Fishy Donors Haunt Hillary’s Run

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McCain's bounce in the polls won't matter if his fund-raising numbers don't bounce back (big time), and the Washington Times reports today that that's not happening. The Times' Ralph Z. Hallow reports that McCain has only raised $3.7 million this quarter -- with just two weeks of fund-raising left -- and quotes a "McCain supporter" on the senator's prospects: "done for." Counters spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker: "Pollsters and experts agree that McCain is clearly gaining traction."

Every time we're ready to give up on Clinton giving a colorful quote, she surprises us. "You can always tell when the Republicans are restless -- because the vice president's motorcade pulls into the Capitol. Darth Vader emerges," Clinton said last night in New York, per ABC's Eloise Harper. (We know -- Obama and Edwards cast Camp Clinton as the Evil Empire. But under her calculations, is she more Luke, Leia, or Obi-Wan?

Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., has an explanation for why he said at the LOGO debate that he believes homosexuality is a "choice." "I was tired. Did you ever fly all night?" he told Washington Post reporters and editors yesterday. Also, he thought it might have been a trick question: "The word 'choice' is a big plus for Democrats."

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., is rolling out his domestic agenda this week, and he puts out his retirement security plan in time for tonight's AARP forum in Iowa (where all the major Democrats save Obama will be). He's open to "upping the retirement age and raising the cap on income subject to the Social Security tax past the $97,500 it was in 2007," per the AP's Amy Lorentzen.

The SEIU is now down to deciding between the Big Three Democrats. That can't be good news for Edwards, who was said to be the front-runner in the endorsement race.

The Washington Post's new "Fact Checker" awards "four Pinocchios" to this Thompson quote from earlier this month: "Our people have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world." Michael Dobbs' calculation: United States: 623,288; Whole World: Tens of millions (including 1.7 British soldiers in just the two World Wars.

The Bush administration is losing another top official (what happened to the Labor Day cutoff?). The White House this morning is announcing that Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns is resigning, so he can run for Sen. Chuck Hagel's seat. As for who Johanns might face? "I expect to say 'yes' or 'no' relatively soon," former senator Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., told the Omaha World-Herald's Jake Thompson.

The Democrats like Michael Mukasey -- but you didn't think confirmation would be bloodless, did you? Columnist Robert Novak sees him as the misguided choice of a "beleaguered" president. "Ideology aside, Mukasey is not well qualified to be attorney general by any rational standard," Novak writes. "With his governmental career exclusively as a prosecutor and judge, he now is being asked to bring order to a building he does not know."

These Republican retirements are getting hard to keep track of. Another GOP moderate, Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill., is expected to announce his retirement in the "near future," per the Chicago Tribune's Jim Tankersley. "Weller, a seven-term incumbent, has faced questions about his re-election intentions all month, following a Tribune investigation that revealed he failed to disclose several land transactions in Nicaragua on his congressional ethics forms," Tankersley writes.

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