Presidential Candidates Show the Money

Presidential candidates have filed their quarterly financial reports on their fundraising to the Federal Election Commission. So far, the Democrats running for president have raised more than $80 million, outpacing Republicans, who raised less than $50 million.

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Just how badly off is McCain's campaign? Yesterday was the deadline for the presidential candidates to file their quarterly financial reports, and McCain's balance sheet is not looking very good.

Here with us to talk about that and how the other presidential contenders are doing is NPR's Peter Overby. Good morning, Peter.

PETER OVERBY: Good morning, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: So, Peter, does John McCain have enough money to keep going?

OVERBY: Barely. He spent $11 million and change last quarter, which is down slightly, so he was trying to tighten his belt. After debt, his cash on hand is $1.8 million. That's, for a presidential campaign, just an astonishingly low number. There are only two Democrats who have less cash on hand than John McCain does. They are Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich.

WERTHEIMER: So this is down to two men in a bus, practically?

OVERBY: Just about. It's going to be a tight thing for him to pull this out.

WERTHEIMER: McCain was supposed to be the preemptive front-runner. How are the other Republicans doing?

OVERBY: Neither of them is preemptive, but obviously they're both running ahead of him. Rudolph Giuliani, former New York mayor, his campaign seems to be on the right curve right now. His spending is up but so is his fundraising. And his spending has not gone up as much as the fundraising, so he's stockpiling cash. He raised about $17 million in the last quarter. His cash on hand now is $18 million. Good position to be in.

WERTHEIMER: What about Mitt Romney?

OVERBY: Romney's cash on hand is $12 million. Giuliani is ahead of him in that. And if you take out the loans that Mitt Romney has made to his own campaign - he's a millionaire, he can do this - if you take out those loans, Romney's cash on hand would be only three and a quarter million, which puts him down near McCain territory without his own money to help him.

WERTHEIMER: Let's take a look at the Democrats.

OVERBY: Yeah. The first thing to say is that all the Republicans combined don't have as much cash on hand as either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

WERTHEIMER: So the fundraising is huge for the Democrats.

OVERBY: Yeah. Their donor base is excited in a way that the Republican base is not right now, clearly. Between Clinton and Obama, they're basically running neck and neck in the fundraising, if not in the polls. Obama's spending is up sharply this past quarter. He spent $6 million in the first quarter. He spent $16 million in the second quarter. But the cash on hand for both Clinton and Obama is in the low thirties, which is the kind of money the Democrats have never had before.

WERTHEIMER: That's a lot of money for six months out. What about John Edwards, very quickly?

OVERBY: He still in there. His fundraising fell pretty sharply and his spending went up. But his cash on hand, which is kind of the key number right now for the long stretch ahead, his cash on hand is $13 million, which puts him ahead of Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden.

WERTHEIMER: NPR's Peter Overby. Thank you very much for coming in.

OVERBY: You're welcome.

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