Clark responded to the hand-outs saying, "I guess that's what you can expect from professional politicians." And, while Clark maintains he is running a positive campaign, both he and his senior communications strategist, Chris Lehane, did not rule out a return fight back at some point.
Instead Lehane told reporter after reporter that "Dean is starting to hear the footsteps. The hot breath of the Clark campaign is on the back of Dean's neck."
But it doesn't seem like the attacks will let up. When Clark shows up in North Dakota on Saturday, 'Dean for America' may have a surprise for The General. In an e-mail sent out by Dean's North Dakota "GenDean" coordinator, Berrett Gall, Dean supporters were invited to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner where Clark will be speaking. Gall writes:
"Wesley Clark will be speaking at the event, and we want there to be at least 100 Dean supporters there, 50 of them, GenDean members. We will have Beanies, shirts, noise makers, and a bunch of cool Dean stuff for you when you get there."
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the Clark campaign staff is now down to six full-time staffers and one part-time staffer having had eight full-timers at the end of last year. Nick Berning, Clark's communications director out in the Feb. 17 primary state, told ABC News that the deputy state director was fired on Dec. 31. The Dean camp hired him right afterwards. Then Wednesday, one junior field staffer announced her departure and conversion to the Dean campaign. Down two full-time staffers, Berning denies any shake-ups in the Wisconsin staff for Clark, saying that the campaign is strong in Wisconsin and they're looking at some "great people committing to endorsing" Clark. Berning did confirm that the Dean campaign made calls to about four staffers today trying to recruit them, but he asserted that nobody was going anywhere.
You've Got Mail
Madonna fans had a political e-mail waiting for them in their inboxes today: the Material Girl wrote to fans in support of Gen. Clark. The Note began: "I know that people seem to pay attention to everything I do. Big or Small. Ridiculous or Sublime. So I am hoping they pay attention to this: I am supporting General Wesley Clark for President."
Madonna's endorsement was first reported last month after The General and Mrs. Clark met with Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, at their Los Angeles home in mid-November. Press secretary Bill Buck says that for now, there is no concert or performance by Madonna attached to her endorsement.
In Madonna's e-mail she says that she sees "the qualifications, character and vision that we so desperately need" in Clark, calling him a "national hero."
The General wasn't available for reaction on Wednesday, but when asked by ABC News last month what his favorite Madonna song was, he said he liked them all. That is, before settling on "Like a Prayer."
OBL: Could Clark catch him?
DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H., Dec. 18— Gen. Clark said on a conference call with reporters Thursday that "what wasn't clear in 1998 was clear in January of 2001, and that was that Osama bin Laden was the greatest threat to the United States of America. And for this new administration not to have focused on it was wrong, they should of, it was their duty to do so, and apparently they did not."