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Morning Thoughts: Granite Status

Off to the Granite State this morning, so here are last night's morning thoughts:

-- The Senate tomorrow takes up the Defense Department authorization again. Senator Joe Biden, who now has more endorsements from Iowa state legislators than any other Democrat aside from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, finally gets a vote on his amendment to partition Iraq, albeit in a non-binding vote.

-- In the House, Congressman Adam Smith has a busy day. The Washington State Democrat is managing three bills on the House floor, including resolutions expressing support for Latin American countries who have already dealt with three major hurricanes this year, condemning the UN Human Rights Council for unfairly criticizing Israel, and his signature issue, the Global Poverty Act. The House also deals with the compromise between the two chambers on the State Children's Health Insurance Program; President Bush has yet to back off his veto threat.

-- Former Senator Fred Thompson, after forgetting who Terri Schaivo is and after James Dobson told friends he wouldn't support Thompson, is having trouble wooing Southern Conservatives. Still, it helps when Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land is on Thompson's side. "I've received phone calls and emails from Southern Baptists about Senator Thompson," Land wrote. "They are all furious at Doctor Dobson," according to CBN's David Brody.

-- Ex-Gov. Mitt Romney exploited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad's visit to New York as much as possible, with new radio ads in Iowa and South Carolina pointing out that Romney refused security for former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami when he visited Harvard during Romney's tenure as governor. "Now another Iranian President is visiting America," the ad says. "Coming to New York, and Governor Mitt Romney is leading the opposition." Not a bad way to get press even as every other candidate is criticizing the visit.

-- Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani is trying to get in on the action.

-- On the Democratic side, Senator Hillary Clinton yesterday announced the endorsement of Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, an automatic front-runner for Vice President. Trying to keep up, and doing a better than average job, Illinois Senator Barack Obama announced support from former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Gordon Fischer. Bayh sent representatives to work for state legislative candidates in 2006, though with FIscher's connection to state party activists, he may be an equal, if not more valuable, endorsement.

-- Local Video Game Angle Of The Day: "Halo 3" comes out at midnight tonight, and Seattle-centric Microsoft says it expects to make about $200 million ... in the next 24 hours. If you're a Northwest native, you might recognize a certain mountain featured in the game. It's Mount Rainier, according to Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley. Yes, he says, it's supposed to be Kilimanjaro, but the resemblance is more than coincidence.

-- Today On The Trail: Senator Clinton and ex-Senator John Edwards are in Iowa at a "Change to Win" rally, while Sen. Barack Obama attends a low-dollar fundraiser in Portland, Maine. Bill Richardson is still in New York, fundraising. On the GOP side, Senator John McCain fundraises in Houston, while Mitt Romney continues his California tour in Bakersfield. Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales joins Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

-- Next update coming from Manchester, so check back with Politics Nation for breaking news from New Hampshire and the latest leading up to Wednesday's Democratic Presidential debate.