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. yves

    I find it pretty pathetic that HRC whom cannot balance a presidential campaign budget is talking about straightening out our economy...pls Hillary try and save what is left of you.

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. FEDUP

    I just gave to Hillary, and will again. Hang in there, we will see you through. Remember we are the poorer supporters. Obama should have tripled your donations. He is out spending you 3or4 to 1,and still can't lock this up. You will win all the states except NC, and you will do ok there.

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Mark, Berwyn, PA

    It's just unbelievable to me that people are still hardened supporters of this woman. And that some endecided voters in my state are still 'undecided'! If the management of her campaign is any indication of her management abilites, which I think it is a 100% indication of her management abilities, then a Hillary presidency would be a much more miserable failure than GW Bush. She puts people in charge that are total dolts, but are loyal to her (sound familiar?). She runs her organization in the red (sound familiar?). She use 'surrogates' to do her dirty work so she appears above the nastines (sound familiar?). She is bought and paid for by big industry lobbyists (sound familiar?). So she has a lot in common with GW Bush, and all those Hilla-nazi's HATE GW Bush. It's just unbelievable she still has any support. It's a very sad commentary on the American voting public.

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Matt from Albany, NY

    I thought Hillary was the Blue-Collar candidate????

    How can someone claim to be blue-collar when they make 100million dollars a year? Obama is steadily pulling in 50 million dollars a month at a rate of 25-100 dollars at a time.

    Hillary only pulls in big-ticket donor's (ie: corporate lobbyists) and now her base has left her.

    Hillary, please respectfully pull out of the election and start supporting the party that you are a member of!

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Mark the Diplomat

    .... yes, the Clinton campaign is bankrupt - morally, spiritually and lacking in the transparency and elevated level of fair play which disqualifies her for the great office of this land.

    Pennsylvania – stake your claim and reputation as the state and good people who closed this race for Mr. Obama.

    None of the candidates is perfect... however, we need to look forward to a new vision for this nation, and Obama gives us this chance to regain our footing domestically and on the international scene.

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. itoldya

    they have so much money $109 million, why cant she lend her campaign more money.... i'll tell you why.... because she was you suckers... she doesn't believe in her own chances.... that would be a bad investment.... follow her lead stop throwing your money away

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Unshrub

    What's to say she won't run the country like she has been running her campaign; wasteful spending and in debt.

    April 21, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Paul

    "Obama has 2 fat billionaires behind him using every loophole in the book to send him money, Obama and Romney seem to have the same pattern, they outspend their opponents 3 to one and still loose."

    I completely agree with you,

    That is not what the Obama supportters refuse to acknowledge

    Their candidate lost 3 out of 4 states in spite of outspending Hillary 2-1 or even 3-1.

    Do you need more clues?

    Hillary- President of the United States of America

    April 21, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Midge from Ohio

    If she wins Pa. as big as I think she, is the money will roll in. Hang in there! 18-24 yr olds who are voting for Obama still have Mom and Dad to pay their bills. What do they really know about politics? They know rock stars.

    April 21, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. JT in Dallas

    Whatever it takes to keep the inexperienced well wisher out! Go Clinton!

    Texans for Experience!

    April 21, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Teresa

    If Hillary can not manage a campaigns finances how is she going to run this country. When this country is struggling financially is she going to loan the economy money from her own pocket book to keep it afloat?

    April 21, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Pure Amazement

    Pure amazement that her campaign is still allowed to continue knowing that she began April with a $2 million deficit. Now with the heavy campaigning in PA, she is sure to have an even higher deficit (George Bush also has no regard to racking up debt). I repeat my statement again and again until someone takes notice....


    April 21, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Mikey, Scottsdale AZ

    Oh Oh ... Billy better go out and make a quick speech somewhere...need some xtra bucks ...

    April 21, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. emorydoc

    Reports of financial trouble in the Hilary camp have been coming out for a long time now so this is not new. Apparently they were spending lavishly on hotels, dinners, parties and other things so I guess the irony is especially biting.
    If she can't manage a campaign that was supposed to inevitably lead to her presidency, I'm not sure I can vote for her anymore.
    I seriously have to think about whether I can vote for Obama.

    Right now he has apparently managed his campaign very well but can he translate that to a presidency??

    April 21, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. KiloWhiskey - Denver

    It's a good indication of what's really happening below the vocal level of campaign hype – her support has peaked and is waning. It's now or never in Penn.

    Her negatives are way too high – a fierce group of supporters, but not enough to be elected. Too many people highly dislike her.

    She is smart enough to see though what the DNC is not stating – that Obama is not electible this fall. His negative among certain groups are also way too high. A bad time for the DNC – 2 candidates that are C+'s at best.

    April 21, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. robb

    As donations go, so goes the nation? (couldn't resist that one)

    This is a great example of which candidate is better at raising funds from loyal supporters, spending according to their means, and managing their budget.

    April 21, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Elle

    The billionaire money that Obama is getting won't sustain him much longer.After tomorrow it will be clear that despite Obama outspending Clinton 3/1 ,it will not buy him a win in PA,nor will it get him in the white house.

    April 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Hillary Quit!


    April 21, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. Read This

    Monte Brown....FoxNews reported the same thing so how is CNN being biased?

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Ruth

    Okay, this is over folks. You simply cannot sustain a national campaign if you don't have any money. Hillary needs to suspend her campaign and pay off those debts (heck I bet Obama will help her out).

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Bob in Pittsburgh, PA

    The Clinton campaign debt is just one indication of how she will run (mis-run) the country. Look out, America!

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Terry

    I saw a CNN poll asking if the public wants her to quit – did you all see the numbers? 74% want her to stop after the primary tomorrow. She has created some serious damage to our party – folks, my wife and I voted for her in the Texas primary, but are facing facts. She has greatly hurt our chances in November.

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Matt


    Billionaire backers aren't doing much. FOR THE FISRTS TIME IN HISTORY 1,366,366 UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL DONORS have donated to a presidential primary campaign. The candidate is Barack Obama.

    One million, three hundred sixty six thousand, three hundred sixty six! There is nothing "elitist" about it.

    Obama 08

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Shrimp Barnicles

    Clinton's campaign spends money like a teenager with a credit card. I don't see her as a president who can reduce our countries trade deficit. She obviously dosn't have enough money to match Obama and what amazes me is that she waste the little money she has on kitchen sink advertising which yields low return on investments(ROE).

    Voters are beginning to lose confidence in her campaign. They want to see her win by 15% + in Pennsylvania and other ensuing primaries to prove she can win the nomination. But polls are showing that voters are more likely to be hit by lightening than for her to win by those big margins. So I will advise her to keep her day job as a senator before it is also taken away from her.

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Erica

    So what does this mean for Hillary?

    Absolutely nothing.

    Her campaign is broke, she is behind in every possible way (total delegates, popular vote, number of states) and major democratic leaders have echoed the sentiment that the "one who is trailing" after this next round of primaries needs to drop out. Hello, none of those people are stupid. Everyone knows that even with a landslide in Pennsylvania there is no way for Hillary to overtake Barack Obama in any of those categories–barring a huge breakdown in his candidacy, which is about as likely as Al Gore putting in an eleventh hour bid.

    I am completely convinced that the DNC will have to pry the nomination from Senator Clinton's cold, dead fingers. Even if it bankrupts HER.

    April 21, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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