The Note

Well, the invitation tells the tale:

"Senator Clinton remains a lightning rod for hostility and fundraising from the far right. And she has been conspicuously targeted by the Republican Party for a major challenge to her re-election."

"That's why your early support of the Senator's re-election fund is so critical. New York needs her. The Democratic Party needs her. America needs her."

*For a mere three grand more, guests will "be seated at either Senator Clinton or Secretary Rubin's table."

ABC 2004: The Invisible Primary: The Washington Post 's Sabrina Jones rounds up the Democratic firms and consultants who are benefitting from booming business, complete with Evan Tracey's estimate that a whopping $100 million has been spent on issue ads across the country. LINK

Dems charge hard against the surge of Campaign Clark and the New York Times Notes, "The new focus on General Clark, who shook up the campaign and the polls when he entered the race this month, suggests that he may no longer sail easily through the fray as he did in Thursday's presidential debate, where most candidates focused their criticism on Dr. Dean." LINK

Ron Brownstein points out that many Democratic presidential contenders complain of President Bush's foreign policy bravado, but employ similarly toned rhetoric when talking about trade. LINK

"Virtually every other Democratic contender [in addition to Dean] is simultaneously promising to mend fences with our allies and to get tough with them over trade."

"There are good arguments for both positions. But taken too far, the pledge to crack heads on trade could undermine the promise to smooth relations with the world on everything else."

Note to the RNC "They Said It!" staff: If you haven't already started on Brownstein's column, get busy.

So much money needed, only so many Democratic donors. With the end of the third quarter only hours away, Democratic presidential hopefuls (besides Dean) are frantically shaking the money tree and counting on their own versions of "rangers" and "pioneers" to help them stay viable in the race, reports the Wall Street Journal 's Jeanne Cummings.

In the face of an insurgent who's taken the Internet by storm and rounded up thousands of small donors, not to mention an incumbent who's expected to report raising $40 million for the quarter, the others are hoping to come up with more modest numbers — around $6 for Senator Kerry and $4 million for Congressman Gephardt, Cummings writes.

"The Democrats' problem goes beyond the primary. While they are beating each other up, President Bush, unopposed in his primary, will use his war chest to boost his image. The eventual Democratic nominee very well could emerge from the primary broke, but the president probably will have plenty of money until the two parties' nominees begin receiving taxpayer funds for their general-election campaigns around Labor Day."

If you're looking for a front-runner in the Democratic pack, Mr. Lightman urges you to reconsider and offers these quotables:

-- Lieberman backer Rep. John Larson: "Everyone, with the exception of Dean, is struggling with regard to money."

-- International Association of Firefighters President Schaitberger on Dick Gephardt and his failure to lead the Democrats back to a House majority: "He has to take some responsibility for what's happened there." LINK

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