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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
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    Apr 2005

    White House candidates face initial financial test

    White House candidates face initial financial test
    By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent 2 hours, 54 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Presidential candidates are scrambling to fill their bank accounts before next week's initial deadline for donations, which could begin to separate contenders from pretenders in a crowded 2008 White House field.

    The end of the fund-raising quarter on March 31 offers the campaign's first objective gauge of a candidate's performance, as measured by their ability to coax the maximum $2,300 checks from big-money donors and smaller donations from grass roots activists.

    "This will be the first key report card of the 2008 presidential race," said Michael Toner, a former chairman of the
    Federal Election Commission who recently left the FEC to practice campaign finance and election law.

    "It's an important snapshot of candidate viability. Early money attracts later money. It becomes even harder to raise money if you aren't seen as a top tier candidate at the end of this reporting period," he said.

    In a fast-starting nomination race expected to break fund-raising records and possibly be over in less than 11 months, candidates must prove quickly they can raise the tens of millions of dollars needed to build a viable organization.

    Reports must be submitted to the FEC by April 15 listing the donations received by each candidate in the first three months of the year.

    An increase in individual donor limits under a 5-year-old federal law, the ease of raising money on the Internet and the intensity of a wide-open White House race with high-profile candidates is expected to jack up fund-raising totals and perhaps drive some early laggards from the race.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who leads the Democratic field in national polls, is widely expected to set the pace for both parties when fund-raising figures are revealed in April.

    She rolled $11 million from her Senate account into the White House campaign and can tap a fund-raising network headed by campaign veterans linked to her husband, former President
    Bill Clinton. She raised more than $2.5 million on Tuesday at a Washington fund raiser with Bill Clinton.

    Some analysts and rival campaigns suggest she could raise $30 million to $40 million or more in the first quarter. Her campaign has set a public goal of $15 million -- an almost certain sign she will do much better.

    Most campaigns play a similar expectations game, denigrating their own fund-raising success in the hope they will exceed expectations and touting other campaigns in the hope they will fall short.

    Toner said he expected several candidates to raise more than $30 million in the first quarter, sailing well past the $7.4 million Democrat
    John Edwards raised in the first quarter of 2003 to lead the field in advance of the last presidential race in 2004.

    Sen. Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) of Illinois, whose rise to second place behind Clinton in national Democratic polls has sparked a heated rivalry, held a string of successful fund raisers in Hollywood and elsewhere. But an aide cautioned his late start in the money race put them in catch-up mode.

    "We didn't necessarily start from zero, but it's a team and an infrastructure that did not exist at the very beginning of this quarter," said Robert Gibbs, an Obama spokesman.

    Given the stakes, the packed field of 2008 contenders has jammed their March calendars with fund raisers in a late bid to pump up their figures.

    Former New York
    Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who leads the Republican field in national public opinion polls, has 36 fund-raising events scheduled in March. Top rival John McCain (news, bio, voting record), an Arizona senator, has 27.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican who raised more than $6.5 million in one day during the week he entered the race, had fund raisers scheduled on 21 days in March.

    While acknowledging the importance of the money figures, some campaigns said they are just the first in a long series of measuring posts on the road to the White House.

    "We're focused on building a campaign to win the nomination, so fund raising is important all year. It's not more important in March 2007 than at any other point," said Brian Jones, a McCain spokesman. ... s_money_dc
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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Presidential candidates are scrambling to fill their bank accounts
    That about says it all...
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