April 21st, 2008
01:21 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton's primary campaign begins April in debt

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/21/art.clintondebt.ap.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton began the month with $10 million in debt."](CNN) - Hillary Clinton began one of the most crucial stretches of her presidential campaign in debt, newly disclosed financial reports show.

According to campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission over the weekend, the New York senator began the month of April with close to $32 million cash-on hand. But only $9 million of that total are funds that are able to be spent in the primary races. The report also showed Clinton owes more than $10 million, meaning the Democratic presidential candidate was in the red even before she heavily stepped up television advertising in Pennsylvania.

"The numbers are what they are," Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said on a conference call with reporters. "The money continues to come in strongly. We had a very good month last month of fundraising…we are continuing to have a good month this month."

We will of course be honoring the debt in the coming weeks and months," he also said.

The newly released reports offer the clearest picture to date of just how much of an advantage Barack Obama holds over Clinton heading into the final stretch of the prolonged Democratic race for the White House.

According to the reports, he began the month with over $42 million to spend during the presidential primaries and only carried around $650,000 in debt. Obama has $52 million cash on hand overall.

As has already been disclosed by both campaigns, Obama more than doubled what Clinton raised in the month of March: $41 million to her $20 million. The Illinois senator's stunning haul brings his presidential fundraising total to date to $235 million - $60 million more than what Clinton has raised in the same time period.

John McCain lagged both Democrats in March fundraising - pulling in $15 million in that time period. He began the month with $11.6 million cash-on-hand and, a debt of just over $700,000. He's raised a total of about $75 million.

The report also shows he gave back nearly $3 million from donors for his general election campaign. This move could indicate he is setting the stage to receive public financing for his campaign - an option that will infuse the Arizona senator with $84 million.

(12:45 p.m.: Updates with Wolfson comments)

soundoff (773 Responses)
  1. MD in OK

    Does this mean she could lead our country into more debt because she wasn't able to manage her campaign finances?

    April 21, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Meg

    How on earth can she fix our economy that is already in debt if she can't even run her campaign when it starts in the black??

    April 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. You Know Who

    McCain: Too old, more of the same Bush policies.
    Clinton: Master politician, cannot be trusted.
    Obama: Leader, charismatic, uniter, sound in judgement abilities,
    Young, energetic and a motivator.

    Need I go any further?
    Is the choice as clear as water? OBAMA 08

    April 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Mack

    Hillary still has money coming in to her campaign so you can't base everything on what's going on now. Next week her campaign may be 30,000,000 in the black. This is irrelevant, this primary is still going strong for her.

    April 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Alex H

    The debt isn't really important when viewing the success of the campaign in going forward through the primary season, only the $9 million she has left to spend. She'll be able to draw it out until June, that's not going to be a problem, but going into the general election she's going to have to spend well over $10 million (more than that actually… she'll be collecting more debt to reduce spending now… I wouldn't be surprised if it's $30 before August) of her public financing allowed during the general election on debts from the primary election leaving her quite horribly crippled to begin the G.E. against McCain.

    (Sorry my comment isn't as inflammatory as the others CNN, but post it anyways, please… Number to times deleted so far: 1, Number of times ignored so far: 1)

    April 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. michael in MO

    It is long overdue for all of us to finally stop playing the American Idol game and acknowledge the hypocracy of Obama. He is an empty suit – a nice gift box with nothing inside. He does not offer this country leadership in any tangible sense – he offers words. He offers hope. We don't have time to "hope" for "change." For someone who touts not being a part of the Washington system, his "change" platform is one of the oldest politcal dog-n-pony shows known. This man has no vested interests in the needs of Americans and the betterment of our country, domestically and internationally. He is in this for one thing only – Obama. For the country's sake, please get real and vote for Hillary.

    April 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. max

    And his funds are from the millions of donators that support him $25,50,100 these people know this country need change ASAP! Well let me go donate another $100, cant afford it however, its crucial to the restoration of my country........... even though we have already won!! lets keep it coming for the general the DNC know what we can do

    YES WE CAN!!!!! dont forget we are the winners here it doesnt matter if we loose PA which we expected Clinton only get 9 delegates, she cant catch us


    April 21, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Independant

    You have plenty of your own money---- use it !!!!!!!!

    April 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Lou

    I just hope the IN & NC voters are paying attention. I am sure the superdelegates are watching this very closely. This thing is over, continuing only hurts the Dems as a whole, particularly down ballot gains.

    April 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. James West

    She can not help it if you osama people are giving all of your drug and welfare money to your god osama. The people that support her are all hard working and trying to feed our families, we just don't have the kind of money you lazy welfare drugheads do. We are keeping our families together and therefore cannot keep up with all of you who are not paying for your families.


    Donate @ HillaryClinton.com

    April 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Lake Hart - A Native American Writer

    With the Bill Clinton's Political Machine and the hundred of millions spent, she seems to have very few of her special interest groups ready and willing to invest in her campaign, I wonder WHY? Let it go Hillary, you admit to lying (Bosnia) you and your daughter are covering up important moral and ethical issued of the Oval Office, one saying it was a Right Wing Conspiracy, the other said it is No Bodies Business. Will the Democrats of PA recommend to their adult children to do an Internship with the likes of Hillary, Bill or any one of the Clinton's Clan? Issues not discussed or addressed by Hillary, Why?
    Sincerely, Lake Hart, a Native American Writer.

    April 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. TunnelVision

    I thought Bill was the expert at handling finances...I guess it was only in time of surplus when he inherited a strong economy that was in or on the brink of a boom or maybe he and his ideas are obsolete. Why aren't Hillary supporters being bullish if she is the 'SMART CHOICE', aren't there enough 'SAVVY' people to support her push? I mean 10 Million it's amazing

    April 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Gerom

    Hey JCL, do the math, Clinton's boy! Your favorith – HRC the liar – IS IN RED!!!! She has NO MONEY, understand? Obama has $36 mill. LEFT!!! That's the difference... but you have to complete at least 4 grade to know that, a?

    April 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. HH


    Finally the monopoly of families is coming to an end.

    For real change vote Obama or McCain.

    April 21, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. reggymack

    This is mighty strange. Billary can make $109,000,000.00 for themselves, but can't properly handle the funds in her campaign. She has already taken $5,000,000.00 from her own pocket earlier in the race.I guess she have been spending too much of her money on shots of liquer and mugs of beer. Saying, " drinks on the house," is one of her favorite speeches. Don't worry Billary I'm sure that you'll be drinking in depression soon.

    Obama-$650,000 debt

    McCain-$700,000 debt

    Clinton-$10,000,000 debt!

    Enough said. And you dare to bash Obama for saying that McCain would be a better president than Bush when you actually made a similar statement earlier in race putting McCain above Obama. The reason the Hillary is in debt is because she is a liar and people trust both Obama and McCain more.

    April 21, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. rita

    People of PA. Do not make the same mistake OHIO made. How can she fix the nation's economy, when she can't fix her own campaign problems. We never know who is working on her campaign from one day to the next, they come and they go. How in the world, will she run our country. Please, people of PA. end this tomorrow. Vote OBAMA. Remember after the people of Ohio voted for her, she left the state with thousands of dollars of unpaid bills.

    April 21, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Larry~

    Geee...and she wants to run the country...HELP!!!!

    Over $4 million is owed to Mark Penn who was in Columbia working to get that trade deal through.

    She still has debts from Iowa...small business folks while she has partied with donor funds.

    Will be so glad when she finally concedes the race.

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. jimmy vekmen


    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Christine, Tampa

    I just don't understand the people that say why can Obama lock this up. He has locked it up. She can't catch up. She just won't admit he has it locked up. She is holding out for the superdelegates to overturn the will of the people. If the shoe was on the other foot everyone would be saying she has it locked up and he should get out. Actually if he had lost 11 primaries in a row he would have been forced out long ago.

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    JCL, Kentucky..............You are not making any sense! How does that prove Obama can't handle money?????

    CNN please post my comment....I am tired of 'Your comment is awaiting moderation'!

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. corin

    omghhaaa! CNN you are now just reporting this!! HRC has been in a whirl of debt for sometime! I guess she doesnt feel obligated to pay vendors because she was an former first lady! I really do believe PETER PAUL CASE WICH WILL BE SET FOR A STATUS CONFERENCE ON 4/25/2008! the moderators in the last debate shouldve ask hillary: How are you going to manage the economy when you cant manage your campaign finances? that would have been a wonderful question to ask and a legitment question to ask!

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Earth to Dan

    Obama is ahead in the race.

    denial is the first step Dan

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Latrece

    and to know that she will continue to attack Obama since she doesn't want him to win the general election...

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. Lucio, from NYC

    mmm, experience in running up debts. Now that's the type of leadership we need!

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. John, Washington DC

    Let's not allow her to have control of our tax dollars please.

    April 21, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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