Everybody Gets Paid: On Tuesday, President Bush will kick off a fundraising spree, expecting to bring in at least $20 million for his re-election campaign. According to USA Today, Mr. Bush's two-week blitz is expected to put him close to the $25 million combined total for all nine of his Democratic opponents' in the first quarter of this year.
In the first quarter, which ended on March 31, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., led presidential fundraising with $7.4 million. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was not far behind with a tally of $7 million. But now, Mr. Bush is on the road with a goal of collecting at least $170 million for his 2004 campaign, nearly doubling his record breaking $101 million total in 2000.
By the end of June, Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and first lady Laura Bush will host 14 fundraisers in 10 states and the District of Columbia. For the first event Tuesday in Washington, two hundred Republican activists are set to raise $20,000 each. If everything goes as planned, the Bush/Cheney campaign will collect $4 million in the first day. In New York on June 23, the president could raise $4 million and two events in California on June 27 could bring in as much as $6 million.
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports that the Democratic National Committee will host the first of five fundraising events on June 25, expecting to collect $1.5 million toward their goal of $18 million to help the party's presidential nominee next spring.
Mr. Bush has a huge advantage during the primary season—he has no opponent and will not have to abide by the spending limits that come with federal funding. The Democrats, if they agree to take "matching funds," will have maximum of $44 million to use for the primaries and thought the July convention.
Mr. Bush aides suggest that he'll wait until next spring to spend the lions share of the $170-plus million. "This is about demoralizing the Democratic contenders," Republican strategist and Bob Dole's 1996 campaign manager Scott Reed told USA Today.
Is This What Happens When Your Campaign Manager Is A Media Consultant?: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will be the first Democratic presidential candidate to hit the airwaves in Campaign 2004 when he releases a new TV ad in Iowa this week.
The 30-second spot entitled "Straight Talk" - made by Dean manager Joe Trippi's firm, Trippi, McMahon and Squier - will run statewide in Iowa beginning Tuesday through July 2 and is expected to cost $300,000. The spot features Dean standing in front of a barn and tractor looking into the camera and giving a shortened stump speech, complete with criticism of President Bush.
The AP reports that the buy is large enough that the average Iowan will see the ad nine times per week between now and July 2. And the campaign is considering buying more airtime beyond the initial 300k. Candidates who accept public financing during the primaries are limited to spending $2.5 million, and Dean's buy would constitute nearly 10 percent of that.
Over the weekend, Dean won the straw poll put on by WisPolitics.com and The Hotline at the Wisconsin Democratic Party's convention in Milwaukee. Dean beat his nearest competitor, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, 203 to 50. (Delegates and "register guests" were counted separately, with Dean winning both categories solidly. Our figures reflect the total votes.)
The national party and all nine Democratic presidential campaigns (including Dean's) signed a letter urging delegates to skip the straw poll. Reuters reports that only one-third of the convention attendees actually took part in the vote. Even Dean himself told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the straw polls "don't mean much."
Following Dean and Kerry, both of whom reportedly worked to organize supporters to attend the convention, was Rep. Dennis Kucinich with 27 votes, Sen. Bob Graham with 19 votes, Sen. John Edwards with 18 votes and Rep. Dick Gephardt (who skipped the event) with ten votes. All the other candidates were in the low single digits.
Finally, some real news: Dean and Kerry actually agree on something. Sort of. Both candidates have come out against the Senate bill that would provide a prescription drug benefit under the Medicare program.
Of course, the two can't agree on why they agree.
According to the Des Moines Register, Dean says the bill puts too much power in corporate hands. For his part, Kerry says the bill is flawed because it covers too few people.
Clinton Books Recipe For Big Bucks: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's promotional tour for her new book, "Living History," has turned into the perfect opportunity for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to pull in some extra cash, reports Roll Call.
The DSCC has planned at least seven events this summer around Clinton's promotional stops in Chicago, San Francisco, L.A., Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver and New Jersey to help raise cash for the committee. In addition, the senator will sign books and attend fund-raisers for 2004 re-election candidates Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Patty Murray, D-Wash.
"We basically said, 'Well, you give us what you want and we will do the most of it we can,'" Clinton said about the requests to raise money for the party and her colleagues.
Clinton's book tour is just another way to use her strength in raising cash. In the 2002 election cycle, Clinton donated $1.4 million to Democrats, according to Roll Call, and this year she has already hosted a $500,000 fund-raiser at her D.C. home.
"She is one of our stars," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., told the newspaper. "She is a proven fundraiser, so the more she is able to get around the country, the more successful we'll be."
Meantime, the publisher of "Living History," Viacom-owned Simon & Schuster, is laughing all the way to the bank. The Wall Street Journal reports today that the book has already made back the $8 million the publisher shelled out for Clinton's advance.
And former President Bill Clinton is getting in the book game as well – not only with his expected memoirs – but with a cookbook due out in August.
The New York Post reports, via Ireland's Star newspaper, that former president is enlisting big-time "Friends of Bill" to submit recipes for the book, which will raise money for the William Jefferson Clinton Library Foundation.
U2 lead singer Bono has already offered his favorite dish for the cookbook that also contains recipes from the Clintons themselves and former administration officials.
As for the fund-raising aspect of the book, a spokesman said the money wouldn't just be used to build the library but that Mr. Clinton's foundation is also "involved in combating HIV/AIDS, promoting citizen service and other causes."
Political Week Ahead:
Mon. 6/16 – Howard Dean campaigns in Bedford and Newcastle, N.H.
Mon. 6/16 – Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., raises money in New York.
Tue. 6/17 – New Democrat Network annual meeting in Washington at Capital
Hyatt. Gen. Wesley Clark, Graham and Sen. Joe Lieberman confirmed as speakers; Kerry and Dean will participate electronically.
Tues. 6/17 - Rep. Dick Gephardt makes energy/environmental speech in Mountain View, Calif.
Tues. 6/17 – President Bush will host a Bush/Cheney fundraiser in Washington, D.C.
Tues. 6/17 – Dean campaigns in Council Bluffs, Cass County and Des Moines, Iowa.
Tues. 6/17 - Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., delivers policy speech on taxes at at Georgetown University in Washington.
Wed. 6/18 – Lieberman campaigns in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Wed. 6/18-6/19 – Sen. John Kerry campaigns in New Hampshire.
Thurs. 6/19 – Edwards campaigns in Illinois.
Thurs. 6/19 – Dean campaigns in San Francisco, where he speaks to San Francisco Bar Assoc., and in Marin County.
Thurs. 6/19-6/21 – Association of State Democratic Party Chairmen meeting in
Minneapolis-St. Paul. Presidential candidate forum on Friday. Kerry, Dean and
Lieberman confirmed as of Monday.
Fri. 6/20 – President Bush will host a Bush/Cheney fundraiser in Greensboro, GA.
Fri. 6/20 – First Lady Laura Bush will host a Bush/Cheney fundraiser in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Sat. 6/21 – Dean campaigns in Iowa City, Iowa and Washington County, Iowa.
Sun. 6/22 – Kerry takes part in Sen. Tom Harkin's "Hear from the Heartland" series in Mason City, Iowa.
Sun. 6/22 – Rainbow/PUSH Coalition presidential candidate forum at 3 p.m. in Chicago. Eight of the nine candidates are confirmed as attendees according to the organizers. (Edwards declined, a Rainbow/PUSH spokeswoman said.)
Quote of the Day: "Contrary to assertions made in this morning's Boston Globe profile, Kerry did not 'request to transfer out of Vietnam.'" – John Kerry campaign press release saying Kerry was informed by his commanding officer that he was going to be transferred after receiving his third Purple Heart.