May 27th, 2008
11:38 AM ET
7 years ago

Roberts: McCain grapples with major fundraising challenge

ALT TEXT

(CNN) - It's no secret that John McCain has trouble raising money. At least the kind of cash that his earlier Republican rivals did - and the amounts his likely competitor for the White House, Barack Obama can.

In the month of April, McCain took in nearly $18 million - an impressive amount to be sure, and a personal best - but Obama's haul was a whopping $31 million. It's because of a major Democratic breakthrough: a fundraising base of individual small donors.

But ask McCain adviser Carly Fiorina why he can't generate the same campaign cash of his rivals, and you get the sort of sleight-of-hand answer she gave us today on American Morning. "The RNC raised over $40 million in April, which is ten times the rate of the Democratic National Committee and that's important because Senator McCain has access to those total funds", said Fiorina. "That's true," I responded, "the RNC has a lot of cash." But why is it that McCain can't attract the same response among individual donors that his predecessors did?

Fiorina: "Well, I hate to keep correcting you, but in truth, the RNC is raising money very specifically for the presidential campaign, and by the rules, the money that the RNC raises can be used for the presidential campaign."

It's the type of non-answer we may expect to hear more as McCain will clearly have to rely on the awesome fundraising power of the Republican National Committee to help him keep pace with the Democratic nominee.

He's rolling out the fundraiser-in-chief this week to help out, but McCain seems to be taking Rep. Tom Davis's remarks that President Bush is "radioactive" to heart and keeping him below the radar. Politico's Mike Allen reported that big fundraisers planned for the Phoenix Convention Center and the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City have been shelved in favor of smaller functions at private residences. I asked Fiorina about the change. "There will be occasions where they appear together," she said, "but there will be, frankly, more occasions where they appear apart because John McCain is running for the future presidency and most people vote on the future, actually."

If the present is any indication, McCain needs to keep the past under wraps if he hopes to have a future. President Bush's disapproval rating sits at 71 percent in the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

With McCain counting on independents and independent-minded Democrats to vault him into the Oval Office, many Republicans believe that the best place for President Bush is well below the treeline, working party faithful, 65 percent of whom still have faith in him.

Can McCain fix his money problem? Will the Democratic campaigns come together at the end of the primary season to combine their fundraising muscle? Will McCain have the playing field leveled by an agreement from the Democratic candidate to take public financing? The last question is the only one that currently has a likely answer: No. Which means McCain has a lot of work ahead.


Filed under: John McCain • John Roberts
soundoff (249 Responses)
  1. Billy from Florida

    I think we should all remember that Obama

    out spent Hillary in several states 3 to 1

    and he still lost.

    May 27, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Matt--Nebraska

    Wow.

    Blatant CNN Republican bashing.

    I miss honest reporting.

    May 27, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. joe

    I love you Mr McCain but i disagree wit your stand about everything. sir.

    May 27, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Beca

    Don't worry McCain, as soon as BHO steals the nomination from Hillary, my money will go to you, and I am sure a lot people will do the same!

    May 27, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. Dinah, MO

    McSame is good with non-answers. Just wait, you'll see.

    George Bush thinks the country is fine, and the tears that he fought back at Arlington Cemetery yesterday were real. He knows he damaged this country, he know it.

    When you are "elected" to the Office of the President of the United States, first do no harm. George Bush harmed us, and McSame will continue to do so.

    May 27, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Tom

    YES WE McCAIN!!

    May 27, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Roxanne NY

    Yea! A what are we gonna do with him next? The guy is losing in Florida and Ohio and in some polls even losing in Penn! What is this? The Dems wants to try our faith after their dismal failure in the house and the senate after 2006. What? They've got a death wish or something?

    This guy is gum stuck where it is until the next gum comes along, and not for another four years. Lose him already.Put Hillary there and let's win this things? Everybody likes a winner! Either that or i am not voting.Voted for a loser-wimp once...Kerry! Not going to ever do that again!

    May 27, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA

    YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE OUT OF YOUR MIND TO GIVE

    MCBUSH A DOLLAR. FIRST OF ALL HE DOES NOT HAVE

    CHANCE IN HELL OF WINNING. SECONDLY MONEY HAS

    A WAY OF DISAPPEARING AROUND HIM. REMEMBER THE

    KEATING FIVE. MUCH MONEY, WHERE DID IT GO?

    May 27, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Hillary for President

    One must remember money does not vote. People do.

    Maybe it will take a McCain Presidency to shut the arrogant ,stuffy and star struck media up for 4 years.

    November will make those in the media realize that their job is to report the news not try and make it. It is something that the media forget in the 2008 Presidential nomination period.

    May 27, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Kenneth M

    HE CANNOT RAISE THE MONEY BECAUSE THE PARTY FEELS DEJECTED AND DEPRESSED. THEY SEE NO REASON TO GIVE MONEY TO A FACK CONSERVATIVE. THE LAST 8 YEARS HAVE LEFT THE PARTY FEELING ABANDONDED. THEY WILL TAKE A MCCAINE VICTORY BUT THEY DO NOT SEE WHY THEY SHOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.

    May 27, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  11. Frank

    No matter how much money they raise it's going to a losing cause. Because they know that they don't have a snowball in hell's shot at getting back in the white house.

    After running this country in the ground, it's over for a long time for them. Why do you think that they TRYED to get Arnold in the game? Because they have no game or players. Time to pay for your mistakes to many to list.

    Frank

    May 27, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Obama lost, AND he stole the nomination? Really? That's what you're going with?

    May 27, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Do your worst, stubborn Hillary lovers

    "Beca
    May 27th, 2008 12:42 pm ET

    Don't worry McCain, as soon as BHO steals the nomination from Hillary, my money will go to you, and I am sure a lot people will do the same!"

    If by "steal" you mean "win fair and square by the rules agreed upon by Hillary herself and not counting a primary where only one candidate was on the ballot", then yes, he will surely "steal" the nomination.

    May 27, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. EOJ DOR

    He can't raise the funds because his supporters don't believe in him. All those funds raised by the RNC are going for congressional and senate elections.

    May 27, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Keisha - Atlanta, GA

    McCain's $18 million compared to Obama's $31 million... McCain must depend on the RNC fund raising efforts to help him keep up with Obama!

    Obama 08'

    May 27, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. John, OH

    There's nothing wrong with relying on other people to do things that you can't. Even though I'd love to say there is, I can't. Although, I will say that that's at least one thing that Obama can do better than McCain.

    May 27, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Chris, Antioch, CA

    McCain needs Bush, but he can't show us that he needs him. There's a "straight-talkin'" maverick for you. I can't wait for Obama to beat him by 100 electoral votes.

    May 27, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Franky

    Is all good! I've never seen a President(Bush) so excited to try and help his peeps! LOL!!! I'm sure that would suit very well for Senator McCain and the Reps........but remember, is a little secret...LOL!!!

    May 27, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. WF

    Billy from Florida –

    We should also remember that Hillary has 2 decades of name-recognition. Common sense should tell you that it costs more to get your message out when you're running against a former first-lady. Let's also remember the huge margin he closed in those races.

    May 27, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. It's actually true!

    The Republican Party is raising more cash as a party, and it's cash available for the general election that counts! The Democratic candidates themselves may have raised more cash, but the DNC has NOT. It has blown it big time with the FL and MI fiasco, and the party in general is disillusioned with the current mess! Speaking for myself, I have send hundreds to Hillary Clinton's campaign. But guess what! Whenever the DNC comes "knocking on my door," they get zip! And that's also why I will either not vote for president at all (if Obama is the nominee) or will write in Hillary's name on the November ballot. THIS ONE is for principle, not party!

    May 27, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. John Smith

    Unless I am brain-dead, but if Hillary cannot even beat this newcomer – Obama, how can Hillary beat McCain and the Republican machine?

    It is good to be a fighter, yet another one to be a "clean" fighter.

    The argument about "experience" reminds me that Hillary supporters are still in the "third world" where only the experienced and the elderly rule.

    American is the land of "opportunity", not experience. If we cannot give this generation the "opportunity" to have the needed experience, then what will the Future World hold for this nation?

    May 27, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. Debby

    Sen. McCain as soon as Obama is crowned my money will be going to you. It sure would be nice to have Sen. Clinton on your side as an advisor for health care and the economy.

    May 27, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. CHICANO ART, ARIZONA

    If the DNC does not seat Fl and MI in some formula and Hillary ends up losing the nomination I will send money to McCain's campaign. I am sure many Hillary supporters feel the same way. I am a Mexican American and I want a president with experience and proven leadership capabilities. If you Obamites hate Bush so much just rememeber he "inspired" , he talked of "unity" and he was extremely vague about policy, just like your guy Obama.

    May 27, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    he he he he he he,

    I hope McCrazy doesn't raise another cent, specially since he plans on keep the Iraq slaughter going and going and going.

    He needs Bush to raise money, but they got chased righ out of Phoenix fund raiser into a corporate hall in Mesa, Arizona.

    If somebody insulted my family like Bush insulted McCains family, the only thing Bush would see of mine is the back of my hand as it slasps him uside his head. But no, McCain is a coward, he gave into the religious right, he gave into Bush.

    May 27, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Write In - Right the Wrong

    It's easy to write Hillary's name in in November if she does not win the nomination. Check out writehillaryin.com.

    Let's take a stand against the DNC and sexism that reigned throughout this primary process. The media and the DNC treated Sen. Clinton ,and indirectly all women, disgracefully. Women will not be treated like trash during the campaign season and then be told to herd up and support the nominee. Take a stand – now is the time. Don't take women for granted.

    Write Hillary in in November.

    May 27, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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