COMMENTS: Barack & Mitt

Official data for first quarter fundraising by Presidential candidates are not released until the middle of the month, but that did not stop the campaigns wading into the spin zone. "The bottom line here is the bottom line," quipped NBC's Andrea Mitchell as she concentrated on the race among Democrats. Barack Obama is still being "coy" about the size of his kitty while Hillary Rodham Clinton's recordbreaking $26m total has been revealed. Obama "will nearly match, or even beat, the frontrunner," Mitchell's unnamed campaign sources told her.

John Edwards lags behind with $14m, but continues to attract publicity for that most unfortunate of reasons, the recurrence of his wife's cancer. The latest example was Cynthia McFadden on ABC, who noted that Edwards' poll numbers have improved since he broke the bad news. McFadden asked Elizabeth and their adult daughter Cate about her plans for raising her two young children, Jack and Emma Claire, while coping with the double stress of the campaign trail and medical treatment. Have the children asked how long she has to live? "They actually have not asked when. And I would not know the answer if they did."

Both ABC and CBS focused on the Republican fundraising stakes. CBS' Gloria Borger called Mitt Romney, with $21m gathered in the first quarter, "today's golden boy" with John McCain in third place at $12m, behind #2 Rudolph Giuliani's $15m. McCain is the "big, big loser of the day, no question about that," ABC's George Stephanopoulos stated. "His team is not even trying to sugarcoat it." As a field, Republicans are being outfundraised by the Democrats, he generalized.


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