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. BITTER

    McSame has all the Lobby money he needs. While bush for brainz may not stand by his side in public, McLame will suck that oil teat for all it's worth in private.

    May 27, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. RickytheGriff

    Any Democrat who votes for John McCain hates America and it's future.

    May 27, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Bitter Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    This is one reason why it's patently ridiculous to say Obama is not a viable candidate, as some on this board like to say. If he was not viable, he wouldn't be able to raise nearly as much as he does. I don't see Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich raking in this kind of cash. No matter which side you're on, you have to admit that this a very real and serious concern for the McCain campaign.

    And Beca, sure he stole the nomination...if you define "stealing" as winning more votes than one's opponent.

    May 27, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Richard Y, Chicago IL

    Which makes the whole idea of accepting public financing such a joke. McCain doesn't have to raise money himself. Just have the RNC do it for you. So now he gets all the RNC money and the $82 million from public financing he is going to accept because he "can't raise money on his own"

    May 27, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Joe Regis

    Just Republican fatigue this year.

    America is seeking a new direction.

    Obama will lead America to the direction of change.

    May 27, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Niccole

    For those who vote for McCain, you must not care about the economy, women's right's or the lives being lost everyday for a war that is all based on lies!!!!

    May 27, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. my pet goat

    John,you turned into a political coward in 2000,when you didnt have the guts to stand your ground against Bush.

    May 27, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. mCBUSH

    i hate it when he talks about his service for this country and he was a war prisoner. there are thusands of veterans in this country and thousands of war prisoners and he should just shut up and give the white house to Obama or Clinton Democrats 08

    May 27, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. CitizenAJ

    So he is nothing like "Boy George", "Georgie Boy", but he needs him to help him raise campaign funds. It is funny how we forget how fast this man, John McCain, jumped on a plane after reaching the delegate count to receive the republican nomination, and flew to Washington to received George W. Bush's endorsement. Yeah, voting for John McCain is a third term of Bush, not a full dose but 3/4.

    May 27, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Venus

    To Billy from Florida:

    Yes – Obama had to spend money in some states – yes more than Hillary – that's because he is a rookie and was going up against the powerful Clinton name! If Hillary wasn't the former first lady – she too would have the same issue!

    But guess what? Obama money is not wasted! Also – his campaign is not BROKE! So that should tell you some thing!

    Spending money is not always about winning – it's about getting his name out there and when he starts his general election – the money you and Bill Clinton thought is a waste will prove you wrong!

    Mc Cain will have the same problem as Hillary ---- people won't give him money!

    May 27, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Gerry

    Can McCain fix the money problem?

    No, is the answer. who's going to bet on the republicans after what they've done for the last 8 years.

    May 27, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Casey

    Billy from Florida get a life Hillary has lost, and I repeat even if Obama losses the general, you candidate Hillary will never become President. Period She is a loser.

    May 27, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. Generation X

    Matt what planet have you been on? McCain can NOT raise money! If he hasn't yet he won't. Obama doesn't ever have to scale back his rally's or fundraisers, they are alway not enough tickets. Hey at least Obama doesn't have to scale back and use his back yard!

    May 27, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. CitizenAJ

    Hey Billy from Florida,

    Senator Obama outspends Senator Clinton because HE CAN. He has managed his campaign well unlike the good Senator from New York, Arkansas, Pennslyvania, where is she from again?

    He spends the money so people can GET TO KNOW HIM and DISSPELL false rumors put out about him by people, uh, like YOU Billy! You, Senators McCain and Clinton and their supporters. He is doing EXACTLY what he needs too, which is why he has won more delegates and votes. Billy, you need to come on aboard because out of the three, Senator Obama represents the people, you, better than the others. Senator McCain doesn't even come close.

    May 27, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. chris

    WOW THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE MOST ONE SIDED NEWS STORY EVER WRITTEN you dont even try to hide the fact that you are anti republican do you if the same cituation happend with ayn demecrat their word would be taken as fact and not even questioned cnn you are pathetic and so are your liberal puppet masters pulling your string along

    May 27, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. Casey

    Obama is the nominee y'all take a hike. Cry Babies

    May 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Christoffel van Vuuren - Montreal Canada

    What nonsense! The man hasn't even started as yet.

    McCain is the McMain candidate to be President of the USA.

    May 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Steve

    I seem to remember John McCain had some financial problems earlier in this campaign. He came through OK and will do the same for the general election.

    May 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Mark

    Yeah but he has an ace up his sleeve.

    Many of his top level campaign workers take very small salaries from the campaign.

    Those same workers also show up on the rolls of McCain's non profit organization which happens to be funded by very large contributions from big corporations.

    The pay cheques those individuals draw from the non profit dwarf what they get paid from the campaign even though they don't seem to do any actual WORK for the non profit.

    It's a neat end-run around his own legislation.

    May 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Chi4Obama

    TO: "Billy from Florida"
    So what if Obama outspent Hillary 3 to 1 in several states and lost. The fact of the matter is that many supporters in those states (i.e. PA, OH, etc) were already strong Pro-Clinton anyway. So in affect he needed to spend additional money in order to campaign much more aggressively in those areas. This helped to at least minimize her margin of victory in those states. Since Obama was resourceful enough to raise the money for the purpose of campainging, why not use those dollars??

    I agree that there is not necessarily a correlation between spending money and winning states; but is sure helps. This is part of the reason why Obama has won more than twice as many states has Hillary. And he did not have to go $20 million in debt to do so.

    So the fact that Mcshame has problems raising funds just baffles me. Should he have the support of the entire Right wing behind him???

    May 27, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Maggie

    Obama's aide, Axelrod feels that Obama is reaching the goal of winning the nomination because he is looking at 2026 but that is not the winning total. Once Florida and Michigan are included the amount of delegates needed is 2229. Therefore he is not clinching the nomination and I feel that because of the unfairness of this race, the nominee should not be nominated until the convention in August. Clinton has not been treated fairly because of the media disrespecting her but when it comes to Obama they are afraid to mention anything negative about him because of the fear of being called racist. As far as I am concerned, Obama's campaign people especially Axelrod reminds me dishonest used car salesmen. I really wonder where they are getting their money. I think its time that the media start looking into this and find out what dishonesty is going on here.

    Clinton is the better and stronger of the two candidates and I hope she is given that fair chance of going to the convention and let the voting there decide who the nominee is going to be.

    May 27, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Chi4Obama

    TO: "Billy from Florida"
    So what if Obama outspent Hillary 3 to 1 in several states and lost. The fact of the matter is that many supporters in those states (i.e. PA, OH, etc) were already strong Pro-Clinton anyway. So in affect he needed to spend additional money in order to campaign much more aggressively in those areas. This helped to at least minimize her margin of victory in those states. Since Obama was resourceful enough to raise the money for the purpose of campainging, why not use those dollars??

    I agree that there is not necessarily a correlation between spending money and winning states; but is sure helps. This is part of the reason why Obama has won more than twice as many states has Hillary. And he did not have to go $20 million in debt to do so.

    So the fact that Mcshame has problems raising funds just baffles me. Shouldn't he have the support of the entire Right wing supporting him financially???

    (typo correction from previous post)

    May 27, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. 2Set

    First this guy does not veterans to be educated. He only wants un-educated, brainwashed soldiers in his military he thinks he is going to lead? Is he Darth Vader and the non-commissioned officers are the StormTroppers. And to have a private closed media fundraiser. If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat, and acts like a rat, It's a RAT!

    May 27, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Jason

    Honest reporting? You wont find that in this country. Very rarely does it show it's face. At least not in English with an American ascent. You pretty much have to know a non-english European language to get even a fraction of truth to what really goes on behind the scene in America. The news, government, and church all share the same bed. It's time to wake up and change that and a lot of other things before we can think of our selves as a progressive nation again.

    May 27, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    The answer is simple. McCain lacks the charisma and integrity that Obama has.

    Obama 2008 and 2012

    May 27, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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