While Democrats Fight On, McCain Has Biggest Fundraiser Yet

(CBS)

From CBS News' Andante Higgins:


NEW YORK -- The big names came out for the presumptive Republican nominee, giving him his best night in fundraising so far. Sources close to the campaign tell CBS News they took in seven million dollars at the sold-out event, which was chaired by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and included an appearance by Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump. The money will go to McCain's campaign as well as to the Republican National Committee. Though he trails far behind Democrats in raising money, his numbers are improving. "The fundraising is decidedly better, but we recognize we have a long way to go," said Jill Hazelbaker, McCain communications director.

Representatives from nearly all the former 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls are now working for McCain's finance operation. Meg Whitman, a key figure from Mitt Romney's campaign and former eBay CEO, is among the most recognizable names, along with Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett Packard.

McCain remains in New York today, where he is scheduled to tape an interview with Regis and Kelly this morning and with Bill O'Reilly this afternoon. He will also make a swing by a firehouse here before being honored as one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He made the list along with Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and will make a toast tonight at the gala.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., wrote about his buddy's place on the list. "Time and again, I have seen him rise above negativism and partisanship to solve problems—reforming our laws on ethics and campaign finance, creating the 9/11 commission, fighting to stop global warming and prevent torture of detainees. While others talk about taking on the Washington special interests, John has done it," Leiberman writes. "Besides all that, John likes to laugh—often at himself—which is another kind of courage not found in all politicians. John McCain's life has earned him a place on the TIME 100 list and has prepared him to be America's next great president."

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