Could it be possible that the Obama money machine is losing some steam? "For the first time in the presidential campaign, John McCain matched Barack Obama's monthly fundraising haul, as each presumptive nominee pulled in more than $21 million in May," Dan Morain writes in the Los Angeles Times.
If you toss in the parties: "John McCain and the Republican Party won a fundraising round from Democratic rival Barack Obama and his record-setting money machine in May, together raising a total of $45 million, some $20 million more than the Democrats," per McClatchy's Greg Gordon.
McCain keeps his focus on gas prices and energy, with a noon ET speech in Fresno, Calif., that chides the Bush administration over its relationship with OPEC and fuel-efficiency standards -- and chides all comers over ethanol subsidies.
"Instead of playing favorites, our government should level the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline, lowering both gasoline prices and carbon emissions," McCain plans to say, per excerpts released by his campaign.
More from his speech: "My administration will issue a Clean Car Challenge to the automakers of America, in the form of a single and substantial tax credit based on the reduction of carbon emissions. For every automaker who can sell a zero-emissions car, we will commit a 5,000 dollar tax credit for each and every customer who buys that car."
"I further propose we inspire the ingenuity and resolve of the American people by offering a $300 million prize for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars."
This lands just in time: "Mr. Obama is running as a reformer who is seeking to reduce the influence of special interests. But like any other politician, he has powerful constituencies that help shape his views," Larry Rohter writes in The New York Times. "And when it comes to domestic ethanol, almost all of which is made from corn, he also has advisers and prominent supporters with close ties to the industry at a time when energy policy is a point of sharp contrast between the parties and their presidential candidates."
Rohter continues: "Many economists, consumer advocates, environmental experts and tax groups have been critical of corn ethanol programs as a boondoggle that benefits agribusiness conglomerates more than small farmers. Those complaints have intensified recently as corn prices have risen sharply in tandem with oil prices and corn normally used for food stock has been diverted to ethanol production."
Obama also talked energy over the weekend: "The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee laid out a four-step program that would, among other things, close an 'Enron loophole' that protects some trading in energy futures from federal oversight, his advisers said," per The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut.