The Note

It's the 20th, so that means FEC filing reports from the presidential campaign!

The Bush-Cheney '04 campaign is filing their March fundraising numbers this morning with the FEC and will report that it raised $26.1 million in March. This brings the grand total to $184.4 million, well over the long-stated goal of $170 that the campaign was aiming for.

The campaign will also report that it had $86.6 in cash on hand at the end of March, spending nearly $100 million so far.

In March, the campaign raised $10.1 million through events, $14.4 million through direct mail and phones, and $1.6 online.

USA Today's Jim Drinkard and Judy Keen look at the BC04 spending and Note that it "reflects heavy television ad buying in February and March, when the campaign put on a blitz aimed at shaping an unfavorable image of Kerry in voters' minds. The campaign also has been building an organization in key states." LINK

Back to Pennsylvania . . . In yet another poll this morning, one by Quinnipiac University shows that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) is in trouble in his race for re-election. Conservative voters in Pennsylvania have shifted their support to Rep. Pat Toomey going into the Republican primary giving Toomey a 49 percent to 44 percent lead among likely voters. For full results, check out the Q-poll's site LINK.

The Post-Gazette team of O'Toole and Barnes Note that Specter traveled to Pittsburgh on Air Force One with the President and Sen. Santorum and made this observation:

"The image of the three of them, arms linked before the cheering crowd, is certain to become familiar to the state's television viewers between now and next week's primary. A Specter film crew captured the event for use in commercials over the campaign's final sprint."

O'Toole and Barnes also look at how the Specter/Bush alliance can help the President in the key battleground state in the fall:

"In some ways, administration allies view Specter's presence on the ticket as an aid to Bush's chances of carrying a state that he lost by five percentage points four years ago. Specter's record rankles some conservatives, but his support among moderates, particularly in southeastern Pennsylvania, is viewed as a potential plus for the entire Republican ticket in the fall." LINK

The Inquirer's Budoff also looks at the Specter/Bush meeting in terms of how it can win votes for the President (so the trip was not all about Specter??) LINK

"Specter argues that his centrist record could help Bush appeal to moderate voters, particularly in Philadelphia's moderate-leaning suburbs, a strong base for the senator and an area where one-third of the state's registered Republicans reside."

"Bush is embracing Specter for another reason: The senator, if reelected, will most likely head the Senate Judiciary Committee, giving him influence over federal judicial nominations. Specter has been a hesitant supporter of some Bush nominees, and the President's support in the primary could improve their relationship in a potential second term."

The Allentown Morning Call leads with the President stumping for the Patriot Act. John Micek Notes that "Bush appeared strong in his resolve, defending the war on Iraq while painting the fight against terrorism as a battle of good against evil that America must win." LINK

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