No nominee? No problem. "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel have decided to fill a void left by the seemingly endless campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination," the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman reports.
Emanuel "has made it a point of calling reporters who cover McCain's campaign several times a week," Zuckman writes. Says Emanuel, D-Ill.: "Given that we don't have a nominee at this point, I think it's worth reminding people that Bush-McCain is one word the same way Gingrich-Dole was one word in '96."
More McCain woes: "Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is struggling to attract money from some of the same industries that helped bankroll President George W. Bush's record-setting fundraising," Bloomberg's Jonathan Salant reports. "Employees from the securities, construction, pharmaceutical and energy industries, who accounted for about a tenth of Bush's money in 2004, are turned off by his record and giving more to his Democratic rivals, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama."
McCain is prepping for the fall: "In the three months since effectively capturing the Republican nomination, John McCain has built up his staff, filled campaign coffers and tried to define himself as a reliable conservative but not a George W. Bush clone," Laura Meckler and Elizabeth Holmes write in The Wall Street Journal.
Those Ron Paul (and Mike Huckabee) folks are making mischief, too: "Senator John McCain is sailing toward his coronation as the Republican presidential nominee while the Democratic candidates battle fiercely," Brian Mooney writes in The Boston Globe. "But Republicans also are engaged in some tough infighting that could disrupt the national convention and make it more difficult for him to unite the party in the fall."
"It's hard not to notice: In each of the last three Republican primaries, roughly a quarter of the vote went to someone other than John McCain," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes.
"Since Sen. John McCain wrapped up the GOP presidential nomination on March 4, he has had some trouble bringing all of the party's voters into the fold," Dante Chinni writes in the Christian Science Monitor. "He hasn't broken 80 percent of the vote in the state primaries that have followed, including Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Indiana, or North Carolina. In Pennsylvania, for instance, Senator McCain received just 73 percent of the Republican vote in a closed primary in which only registered Republicans were permitted to cast ballots."
Potentially big for the general: "During a private fundraiser last month, Sen. Barack Obama said he was "considering" voluntarily restricting the amount of money he could raise in a general election from campaign donors," Huffington Post's Sam Stein reports.
From the veeps-watch: Yes, that was Romney on CNN again Thursday, as a McCain surrogate, and it was him again later that evening at New York's Metropolitan Club, accepting the Becket Fund's Canterbury Medal for his defense of religious liberty. From his prepared remarks: "I gave a speech about religious liberty during the height of my campaign. This was not a speech I was forced to give, it was a speech I wanted to give. I felt that I had a unique opportunity to address in a very public way the role of faith in America."