Politico's Allen broke the news regarding the fifth resignation from Team McCain over lobbying entanglements -- this one national finance co-chair Tom Loeffler. "The McCain campaign, already facing the prospect of being badly outgunned in the general election, now also must cope with the disruption of the lobbying shakeout. The McCain campaign's stringent approach to the issue is provoking a bit of grumbling from some of its Washington allies, who point out that a lobbyist's function is enshrined in the Constitution. 'No one in real America cares,' said one key Republican. 'But McCain cares.'"
"The senator, whose appeal to independent voters rests in part on his reformist image, recognizes that he will be held to a high standard in the coming campaign and wants to clean house before the general election formally kicks off, sources say. The McCain campaign last week announced a restrictive 'McCain Campaign Conflict Policy' that included a questionnaire to be returned to the campaign's legal department as part of a re-vetting of all staff."
The AP: "Loeffler, who runs the lobbying shop The Loeffler Group, is the highest profile departure from McCain's inner circle since a summer 2007 shake-up cost McCain his campaign manager and chief strategist. Among Loeffler's clients is the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., the parent company of plane manufacturer Airbus. Northrop Grumman Corp. and EADS won a lucrative contract to provide air refueling tankers for the Air Force. McCain helped scuttle an earlier contract in 2004 that would have gone to a competitor, Boeing Co."
The New York Times takes a look at McCain's efforts to attempt to keep up with Obama on the financial front. "To confront the Obama juggernaut, Senator John McCain, whose fund-raising has badly trailed that of his Democratic counterparts, is leaning on the Republican National Committee. Mr. McCain's efforts to raise money suffered a blow this weekend when a key fund-raiser, Tom Loeffler, resigned because of a new campaign policy on conflicts of interest."
"Mr. McCain is likely to depend upon the party, which finished April with an impressive $40 million in the bank and has significantly higher contribution limits, to an unprecedented degree to power his campaign, Republican officials said. To that end, Republican officials said they were enlisting President Bush, a formidable fund-raiser who has raised more than $36 million this year for Republican candidates and committees, for three events on Mr. McCain's behalf. They will appear together at a fund-raiser in Phoenix on May 27, and the next day the president will take part in a luncheon with Mitt Romney in Salt Lake City and then an exclusive dinner at Mr. Romney's vacation home in Park City, Utah."
Politico's Martin takes a look at the lack of distance McCain has actually sough with President Bush. "In a delicious piece of irony, many dispirited Republicans, devastated by Tuesday's special election loss in Mississippi, now believe their savior to be John McCain — a not-so-constant conservative many of them also have long intensely disliked. The logic: McCain, the vaunted maverick, can move the party away from President Bush and reinvent a Republican brand that, at the moment, is in tatters."
"'The public is prepared to believe that McCain is a different kind of Republican,' said Republican Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli, McCain's point man at the committee. 'This is not some political idea that was cooked up.'"
The New York Post reports on McCain having breakfast with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg the morning after his appearance on Saturday Night Live.
McCain joked on SNL, telling Democrats, "I have to urge you, under any circumstances, do not pick a candidate too soon."
The DNC's research shop has unveiled McCainpedia. "It's an electronic encyclopedia that provides the opportunity for anyone, anywhere to review the raw facts and research on John McCain's record and use it or share it any way they choose," a DNC spokesman tells First Read.
Newsweek's Alter has nothing but praise for McCain's promise to do Congress avails -- i.e., take questions from members of Congress in a British Parliamentary style event. It's a promise that hasn't gotten near enough attention.
Time's Scherer and Park take a look at McCain's personal health. Just a reminder: The McCain camp is preparing to release detailed medical records this Friday. "[A]fter weeks of delay, the McCain campaign plans to deal with the issue later this month, with a release of his medical records and a briefing by his various doctors in Arizona, where he underwent the surgery. Though details are still being firmed up, the campaign says it expects to offer enough documents and medical opinions to lay to rest any concerns about the candidate's condition. 'What you are going to find is that he is in good health,' says Charlie Black, a senior adviser to the campaign."
The New York Times editorial page calls on Cindy McCain to re-think her decision to release her tax returns.
McCain will talk about trade and farm policy in a speech in front of the National Restaurant Association in Chicago. Some excerpts: "Lost in all of this deal-making and money-grabbing in Washington is not only the common good in our own country, but a concern for other people across the world – people who look to us for an example of fairness and honesty. When the United States and Europe subsidize our biggest agricultural producers, we distort global prices and we hurt the world's poorest farmers in Africa and elsewhere. These men and women wonder how our government can live with such policies, even at the expense of our own citizens. They believe that our massive subsidies to American producers are a form of protectionism, helping already rich companies at the expense of people and nations in need. They think that these corporate subsidies are inconsistent with our own standards and ideals, and with the good heart of America. And my friends, they are right."
"If I am elected president, I will seek an end to all agricultural tariffs, and to all farm subsidies that are not based on clear need. I will veto any bill containing special-interest favors and corporate welfare in any form. We're going to base our farm policy on the common good, with policies that help our small farmers to succeed, and our rural communities to survive and flourish once again. We're going to help American producers large and small to compete in foreign markets -- because we know they are up to the challenge, without need of unfair advantages and billion-dollar favors. We're going to help developing countries in every way we can -- by sharing our technologies, by supporting micro-credit banking programs in Africa and elsewhere, and above all by setting an example of fair dealing with other nations."