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“The DLC had its annual ‘National Conversation’ late last month in Nashville, and the headline was who didn’t show: namely, any of the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. Why not? Maybe because, as Noam Scheiber put it in another New York Times op-ed, the DLC is now ‘radioactive’ for the Democratic mainstream and especially its netroots agitators.”

Know thy enemy

“Rising House Democratic leader Rep. Rahm Emanuel is one tough political battler, and now the Republican leading the charge to return the GOP to power in the House wants his side to know just how formidable the opposition can be,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“We hear that Rep. Tom Cole, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, has purchased a couple dozen copies of the Chicago Tribune bio on Emanuel: ‘The Thumpin’: How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution.’ The reason is simple. Cole wants his staff to learn about the guy who orchestrated the 2006 House Democratic takeover.

“The goal, says NRCC spokeswoman Jessica Boulanger, is to use that knowledge against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Emanuel to take back the House in 2008. ‘We’re looking forward to the sequel,’ says Boulanger.”

Laugh it up

Four presidential candidates are lined up to visit Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” over the next three weeks as Comedy Central’s satirical news review ramps up its “Indecision 2008” coverage.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, is first up this Wednesday. Mr. Biden appeared on “The Daily Show” last winter on the day that he announced his candidacy.

Sen.John McCain, Arizona Republican, makes his 10th appearance on Aug. 16, followed by another Republican, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, on Aug. 20.

On Aug. 22, Democratic contender Barack Obama of Illinois comes back to the show for a second time, his first as a declared candidate, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s sort of an open invitation for candidates,” said Michele Ganeless, Comedy Central’s executive vice president and general manager. “Jon makes these guys feel comfortable. He provides them with an opportunity to reach an audience they don’t always reach, which is young men.”

In a world of scripted politics, “The Daily Show” offers candidates a chance to show irreverence and a sense of humor, but brings a risk if they bomb.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or