Battling for every dollar and delegate, Barack Obama raised $7.2
million in Super Tuesday's wake and Hillary Rodham Clinton pulled
in $6.4 million, stunning totals reflecting the intensity of their
neck-and-neck race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
candidate US Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) speaks at a campaign
rally at Washington Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia,
February 7, 2008.
Keenly aware of Obama's growing strength, Clinton challenged him
to five debates in the next month. Obama put her off.
"We'll have some debates," Obama promised. But first, he said,
"I've got to spend time with voters." Clinton, he argued, is
better-known to voters in states coming up on the primary
Clinton, who loaned her campaign $5 million in the run-up to
Super Tuesday, brushed aside the notion she has money problems. She
pointed to the roughly even split of delegates still being
allocated from Tuesday's primaries and caucuses as evidence her
campaign has the financial muscle to compete.
"We're going to be fine," said Clinton. "By the end of the week,
we'll be back on track," she told ABC.
Top Clinton advisers offered to work without pay, but that
wasn't necessary with the sudden influx of cash.
National campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, in a conference call
with 300 Clinton fundraisers nationwide, assured them: "All staff
100 percent paid. Not an issue."
Indeed, whatever the current balance in the money chase, both
candidates have been raising and spending incredible sums.
Each raised $100 million last year and sped through at least $80
million. That compared to $128 million raised by all the Democratic
candidates combined during 2003, the comparable period four years
ago. President Bush, running uncontested, pulled in $129 million of
his own that year.
Any financial crunch for Clinton would be largely due to
lopsided fundraising in January, when Obama pulled in $32 million
to her $13.5 million.
"Obama was able to do what no one thought possible, which is to
finance Super Tuesday," said Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance
expert at Colby College in Maine. "He was able to advertise in more
states, went on TV earlier in more states and put more resources
into ground efforts in most of these states."
Looking ahead, Corrado said, the question for Clinton is whether
she will have the cash needed for expensive advertising campaigns
in upcoming contests including Ohio, Wisconsin and Texas.
"Obama's donor base continues to expand, so it's doubtful that
she is going to be able to catch up," Corrado said, calling Obama
an "unexpected financial colossus."
Clinton, as a former first lady, has had the advantage of better
name recognition; Obama's recent financial advantage has helped him
overcome that familiarity gap.
hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses supporters during a
community gathering at Tulane University Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, in
Obama, asked about Clinton's recent personal loan to her
campaign, said it showed "she has not generated the kind of
grass-roots enthusiasm that we have."
He's confident enough of his standing now to be choosy in the
debate over debates.
Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle on Thursday sent the
Obama camp a proposal for five one-on-one debates before the March
4 round of primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont.
"I'm sure we can find a suitable place to meet on the campaign
trail," Solis Doyle wrote. "There's too much at stake and the
issues facing the country are too grave to deny voters the
opportunity to see the candidates up close."
Buoyed by a primary calendar in February that plays to his
strengths, Obama plans a campaign swing through states holding
contests this weekend, and will compete to win primaries in
Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia next week and
Hawaii and Wisconsin the following week.
Clinton is concentrating more on March 4 contests in Ohio and
Texas, where polling shows her with a significant lead. She even is
looking ahead to Pennsylvania's primary on April 22.
Obama, campaigned in New Orleans on Thursday, offering himself
as the best candidate to restore competence to the White House and
rebuild trust broken by the government's botched response to
Speaking at Tulane University ahead of Saturday's Louisiana
primary, the Illinois senator accused Bush of failing to do enough
to help the Gulf Coast recover from the devastating storm of August
2005. He proposed a multifaceted program for the area, but did not
indicate its total cost or how he would pay for it.
"When I am president," Obama told about 4,000 people in Tulane's
basketball arena, "we will finish building a system of levees that
can withstand a 100-year storm by 2011, with the goal of expanding
that protection to defend against a Category 5 storm."
With Sen. John McCain now virtually certain to be the Republican
nominee - Mitt Romney dropped out Thursday - Obama said that he is
the better Democrat to challenge the Arizonan in the general
Democrats should "think about who matches up best against John
McCain," Obama told reporters during a flight from New Orleans to
"I would be in a stronger position to have a discussion about
how we're going to reform Washington against John McCain, given
that I don't take PAC money, I don't take federal lobbyists' money,
I've been a champion on these issues," Obama said. "I think Senator
Clinton would have a harder time making some of those
The Clinton campaign has noted that Obama does take donations
from people who lobby at the state level, and it says she would
bring important reforms to Washington.
Clinton campaigned Thursday in Virginia, which will be part of
Tuesday's mid-Atlantic voting, then moved on to Washington state,
which votes Saturday.
"I have the greatest respect for my friend and colleague,
Senator McCain, but I think he offers more of the same," she said.
"He said recently he could see having troops in Iraq for 100 years.
I want them to begin to come home in 60 days."
Clinton also unveiled a new 30-second that features a
testimonial from former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, who urged voters
to attend Saturday's caucuses and support the former first lady.
"She'll never let you down," he says.
Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance
Institute, cautioned against making too much of who's ahead in the
"They both have lots of money," Malbin said. "We've been a
little too quick to look at who has somewhat more and who has
somewhat less and think that automatically equates to who has more
votes or who will get more votes."
As for Clinton, Malbin said, "she did have to lend herself $5
million. So did John Kerry, and it worked. John McCain had to
borrow money, and it worked for him too."
Clinton's national finance co-chairman Alan Patricof said
Thursday that fundraisers were targeting thousands of potential
high donors nationally who had not yet given the maximum donation
of $2,300 to spend in the primary season. He also said Clinton
planned to return to New York before the end of February to attend
a major fundraising gala.
Obama's campaign stressed his success with small donors: So far
in 2008, 135,000 people have given $25 or less over the Internet.
More than two-thirds of his online contributors this year 2008 are
(China Daily/Agencies February 8, 2008)