Day One of the Fall Campaign

Three candidates are at least technically still running for president, though everyone says it's really down to two.

Let's say it's Day One of the fall campaign. Here's what happened.

Hillary Clinton campaign officials announced she had written another personal check to her own campaign, as a loan. This was for another $6.4 million, bringing the total to $11.4 million she has now lent her own effort to win the White House.

Another way to look at it was that she took all of her husband's speaking engagement money for 2007 ($10.1 million), plus a little more. Or still another angle is that she has lent her campaign a little less than half of her husband's foreign speaking fees collected through 2006 ($27 million). U.S. campaign finance laws forbid foreign money, but Bill Clinton's multi-million dollar popularity overseas winds up as Clinton personal funds, which she can spend freely, if she wishes.

(Nobody can say we weren't warned. Over a year ago, The Washington Post noted in an analysis of the Clinton's financial statements, "The fortune they have amassed… allows them to tap into that wealth for a campaign if Hillary Clinton, as expected, forgoes public financing in her race for president.")

For all of Barack Obama's problems, the very idea that the "blue collar" Democrat candidate had a joint income of $109 million over seven years and could write $11 million checks without much hesitation, might go some to explain why she lost. People notice that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, I would have thought Senator Obama would blush over a quote as gushing and over the top as the one issued by Mr. Landslide himself, former Senator George McGovern. Speaking about why he switched his support from Hillary to Obama, McGovern said, "We may have a second Lincoln" in Mr. Obama.

A Second Lincoln? Have they erected Barack's statue in the park yet? Those Democrats who think Bush spied on us, abridged our rights and stubbornly stuck to a deadly war plan ought to remember Lincoln suspended habaeus corpus, rounded up his political enemies and resolutely pressed a war in which individual battles left thousands dead. But I don't suppose that's the Lincoln former Senator McGovern meant.

And finally, John McCain went on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and was genuinely funny, at least in the sense that he delivered the writers' jokes well. McCain managed to get in at least one dig on Obama's national security cred, while deftly turning down a Stewart suggestion he pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate. Stewart, usually applauded as the smartest newsman on the Left, didn't lay a glove on him

Mrs. Clinton is still officially in the race, but the stars have aligned and the McCain versus Obama campaign is now officially on.

That's My Word.

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