Would Obama Help Clinton Pay Off Her Campaign Debt?

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Our colleague Mark Halperin muses about the outlines of a possible deal.

It is not an unusual move for a winning candidate to help the loser get out from under campaign debt, in the interest of unifying the party and moving forward. (And Obama, while saying it is premature, seems to be considering the idea.) But generally, this has happened when the loser drops out relatively early and the debt is relatively small. (See: McCain-Giuliani) The case of Obama and Clinton is very different and far more fraught, as Tom Edsall has noted over on Huffington Post. Clinton has a much bigger debt to pay off ($15.2 million as of the end of March, and you can bet it’s grown a lot more since). That doesn’t count the $11.4 million that she loaned herself (that we know of).

And then there’s the nature of the Obama fundraising machine. Unlike a traditional operation, this is not one where you go to a relatively small group of jaded fat cats and ask them to open their wallets one more time. Will Obama’s legions of small donors really be eager to send in another $20, $50 or $100 to make sure that Clinton’s high-priced consultants are paid? Or will they consider it a betrayal of what the Obama campaign has convinced them it stands for?

It will be an interesting thing to watch.

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