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The Morning Grind / Political Hot Topics

Iraq could be politically perilous for President Bush

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Morning Grind

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Check out the links below to hot political stories around the country this morning.

IRAQ POLITICS: Sunday's deadly helicopter crash in Iraq emphasizes the difficulties for U.S. forces in the days ahead and the big political price President Bush could pay if things continue to go badly.

The Washington Post: New attacks intensify pressure on Bushexternal link

President Bush is wrestling with "how to keep public opinion from swinging against him over Iraq while not abandoning his quest to bring a stable democracy to that country." After yesterday's helicopter attack, the '04 Democrats were quick to claim the Bush administration has no clear post-war plan.

The New York Times: As casualties in Iraq mount, will resolve falter?external link

"President Bush and his aides sound distinctly less triumphal these days about the prospects for early success in the continuing war in Iraq a deliberate change in tone after a week of setbacks on several fronts."

The Los Angeles Times: Less bravado, more frank talkexternal link

BUSH-CHENEY MACHINE: "As the nine Democratic candidates deliver a daily pummeling, the president has been quietly building a national campaign with unprecedented reach, technology and resources to counter his critics."

The Chicago Tribune: President's campaign unifying Republicansexternal link

'BANNERGATE': How will the "Mission Accomplished" banner play in next year's Democratic attack ads?

The New York Times: Two words on a banner that no author wants to claimexternal link

GRANITE STATE CAMPAIGN: Monday is the first day of the two-week filing period for New Hampshire's January 19 presidential primary. Rep. Dick Gephardt plans to file papers around noon on Monday.

The Concord Monitor: Primary filing period beginsexternal link

GETTING TOO PERSONAL: Sen. John Edwards says bickering between the Democratic presidential candidates has taken the focus off what should be their main priority: beating President Bush.

The Des Moines Register: Edwards: Rivals have let focus slipexternal link

2003 ELECTIONS: Al Gore lent his help to Philadelphia Mayor John Street over the weekend. Gore told voters: "This is not just the last election of 2003; it's the first election of 2004."

The Philadelphia Inquirer: In the last days, campaign kicks into high gearexternal link

THEY JUST DON'T GET IT: According to Sen. Zell Miller, Democrats just don't get the South. Howard Dean's Confederate flag comment shows the former Vermont governor "knows as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday. He doesn't understand the South."

The Washington Times: Miller rebels at misunderstandings of the Southexternal link

Weekend roundup

DIVIDED DEMOCRATS: "Democrats are divided over the direction of their party and sharply split over whether party leaders should be more willing to confront President Bush or compromise with him on the Iraq war, taxes and the budget deficit, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll."

The Washington Post: Democrats splintered on tactics, candidatesexternal link

THE ECONOMY ISSUE: How do the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates run campaigns "built around the weak economy" with figures showing "the fastest quarterly economic growth since 1984" floating around?

The New York Times: Economy's surge poses challenge for presidential hopefulsexternal link

CROWDED DEBATES?: Some Democratic leaders want the bottom tier candidates out of this year's remaining debates, saying the crowded stage hurts the chances of the Democrats that actually have a shot at beating Bush.

The Washington Times: Democrats fear crowded debates diffuse messageexternal link

SWING STATES: Michigan is just one of several key states where the race for the Democratic nomination clearly remains unformed.

The Los Angeles Times: Politically, Michigan is in the swingexternal link

-- Compiled by Sasha Johnson

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