The Five: An Eveningish Political Briefing

If people like this, I will start writing regularly... published around five... not meant to compete with either The Hotline's Last Call! (which is more comprehensive and funnier) or ABC's The Note, a prodigal son.

1. Tomorrow: the Dems debate in Las Vegas, all eyes on HRC's answers and Wolf Blitzer's toughness; Obama has two town hall meetings in Iowa before -- Ro. Gibbs: when does Obama prep??? The GOPers are in Feb. 5 mode: McCain's in California and Colorado; Romney's in California; Giuliani's in Florida; Huckabee's in Iowa and Tancredo's in NH. The Senate Judiciary Committee marks up the Rockefeller/Bush admin. FISA compromise tomorrow. Cue Chris Dodd. PS: Thursday's the deadline for Mass. residents to sign up for health insurance under the plan associated with Mitt Romney's gubernatorial tenure.

2. The cablers were all over Rudy/Kerik/Regan today; the campaign had no response; Rudy said little himself. John McCain fought with CNN over Rick Sanchez... come on, guys -- Rick Sanchez? Plus: mgr. Rick Davis sent a fundraising appeal... off of... Rick Sanchez.

3. Mike Huckabee's secret weapon? The media. This Matt Taibbi piece may not be as equanimous as one would like, but it gets at a central part of Huck's appeal.

4. A Romney adviser on reports of campaign infighting: "Zzzzzzzzz." But others say the divisions are real and are deeper than the campaign acknowledges. The Politico's Martin stands by his reporting, A side note: Both the Giuliani and McCain campaigns have also looked at proposed scripts that mention their opponents in a less than flattering light.

5. How to best understand the debate over strategy between the Giuliani and Romney campaigns? Think of the way historians separate themselves: some are lumpers and others are splitters.

The Lumpers: Giuliani bets that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; that attributes matter more than issues; that each caucus or primary cannot be run without a national frame; that the delegate selection process is a cafeteria-style menu where all that really matters is the calories on the plate at the end.

The Splitters: Romney's campaign separates each part -- each caucus or primary, each issue, each part of the GOP base -- and aims to win it, master it, convert it discretely.