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Democrats Blaze Trails In February Fundraising

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, shown debating Sen. Barack Obama this week in Cleveland, said supporters increased their contributions to her campaign when they saw it was struggling financially, and after she had lent the campaign $5 million. "It just set off a chain reaction across the country," she said.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, shown debating Sen. Barack Obama this week in Cleveland, said supporters increased their contributions to her campaign when they saw it was struggling financially, and after she had lent the campaign $5 million. "It just set off a chain reaction across the country," she said. (By John Quinn -- Bloomberg News)
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By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 29, 2008

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama continued to rewrite fundraising records this month, with Clinton announcing yesterday that she had rebounded from a disappointing showing in January to raise $35 million in February, by far her biggest one-month total of the campaign.

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Obama (Ill.), who raised $36 million in January, has not yet announced a total for February, but aides said it will be "considerably more" than that raised by his rival for the Democratic nomination. Their combined total appeared poised to surpass the $71 million raised by President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in March 2004, the previous record for fundraising by two candidates for the presidency in a single month.

The display of fundraising muscle came even as Clinton (N.Y.) slipped in national polls and suffered several setbacks at the ballot box. She said more than doubling what she had raised in January has left her well positioned for another primary-season comeback.

Clinton attributed the jump in donations to a core of passionate supporters who sent money when they saw her campaign struggling. Aides said online contributions, which accounted for $30 million of the total, soared after Clinton revealed in late January that she had lent the campaign $5 million to keep her bid afloat.

"Contributions are another way of judging" how much support a candidate has, Clinton said between campaign stops in Ohio yesterday. "When people found out we didn't have the resources to compete, and I did put my own money in, it just set off a chain reaction across the country."

Despite evidence that he is out-spending Clinton significantly in Texas and Ohio, Obama maintained a cautious tone yesterday, urging his supporters to "remember New Hampshire" -- whose primary Clinton won on Jan. 8.

Others may be writing Clinton's political obituary, but "I have not," Obama told reporters aboard his campaign plane.

The most reliable sign that Obama remains the better-financed candidate is on television sets in Texas and Ohio, where he has aired nearly twice as many campaign commercials as Clinton. The states will hold key primaries Tuesday.

Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, said this week that Obama has spent more than $7 million in the two states and Clinton has spent about $4 million. Factoring in cable television ads, Obama has run more than 57,000 30-second spots and Clinton has aired about 31,000, according to an analysis by Tim Kay, director of political strategy at National Cable Communications.

Hassan Nemazee, one of Clinton's top fundraisers, said yesterday that while he recognizes Obama has continued to raise and spend significantly more money, her February total has helped him assure supporters that the campaign is not over.

"What we know is, we will not lose on Tuesday as a consequence of money," he said. "I would argue it means we're in a good position to win and stop this string of unbroken victories and unanswered victories."

Peter Daou, who oversees Clinton's Internet fundraising efforts, said in a recent interview that he thinks very different emotions motivated the candidates' supporters to contribute in February.


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