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. Rick in Oregon

    Think about this people. Obama has out earned Hillary 5 to 1 and has out spent her 4 to 1, yet the race is this close? Just think what would have happened if people gave to Hillary like they did Obama? Would it even be this close or would she have wiped the floor with him?

    April 21, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Elena

    JCL - check your math. Obama started the month with 41 million cash-in -hand to spend on the primary. Clinton started the month with 9 million cash in hand to spend on the primary.

    Obama: 41,000,000 – 650,000 (debt) = 40 million+ GOOD TO GO

    Clinton: 9,000,000 – 10,200,000 (debt) = 1.2 million IN THE HOLE

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. rb

    Who said money can buy everything or everybody!!

    Thank God there are still some smart people out there with dignity.

    Nice try, Obama!
    We don't need your fake change and we don't need your fake hope.
    What exactly you are going to change, how long and how?
    We can not afford another 8 years of your experiments.
    It's going to take years and years to change politics in Washington if you ever could.
    Obama, you are a hypocrite and your supporters are not wise.
    Stop playing with our minds.

    I hope you will never become a president.

    Hillary 2008

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. L Jeanne

    FINALLY (some of) the truth on the Clintons….I get impatient with sensational rhetorical issues while questions with more sweeping implications go under/unreported – or are reported incorrectly. I’m disenchanted with mainstream media these days….

    As for the Clinton’s, – I’m frankly more than just concerned – I could never vote for them/her…I’m also puzzled by the seeming media blackout on the more controversial issues – their fraud trial in Los Angeles County – which is slowly working its way through the court system; the 10+ million that they owe Penn, the unpaid campaign bills and convoluted record keeping, their campaign “spin” reporting on fundraising totals – without explaining that high percentages of that money can’t be spent on the primary campaign because it comes from folks who have already contributed their legal limit, incidents like David Brooks reported in one of his opinion pieces “The Cooper Concerns” and… well… everything in “The Clinton Chronicles”….. etc etc….

    I’m concerned about favors and/or special consideration they might owe for contributions to Bill’s library, and his exorbitant speaking and lobbying/consulting fees; unresolved conflicts (scandals and vendettas) from the past which might rear their ugly heads during a general election or new presidency; – all potential major distractions and drama we are (I am) THIS MUCH weary of…

    Change? Yes We Can! Obama 08!

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Dan, Your Nations Capitol

    A little proof as to how weak and ineffective her economic policies and leadership prowess really are. The state of Pennsylvania has the opportunity to ensure she can only go back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a visitor.

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Kat

    Agree with all the comments pointing out the very, very clear fact that if Hillary cannot manage her campaign funds – how is the world can she expect US to believe she can run the country any better than George!!

    Come on people – look at facts –

    HIllary is a goner. She needs to get off her high horse and back off.

    Obama in 08!!!!

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. JohnnyU, WA State

    If Hillary were to get elected (which I don't believe she will), she & Bill would likely try to find a way to use taxpayer dollars to pay off the debt they've racked up in the campaign. Liars & cheaters.

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    When you are being out spent what choice do you have? Quit – I sure hope not. Hillary is clearly the best qualified to be our next President. I will send another contribution her way. I hope other Hillary supporters will do the same.

    All eyes are on us in PA – and we will not support the deceit that is the Obama campaign. The Robert Kennedy style Democratic candidate and the John Heinz style Republican candidate can be summed up in one of todays – Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Kurt

    She is and always has been the underdog. Obama is outspending in PA by THREE to ONE! And he will still lose!!! What a waste Obama is!

    April 21, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. Great

    She ran out of money before she started?? Is this how she'll handle our economy? No, thank you.

    April 21, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Lisa J.

    Hillary to Obama: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

    And words for Hillary: "If you can't pay your bills, get out of the race."

    April 21, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Ian

    So it's okay to be in debt as long as you don't have the worst debt? I feel sorry for anyone who votes for any of these three clowns. Debt is debt.

    I'm still voting for the only candidate who actually returns a portion of the money alloted to his office each year. The one candidate without ANY debt. The one candidate who cares enough about civil rights to actually volunteer to help pay for Rosa Parks' medal out of his own pocket. The one candidate who promises to bring our troops home to defend our own borders, not our "allies".

    It's a sad day when such a great gift is offered to us and we laugh it off.

    Ron Paul '08

    April 21, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Joe, PA

    JCL Kentucky: "So let me get this straight, Hillary is starting April $1,000,000 in debt ($10 million in bills minus the $9 million she has on hand) while Barack Obama is in debt for $650,000.
    He has raised $60 million dollars more than her, but their debt is only separated by $350,000 dollars."

    Nice try. You subtracted Clinton's debt from the $9 mil she has on hand, but neglected to subtract Obama's debt from the $52 mil he has on hand. Which, by my calculations, leaves him with a $51,350,000 surplus.
    Think harder. America needs Obama.

    April 21, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Darryl

    I'm not surprised that there is a money issue. Maybe she can borrow more money from Peter F. Paul.

    I hope people start to look into this upcoming case

    Peter F. Paul vs Clinton

    April 21, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Not a Rocket Scientist

    Reading these posts that say all are in debt and that Clinton is only a little more in debt than Obama makes me realize why our country is in so much trouble – if our citizens can't read or do simple math – like subtracting 10 million from 9 million (a neg number) or 650,000 from 42 MILLION – and come up with the idea that these numbers are the same – well that shows why our education system is one of the worst in the developed world – get real!!!

    Obama 08

    April 21, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Weller

    Perhaps if we all agree to chip in to pay off her debt, she'll agree to go away.

    Obama 08

    April 21, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Terry

    I think this speaks volumes. The economy is the important issue this election. If Clinton can't manage her own finances, why in the world would any one trust her to manage the economy of the country. It's really time she bowed out – while she still has some dignity.

    April 21, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Allison R.

    If Senator Clinton cannot manage the finances of her campaign, how does she expect to manage those of our country?

    April 21, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Smart1

    Where did all of that Elton John concert money go????!!!!!!!!! Did she and bill pay a hit man to take Obama out because that's the only way she will win this race. You know they use filthy measures when it comes to getting what they want.

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 21, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    And you people want Shillary to run the country? She can't even run a campaign.

    April 21, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Rich

    It’s not an issue of managing the money. Hillary relied on major contributors with deep pockets to fund her campaign. Obama raised his money via small contributions from millions of Americans. The bottom line is Obama raised more money than Hillary and was therefore able to out spend her on costly TV ads. Hillary had little choice but to go into debt, hoping that if she won she could sell reservations to the Lincoln Bedroom to pay off her debt.

    Obama appears to have a well organized, effectively managed campaign that is raising record contributions. Hillary has fired workers and restructured her campaign a few times. So who is really ready to manage the country?

    April 21, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Don't be surprised if Hillary comes up with some economic reason her budget is showing a deficit and target Obama for causing her problem. Vote Obama.

    April 21, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. indygal

    Hillary will win by a 15% lead...

    April 21, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. mdg

    Did she pay herself back the $5 million she loaned the campaign?

    If so, this is a terrible ROI for her faithful donors who contributed AFTER she revealed the loan!

    April 21, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Carl from Pa

    She doesn't seem to have much right to complain with the debt the country is in when she can't even keep a balanced budgit. I wonder if this is how she would run the country – rigth into the ground like Bush has.

    Such hypocracy makes me sick.

    April 21, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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