ADVICE FOR DEMS FROM LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE.

1. Note to Barack Obama: These guys fight dirty, and they don't give even a nod toward compromise. Rising above it will mean letting their attacks stand, so prepare to beat them at their own game with quick, precise, straightforward prose.

2. Republicans are terrified of the words "George W. Bush." A smart Democrat would force her or his Republican opponent to face up, as often as possible, to the legacy of his party's leader.

3. Republicans attempt to speak for the troops. McCain claimed every single soldier in Iraq supports the surge and a continuous U.S. presence there. Duncan Hunter said most troops are "conservatives" and uncomfortable serving with gays. Democrats can't let Republicans own this debate -- force them to respect our soldiers by acknowledging the diversity of opinions that exists among them.

4. Unless McCain or Huckabee miraculously wins the nomination, the Democrat will be facing an opponent unafraid of appearing ungenerously, rabidly anti-immigrant. Study McCain for clues about how to sound sensible on the issue, and even prepare to name drop him as a guy you agree with on immigration: Nod toward border security, but emphasize the humanity of immigrants and realistic solutions for dealing with 12 million undocumented people within our borders.

--Dana Goldstein

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