Higher Standards Bite Obama, McCain

McCain has a full day: Boston in the morning, a return to New Hampshire in the afternoon, and New York Thursday evening, for the event at Federal Hall that might have been a joint town hall.

President Bush is in Rome, and First Lady Laura Bush wakes up in Paris.

Get the full political schedule in The Note's "Sneak Peek."

Home Front Rumbles:

"At least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support Sen. John McCain for president, and more than a dozen others declined to answer whether they back the Arizona senator," The Hill's Kristen Coulter and Bob Cusack report.

One of them, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is kinda sorta still running for president -- at least until he speaks before the Texas Republican Party convention Thursday in Houston.

Then there's religious leaders. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, to the AP's Eric Gorski: "What I hear from people . . . is, 'John McCain was not my first choice, John McCain was not my second choice, John McCain was not my third choice. However, I would rather have a third-rate fireman than a first-class arsonist.' And they view Obama as a first-class arsonist."

On the other side: "Barack Obama, for all his attention and primary successes, does not go over so well in a fair number of Democratic lawmakers' home districts," AP's Ben Evans and Sam Hananel report. "If it turns out one of them is an ax murderer or something like that I'll make a choice," said Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga. Otherwise, "I don't think I need to get involved."

Obama does need the big money people involved -- and that's David Plouffe's big task for the balance of this week. "With Senator Barack Obama's campaign manager scheduled to meet Thursday with top fund-raisers for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York, there is resistance from at least some in her once-vaunted network to supporting Mr. Obama," Michael Luo writes in The New York Times.

Said Susie Tompkins Buell: "The Obama campaign has a lot to show me before I will consider being there for them."

Lynn Forester de Rothschild "said she had questions about Mr. Obama's trustworthiness," per Luo. "I love my country more than I love my party," she said. "I can't just fall in line."

More trouble in paradise: The uproar continues (mildly) over Obama's new economics policy director, Jason Furman. "For years we've expressed strong concerns about corporate influence on the Democratic Party," said AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney "in a statement implicitly critical of the symbolism of the appointment, no matter Mr. Furman's economic skills," per The New York Times' Louis Uchitelle.

More encouraging: "Barack Obama has moved into double-digit leads over Republican John McCain in two new polls of women voters, suggesting he is drawing support from women who once backed Hillary Rodham Clinton," Jill Lawrence writes for USA Today.

At least Howard Dean knows his role. At a Christian Science Monitor lunch with reporters, he "repeatedly answered questions with caveats such as 'that won't be my call' or 'the nominee comes in and runs the DNC,' " per ABC's David Chalian.

This fun exchange, on whether Obama should honor his pledge to accept public financing for his campaign: "I don't know what he's going to do and I'm not going to comment on it."

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