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Posted by on Feb 6, 2008 in Politics | 5 comments

Clinton Presidential Campaign Financial Crunch: Hillary Lends Her Campaign $5 Million

In the face of a Super Tuesday that essentially ended in a draw and looking down the ‘pike at battling rival Senator Barack Obama (who is equipped with a big bankroll recently fattened by a huge infusion of Internet contributions), Hillary Clinton has reportedly loaned her own campaign $5 million.

And, another report says, some seniors staffers are now working without pay.

According to The Politico, you can now list Hillary Clinton along with Mitt Romney as politicos who seem to be taking a page from billionaire Ross Perot’s book and becoming major campaign contributors to a vital cause (their own political campaigns):

Senator Hillary Clinton confirmed at a press conference in Virginia this afternoon that she’d loaned her campaign $5 million, and said, “The results last night proved the wisdom of my investment..”

Spokesman Howard Wolfson emailed with the news minutes earlier:

Late last month Senator Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million.The loan illustrates Sen. Clinton’s commitment to this effort and to ensuring that our campaign has the resources it needs to compete and win across this nation. We have had one of our best fundraising efforts ever on the web today and our Super Tuesday victories will only help in bringing more support for her candidacy.

As I reported earlier, she’s drawing on a pool of personal wealth estimated to be as much as $41 million, as well as a reported payout to Bill Clinton of $20 million from the Los Angeles billionaire manager Ron Burkle.

Another report says some of her key campaign staffers are now working without pay to help out with the cash crunch.

And the New York Times’ The Caucus blog says HC’s money lending to herself may continue:

At her news conference this afternoon, Senator Clinton acknowledged the loan, saying: “I loaned the campaign $5 million from my money. That’s where I got the money. I did it because I believe very strongly in this campaign, and we had a great month fund-raising in January, broke all our records, but my opponent was able to raise more money and we intended to be competitive – and we were – and I think the results last night proved the wisdom of my investment.”

Her advisers says she’s considering another loan because money is tight now — the mega-primaries yesterday were quite the financial drain. And although she won many states yesterday, including some very big states like New York and California, the victories weren’t resoundingly decisive enough — especially when you look at the extremely tight delegate matchup right now — to inspire a lot of new giving, Pat says.

Plus, many of her donors had already maxed out for the primary season and more of her money than that raised by the Obama campaign was pledged to the general cycle and can’t be used right now. Mr. Obama’s campaign boasted a haul in January of $32 million with a lot of new, smaller donors.

On the other hand, news that she’s willing to lend her campaign money may wring some money out of supporters who’ve been watching.

Indeed, Marc Ambinder sees how this could be turned into imagery – that Hillary is now the underdog..

Remember that underdog is a position that is HELPFUL in terms of fund-raising AND in terms of how the media and public perceives a campaign. Go back to recent history — before the New Hampshire vote. After Iowa, there was a spate of stories about Obamamania and the decline of Hillary Clinton, stories that verged on being political obituaries. That was followed by her famous crying incident — an incident coincidentally or otherwise repeated before Super Tuesday.

Ambinder writes:

If Clinton decides to loan herself money, I envision that it would produce at least two countervailing forces. There would be a spate of stories on the End of the Clinton Machine — that her donor base is tapped out and hasn’t been able to expand like Obama’s. This force is likely to be very strong, and it is not unfair or inaccurate.

…But perceptually, it could turn her into an underdog, and it could prove Obama’s statement today that Clinton is “the frontrunner” to be vacuous. How can the frontrunner be tied for delegates and be nearly broke? The move could help with her grassroots fundraising. She’d be able to show potential donors than she will sacrifice as she’s asking them to sacrifice. One can imagine a fundraising appeal along the lines of: “Help Us Match Hillary!”

Truth be told, Clinton cannot afford to allow Obama to rack up delegates by blowing her away in the next set of caucuses and primaries. Clinton needs to find a way to take 42% of the vote of or so in these states in order to limit Obama’s delegate acquisition.

All of this underscores one fact:

The Democratic nomination race is likely to have many twists and turns in coming months..

And will most assuredly become quite ugly.

UPDATE: Here’s where a good chunk of the Clinton campaign money has been going.

Read more blog reaction to this development HERE.

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