Money, race and more from politics blog

Clinton is up, Pelosi is down

-- and Thompson is still testing the waters for a possible presidential run.

Money chart

The figures soon will be flying fast and furious in the presidential campaign. Shortly after the end of the second-quarter fundraising period Saturday, some candidates will proudly post their take and crow about their momentum.


Others will more quietly file their paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and let the numbers speak for themselves when the reports are officially released in mid-July.

For those keeping score at home (and for those eager to start), here’s a reminder of how various candidates fared during the first quarter (Jan. 1-March 31).

What they reported raising from others in that period, rounded off, in millions:









Kucinich...$ 0.3











Hillary highs


Hillary Rodham Clinton has two reasons to glow: strong pundit reviews for her performance at last week’s candidate forum on African American issues, and new Gallup Poll results showing big support for her among Democratic and Democratic-leaning black and Latino voters.

The reviews: “First place ... looked like she was in charge,” wrote Roger Simon on Clinton “spoke with greater confidence on race issues” than did Barack Obama, wrote Mary Mitchell in the Chicago Sun-Times. “Clinton and [John] Edwards were very good, Obama more spotty but better as time went on,” blogged Rick Klein of the Note on ABC News’ website.

The poll numbers: Clinton “easily has the highest favorable ratings among blacks and Hispanics,” said Gallup in releasing its results Friday. Some 84% of blacks and 63% of Hispanics in the survey had a favorable impression of Clinton.

Obama, by contrast, was viewed favorably by 68% of blacks and 33% of Hispanics (with more than half of all Hispanics saying they did not know enough about him to form an opinion).


There are even more interesting numbers in a separate Gallup Poll released Wednesday.

With Al Gore in the mix, Obama had the support of 40% of black respondents, compared with 37% for Clinton (the gap lies within the poll’s margin of error, which statistically makes them tied), 9% for Gore and 3% for Edwards.

The fight for African American voters -- a key part of the Democratic base -- continues.

Will 43 do all 50?


President Bush’s stop at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., last week marked the 49th state he has visited since moving into the White House in 2001, notes James Gerstenzang, who covers the White House for The Times.

The previous two presidents -- his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton -- made a point of stopping in all 50 (though the latter barely made it, traveling to Nebraska during the last month of his second term). One can only assume the current White House occupant (known by close associates as “43" to distinguish him from his dad, who was the 41st president) will check out the last outpost on his itinerary before he rides off into the Texas sunset.

If and when Bush does make that trip, it could be an entertaining visit to watch. The state?

Vermont -- home of Howard Dean, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and more Birkenstocks than there are cattle at Bush’s Texas ranch.... OK, so that’s not too many, but you get the idea. The embrace Bush could expect from the Green Mountain State would not likely be warm -- 59% of the 2004 vote there went to John Kerry.


Pelosi’s popularity takes a hit

A new poll of about 2,000 California residents reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s standing in her home state is headed in the wrong direction: Her approval rating has fallen 13 percentage points since March, to 39% from 52%.

That finding, in the new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, is of a piece with attitudes toward Congress in general in the state: 33% give the gang on Capitol Hill positive ratings, down 9 percentage points since the Democrats took control in January. And 68% say they don’t expect that the Democrats and President Bush will be able to work effectively to accomplish much this year.

The public’s view of Congress traditionally polls low, even in the best of times. Still, the trend line isn’t one Pelosi and her fellow Democratic leaders in Washington can find comforting.


Closer to home, Californians aren’t all that optimistic about the Democratic state Legislature and GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming a juggernaut for progress, either -- 49% think they might be able to work well together, down from 62% in January.

Thompson not curbing his enthusiasm

Fred Thompson took more steps toward a presidential candidacy, opening a “testing the waters” office last week in Nashville and attending a nearby fundraiser for him sponsored by a prominent backer.

The host was Mike Curb, identified in the Nashville Tennessean article on the event as a “music mogul and philanthropist.” But Californians with good memories will recall that Curb was once a major -- and contentious -- player in state politics and that a career path on the national scene seemed within the realm of possibility for him.


Curb, 63, was a boy wonder in the burgeoning music industry of the early 1960s, starting his own record company while he was still a student at what is now Cal State Northridge. In 1969, he was named head of MGM Records. Culturally conservative at the time -- and in a business when that was hardly the prevailing ethos -- he gained notoriety for dumping from MGM’s roster bands such as the Mothers of Invention.

Politics eventually beckoned; in 1978, barely in his 30s, he was elected lieutenant governor “with the backing of ... powerful Republicans who helped give” Ronald Reagan his start, according to a Times article a few years back recapping his career.

Excerpted from The Times’ political blog Top of the Ticket, at Staff writer Scott Martelle contributed.