COMMENTS: Campaign Trail

The NBC poll also ranked the Presidential candidates of each party and found the two New Yorkers in the lead, Hillary Rodham Clinton (36% to Barack Obama's 31%) and Rudolph Giuliani (33% to John McCain's 22%). Russert noted that Giuliani is campaigning on the general War on Terrorism instead of one particular war: "He allows McCain to deal with Iraq."

Only ABC assigned a correspondent to cover McCain's formal announcement of his candidacy. Jake Tapper (subscription required) noted that the former USNavy pilot's campaign is no longer "on an even keel." McCain's support for the war in Iraq has cost him support among the media, Tapper asserted, "a group that helped him in his race seven years ago." The only evidence Tapper presented of media animus towards McCain was the boos of the audience when he visited Comedy Central's The Daily Show so that argument seems like a stretch. The spin from the McCain campaign is that he performs better as the underdog rather than the frontrunner. "He may no longer have a choice," Tapper mused.

On the Democratic side, ABC revived its campaign finance series dubbed The Money Trail. Brian Ross observed that the change in control in Congress had made no difference to fundraising techniques nor to the willingness of lobbyists to pony up. Speaker Pelosi threw a $10K-per-plate dinner "in the kind of scene only a few months ago she labeled corrupt." And top taxwriters Rep Charles Rangell and Sen Max Baucus charged Wall Street financiers $9K per plate at a "swanky" New York dinner in February. Ross checked the year-to-date Congressional fundraising totals: Democrats $32m vs Republicans $23m. "Everything they are doing is legal under the current law. The Democrats are enjoying the privilege of power."


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