CLARK LEAPS INTO THE LEAD….Daily Kos has the latest national poll results taken after Wesley Clark announced his candidacy:

Clark ? 14%
Dean ? 12%
Lieberman ? 12%
Kerry ? 10%
Gephardt ? 8%
Sharpton ? 7%
Edwards ? 6%
Graham ? 4%
Braun ? 2%
Kucinich ? 2%
Don’t Know ? 19%

Kos is a little perplexed about where Clark’s support is coming from, but otherwise seemingly unimpressed. “So what does this tell us?” he asks. “Not much, I don’t think.”

Man, I couldn’t disagree more. We news junkies sometimes forget just how little most people are following this stuff, and the fact that Clark has jumped into first place so quickly says something important. After all, Clark is no Eisenhower, and probably the only thing most people know about him is that he was one of the endless stream of ex-officers who did talking head stints on the cable networks during the war.

This strikes me as a very impressive start for Clark. I fully realize there are a ton of practical considerations still in front of him ? fundraising, endorsements, organization, etc. ? but he obviously brings something to the race that appeals to a lot of people.

POSTSCRIPT: In case you missed it below, let me recommend again Tung Yin’s account of his lunch with Clark, which really shows the best of what a blog can do. It’s not so much that Clark is more candid in such a setting ? although there’s probably a bit of that ? but that Yin’s account doesn’t have to be homogenized into a “story.” The lunch group just asked Clark questions and got some answers, and Yin passes it along with whatever personal observations cross his mind.

Of course, I also had to smile at the thought of a tableful of law professors grilling Clark on the details of Bush v. Gore….

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