Bush Burns Through Gov't Election Grant

President Bush began October with just under half his $75 million government check left to cover campaign costs, but another source of money is available should finances get tight.

Republicans have millions left that they can spend on his behalf. As of Oct. 1, the Republican National Committee (search) had spent only $346,000 of the roughly $16 million it can use in coordination with Bush's campaign, according to a monthly campaign finance report the party committee filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission (search).

In addition to the coordinatemocratic rival John Kerry (search) each accepted full government funding for their general-election campaigns, blocking them from using private money to cover new campaign costs after they were nominated at their party conventions. Kerry, nominated by the Democrats roughly a month before Bush's Sept. 2 nomination, has to make his $75 million stretch a month longer than Bush.

The latest numbers for Kerry and the Democratic National Committee (search) were not immediately available; like Bush and the RNC, they had to file reports by midnight Wednesday.

Bush donated about $4 million in leftover primary-campaign money to various GOP committees last month, including $1 million each to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and its House counterpart. Several state parties, including some with close Senate races such as North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota, also received donations from Bush's primary campaign.

Though fund raising for their campaign costs has ended, both candidates can still raise limited contributions for special funds to cover their legal and accounting costs, which will also include any recount expenses.

Bush's legal fund had $8.2 million on hand as October began, its monthly report showed.

In addition to their September reports, both candidates must file reports Thursday with the FEC covering the first half of October.