April 21st, 2008
01:21 PM ET
13 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. Karin

    One MORE nice thing about this being over soon - we won't have to continually hear how the next stretch is "the most crucial" stretch.

    April 21, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. mike


    It is so obvious that Obama is already receiving public financing to some degree.It is no secret that the average contribution to his campaign is so low and that is due to the fact that a majority of his donors are welfare recipients.

    If a graph were made available by the Obama camp it would no doubt show that the bulk of his donations come in at the first of each month when welfare recipients get their monthly checks.So there is no doubt that the public is already financing the Obama campaign to the tune of around 78% of his overall haul of contributions.

    So if fleecing the American taxpayer in the form of welfare to in part fund his campaign can be called stunning then I guess it is STUNNING.

    April 21, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. ds

    She's really staying in the race to get you to pay her debt! STOP sending her money. She's got her own.

    April 21, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Melissa, MI

    Obama is not buying the election....THE PEOPLE ARE BUYING THE ELECTION!!!

    If anything, Clinton loaning her campaign 10 million dollars is buying an election.

    April 21, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. gerald strother

    So Hillary gets an endorsement from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. The same ultra right wing, Richard Scaife-owned publication that lead the charge against the Clintons in the 90's. Gee, that's a surprise isn't it? NO SHAME

    April 21, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Scott

    Everyone please vote for Clinton. Maybe if we give her enough votes she and her morally bankrupt husband will have to claim bankruptcy. After all this time there is a God.

    April 21, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. hello

    If Obama gets nomination watch out all these media who is supporting him is going to dump him for John McCain.
    as I see it they want weaker candidate Obama and not Clinton on democrat side so that they can keep all that Tax break they got from Bush.
    Don't you know they are all millionaire and works for big corporation who owns all media.
    All Obama supporter should watch Saturday night live.
    Obama as a president calling Hillary at 3 am. with no clue what to-do with crisis in oval office.
    Funny but true Obama has no experience compare to Hillary in world affair, and cannot stand against Putin, Jintao Hu,chavez and ahemedinijad.

    April 21, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. manlius

    JCL and Margie,

    You are not reading the numbers right. Obama has well over $40 million in the bank *after* you take into account the campaign "debt" (which is like bills that have not yet been paid). Clinton is underwater by about $1 million after factoring in her debt. The net difference between their financial positions is not a couple of hundred thousand, but more than $40 million.

    April 21, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. JCL, it's not that complicated

    When the article speaks of "debt" it means outstanding bills to be paid – that's $10,000,000 for HRC and only $650,000 for Obama.

    Clinton has $9,000,000 in funds to pay her $10,000,000 in outstanding debt, while Obama has $42,000,000 to pay off his $650,000 in outstanding debt. So is that really proof that Obama is the one who can't handle a budget? I'd say not

    April 21, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. I saw the truth and it set me free!!!!

    Oh my God, this is unbelievable. It is s sign that the CLINTONS are not meant to go back to the White House. Maybe they should save whatever money they have to get Chelsea ready cause the way I see it Hill will never give up and her daughter is the only one left that can MAKE HER DREAM COME TRUE. Sorry HILL IT'S OVER, and the way you showed us your true colors I don't think NY WILL EVER ELECT YOU AGAIN. So please start looking for a new distraction.

    April 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Eric

    JCL of Kentucky – you actually don't have it straight. The "debts" in this case mean "bills yet to be paid". For Obama, that's $650,000; for Clinton, $10 million.

    Now look at the cash they have available to spend: Obama – $42 million; Clinton: ~$9 million.

    Now it's just math: Obama has $42 million and owes $650,000 which means he still has $41.35 million. So he's very well off.

    Clinton has $9 million and owes $10 million so right now she cannot pay off $1 million dollars that she currently owes to businesses.

    So, Obama is not up $350,000, as you said; he is up by more than $42 million.

    April 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Leigh for Obama

    JCL in Kentucky, do your math skills suffer or is this a Clinton type spin?

    CLINTON 9 million she can spend
    10 million debt

    OBAMA 42 million he can spend
    650,000 debt

    THEREFORE NET Clinton ( -1,000,000)
    Obama 41,350,000

    That looks more like a difference of 42,350,000 , why did you say only 350,000 separates them?????
    Just curious

    April 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. norlanta

    Doesn't pay her bills!
    Multiple campaign managers
    Accused Obama of running breaking his word and running a negative campaign and "/throwing the kitchen sink at her." Ha!!
    Reams Obama for sticking with his church – "we don't choose our families, but we choose our churches", yet last time I checked she chose to stay with her "sleazy"man that she "chose" to marry!
    Took every possibe chance to sling during th PA debate - note Obama chose not to...
    Need I go on....

    April 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Mariann Pepitone

    FEDUP: You are so right. With all the millions Obama is spending in PA he still can't lock up the win. He is a loser there. He needs to win that battleground state because his campaign manager already advised him of that. Obama can spend trillions in PA and will still lose. He's good talker with the speeches of RFK whose book of speeches he was given to study. He is as dumb as they come for a college graduate. Maybe its the drugs and booze that damaged his mind. He has the worst reputation of any candidate that ran for office of this country and if he wins the nomination 40% of Hillary's voter's are foting for McCain to give McCain a landslide victory. I will do the same to keep him out of the white house. Can't you imagine who would be coming to dinner? Ayers, Ayres, Wright,Farrakhan and Rezko. All the big time anti-american white people hater's.

    April 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. nina

    To JLC in Kentucky....it appears all the candidates have money yet to be paid out. The difference between Clinton and Obama is that he actually has the money to pay it back. Clinton does not, that's why she's in the red.
    It's very simple to understand. Most people owe money, i.e. utilities. Your bill comes in, it's due the following week. you have more than enough money in the bank to pay it. You pay it by the due date. In Hillary's case, she has people/vendors or whomever she owes, but does not have the money to cover it. Obama DOES have the money to cover what he owes.
    So to all the Hillary supporters, please explain how someone can run a country economically when they cannot economically run their own campaign? Hillary's been the one saying "people, this is a job I'm applying for". She's already lent her campaign money. So if she were to take office, would she then borrow more from another country in order to help decrease the American deficit? and if so, isn't that what she's been accusing Bush of doing?

    April 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Paull

    CLINTON GO HOME! (and take your wife with you......)

    April 21, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Vince

    Let me get this straight. She has borrowed her own campaign 5 million (common man) dollars of her own (non elitest) money. She is now in debt and running her campaign on expected future contributions. Sounds a lot like the way our government has done things and the value of our dollar is a joke and is why we are going to be paying $4 dollars for a gallon of gas soon. I have never seen anyone mismanage a campaign so badly as she has going from an overwhelming favorite to an overwhelming loser with the political clout of a circus clown from now on. All the while saying she was the only vetted candidate and her opponent is not even close to being able to win. AHEM, he beat the crap out of you and you still have the tasteless ability to say these things. If you had any makings of a Commander in Chief you would have recognized long ago you were not going to win this no matter how much you lied, cheated and stole. Instead you have run your campaign budget into the ground and left people in many states holding the bag. The incessant lies should have been enough for people providing services to say thanks but no thanks and while i feel bad for them they also should have known better than to make a deal with someone who is worse than any used car salesman I have ever met. To the people of Pennsylvania, dont be the butt of the rest of the country's jokes like Ohio was when they fell for her last minute lies on NAFTA. It comes out days later that it was Hillary that did the double talk in Canada telling them not to listen to what she said publicly. This time she is going to try to make the people of Pennsylvania look stupid by making up stories about Obama taking lobbyist money when she is the Queen of pact and lobby money and Obama has run on funds given by the people.
    It is time for a change!

    April 21, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Betty CA

    Time for HRC to get out.

    I see somewhat of an analogy here with what's going in Iraq (a long stretch but ...). Go into debt for a cause that has a minute chance of winning. Can' face the reality and meanwhile, beat up everyone in it. Very irrational.

    VOTE OBAMA !!!


    April 21, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Marie

    One stubborn woman – The writing has been on the wall for a while now. With her negative campaign and Bill's comments against her, you've got to wonder what kind of motivation the Clintons have to reach for the White House again in such a strange way.

    April 21, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Floridafor Hillary

    No more Obama.

    Go Hillary.

    April 21, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Kel from Bham, AL

    Since her campaign is already in debt, I'm not so sure she can manage the economy. Let's end the bush-clinton dynasty and get someone in office who can run this country the right way. Obama 08!

    April 21, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Please Stop the Madness

    I am beginning to wonder if people are senile! How in heaven's name can you trust our country to someone who has made such of mess of their campaign. It is no wonder that the educated are breaking heavily in Obama's favor, because only the uneducated would vote for HRC given these campaign finance numbers. Sorry to call you guys out, but if the educated are voting for someone and the uneducated are voting for another person then you should get a clue. Please stop allowing the dumb among us to continue to ruin this country.

    April 21, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Grammie

    Guess she doesnt't have supporters standing in front of churches with brochures and collection plates asking for donations. She doesn't go into churches and makes speeches about her qualifications or do pastors do the same.
    Obama's campaign has taken funds from every tom, dick and harry that thinks he will give out more freebies if elected. And yes, that means special interests and lobbyists. Check out the reports.
    Hope her campaign can come up with more cash. If Senator Obama wins, it just means that money buys votes, one way or another.

    April 21, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. quippa hip

    Hey all you mean boys! Stop piling on poor little Hillary!

    You know she'll start crying agian!

    Aww, it's okay Hill- no desert for them!

    April 21, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. jr.

    Dear Americans Obama gets upset with Hillary when she expocess his carector.We must also take this underconsideration whe a person is runnig for a president.

    April 21, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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