The Note

Say Balz and Edsall: "The poor fundraising performance, coming after Gephardt raised $3.5 million in the first quarter, excluding money transferred from a congressional campaign account, prompted new questions about the former House Democratic leader's ability to generate support for his presidential candidacy. Gephardt entered the race with a reputation as one of the most prolific fundraisers in the party's history, but has struggled to attract donors to himself. 'This is not the end of the world. We understand we have a problem here, but we are fixing it,' said Gephardt adviser Steve Elmendorf.'"

"'Clearly, it has to be a disappointment,' a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns said. 'Six million gives him plenty on hand, but the big question is how does it affect future fundraising and what does he need to do to restart the fundraising'"

The New York Times ' Nagourney catches an obvious but important point.

"While there are often discrepancies between the estimates campaigns put out after the filing period ends and the official filing, which was made today, Mr. Gephardt's aides were at a loss to explain the difference." LINK An explanation comes, in part, from campaign manager Steve Murphy in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"[C]ampaign manager Murphy denied any effort to pump up Gephardt's fund-raising figures at the end of last month, when most campaigns released their initial tallies. At the time, several news organizations reported that Gephardt had raised about $4.5 million, a figure attributed to anonymous aides. 'There was no deliberate attempt to mislead anybody,' Murphy said. 'We thought we'd have a little more coming in at the end than we did. We should have kept our mouth shut until we were certain.'" LINK

Nagourney does allow Joe Trippi to defend his candi..rival.

"'Joe Trippi, who is Dr. Dean's campaign manager and was a deputy manager for Mr. Gephardt in his unsuccessful 1988 bid for the presidency, said: 'I would not underestimate his ability to come back from this. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever met, and he's had a well of deep support and affection for him in places like Iowa where it counts.'"

Still to be asked and answered:

(a) WHY was the number so low? Who was supposed to give … and didn't?

(b) Do these numbers reflect continuing viability concerns among Democrats?

(c) Are even union members hedging their bets?

(d) What happened to that fabled, two-decades built up network of Gephardt supporters?

We also noticed that Senator Edwards's second-quarter number was about a half a million lower than we'd been told to expect.

"Shortly after the close of the second quarter, Edwards' aides started spreading the word that he had raised about $5 million during the period," The Raleigh News and Observer's Wagner and Krueger report. LINK "Jennifer Palmieri, a campaign spokeswoman, blamed the lower-than-advertised figure on 'a book-keeping error' that resulted in some contributions being counted more than once and some anticipated checks coming in just past the second-quarter deadline."

"'You'll see those donations accounted for in the third quarter,' Palmieri said. 'We're glad to have the money, regardless of when it came in.'"

Does that mean we ought to subtract $500,000 in our heads come October?

And shall we assume the trial lawyer pool is being tapped more slowly because of the on-going DOJ activity?

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