Clinton's Edge? He's Standing Next To Her

If you want to know one of the keys to Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead in fundraising, he's standing right next to her.

"When it comes to raising money Bill Clinton is ka-ching, ka-ching...," said Gregg Birnbaum, the blogger behind JustHillary.com.

In one week alone, President Clinton helped raise more than $2 million for his wife, reports CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi. Part of it came from boutique events where small groups of his wife's supporters pay a premium to gab with the former president.

"He can do these one after another – lunch and dinner, lunch and dinner, over and over again all across the country," Birnbaum said

Or Mr. Clinton can watch you work off those calories, at a fund raiser at this New York spin class center. Forty-five people paid $2,300 each to get some face time. In just a half an hour Mr. Clinton pulled in $100,000 for his wife's campaign.

When asked if the expense was worth it, one of the spin class attendees answered, "Absolutely." Another said, "To be one on one with the former president, with his reputation, it was unbelievable."

Any old wounds from Clinton scandals seem to have healed. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 70 percent of Americans believe Bill Clinton will do more good than harm for his wife's campaign.

"He's a big attraction for Hillary," said Charlotte Krupp, a Clinton campaign donor. "It's a good thing she didn't get rid of him."

Mr. Clinton is also mobilizing the network of friends and donors he developed over two presidential campaigns and eight years in the White House. CBS News has learned he already has six fund raisers scheduled for April. Democrats in the know say the other campaigns are feeling the pressure and some resentment.

"There has been some grumbling out in the country that the fundraising has been a little heavy handed by the Clintons," said Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. "You can't find a Democrat who has worked in government in the last ten years who is not a former Clinton administration appointee, so a lot of people feel a sense of loyalty to him."

It can get tricky for Sen. Clinton, too. She needs to keep her husband close enough to benefit from his popularity and far enough away to keep it from overshadowing her.
  • James Klatell

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