Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet column: Clinton more cash on hand; Obama, with strong fundraising trajectory collects more money. Big Chicago funder today.


WASHINGTON -- First-quarter fund-raising reports filed Sunday reveal a mixed story for Democratic White House front-runners Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Clinton has more cash on hand, but Obama outraised her in the first three months of the year.

Overall, the strong showing of Obama in raising primary cash --$24.8 million to Clinton's $19.1 million -- indicates his deep potential, considering that Obama scrambled to put together a national organization and Clinton had much of her infrastructure in place.

To this point, Obama nearly equaled Clinton in total fund-raising for the primary and general election, bringing in $25.8 million to Clinton's $26 million.

Money collected for the general election cannot be spent in the primary campaign.

The Chicago Sun-Times earlier this month reported that Obama bested Clinton in primary fund-raising; financial reports filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission made it official and provide more insights into Obama's and Clinton's massive fund-raising drives.

An important figure is the amount of money a candidate has on hand. Stockpiling money is especially important this election cycle because of the prospect of what amounts to a national primary next Feb. 5, which will involve expensive media buys in a host of states.

Clinton has $24 million on hand for the primary, compared with Obama's $18.2 million and $10.7 million for John Edwards, enough to keep him in the top tier of Democratic contenders.

Clinton transferred $10 million to her presidential campaign, money remaining from her 2006 Senate war chest.

Counting general and primary election money, Clinton has $30.9 million cash on hand, compared with Obama's $19.1 million overall total.

California tops for Obama
On the spending side, the reports reveal that Obama and Clinton are presiding over sprawling political organizations. Obama had a first-quarter payroll of $909,462, compared with Clinton's payout of $1.037 million for salaries.

Overall, Clinton's disbursements amounted to $5 million, to Obama's $6.5 million. However, since Clinton has debt of more than $1.5 million to campaign vendors who deferred payments, the two front-runners are keeping pace in actual spending.

According to an analysis of primary and general fund-raising by the nonpartisan PoliticalMoneyline, Obama collected the most contributions from California ($4.1 million), more than from his own Illinois ($3.7 million), trailed by New York ($2.7 million) and Florida ($1 million.)

Clinton's top donations were from her home state, New York ($7 million), followed by California ($5 million), Washington, D.C. ($3.5 million), and Florida ($1.8 million.)

"These numbers indicate the tremendous support for Senator Clinton from every walk of life and every part of America, and assure that we will have the resources needed to compete and win," Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle said in a statement.

Obama Finance Chairwoman Penny Pritzker said: "The final tally of support from the American people is true testament to the desire for a different kind of politics in this country and a belief at the grass-roots level that Barack Obama can bring out the best in America to solve our problems."

Obama is on pace to take in at least $1 million at a Chicago fund-raiser today at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan, aimed at female donors and featuring Michelle Obama as well as Barack Obama, who also makes his debut as a presidential candidate in Wisconsin at a rally in Milwaukee.

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I find all the discussion about who has raised more money to hand over to our corporate media not really productive. Clearly the media wonks love Obama for all the wrong reason--I think they're hoping for a big payday. As a free speech absolutist, I am concerned about Imus being slapped down at all--seems like major overkill for a U.S. senator to call for a commentator's firing. Back when Hilary was getting slapped around for being an uppity woman who can get slapped around--everyone was silent. So--in terms of fair play on this---is Obama going to return money from the man who Obama joined in bashing Hilary in a manner most unfair? Geffen, after all, earns his money from rap music--which spouts things which might harm the self esteem of Obama's daughters? Or are we going to get off the self esteem kick and focus on self-governance once again. And self governance requires free speech, does it not?


The Imus affair had nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with free markets. Imus can stand on a street corner and say whatever offensive comments he likes. The government took no action to restrict his rights, rather his employer fired him because he has a long history of racist and sexist remarks and the sponsors of his show decided they no longer wanted to be associated with these kinds of offensive remarks.

Regarding Geffen, is this guilt by association? Should every contributor fill out an application listing all their sources of income and only those deemed properly PC accepted. This is completely impractical. Obama has stood up and said that many rappers use offensive language and should be encouraged to stop. He got a standing ovation for saying this the other day in SC at the black caucus dinner. There is no hypocricy on Obama's part.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 16, 2007 7:19 AM.

Sweet column: Obama touts small donor network but also relies on high end "bundlers" for millions. was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush pressures Democrats to send him Iraq war funding bill with no timelines for bringing soldiers home. Sen. Kennedy reacts. is the next entry in this blog.

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