Posted: May 7, 2008 11:27 AM
As Dust Settles From Ind., N.C., Clinton Lends Her Campaign $6.4M
A campaign aide tells news agencies that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., loaned herself $6.4 million in the past month, as Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., consider their next steps after primary contests in Indiana and North Carolina.
News of the loan, the second she has given to her camp — she loaned her campaign $5 million earlier this year — comes as Clinton struggles to stay financially afloat in the grueling Democratic race against Obama, who beat her easily in North Carolina Tuesday while Clinton nabbed a close win in Indiana.
“Obama has routinely outspent her in primary after primary,” the Associated Press reported. “Clinton’s campaign reported raising $10 million online after her victory April 22 in Pennsylvania. But Obama has shown little difficulty tapping his vast network of donors. He spent more than $7 million on advertising head of Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina and Indiana to her nearly $4 million.”
According to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Obama began the month of April with $42 million in the bank for the primary to Clinton’s $9.3 million.
Clinton’s drubbing in North Carolina and close win in Indiana gave pundits the opportunity to pounce, calling for her to exit the race and allow Obama to build a war chest for a general election run against the GOP’s John McCain.
“We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,” MSNBC’s Tim Russert declared. “Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say, ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.”
Clinton backers quickly fired back, appearing on morning news programs Wednesday to stress that she was still in the race as both camps look ahead to contests in West Virginia May 13 and in Oregon and Kentucky a week later.
“This candidacy and this campaign continues on,” Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said Wednesday on CNN.
Later, on a conference call with reporters, Wolfson said the loan proves Clinton is committed to staying in the presidential race, according to CNN.
“The loans are a sign of her commitment to continuing the race, her commitment to continuing the process and her commitment to staying competitive with Senator Obama on television and other areas,” he said. “The campaign continues to raise a lot of money, but Senator Obama, to his credit, is also raising a lot of money.”
Clinton also may be aiming to renew the debate over devalued primaries in Michigan and Florida — both of which she won although Democratic candidates had agreed not to campaign for the contests after both states violated party rules and moved their contests earlier in the nominating calendar.
“There are going to be the rest of these contests, which are very significant, and then in June, if we haven’t done it already, we’re going to have to resolve Florida and Michigan,” Clinton told reporters during a daytime event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to the Washington Post. “They were legitimate elections.”
Renewed attention may also fall on the super delegates, who could still prove the deciding factor as Obama widens the delegate gap between himself and Clinton but has yet to reach the 2,025 needed to clinch the nomination.
For his part, Obama appeared to aim at striking the tone of a general election candidate Tuesday night.
“He [Obama] made no suggestion that she should leave the race, and even congratulated her on her “apparent victory” in Indiana - which remained very much in the balance as he spoke,” Politico’s Ben Smith wrote. “Visually and rhetorically he began to reintroduce himself to the broad general election audience, stressing his patriotism and his American roots.”
Clinton planned to make a campaign stop in West Virginia Wednesday, while Obama returned to his hometown of Chicago before returning to the campaign trail Thursday.