The Note: Greek Drama

"Amid a sea of contributions to the McCain campaign, the Abdullahs stand out. The checks come not from the usual exclusive coastal addresses, but from relatively hardscrabble inland towns like Downey and Colton," the Times' Michael Luo reports. "The donations are also startling because of their size: several donors initially wrote checks of $9,200, exceeding the $2,300 limit for an individual gift."

"[Harry] Sargeant's business dealings have caused controversy. Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, opened an investigation last month into whether his company has been overcharging the military for its contract in Iraq, although Mr. Sargeant said Mr. Waxman's office had an erroneous understanding of what the company was billing," Luo continues.

Veepstakes implications? "Democrats pounced on reports Wednesday that a major fundraiser for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and Republican presidential candidate John McCain had tapped suspiciously apolitical Californians of modest means for thousands of dollars in campaign contributions over the past two years," Wes Allison and Steve Bousquet writes the St. Petersburg Times.

Yet this is as good a metric as any: "Over the past two weeks, his "celebrity" attacks have stomped Democratic presidential opponent Sen. Barack Obama in YouTube hits," Stephen Dinan writes in the Washington Times. "Mr. McCain has beat Mr. Obama's channel for seven straight days and 11 of the past 14 days, in a signal he intends to compete for the YouTube vote. That is a giant reversal. Mr. Obama had been quadrupling Mr. McCain's YouTube views and beat him every day since February, according to TubeMogul, which tracks online video viewing."

Next phase of the messaging isn't all that different from the last phase: "Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?" the new McCain ad (one that's actually running in battleground states) says.

Point taken: "By going after Obama for celebrity, [McCain strategist Steve] Schmidt is taking a page out of the failed playbook of [Arnold] Schwarzenegger's opponent, Phil Angelides. Very odd," Todd Beeton blogs at

It doesn't make it right, but it's not hard to envision how Obama's choice of vacation destinations fits with the frame being built around him. (If you have trouble imagining this, stay tuned to the RNC's page on Thursday.)

Not that it's a fair one: "It's funny to have anybody characterize Barack as an elitist," Michelle Obama told ABC's Robin Roberts in a "Good Morning America" interview Thursday morning. "This is the kid who was raised by a single mother, who didn't have access to many resources who, you know, has walked away his entire life from lucrative careers to work in the community."

Michelle, on her thoughts on the famous New Yorker cover: "This is tacky."

This doesn't help: "Barack Obama, heavily reliant on major donors and celebrities despite his public emphasis on small contributors, upped the ante this week to enter his VIP donor world," Lynn Sweet reports in the Chicago Sun-Times. "A new high was set Monday for hosting or chairing an Obama event; chairs of his birthday fund-raiser in Boston had to raise $285,000; co-chairs needed to collect $142,500."

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