The Morning Read: Monday, March 31, 2008

John McCain has not signed up the same big donors who fueled George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Maggie Williams, earned $200,000 from a subprime lender.

Barack Obama has widened his national lead over Clinton, with 52 percent to her 42 percent.

David Paterson and legislative leaders say they can pass the state’s $124 billion budget by tonight’s deadline.

The budget would bring state taxes on cigarettes to $2.75 a pack and increase education spending by $1.8 billion.

The cigarette tax in the city would jump to $4.50 a pack.

Jim Odato wonders where the state revenues are coming from.

Paterson noted that “you just can’t get everything done on Day 1.” [second item]

Eliot Spitzer’s longtime spokeswoman, Christine Anderson, is leaving the governor’s office.

Working Family Party officials reportedly referred to Malcolm Smith as a “disappointment” and are wondering whether to help Democrats take over the State Senate.

Several Republican State Senators declined offers to join the Spitzer administration or switch parties.

The state police may have a unit that targets elected officials.

Tony Avella officially launched his mayoral campaign.

Almost every major 2009 candidate for citywide office was at a breakfast on the Upper West Side on Sunday.

Major development projects in the city are slowing down because of the worsening economy.

Diane Cardwell talks to people who prefer to drive into Manhattan, rather than take public transportation.

Sheldon Silver isn’t happy with renovations in his district that are being conducted by the city Department of Transportation.

"One hopes that Ted Kennedy isn’t the jealous type, because it looks as though Barack Obama has a new best friend," writes The Washington Post.

A string of Democrats are reportedly set to endorse Obama in the coming weeks.

Some Republicans are also endorsing him.

Kenneth P. Vogel follows up on the Politico story about the Obama questionnaire, and finds that the senator "played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion."

John Koblin notes the appearance of the New York Times in the Troopergate report.

The New Yorker visits Trinity United Church in Chicago.

Get ready to see much more of Al Gore.

And the New York Post talks to Bosnians who didn’t like Hillary Clinton’s tale about her visit to their country. The Morning Read: Monday, March 31, 2008