Finance Reports Show Clinton's $20M Debt

The money tells the tale. Democrat Barack Obama entered May sitting comfortably atop more than $37 million in the bank. Republican John McCain had nearly $22 million in hand. Hillary Rodham Clinton, once the Democrats' presidential front-runner, was in the red.

The Money Race
Check out April tallies for Obama, McCain and Clinton - including how much they've raised and spent since the campaign began.
"With just two weeks and three contests remaining in the Democratic race, money concerns alone aren't likely to drive Clinton out of the race," said senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "But it's one more reminder - along with the delegate count - of Clinton's near-extinct hopes of winning the nomination."

Obama, moving closer to his party's nomination, let his fundraising slow only slightly last month and collected $31 million. Clinton raised more than $21 million, but was saddled with debts. And McCain, in his best monthly performance yet, hauled in $18 million.

Financially, the month tracked the three candidates' political fortunes. Clinton beat Obama in Pennsylvania on April 22 and saw a $10 million surge in donations in a 24-hour period. But money and the delegates needed for the nomination still flowed primarily to Obama.

McCain, lacking rivals and assured the GOP nomination, spent little and worked on consolidating his fundraising base.

The three candidates filed their financial reports Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Together, the reports reinforce what is increasingly evident in the campaign: Obama and McCain are equipping themselves to confront each other, while Clinton, risking a personal financial hit, is quixotically hanging on to the end.

In a continued expansion of Obama's fundraising network, his campaign reported nearly 1.5 million donors since he started raising money for his presidential race. With such extraordinary numbers behind him, Obama appears to have access to a continuing flow of money, though his April total was his smallest haul this year. Overall, he has raised close to $265 million in his White House bid.

Obama spent $36 million in April, half of it on advertising. For the first time, his spending exceeded his monthly fundraising. Clinton, too, spent more than she raised. Both vigorously competed in Pennsylvania and he also spent heavily during April in Indiana and North Carolina, which held their primaries on May 6. Obama lost Indiana narrowly and won in North Carolina.

But Clinton reported only about $8 million cash on hand for the primary. (She has $22 million set aside for the general election that she can't use.) She also reported $19.5 million in debts, including $10 million she has lent her campaign. Even without the loan, Clinton was in negative cash position. The loan amount also did not include an extra $1.4 million she put into her campaign in May.

Clinton did not add to her debt to vendors, who include such campaign consultants as Mark Penn and Mandy Grunwald. But she had to ramp up her spending, with a majority of it devoted to traveling and getting her message to voters. She spent more than $9 million on ads alone.

Still that paled in comparison to Obama. He spent more than $20 million on ads, including nearly $2 million on advertising on the Internet.

Clinton campaign chairman Terry McCauliffe said donors continued to contribute though the Internet and that she had fundraisers planned this week.

"We have the money to play in all the remaining states," he said. He said Clinton offered to put in more of her own money but "we have not had to use it."

McCain's finances are an important marker as he moves into direct competition with Obama, who has shown himself to be a fundraiser without equal. McCain has been taking advantage of his status as the all-but-nominated Republican candidate, embracing the big donors from his former GOP rivals and putting allies in charge of raising money at the Republican National Committee.

The RNC, which is the party's main political arm, had nearly 10 times more cash on hand than its Democratic counterpart at the end of April, a notable GOP advantage in what has otherwise been Democratic fundraising dominance this election.

The committee on Tuesday reported having $40.1 million in the bank. The Democratic National Committee had $4.4 million.

The RNC raised $15.7 million in April compared to $4.7 million by the DNC.

Significantly, the financial disparity comes in a presidential election year when the candidates rely on the parties to mobilize voters and promote their message. Overall this year, the RNC has raised more than $52 million, the DNC has raised more than $22 million.

McCain has put his own team at the RNC to operate a Victory Fund Committee that is corralling top Republican donors. Earlier this month, McCain and the party raised $7 million at a fundraiser hosted by New York Jets owner Woody Johnson. The proceeds of that event were not included in the RNC's latest report.

Obama has taken his own quiet steps to take over the DNC and assemble a multistate team for the general election, several Democratic officials said Tuesday. With such a team in place, the DNC would be able to tap into Obama's prodigious fundraising.

The DNC has lagged in fundraising for some time, a condition made all the more difficult by the Democrats' protracted presidential primary. Last week, the DNC announced agreements with Obama and Clinton to begin raising money together.

In their Senate and congressional accounts, Democrats were faring much better. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee reported $37.6 million in the bank to the National Republican Senatorial Committee's $19.4 million. The GOP's Senate campaign arm, however, slightly edged the Democrats in fundraising for the first time this election cycle.

Similarly, the National Republican Congressional Committee outraised the Democrats' House campaign committee. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported more than $45 million in the bank to the GOP committee's nearly $7 million.