Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney is often eager to see good news for Democrats. After learning ofthe 2006 takeover by the Democrats of the House (and before the Democrats had officially regained the Senate) he claimed in an online in-house interview that the party "can clearly claim a mandate " for its policies - though that mandate has been less than clear so far.
"For anyone looking for a sign of the health of the Democratic Party going into the 2008 presidential campaign, it came Wednesday with the last of the fund-raising figures reported by the major presidential candidates.
"With the $25 million reported by Senator Barack Obama's campaign, closing in on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's $26 million, the Democratic presidential candidates collectively outperformed the Republicans , and by a substantial amount: Democrats raised a total of about $78 million, compared with just over $51 million by their rivals, according to preliminary first-quarter figures provided by the campaigns.
"That is remarkable because Republicans have historically proved better at collecting contributions. In every presidential primary season since 1976, the top fund-raiser was a Republican.
"The new numbers offered what even Republicans described as measurable evidence that Democrats today are more confident about their prospects of winning back the White House, and - not typically for their party - satisfied with their candidates. That enthusiasm gap is emerging as one of the early dynamics of the 2008 campaign."
But if fundraising levels at this preliminary stage of the campaign are worthy of front-page play, what about current polling data? Nagourney could have thrown in the latest preliminary polls that show two top Republican candidates, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain, beating both Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama in head-to-head match-ups in 2008. Perhaps that would have thrown too much cold water on the optimistic Democratic spin.