Ron Paul raises $5 million

Long-shot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul raised a surprising $5 million during the past three months, capitalizing on his stance as the only anti-war contender in the GOP field.

Paul, a Texas congressman who once ran for president as a Libertarian, also will report having $5.3 million cash on hand, campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said.

Hillary is the fundraising queen

Hillary Rodham Clinton defied the usual slow flow of summer money, tapping 100,000 new donors and outpacing all other presidential candidates in the chase for campaign cash over the past three months.

The New York senator raised $27 million in the quarter — $22 million for the primaries and $5 million for the general election — while other candidates fell victim to the traditional third-quarter dip in fundraising.

Rabid right threatens revolt

Some of the nation’s most politically influential conservative Christians, alarmed by the prospect of a Republican presidential nominee who supports abortion rights, are considering backing a third-party candidate.

More than 40 Christian conservatives attended a meeting Saturday in Salt Lake City to discuss the possibility, and planned more gatherings on how they should move forward, according to Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail expert and longtime conservative activist.

Obama, Thompson raise big bucks

Barack Obama raised more than $19 million this summer for the presidential primaries, holding his lead for now in the race for campaign cash though still trailing Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in national polls.

Fred Thompson, the GOP newcomer, has collected more than $11.5 million since June when he began exploring a run, Republicans familiar with his fundraising said Monday.

Are Fred’s new friends just fair weather?

They worked the buffet line like newlyweds greeting guests at their wedding.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson and his bride, Jeri, made all the new friends they could at the Iowa Christian Alliance dinner in the Des Moines suburb of Clive on Saturday night.

They slowed down people on their way to the broasted chicken and mashed potatoes, shook hands and made mostly small talk — all while their young daughter, wearing pigtails and a pink party dress, looked on.

Obama: Hillary is more of the same

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday that the front-runner for his party’s nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton, does not offer the break from politics as usual that voters need.

Both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and her husband, former President Clinton, have criticized Obama for his lack of political experience.

Obama said he understands their argument.

Fundraising oneupmanship begins

Presidential campaigns aggressively competed for dollars up to the last minute of the third quarter, eager to build their bank accounts for an expensive stretch of media advertising and voter outreach.

Candidates were poised to begin revealing their fundraising numbers Monday, leaving the details for later, when they must file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. The first votes of the presidential contest are scheduled to be cast in January.

Too much of the same old pols?

Forty percent of Americans have never lived when there wasn’t a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. Anyone got a problem with that?

With Hillary Rodham Clinton hoping to tack another four or eight “Clinton” years on to the Bush-Clinton-Bush presidential pattern that already has held sway for two decades, talk of Bush-Clinton fatigue is increasingly cropping up in the national political debate.

Outsiders frame political debate

They raise millions of dollars, conduct provocative ad campaigns, work with a vast network of like-minded allies and have the power to frame the presidential election going forward as much as the candidates themselves.

That used to define only the liberal MoveOn.org, an organization of 3.3 million members that has raised $25 million in the past 18 months and is helping spearhead an anti-war coalition.

Cashing in on political stardom

Barack Obama has two best-selling books, a nice salary as a senator and a wife with a handsome income. Earlier this year he reported assets of up to $1.14 million in addition to his Chicago home.

That’s small change to some of his presidential rivals, but more than enough to create entanglements and controversies for Obama, a Democrat who has been positioning himself as a friend of the little guy on financial matters.

Recently, he scolded Wall Street executives for focusing too much on their own success and not enough on what’s good for the whole nation. And he called for tax cuts for the working poor.