Obama v. Clinton: The Money Primary

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After the Obama campaign made public that eye-popping $32-million January fundraising total last week, the Clinton campaign had been cagey about revealing its own haul. As recently as Monday afternoon, campaign officials refused to give the number when asked about it during a conference call with reporters, saying only that they have enough and that they would make it public when the campaign files its federal reports later this month. Apparently, however, if there was a zip-your-lip memo going around Clinton headquarters, campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe didn’t get it. He told Tim Russert that the January total was $13.5 million–a better-than-respectable sum, but less than half what Obama took in:

Russert: Last month. You guys raised 10 million.

McAuliffe: We won the fourth quarter and the third quarter. We actually raised more in ’07 than Barack Obama did.

Russert: How’s your money holding up?

McAuliffe: It’s good. I mean, he — you said 10. We actually about did about 13 1/2, which I was very proud of. We had more cash on hand at the end of ’07. He had a great January. Hats off. I’ve been raising money for a long time. All the compliments in the world to the Obama campaign. They raised a lot of money on the internet. I heard over 25 million on the internet. Congratulations to them. No one should be worried about Hillary Clinton, though. We will always have our resources to get our message out.

What’s more significant than how much the two campaigns raised, however, is how they are doing it. Throughout the campaign, Clinton has been tapping big donors for the maximum $2,300 allowed under federal law for the primary and another $2,300 for the general election. As McAuliffe noted, a far greater share of Obama’s money has been pouring in over the internet, and from small donors who can be tapped again.