Check Your Calendars

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This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
It's too long, the election season that is. With the country's first caucuses and primaries not quite a year away, it's too much.

Already there is a language dissection. Hillary Clinton has been busy on the stump explaining her vote to authorize the war in Iraq, but how she's saying it apparently is not good enough for some. My eyes are already beginning to glaze over with the degree to which a phrase or two can be parsed and pilloried.

Barack Obama did a nice job of kicking off his campaign: big crowds, great locations, invoking the sprit of Abe Lincoln. Smart, but this party will end soon too. Obama's made clear how much he wants to move on to a politics that is less divisive.

People on the stump will soon want to learn what that means exactly. And every statement past and future will go into a grinder of credibility.

A gaffe, a slip, will become a headline. And the candidate who talks or charms his way out of the mess is the one we often reward.

The election is only six hundred and some days away.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith