The Note: 'Still Standing'


"It's all part of a larger casting call by Bloomberg, and McCain isn't the only leading player to show up," David Saltonstall reports in the New York Daily News.

And McCain does not want to be Bob Dole: "John McCain said Wednesday that he plans to retain his seat in the Senate while running for president, but also said he will think about whether or not it makes more sense to resign," ABC's Bret Hovell reports.

Said McCain: "There's people regularly who ask me to resign, but that has nothing to do with my presidential ambitions."

If McCain is having campaign money troubles, someone forgot to tell the RNC. The national party is set to report a cash-on-hand figure of more than $31 million as of the end of March, an RNC official tells The Note. (The spotlight will be on Howard Dean's DNC, which reported less than $5 million in the bank at the end of February, when March numbers are released later this month.)

If Democrats are having 527 money troubles, someone forgot to tell David Brock. Politico's Ben Smith: "Wealthy Democrats are preparing a four-month, $40 million media campaign centered on attacks on Senator John McCain. And it will be led by David Brock, the former investigative reporter who first gained fame in the 1990s as a right-wing, anti-Clinton journalist."

On the money front, The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Michael Luo do the potential Obama hypocrisy story: "Senators Barack Obama and John McCain are beginning to lay the groundwork for divergent ways of financing fall campaigns for the presidency," they write. "Advisers to Mr. Obama said a decision about public financing would not be made until resolution of his Democratic primary fight against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has not said whether she would take part in the system."

President Bush on Thursday plans to announce his support for Gen. David Petraeus' Iraq recommendations, and will "announce today that he will cut Army combat tours in Iraq from 15 months to 12 months, returning rotations to where they were before last year's troop buildup in an effort to alleviate the tremendous stress on the military," Peter Baker and Jonathan Weisman report in The Washington Post.

This is how he ties it together, per The Weekly Standard's William Kristol: "Our troops want to win in Iraq, and we can see that desire in the gains in recruiting and retention since the surge began. And the surest way to depress morale and weaken the force would be to lose in Iraq."

You may recognize that voice -- if not that hair. Former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., fills in for a recuperating Paul Harvey on Thursday's show. The rest of the story: Romney then he makes his debut as a McCain surrogate Thursday night, with a 7 pm ET speech before the Lancaster County (Pa.) Republican Party.

"It will be interesting to see who else gets a similar invitation to be an official McCain surrogate -- for example, Mike Huckabee, the darling of religious conservative voters, who McCain will need to tap into," Stephen Dinan writes in the Washington Times.

Clinton Thursday night delivers the keynote speech at the Allegheny County Democratic Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Pittsburgh. Obama did not accept the committee's invitation, and he spends his day on a bus tour in Indiana, where Bill Clinton will also campaign Thursday.

Get all the candidates' schedules in The Note's "Sneak Peek."

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