May 27th, 2008
11:38 AM ET
13 years ago

Roberts: McCain grapples with major fundraising challenge


(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. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Lisa in GA,

    How can people vote for a man that clearly told you his stance on the govenment..

    I like to vote for someone that tells me were they stand. What do you like a candidate to tell you? I will bring change .

    May 27, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Environment

    So he speaks about "victory in Iraq...and we will not give in".....CRAP CRAP CRAP.

    Same thing Bush ARE NOT EVER LEAVING????????? Get OUT of POLITICS McCain, Bush, epublicans of the are RUINGING this country.

    And my sons would never EVER fight in ANY war for any man like this or others to follow. I'm not neutral to them, I'm aggressive to them as I am with religion. Wise up's Time!!!!

    -Ryan From Denver

    May 27, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. New Yorker

    Tired of W, OH,

    Many of the people who post on CNN don't get past the censors because CNN apparently picks the comments they like to post-the ones from liberals and Bush/McCain haters. You wouldn't believe how many times they haven't posted mine because I'm evidently to conservative for their liking. If the GOP is desperate it's because they know if either of the liberals gets in, this country will spiral down even further and the lives sacrificed for our freedom will have been given in vain. Let's see if CNN will post some truth for a change.

    May 27, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Ben

    Why are you going against educating veterans? NO MONEY FOR YOU!

    May 27, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. FL

    That's very interesting considering that the DNC under Dean has raised record LOW amounts vs. the RNC which has at least 10 times the amount. Look it up. Front page on our paper, and not new news. Report both sides. It's actually the DNC who is scrambling for funds and can't raise more until a candidate is decided.

    May 27, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Winston, Gainesville

    McCain--don't let up on Michelle Obama--she's an angry person and she'll lose it if pressed which will end the election right there.

    If she can't take the heat, have Barack leave her at home.

    May 27, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Smarter than that

    McCain thinks that he can propose a policy that withholds the educational benefits just because he served in the Military. You have trouble getting funds, because we need someone who is for the people and there to help stop the suffering. We need someone who will make a change and stop Bush politics and not elect his big brother McCain. This race is about the American population who are hurting. This race is about who will make the changes necessary to help the people. This race is about who will listen to the people's concerns instead of their own agenda. This race is about having someone who will give the best to the veterans and when people know that you care, only then will care about what you know. Obama
    has chosen to endure all the attacks and all the politics because he cares about the American people and trusts that they will see past the the deceit, lies, mistrust, and manipulation McCain is doing to withhold some benefits because he thinks that we won't have any people re-enlisting. He figures if we don't give them enough money,
    they will have to re-enlist. Shame on you Mr. McCain. Because you are a millionaire and married to a millionaire does not mean that it is fair to smack your fellow veterans in the face with your ignorant proposal.

    May 27, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Environment

    I'm sooooooo tired of this stupidity and greed with our politicians.

    They would love the presidency becuase it's power, status and the higest honor you could recieve. But some are simply NOT qualified to run it and it is obvious that it is only and all about the status and power they will recieve. McCain and Bush are prime examples. And I believe most republicans are as well. I also get that impression from Hilary my own democratic leader so Dems are not excluded but they seem to have less of a greed for this position running through them like the republicans have. Tired of them all. Get out and stop ruining this country and it's inhabitants. And republicans of the future....maybe you can help make your name seem less "evil". Since Bush, I'm very unpatriotic now.

    May 27, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. when..when

    Obama about to clinch victory, aide says? The Primaries are not yet over. until then there is no winner.

    May 27, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. joe






    May 27, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Richard, FL

    Let's try to be fair here.

    Obama has won the most committed delegates, superdelegates, states, and the POPULAR VOTE. It is Hillary who is trying to STEAL the victory by claiming that she won Michigan by the greatest margin in the history of free elections: 328,309 to ZERO. No one REALLY believes that.

    No one can explain how Obama can STEAL an election by following the rules. It is Hillary who AGREED to the rules and now wants to change them.

    Let's try to be fair here.

    May 27, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. Veterans for Obama

    McCain is a traitor to Veterans. My organization will be coming out in force once the Nomination is secured. Veterans and current active duty members of the armed forces are swelling our ranks daily. After Mccain's betrayel regarding the NEW GI Bill of rights, I find it my duty to get the word out about this careless warmonger. Our lives and commitment are of no concern to him. Our future is of no concern. Our Health and education are of no concern.

    Veterans do not forgive betrayel Mr. McCain!

    You have forgotten where you came from!

    May 27, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |

    . . . How many viewers you've lost because of your refusal, again and again, to refuse to print comments that are pro-Hillary. Man, will you lose revenue!

    May 27, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. McDrain

    It's because you have a product that nobody wants. We Americans can be temporarily crazy but not permanently stupid.

    May 27, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. D.Kimbro OHIO

    All of the Hillary Clinton supporters sicken me with your double talk. You must all be sick in the head. Obama ran the campaign of the century, he didnt still anything from anyone. After she concedes watch the comments from the Clinton campaign. There are a number of people in her camp that are already admitting they were out-flanked in every area. To all of you votng for McCain, there is somethiong waiting for you as well. Mr. Scandal will force us to air all of his dirty laundry.

    P.s. How is that campaign debt coming. Obama doesn't owe anyone. There is still money to burn.

    May 27, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    Wow... the GOP not answering questions and pulling the "slight-of-hand" routine.

    Old school politics with a better educated base. GOP needs to completely reinvent itself.

    May 27, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Daphne Kenward

    McCain was a former Vietnam VET, and prisoner of WAR, what if every former prisoner of war ran for the Presidency?. It's not a good enough reason to be President. He has the reputation of Napalming the Vietnameese people, it's a bad memory. Then he has G W BUSH bad policies, which has desimated the American economy, and a run away trade deficit of 9.2 TRILLION and rising. Factories closing down daily, people being made homeless, jobless. And wants to keep the war going, what for? is that his revenge against the world. McCain would turn a RECESSION into a DEPRESSION. The best advice I could give former Republicans is vote for CHANEGE, dump the dead beats, BUSH & McCain. He has nothing to offer America & the rest of the world except a dead end war that is costing every man woman and child 40.000 US. Next winter the power cuts will start to kick in and the high heating cost, with high food cost. It paints a GRIM picture for Americans take in 4 more years of the same BUSH NEO-CON racist policies against the rest of the world, it will get to the point countries may well decide not to supply oil to America, as revenge.

    May 27, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Independant

    It's sad that a lot of Obama supporters are accusing anyone that dosn't believe in Obama of being Limbaugh's Operation Chaos republicans or not true democrats. You people need to really get ahold of reality. If we are going to remain at war with Iraq, I want to have a strong, experienced leader like McCain. If we are going to exit the war in Iraq, I definately don't want Obama calling the shots.

    Hillary or McCain period.

    May 27, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. ida

    My friends, his challenges haven't even begun! They will start as soon as his old friends, The Clintons, go get some rest.

    May 27, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. R.I.F.

    Charlotte May 27th, 2008 1:54 pm ET

    Why do you not trust Obama? It's funny because I see some Hillary supporters saying that they don't trust Obama. That's probably about the lamest excuse you can ever come up with for not voting for Obama considering the fact that Hillary lied 4 times about Bosnia, was totally disingenuous about the bogus gas tax holiday, and as been completely disingenuous about MI & FL considering that she knew that they were not going to count and only started making a stink after it was her only potential path to the nomination. Sorry but the "I don't trust Obama but I trust Hillary" just doesn't hold water.

    Also, how can you trust Mccain when there is hard evidence of him flip flopping on a ton of the big issues? Just say that you don't like Obama and won't vote for him because you let your emotions cloud your judgement.

    Obama '08

    May 27, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Odd....

    It's interesting that McCain comes from the party that is known for wealthy contributors and supporters, and yet, he's having trouble getting funding for his campaign. Do you think those wealthy supporters are seeing the handwriting on the wall? They didn't become wealthy by being stupid with their investments. Investing in McCain/Bush is a very bad decision. This time around, after 8 years of malfeasance and incompetence, the Republicans are going to go down hard. The rich investors will save their money for 2012, when Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will be running. Hillary will have just been released from the rest home, and been given a clean bill of mental health (as long as she keeps taking her medication), Bill will have just been released from jail, and they'll both be quite unsavory, so Jeb will be the next president, just because he's almost normal (other than being a member of the Bush family)

    May 27, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Mike

    Randy, as of right this moment – the RNC has outraised the DNC over three times in their coffers. Not hearsay – a fact. They may outraise once they actually get a candidate, but as of this moment, they have a LONG way to go, mostly due to Dean's awful leadership.

    According to the latest Federal Election Commission reports filed through the end of March, the RNC had $31 million in cash on hand while the DNC had only $5.3 million. The RNC has raised $36.5 million this year while the DNC has raised $17.7 million.

    May 27, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. R1100RT in VA

    McCain's financial problems date back to his aides' (almost all LOBBYISTS) lavish spending of campaign funds last year on personal goodies and perks, to the point where he spent himself BROKE and had to go hat-in-hand to beg for a loan from a bank - with the promise of federal matching funds down the road as collateral. Without that collateral, the bank would have laughed him out the door. Oh, but now he says the fed funds promise WASN'T collateral, the liar!

    Is this the way he'd run the federal government? Lying and borrowing and borrowing and lying? Not on MY citizen's watch and not with MY vote!

    May 27, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Rave

    I see that Republicans are much better and broad minded in terms of race. In fact George Bush had the most African American, Latin people in key roles during his term.
    Until today, I never realized that true racists are in the Democratic party. My god, what a lie ?? Supporting Hillary who always lies, cheats, fakes and desperate compared to a decent gentleman Barack Obama??
    I was thinking Hillary would be OK for VP (maybe)... now it is obvious.. It will be a disaster to have Hillary near the white house. I hope Obama stays away from this women..
    OBAMA / AL GORE 2008

    May 27, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |

    That's the kind of non answers that always come from both McCain and Clinton, this drives me nuts the way they play with people's minds like this. Hillary is the Queen of deflecting the subject off of whatever she does NOT want to discuss to something or someone she DOES want to. She also throws suggestions out there hoping they resonate with the dumb and stupid, she REALLY DO THINK PEOPLE ARE STUPID! I hate this! McCain trys this but he is to slow himself, thus people can see through him more, he talks to people as if he is playing with dim wits. He TRYS to lead people to thinking whatever he wants them to then says something like "Well I just believe the American people will be able to reason that out for themsleves" I hate it when they play games with the minds of the people as if they think we all are STUPID! Mr. McCain say what you mean and mean what you say. McCain also says one thing one day then has a totally different view on it days later, it's like he throws things out there to see how it will be accepted. You can never know what he really thinks about a matter.

    May 27, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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