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. Independant

    We need a strong, experienced leader to lead us during the war in Iraq and we need a strong, experienced leader to lead us out of the war in Iraq.

    Hillary or McCain

    May 27, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Daphne Kenward

    As for the many Millions of people in America who lack the foresight of seeing where McCain will take America. Hold on to your donations incase you arrive at work to find your job has been shipped to China. And can't afford the Petrol to look for another job. Food Stamps won't pay your Mortgage.

    May 27, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Matt, Manchester, CT

    It's funny to read these posts and all the anger that's been directed towards McCain. If these same people were as confident of Obama winning the election as they say they are, they'd see no need to criticize the other side because it wouldn't change the end result.

    And coming up w/ McSame is about as witty as signing your name "Ben Dover" on some substitute's attendance list.

    May 27, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. john

    Barack Obama is a Citizen of Kenya

    U. S. Senator Barack Obama is a citizen of Kenya and became a citizen of Kenya under the Independence Constitution of Kenya in 1963. Obama has never renounced his Kenyan citizenship. He is also a U. S. Citizen.

    “Under the Independence Constitution of Kenya, Obama became a Kenyan citizen on December 12, 1963. He has never renounced his Kenyan citizenship. On his senate web site, Obama tap dances around his own dual nationality when discussing his father. Obama obviously knows, because his father told him, that he also held/holds Kenyan nationality.

    “Once again, we find Barack Hussein Obama concealing fascinating information about his identity. There is nothing unusual about dual nationality. Indeed, ancient Roman Law doctrines of jus sanguini and jus soli come into play, because both Kenya and the U. S. recognize dual nationality. Once again, the issue is not ‘legality.’ The issue is the cover-up; Obama’s concealment of his own identity.

    May 27, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Toni from Maryland

    Can she understand and comprehend

    Obviously, she missed it or she tried to deflect from the question ever so unsuccessfully

    May 27, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Chewbacca

    I would rather give money to Ron Paul than this clown.
    At least Ron Paul knows how to stay in a budget and not over spend.

    May 27, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Anna, SW Missouri

    The RNC needs to stop telling people the money they are donating will go to McCain's run for the Presidency. Most people expect that money to help the Senate and House of Representative mount their campaigns.

    May 27, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Independant

    I think McCain has pretty good control of his temper. He handled himself pretty well after four groups of Obama supporters interrupted his speech. Seems like Obama needs to control his sheep a little better than he has been.

    May 27, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Rob R

    Don't be stupid Hillary supporters and vote for McCain when Obama becomes the nominee. You are only spiting yourself, your families, and your country. Obama and Hillary share 95% of the same vision.

    I'm sorry if your candidate isn't going to make it – Obama ran a better campaign fair and square. Stop crying about MI and FL either – Hillary knew perfectly well that those states were going to be penalized. How many of you Hillary supporters would really care about MI and FL if she were up in the delegate count? You'd all be criticizing Obama for the same thing if the roles were reversed.

    So, either stay home on election day or come together and vote Obama. Do not be stupid and vote for McCain as a "protest" vote because that's exactly what the Republicans want you to do.

    May 27, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Molly

    Looks like the obama trolls are at the McCain site!
    Your comments are a disgrace!

    Remember: Without the MILLIONS of Hillary voters the only thing obama may get is the nomination – NEVER EVER the White House!

    So – Hello McCain – YOU Sir ARE Qualified

    May 27, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Reggie

    When it comes right down to it., the better candidate will win. That clearly is John McCain. Obama's inexperience will shine through over the course of the campaign. This country and the world for that matter cannot afford to elect a do nothing, know nothing, one term senator from Illinois.

    May 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Joe McCallum

    It is amaazing to me, that after 8 years of George Bush, Americans would even consider electing John McCain. Everyone is entitled to their own vote, but to look and listen to this guy is scary. Mccain has no clue on anything. The fact that he was a prisoner of war does not qualify. I am a vet who has worked many years with POW's and other Viet Nam and Persian Gulf vets. War does not qualify one to lead. What it can do is warp one's perception so badly that they have tunnel vision on issues. No flexibility. Do we want another 4-8 years of this madness? I think not. Partisanship is a bunch of hogwash. I urge everyone to close their eyes and listen to the candidates. I f you are then still for John McCain, good luck.

    May 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. David Goldman for OBAMA







    May 27, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Independant

    If Hillary dosn't win the nomination or if she is not offered the VP spot, I have a feeling John McCain is going to be getting plenty of donations from anti-Obama voters.

    Hillary or McCain

    May 27, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. john

    Obama's accomplishments:
    1. President of Harvard Law review
    2. Junior senator
    3. Sat in Reverend Wright's hate-filled church for 20 years
    4. Makes Ted Kennedy proud
    5. Won over Oprah
    6. Endorsed by Hamas
    7. A good speaker
    8. Wrote a book about hope
    9. He says he is breaking from the past
    And which of these qualify him to be President?
    Please feel free to add any quantifiable domestic/foreign national leadership accomplishments.
    10. Understands the War on Drugs having done many different types of drugs on a daily basis.

    11. Understands Crime Issues in the US, after having friends who have bombed public buildings, organized riots and participated in Organized Crime.

    12. Understands how to spend public monies after blowing 484 million dollars on his nomination campaign.

    13. Understands PR having collected $8,000 a month from a Government PR contractor that he secured the account for.

    You may add more.

    May 27, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Tom St. Louis

    To "Obama is the One":

    There is one simple reason I will NOT be voting for Obama in November. I don't want a president that is just going to bend over and let every world leader or terrorist organization take whatever they want from the U.S. I guarantee you that is what will happen in an Obama presidency.

    It amazes me how quickly people forget the recent past. Obama's supporters are using the same terminology to describe their candidate as those that were used by G.W. Bush eight years ago..."I'm a uniter, not a divider." Doesn't that sound familiar?

    Electing a foreign policy neophyte eight years ago is exactly why the U.S. is in the mess it is in, and you people want to do the same thing, all for the sake of "change". Good luck with that, but don't be surprised when you hear a chorus of "I told you so" if Obama is lucky enough to be elected.

    May 27, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. frank

    Newflash – Hillary wont quit no matter how many delegate Obama gets. 2026, 2118, 2210!!

    She will be campaigning at the convention.

    May 27, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. Anna, SW Missouri

    Charlotte, you are so very wrong. Three of the current judges on the Supreme Court are in their 70's or 80's. Two of those 3 are the reason that Roe vs. Wade has not been overturned. McCain vows to appoint judges in the like of Roberts and Alito. He votes against womens rights on every issue that comes before the Senate. The reason Roe vs. Wade has not been overturned before now is because the balance has always been on the side that will keep it from happening. That will change. Yes, judges have to be approved by the Senate, but there are certain rules involved, and if a President appoints conservative judges, they will be approved unless something comes up in their past to prevent it. All women need to understand that this is not just hyperbole to try to persuade women to vote for Obama that are currently saying they won't if Hillary loses, this is for real. I am a Republican woman that will vote for Obama, and so will my 78 year old mother-in-law, for this very reason. Both of us would have voted for Hillary if she won. It is not a matter of WHO wins the nomination, it is a matter of protecting women's rights.

    May 27, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Predictions

    i see a democratic party crumble..
    let me look into my crystal ball...hmmm, i see a marshall law. i do not see an election, hmmm, the president of the united stated will continue to be George W. Bush.

    May 27, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. independent chris

    Obama is still registering voters that will tally in the millions, most of whom will donate as will the rest of us (1.5 million+ !!) who have already donated. He has done more to enliven the political process for ordinary people than any politician in history (meaning he has done more to foster democracy) and as a result, he'll raise more money than any politician in history. Once the nominating process is complete, the bump-up Obama will get in both polls and money will be incredible. This wave is still growing into a tidal wave, people, an Obama-Tsunami that will wash Washington nearly clean of the GOP.

    Will the HRC supporters still swear to vote McCain once HRC begs them to vote Obama? Really? Oh well, then they'll be canceled out by Republicans that will vote for Barr, the GOP Nader.

    May 27, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. anna

    All Hillary supporters who want to vote Mccain if Obama is the nominee, you deserve to rot.......

    May 27, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Diana New York


    OBAMA 08

    May 27, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. trellskig

    Thank you to all the "Obama Rebublicans" that are not listening to Rush Limbaugh's "operation chaos" to help your fellow country men and women. That takes guts to stand up to your party and you are well appreciated.

    May 27, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. Anil Sharma

    My biggest fear is McCain will gravitate towards war. It is his comfort zone. When things startegetting tough, he will talk war. If CNN gives me an opportunity (by allowing this comment to be displayed), I like to ask if how many of you think that the war in Vietanam was wo. It is very likely that the answer is none. If so – how could, a hero of Vietanam war, think that a war in Iraq be won when it is against the people of Iraq. Does winning such a war, not require talking and educating people? My another fear is that McCain will fuel the histeria in middle east and convert an entire generation to be strong anti-American. An investment of 12 billion a month can bring better results if spent to pursue the peace in the region or prosperity at home. The notion of "victorious in war" by millitary means is a non-starter. I am appalled that McCain thinks, he knows the region well. He is hurting the pride of people of Iraq with such words and giving them reasons to become anti-American. Look at Isarael, have they really won the decade old war yet?

    May 27, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. d

    McCain is not getting the donations towards his campaign because he is SO FAR LEFT on TOO MANY ISSUES. What we have in this election year is 2 socialism Democrats and 1 Rep turn coat Democrat. My opinion, but McCain is all for amnesty, is all for the faulty Gore Global Warming where our Politicians intend to go the carbon tax route (yeah that should solve some problems - NOT - only enrich "some" peoples pocketbooks). McCain wants to increase the HB Visas when this Country has MORE THAN ENOUGH. McCain is no different than the other candidates who will take this country toward the spiraling downward trend of SOCIALISM. And McCain wonders why he can't get more donations!!!!

    Sad, sad, sad state this Country is in when we only have these 3 major candidates. I am really beginning to fear for my Country as I see the once sought "American Dream" coming to an end.

    May 27, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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