BUSINESS FIRST: The Democrats and their presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, have far outpaced the Republican Party and presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain in political fund-raising, but they take a backseat to selling and buying party souvenirs and paraphernalia. In a perfect display of GOP ideals, the Republican National Committee and convention organizers are out-marketing their Democratic rivals by a wide margin this week in Minnesota. The RNC stuck the ubiquitous elephant logo on everything from T-shirts to baseball caps, sweatshirts, Beanie Babies and handbags — and party loyalists and delegates streamed out of the Xcel Energy Center with fistfuls of merchandise.

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