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« The Exchange: Ranking Senate Races | Blog Home Page | Morning Thoughts: Trouble For Obama, Edwards? »

Morning Thoughts: Fundraising Gets Weird

MANCHESTER -- After a big Democratic debate last night (check out the wrap-up here), did anything change? We'll see. But before we do:

-- The Senate today takes up hate crimes legislation, and if Senator Hillary Clinton's jab lands, Senator Barack Obama will be there (see the wrap-up for more on that). Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee takes a look at air travel delays after what was reportedly the worst summer in history for long, unexpected waits.

-- The lower chamber, meanwhile, takes up flood insurance reform and small business investment. Democrats keep hammering Iraq, as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing assessing the state of that country's corruption.

-- Vice President Dick Cheney raises Republican cash today in Nevada and Colorado, both for the party instead of a named candidate.

-- Mayor Rudy Giuliani, just days before the end of the third quarter fundraising period, has replaced top fundraiser Anne Dunsmore. A spokeswoman told the New York Times Dunsmore hadn't been fired, and another spokesman refused to elaborate to RCP, saying only the campaign was going in a new direction. The campaign has tapped Jim Lee, a former Bush fundraiser, to take over the money shop.

-- Meanwhile, we heard rumors about one Democratic candidate being ill last night, and today Mitt Romney has canceled a few weekend events because he, too, is feeling under the weather. And in Long Beach yesterday, the former venture capitalist who has given $9 million to his own campaign said he would be willing to write himself another check down the road. Will he wait until the start of the fourth quarter? His last contribution, of $6 million, came in the second quarter, as far as we know.

-- Senator John McCain is trying to get back on track in New Hampshire, where he has always seemed more comfortable. The beleaguered campaign has bought television time in New Hampshire for the campaign's first ad. McCain holds a 10:30 conference call with reporters today to discuss.

-- In some actual good news for Republicans in the House, 2006 nominee Angie Paccione announced yesterday that she would not seek a rematch against Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado's 4th District. Paccione came within two points of knocking off Musgrave, a relatively unpopular incumbent still in a GOP-leaning district, in '06. Her departure means Democrats will have to rely on Sen. Ken Salazar's former aide Betsy Markey and former Reagan appointee and 2006 independent candidate Eric Eidsness to take the seat.

-- Credit Where Credit Is Due Of The Day: As (some) Republicans head to Baltimore tonight for a debate aimed at attracting African-American voters to the GOP, Republican strategists are urging candidates to show up and participate in forums and debates targeting minority groups. The GOP doesn't have the luxury of writing off some constituencies, argued Armstrong Williams on National Public Radio yesterday. But before every Republican candidate is painted with the same broad brush, remember that Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo was the only candidate to show up at the NAACP's presidential forum in Detroit in July. The image of Tancredo amid eight other empty podiums was his best press day of the year.

-- Today On The Trail: Tancredo, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter and Alan Keyes will face Tavis Smiley's questions in Baltimore tonight. John McCain gives what's billed as a major policy address on Iraq in New York City. In California, Rudy Giuliani wins backing from ex-Gov. Pete Wilson, then meets residents in Santa Barbara and hits a fundraiser in Lancaster. Fred Thompson is still in Tennessee, raising more money. On the Democratic side, it's rally day for Barack Obama, in Washington Square Park, while John Edwards participates in a candidate "dialogue," sponsored by MySpace and MTV, in Durham, New Hampshire, then kicks off a two-day sprint around the state. Bill Richardson has media events in East Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Off to catch a flight. Next dispatch coming from Washington.