WASHINGTON - Some of the industries that bankrolled President Bush's record-setting 2004 campaign fund-raising are giving little to the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain.
Employees in the securities, construction, pharmaceutical and energy industries, who accounted for a tenth of Bush's money in 2004, are giving more to Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton than to McCain.
"A significant percentage of your base Republican support, whether financial or otherwise, are not fans of McCain because of various things he's done or said or sponsored," said GOP consultant Eddie Mahe, who is supporting the Arizona senator.
Obama and Clinton each had raised close to $11 million from the four industries through the end of March, compared with McCain's $6 million.
The political action committee of the American Road and Transportation Builders, the trade group for such companies as Caterpillar Inc., contributed the maximum $5,000 to Bush's presidential campaign in 2000 and 2004. McCain has received nothing.
"Our PAC supports members of Congress who are supportive of increased transportation investment," group spokesman Matthew Jeanneret said. "I don't think he fits that definition."
McCain, 71, who voted against the 2005 legislation allocating $286.5 million for highways and transit, proposed suspending the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax for the summer, eliminating the main source of revenue for federally funded road projects. Clinton also supports a gas-tax holiday.
John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, called McCain's proposal "shortsighted and damaging to our nation's economy."
Pharmaceutical industry employees and PACs contributed $516,839 to Bush in 2004, compared with $280,688 for Democrat John Kerry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington. This time around, through March, they have given $339,729 to Obama, $262,870 to Clinton, and $74,850 to McCain.
During a Jan. 5 debate in New Hampshire, McCain criticized the drug companies for high prices charged to the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs and said he backed importing cheaper drugs from Canada, a position also held by his Democratic opponents.
One of his opponents, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, interjected, telling McCain not to paint drug companies as "big bad guys."
McCain: "Well, they are."
Employees working in the securities and investment industry gave $9.2 million to Bush's 2004 campaign, almost twice Kerry's $4.8 million.
Obama's $7.5 million and Clinton's $7 million from the industry are almost double the $3.8 million that McCain had brought in through March, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
McCain suggested in an interview that some industries are shunning his campaign because of his opposition to earmarks - pet projects inserted into spending measures by lawmakers.
For the 2004 election, energy employees gave $4.9 million to Bush and $757,502 to Kerry. So far this year, they have given about the same amount - $1 million - to each of the three candidates.
Like the Democratic candidates, McCain backs legislation to curb greenhouse gases that is opposed by many energy companies.
"If they had to pick a candidate, I think they'd like a fourth one," said former Sen. John Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat registered to lobby for several energy companies.