Monday, July 21, 2008



Kenya Times
July 22, 2008
By Jim Kuhnhenn

Barack Obama reversed a two-month trend in June by raising more money and spending less, a tangible result of clinching the Democratic nomination. Obama continued to raise money for the primary stage of the election, a noteworthy showing that means he has not even tried to tap most of his 1.7 million donors for general election cash.

The Illinois senator reported bringing in $52 million in June, more than twice the nearly $21.5 million raised by Republican rival John McCain during the month. Obama had $72 million in cash on hand to McCain’s $27 million, according to their reports with the Federal Election Commission. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who suspended her quest for the White House on June 7, faced a starkly different financial picture. She lent herself an additional $1 million in June to pay off vendors, increasing her total loan to the campaign to $13.2 million. She reported owing vendors $12 million. She raised $2.7 million from donors in June.

Unlike McCain, who spent more than he raised in June, Obama accumulated cash during the month, holding back on a ramped-up television campaign until July.

McCain spent $16 million on advertising in June to Obama’s $5 million. Obama is now matching McCain’s and the Republican Party’s spending on advertising. Obama filed his financial document Sunday; McCain on Friday.

Obama reported $25.6 million in spending in June, his lowest monthly operating costs of the year. McCain disbursed $27 million in the month, including $1.2 million to a special accounting fund for the fall campaign. Obama’s contributions included $1.4 million raised through a joint victory fund set up with the Democratic National Committee. He reported a debt of $891,000.

While McCain reduced his cash on hand from May to June, Obama increased his by $29 million. The different financial pictures reflect two distinct strategies by the campaigns. McCain plans to accept $84 million in public funds for the fall presidential campaign, a move that prevents him from raising or spending any more money above that sum.

Obama has decided to bypass the public finance system, the first major party presidential candidate in three decades to do so in the general election. That means Obama needs to build up his cash reserves going into the fall campaign, whereas McCain needs to deplete his. Obama and McCain, meanwhile, are still busy raising money.

McCain held fundraisers in the Hamptons in Long Island on Saturday and was headed to Maine on Sunday for more fundraising and a speech in South Portland. One fundraiser, at the estate of billionaire Ronald Perelman, raised money for the campaign, his joint victory fund with the Republican National Committee and various state parties.

Clinton’s decision to lend herself $1 million on June 30 underscored her struggle raising money. Obama has asked that his donors help her reduce her debt. A joint fundraising event in New York earlier this month brought in about half a million dollars for Obama and about half as much for Clinton, according to fundraisers.

Clinton’s biggest single debt was $5.3 million to her senior adviser and pollster Mark Penn, but aides to Clinton said she first intends to pay off small vendors owed money by the campaign. She has until the Democratic national convention at the end of August to raise money to pay off her loan, an unlikely prospect. After that, she can only pay herself back $250,000.