Iraq could be politically perilous for President Bush
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.
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.
"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."
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."
'BANNERGATE': How will the "Mission Accomplished" banner play in next year's Democratic attack ads?
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.
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.
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."
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."
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 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?
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.
SWING STATES: Michigan is just one of several key states where the race for the Democratic nomination clearly remains unformed.
-- Compiled by Sasha Johnson