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February 8, 2008
Hillary Clinton lent her campaign $5 million to patch what aides called a “temporary cash-flow problem.” Clinton, who raised more than $100 million in donations last year, has been out-fundraised by rival Barak Obama this year. The self-loan disclosure, and statements that some staff would forego a month’s pay, was followed by $6.4 million in Internet donations, according to Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe. Obama’s campaign said it raised more than $7 million in roughly the same 36-hour period, following its $32 million haul in January. (The Washington Post, free registration)
What the commentators
Clinton’s quick $6.4 million Internet draw shows “she’s following in Obama’s footsteps,” said Glenn Thrush in the Chicago Tribune’s Swamp blog. But with her “big East and West Coast donors” either “tapped out” or long since “defected” to Obama, what choice did she have but to seek smaller donations over the Web? Clinton might get a boost now that she can “legitimately claim that she’s an underdog of sorts,” since in this race small donors have been rushing to weakened candidates “like white blood cells.” But she only has “the next few weeks” to “make up serious ground.”
It’s too late: the cash shortfall is just the latest sign that “Clinton is losing this thing,” said Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. The question now is, will she lose gracefully, or will the race get “very ugly”? Political pros are “leery” of saying Clinton’s losing, but her “inch-by-inch deflation” stands in sharp contrast to “the great whoosh of feeling” in Obama’s winning campaign.
All the talk of Clinton’s money troubles is part of her push to portray herself as the underdog, said Brian Montopoli in the CBS News Horserace blog. The question is, why is Clinton so desperate to “claim the underdog mantle?” It’s probably because Obama is favored in the next votes, which include Washington, D.C., and Hawaii. “If Clinton the ‘underdog’ loses those races, it’s a lesser blow than if Clinton the ‘frontrunner’ does.”
of The Week magazine.