Democratic Presidential wannabe Hillary Rodham Clinton’s "inevitable" march to the nomination is mired in a financial, electoral and morale swamp.
With bills and salaries going unpaid, Clinton admitted Wednesday she wrote out a $5 million check from her personal funds to cover some expenses and go forward in her neck-and-neck contest with the surging Barack Obama but the loan won’t be enough to bail out the financially-strapped campaign.
Many staffers will work without pay this month and Capitol Hill Blue has learned that many vendors are demanding cash up front because of the campaign’s overdue bills.
"For all practical purposes, we’re broke," a campaign staffer admits.
Obama outraised Clinton 3-1 in contributions in January and his fundraising juggernaut continues while her calls to fat cat contributors go unreturned.
Although the Clinton campaign reported $18 million cash on hand through the end of January, it also faces more than $25 million in debts from Super Tuesday.
Some disgruntled campaign insiders say the candidate’s lavish lifestyle adds to their financial woes. Clinton often travels with a few close aides by private, leased jet while other candidates use campaign planes that includes staff members and press. She stays in $3,000 a night hotel suites and her traveling entourage includes a personal makeup artist, masseuse and several "personal assistants."
Reports The Los Angeles Times:
Not a good sign.
According to a bulletin recently posted on Time magazine’s blog, The Page, some senior staff for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign have begun working without pay to save money for the New York senator’s cash-crunched political effort. Those reportedly working without salary include campaign manager and longtime Clinton confidante Patti Solis Doyle.
At the same time today, according to The Times’ Peter Nicholas, the Clinton campaign conceded that late last month the senator loaned her own campaign $5 million of personal money. At a news conference at her campaign’s Virginia headquarters Clinton said:
"I loaned it because I believe very strongly in this campaign. We had a great month fundraising in January — broke all records. But my opponent was able to raise more money. We intended….to be competitive and we were and I think the results last night proved the wisdom of my investment."
In fact, the Clinton campaign raised less than $14 million last month compared to the $32 million reported by Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. Although Clinton is wealthy and her $5 million pales in comparison to the $35.5 million Republican Mitt Romney gave to his own campaign, this could be a sign of serious financial trouble coming out of the indecisive Super Tuesday voting.
Others say Clinton throws money around with reckless abandon. Reports Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News:
One reason Clinton needs to borrow money is the large sums her campaign spent on consultant Mark Penn to research what dog food the dogs would eat.
When John McCain went broke last spring, he couldn’t afford a Mark Penn to convene a focus group to check his positions. The old Navy man navigated by “dead reckoning,” substituting his conscience and instinct for the sailor’s compass and log book. Even though he will be rolling in dough soon, he shouldn’t hire a pollster.
An examination of Federal Election Commission reports shows that much of Obama’s fundraising comes from individual contributors (many of them donating for the first time) while the bulk of Clinton’s funds come from political action committee and special interest groups who have maxed out on what they can donate.
Reports Jonathan Alter in Newsweek:
Obama has lots more money now and deeper pockets moving forward. He raised $32 million in the month of January compared to about $14 million for Clinton. Only 3 percent of Obama’s hundreds of thousands of small donors have "maxed out," which means that the campaign can go back to them again and again for more. By contrast, roughly 70 percent of Hillary’s donors have contributed the $2,300 maximum allowed by law. (On Wednesday, Obama raised $3 million, while Hillary lent her campign $5 million from her personal account.)