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Bush & RNC To Bail Out McCain, While Obama Speaks to 75,000

As if the Republican prospects for the fall elections were not bad enough, it now seems the Republican Party has been asked to bail out John McCain’s deficient fund raising. And what’s more insulting, McCain and the Republicans intend to rely on George Bush, the most unpopular President since Richard Nixon, to put the squeeze on lobbyists to replenish their coffers. From the New York Times:

To confront the Obama juggernaut, Senator John McCain, whose fund-raising has badly trailed that of his Democratic counterparts — and whose efforts suffered a blow this weekend when a key fund-raiser, Tom Loeffler, resigned because of a new campaign policy on conflicts of interest — is leaning on the Republican National Committee.

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. . . .

Mr. McCain, who abandoned public financing in the primary but has indicated he would employ it in the general election, is aggressively building a joint fund-raising operation with the Republican National Committee and state party committees in four battleground states. These committees can raise money far in excess of the $2,300 limit imposed on individuals giving to Mr. McCain’s presidential campaign. Donors can write a single check of almost $70,000 to the committees that is divvied up to various entities.

So here’s the picture: John McCain, who once touted himself as the champion of campaign finance reform, will use his Party’s ability to raise money for his election, while skirting the campaign limits that would apply to McCain’s individual fundraising. While he tries to convince the electorate he’s not tied to Bush’s policies or presidency, nor influenced by lobbyists, McCain will benefit from millions of dollars from lobbyist donations via Bush’s fundraisers.

So Bush shakes down America’s business community, while the White House pulls the strings of one of the most pro-business anti-regulatory regimes we’ve ever experienced. A cynical person might fear our government will be for sale this fall, and McCain’s campaign will be funded by practices barely distinguishable from extortion. Do you think the media will ask McCain how this works? [Update: Today’s Times editorial calls on McCain to release Cindy McCain’s tax returns. (h/t TobyWollin)]

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has raised nearly $40,000,000 a month, partly from large donations but much of it from over 1.5 million individual donors contributing less that $100 each. He’s redefined "public financing." Obama and Senator Clinton are also organizing for joint fund raising with the Democratic Party, but unlike McCain, it’s likely the Democratic nominee will help carry the Party.

Out on the trail, Bill and Chelsea Clinton were in Portland, Salem and Ashland Oregon yesterday, after Hillary had moved on to Kentucky. Obama spoke to a few folks about Social Security — and then drew another 75,000 others along the river in Portland. More pictures via HuffPo, and the Washington Post.

Photo by flicker user Tom Turnbull

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley