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Fundraising: Better, but not stellar

McCain's fundraising picked up in March but still trailed Obama dramatically. He held steady with Clinton.

The Los Angeles Times: "McCain's money situation came into sharp focus Sunday when he filed a campaign finance report that showed he had raised only $15.4 million in March, the first full month after he became the presumptive GOP nominee. By comparison, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts raised almost three times that much in the month after he locked up the Democratic nomination four years ago. McCain ended March with a modest $11.6 million in the bank, despite having few expenses."

The New York Times does an examination of McCain's bundlers and finds a good chunk of lobbyists. But will voters care?  "The sizable number of lobbyists, who are outnumbered on the list only by those working in the financial services industry, offers another example of the balancing act that Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is having to strike as he campaigns for the presidency and seeks to maintain his reputation as a reformer." 
 
Meanwhile, the Washington Post looks at the difficulty Republicans are having to fund their outside groups this year. "This year, allies of President Bush such as Rove, billionaire T. Boone Pickens, New York financier Paul Singer and Florida developer Mel Sembler, who helped harness and direct millions of dollars to the 2004 campaign, are working to rekindle those efforts. But they are finding the 2008 landscape to be more challenging, according to Republican sources familiar with the ongoing talks. Some donors have shied away from involving themselves in efforts to aid McCain, a persistent critic of back-channel campaign funds. Others have succumbed to the broader malaise among Republicans. Still others are skittish about heightened scrutiny from regulators who have vowed to crack down on outside efforts to influence this year's campaign. "