Posted: June 25, 2008 4:30 PM
Obama Calls on Donors to Help Reduce Clinton's Debt
Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday asked his top donors to help Sen. Hillary Clinton pay off more than $10 million in debt from her failed presidential bid.
Obama’s move to help his former rival comes during a week dedicated to a show of unity between to two Democratic senators. On Friday, the two are scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire together.
In a conference call with some of his top fundraisers, Obama asked that they begin to whittle away at Clinton’s debt, two Democrats familiar with the call
told the AP. A campaign spokesman confirmed to the AP that Obama had indeed asked for financial help for the New York senator.
“Some of our donors have asked and Barack said if they have the ability to raise or give money to help on debt, we encourage them to do so,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
The former first lady had a reported $22.5 million in debt at the end of May, and more than half of that amount was from personal loans she made to her own campaign. Donors who have not contributed to Clinton’s campaign could give up to $2,300 to help chip away at the debt.
Clinton told her top fundraisers that she would focus on paying off vendor debts first, before looking to pay off her personal loans.
While Obama has tapped his more high profile donors to help Clinton, it remains to be seen how far he will go to solicit his online donors. These donors, usually giving in small amounts, have helped Obama shatter fundraising records; at the end of May, Obama had raised $237 million. This month, he announced that he would opt out of public financing, becoming the first major party candidate to do so since Congress passed post-Watergate reforms in the 1970s.
Hassan Nemazee, Clinton’s national finance co-chair, told the AP last week that Clinton would be freer to campaign for Obama and to help raise more money for him if her looming debt was not at issue.
Nemazee further claimed that Clinton donors and supporters would be more inclined to help Obama if the Clinton camp were able to say, “Look what Senator Obama has done for Senator Clinton.”