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Clinton Lent Her Campaign $5 Million
Obama, at a news conference before leaving his home town of Chicago, described Clinton as the "front-runner in every single contest." The Clinton campaign predicted that Obama would win the races immediately ahead, continuing a game of expectations management that has been waged for more than a month.
"Senator Clinton is a formidable opponent," Obama said. "She's got a familiar and well-appreciated name. She's got a political machine honed over two decades."
At her campaign headquarters in Arlington, Clinton defended her maneuver, executed last month but kept under wraps until yesterday, to add money to her campaign coffers. News of the $5 million transfer came as a surprise to Clinton donors who had assumed her campaign, which raised $100 million last year, would keep pace with Obama's. Earlier this month, Obama announced that he had raised $32 million in January alone, and aides said he took in an additional $3.5 million yesterday.
Clinton said she moved her own money last month "because I believe very strongly in this campaign."
"We had a great month fundraising in January, broke all the records, but my opponent was able to raise more money and we intend to be competitive," she said. "The results of last night proved the wisdom of my investment."
Terence R. McAuliffe, Clinton's campaign chairman, said the team had raised at least $13 million in January, and noted that figure did not include the loan.
It was unclear whether news of Clinton's financial stresses would affect her fundraising. Top fundraisers said they did not learn of her move until after Super Tuesday's contests, suggesting that the campaign was aware it could be a public relations blow.
The campaign has revealed little about its finances after a significant outlay for advertising, travel and field work on Super Tuesday But yesterday, campaign officials confirmed that members of Clinton's campaign staff had agreed to work without taking any pay.
Mark Aronchick, a Pennsylvania fundraiser who attended a victory party at the Manhattan Center in New York with many of the campaign's $100,000 "Hillraisers" on Tuesday night, said the subject of her loan never came up in conversation during the party. "To the contrary, the mood was euphoric, and the temperature I got from the fundraising folks was just, it was high-fives, and ready to rock," Aronchick said, adding that he is not concerned about the development.
"My guess is that the thinking was: Well, if you've raised that much money, then Hillary will put more money into the campaign, too," Aronchick said. "It's like, 'Ante up.' "
But Clinton finance co-chairman Hassan Nemazee spent yesterday taking calls from donors who wondered what to make of the senator's decision.
"What I told them was: We will not be uncompetitive for lack of resources. We will have what it takes to compete in February and March, and right through April if it takes that," Nemazee said. Joe Trippi, an adviser to John Edwards until he dropped out of the race, said the loan is a sign of trouble. "It means she's at a tremendous disadvantage moving forward," he said. "The worst thing to be is an 800-pound gorilla who's out of money. The cultural shock for the campaign is incredible."
Staff writers Anne E. Kornblut, Dan Balz and Perry Bacon Jr. and research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.