ROUND ROCK, Texas, March 3 (UPI) -- A top adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain says the Republican presidential hopeful will have to run as an underdog when it comes to fundraising.
The de facto GOP nominee can't compete in the money race with Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who have collected more than $130 million in the first two months of this year, The Politico reported Monday.
"We don't expect we'll be able to compete dollar for dollar," says Charlie Black, a top McCain adviser and presidential campaign veteran. "But between McCain and the RNC, we'll raise as much as we can."
Former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, a top McCain backer, predicts an increase in donations once McCain becomes the party's official nominee, perhaps after Tuesday's Texas primary.
In the meantime, McCain is drawing media attention by continuing his policy of openness with reporters. Sunday he and wife Cindy hosted a barbecue for national journalists at their family get-away in Sedona, Ariz.
"We're going to treat McCain as the underdog," says Black. "He's usually at his best when he runs as the underdog."