SLOAN, Iowa -- He squeezed into the diner flanked by burly fellows in pinstriped suits.
When the country's most famous city slicker came to this small farm town last week, a good portion of Sloan's roughly 1,000 residents jammed into the corner cafe to catch a glimpse or touch his hands.
Some call Republican Rudolph Giuliani "America's Mayor" because of that day in New York City that he always reminds folks about: Sept. 11, 2001.
The 2008 White House race has groundbreaking candidates, record-shattering spending and crowded debates, but so far it lacks a more common feature of recent campaigns -- negative and sometimes personal attacks.
It's still early, though.
The sprawling fields of contenders in both parties have kept a largely civil tone through the early stages of a fast-starting White House race, mostly avoiding direct confrontations and leaving the rare attacks to surrogates.
Second-quarter campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show former GOP frontrunner John McCain with $3.2 million cash on hand - about $1.2 million above the $2 million that the campaign predicted would be reflected in the official report.
The final figures erase a significant talking point promoted by the campaign of long-shot candidate Ron Paul which, for the last three weeks, has argued that their candidate would have more money in the bank than McCain.
McCain, however, is not out of the financial woods. His campaign filings show $1.8 million in debt through the end of June while the Paul campaign reports zero debt. Paul has more "net worth" than McCain at this point although McCain has outraised Paul 8-1 and outspent the Texas Congressman by 10-1.
Divisions over Iraq extended to the presidential campaign during the Senate's all-night debate, with Republican John McCain steadfastly backing President Bush's war strategy as Democratic rivals demanded troop withdrawals.
"Our defeat there would be catastrophic, not just for Iraq, but for us," the Arizona senator said Wednesday. "As long as we have a chance to succeed we must try to succeed."
In a speech just after 4 a.m., Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York argued: "It is time for us to move our troops out of harm's way in the middle of the Iraqi civil war."
The plight of Republican Sen. John McCain's campaign for U.S. president conjures up all sorts of mixed metaphors: On a wing and a prayer, teetering on the brink, one foot in the grave, down to his last bullet.
Can he come back from the dead, rise from the ashes, turn the tide, survive to fight another day? Or has the train already left the station?
And the leading Republican presidential candidate is ... none of the above.
The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans are unwilling to back top-tier hopefuls Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain or Mitt Romney, and no one candidate has emerged as the clear front-runner among Christian evangelicals. Such dissatisfaction underscores the volatility of the 2008 GOP nomination fight.
It didn't matter whether they raised more money or not, most presidential candidates certainly boosted their spending in the second quarter of the year.
More on staff. More on travel. More on consultants.
Democrats outraised Republicans about $80 million to $50 million from April through June. But Republicans kept pace with Democrats on spending — nearly $50 million spent on both sides.
Ron Paul, the Texas congressman running a long-shot campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, raised $2.4 million from April through June and ended the quarter with a similar amount in the bank, according to financial reports filed Sunday.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd on Saturday criticized rivals John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who were overheard discussing among themselves their hope of limiting the number of Democrats in presidential debates.
The private exchange was picked up by several broadcasters on an open microphone after an NAACP forum in Detroit on Thursday. All the Democratic contenders took part in the program, including Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore ended his long-shot campaign for presidency on Saturday.
The 57-year-old Republican said in a written statement that his late start, near the end of April, and the front-loaded primary schedule "have made it impractical to continue."