than barbeque … I want to bring you someone who knows more about lobster than fried chicken," the young House member joked.

Kerry took the mic and opened with a similar zinger, reminding the swelling crowd that his New England Patriots won the Super Bowl and thus, according to Kerry, proving a New Englander could "go down to Texas and win."

Of course, the Patriots' win came at the price of the Tennessee Titans' 12-4 season; the hometown Titans were defeated 17-14 at Foxboro in the AFC Championship on the ever-reliable kicking leg of Adam Vinatieri.

Let's just say that "Bring it on" went over much better.

As the evening wore on, Kerry seemed to be channeling the voice of the nation's last successful Massachusetts Senator in a presidential contest.

The rarely introspective JFK offered, "There's an impatient streak in me … some have faulted me for it," suggesting that his "drive" had helped in "fighting for people."

Kerry later added that he joined the field of politics because, "I believe this can be a noble profession … I believe it's right to dream."

He also stepped up the rhetorical battle against President Bush, charging, "The one thing we need to do is stop allowing politicians to make drive-by photo ops at schools."

Kerry continued, "I don't understand the ethics of someone who can walk into a school … and leave knowing they don't have the proper funding."

The Kerry campaign approaches Tuesday's contests in Virginia and Tennessee with cautious optimism. Dismissing any polls, even those that show him pulling away, Kerry will campaign in both states on Election Day, coming to a rest in Virginia to watch the returns.

Kerry remains on the air with ads in both states, including Democrat-heavy Northern Virginia, by advertising on pricey Washington, D.C.-based stations. Looking ahead, aides say Kerry will campaign in Nevada prior to the state's Valentine's Day primary, and that the campaign went up with ads statewide in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Most importantly, however, a Note update: the circa 1961 album featuring an 18-year-old Kerry's St. Paul's School band, "The Electras," sold on E-Bay early Monday morning for $2,551.00. Congrats "nopiccolo" — feel free to give the Note a peek at those liner notes.

Frontrunnerus in Extremis

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Feb. 8 — — Despite a 10-for-12 nomination contest record and garnering 412 delegates (until the Maine Democratic Party certifies the results of its caucuses), a lion's share of those allocated so far, Senator Kerry still resists the "F" word. ("Frontrunner," for those who read the Rolling Stone interview and got confused.)

Nevertheless, there are emerging cultural signs — setting aside lopsided returns and a slew of endorsements — that "Seabiscuit" is now setting the pace of the Democratic race.

Surfing the online auction site E-Bay (LINK), for instance, a circa 1961 album from "The Electras" featuring a young, St. Paul's schooled Kerry on bass guitar stood at $2,410 with only a handful of hours to go.

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