America Coming Together, the liberal 527 that spent lavishly during the 2004 campaign, is sharply scaling back its operations and laying off employees in the face of lackluster fundraising. "It's been very difficult to raise the amount of money we had hoped to raise," Harold Ickes, one of the group's directors, told Roll Call.

So what has happened to all the liberal money? Ask Howard Dean.

The Democratic National Committee reported that Democrats' fundraising during the first half of this year jumped by more than 50 percent compared with the same period in 2003, the last non-election year. The Democratic National Committee, the party's Senate and House campaign committees along with its constellation of state and local parties reported taking in more than $86 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Their Republican counterparts posted a more modest 2 percent increase over the same period in 2003. But the GOP still significantly outfundraised the Democrats, receiving more than $142 million.

The DNC recorded a 66 percent increase, from $19 million in 2003 to $31 million this year. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's fundraising more than doubled to nearly $23 million. The Republican National Committee said it raised $62 million, up 11 percent from 2003. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said fundraising increased by more than 40 percent to $21 million.

Rove Protest a Windfall for GOP Lawmaker

MoveOn and another liberal activist group picketed Bush aide Karl Rove's appearance at a fundraiser Tuesday on Pennsylvania Avenue for Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.). Some of the demonstrators carried plungers to highlight the Justice Department's probe into Rove's role in the "leak" of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. But Rove, driving a Ford Escape, slipped into the garage unnoticed by the demonstrators.

But the protest -- and the previous effort to get Gerlach to dump Rove from the $1,000-a-head fundraiser -- appear to have had the reverse of the intended effect. The Wayne (Pa.) Suburban newspaper quoted organizers saying that attendance increased from the original plan for 40 people to more than 100 coming out to see what Rove had to say.

Good Politician, Lousy Journalist

Q: Did you take notes?

A: No.

Q: Did you tape it?

A: No. I don't have time to read notes. Anyhow, I was there, why would I need notes? I don't write for the New York Times.

-- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), talking with reporters about his private meeting Wednesday with Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr.