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Campaign Notebook

McCain slowly gaining on Obama in funds

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May 22, 2008

John McCain is reducing the campaign cash gap with Barack Obama, his likely opponent in November's presidential election. But the presumptive Republican nominee is still well behind Obama, who has been smashing every fund-raising record as he reaches the verge of the Democratic nomination.

In April, the campaigns reported, McCain brought in nearly $18 million to Obama's $31 million. That's a smaller gap than the $15 million to $40 million disparity in March, and the $8 million to $39 million difference in February.

For the entire campaign, McCain has raised $93 million to Obama's $266 million. Obama's performance suggests he might be the first presidential candidate since the post-Watergate reforms to opt out of public financing for the general election.

The Obama and McCain campaigns have been jockeying on the issue, with McCain accusing Obama of going back on his word to take part in the public system, financed by income tax checkoffs.

FOON RHEE

Dukakis's advice to Obama: Don't ignore GOP attacks
In case Barack Obama is in the market, Michael Dukakis offered some advice yesterday: Don't let Republican attacks, no matter how scurrilous or specious, go unanswered - a mistake Dukakis said he made in 1988 as the Democratic nominee, and Senator John F. Kerry did in 2004.

Asked on CNN what he would tell Obama, Dukakis replied: "To be ready, to respond immediately, to take the fight to McCain, and never to let up. Now, that doesn't mean that you can't be positive, because the American people are looking for a very positive agenda for Barack Obama and they're going to get it from him. But you cannot let the Republicans do what they did to me and what they did to Kerry."

The former Massachusetts governor also said Democrats should get past what he called the red-state, blue-state "nonsense." Democrats have won election as governor in a dozen Republican states, showing that Democrats shouldn't give up without a fight, Dukakis said.

FOON RHEE

Obama pulling ahead of McCain in recent voter poll
As Barack Obama closes in on the Democratic nomination, his prospects for November are looking up, a new poll suggests.

Obama, who was tied with John McCain last month in the survey, now leads 48 percent to 40 percent, according to the Reuters/Zogby poll released yesterday.

Obama builds his lead among independents - 47 percent to 35 percent - and also has an edge in who voters say would be better for the economy.

Despite losing four of the last six primaries to Hillary Clinton, Obama leads McCain among some groups he has been losing to Clinton: Catholics, Jews, union households, and voters making less than $35,000 a year. "Every problem Obama has had in consolidating his base and reaching to the center, John McCain has the same sort of problem," pollster John Zogby told Reuters.

The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

FOON RHEE

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