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Your Daily Kerik Fix; Huckabee Robocalls Rile

Just Ask Howard Dean About It [Mark Leibovich, The New York Times]: "[Huckabee] is attempting one of the tougher transitions in politics: from also-ran to novelty act to overnight leader, with all the new scrutiny, expectation and attention that brings."

More Headaches for Rudy [John Solomon and Matthew Mosk, Washington Post]: "That evidence, reviewed by the Washington Post, shows that Kerik brought [Lawrence] Ray into contact with Giuliani on a handful of occasions documented in photos and that he invoked Giuliani's name in connection with a New Jersey construction company with alleged mob ties that is now at the heart of the criminal cases."

But Isn't That Obama's Demographic? [Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register]: "Basketball legend Earvin 'Magic' Johnson played a role in reminding some Des Moines residents Tuesday that Iowa teens can caucus if they're going to turn age 18 before the Nov. 4, 2008, election. It's a message Hillary Clinton's campaign is eager to get out, and Johnson was perfectly willing to help."

It's Not Us, We Swear! [Tom Fahey, New Hampshire Union-Leader]: "Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign yesterday distanced itself from automated calls that disparage other Republican candidates, then urge support for Huckabee. Huckabee's national campaign manager asked Secretary of State William Gardner to investigate the calls."

Huck and Rudy, Neck and Neck [Reuters/Zogby]: New national polling numbers (Dec. 12-13, MoE +/- 4.8 percent). Democrats: Clinton 40 percent, Obama 32, Edwards 13. Republicans: Giuliani 23 percent, Huckabee 22, Romney 16, Thompson 13, McCain 12.

--Josh Patashnik