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Monday, April 21, 2008

Cash becomes Clinton’s Achilles heel

By Edward Luce in Washington and Andrew Ward in Scranton, Pennsylvania – Financial Times

.....“I have long thought that money – or lack of it – could end up being the deciding factor in this Democratic race,” said Bill Galston, a senior fellow at Brookings and a veteran of Democratic presidential campaigns. “If Senator Clinton does not win by a large enough margin in Pennsylvania then there have to be serious questions about whether she can continue.”

Mrs Clinton’s financial picture looks even worse when debt is included. Her campaign is more than $10m in the red, more than half of which is owed to the polling firm of which Mark Penn, her former senior strategist, is a partner.

Mrs Clinton also loaned her campaign $5m of her own money in January. In addition, a very high proportion of Mrs Clinton’s donors have “maxed out”, which means that they have contributed the maximum legal limit they are permitted under election finance rules.

In contrast, Mr Obama’s online fund-raising machine can go back repeatedly to small donors who have donated well below the legal limit. Forty per cent of the $235m that Mr Obama has raised since the start of the campaign has come in sums of $200 or less, compared with 23 per cent of the $189m that Mrs Clinton has raised......

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