Obama Presidential Campaign at $25 Million
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
This week we've been tracking Republican and Democratic candidates on a kind of audio chart. Roughly one beat of music reached million dollars raised. We did that with Barack Obama, we would need about about that much - 25 beats for $25 million in the first quarter. That's how much Obama's campaign says he raised.
NPR's Peter Overby is covering this story as he has been all week. And Peter, $25 million, how does that compare with Hillary Clinton?
PETER OVERBY: It is just a 10 behind what she said she raised, which is $26 million. So Obama has sort of come out of nowhere, and essentially matched the person considered to be the best fundraiser - the person with the best fundraising mechanism in the Democratic Party.
INSKEEP: So it already sounds, on the surface, impressive. Clinton with $26 million, Obama with $25, but then Barack Obama's little announcement on this adds another fact, saying that something more than $23 million of the 25...
OVERBY: Twenty-three and a half...
INSKEEP: Twenty-three and a half million of his 25, almost all of it, is contributions for the primary elections as opposed to the general. Why is that important?
OVERBY: It's important because this cycle, Obama, Clinton and some of the other candidates are raising money for the primary and the general election. General election money can't be used in the primary. So the Clinton campaign, when they came out on Sunday, said they'd raised more than $26 million. But they didn't give the breakdown. They said they didn't have it.
Obama comes out, says he's raised more than $25 million, comes out today, and he says more than $23 and a half million is for the primary. And that leaves the big question, how much of Hillary Clinton's money is for the primary?
INSKEEP: And this is significant because we know that Obama has many millions to spend now and he can go back to these same donors on the general election and asks for more from them.
OVERBY: That's right. Now, the balancing point here is that Clinton also transferred in $10 million from her senate campaign. Her Senate campaign had that much money, Obama's does not. So...
OVERBY: She'll have another 10-million cushion there.
INSKEEP: So Hillary Clinton, not exactly broke here. Now let's talk about the Republicans, because we've been learning this week about the Republicans as well. We learned that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, raised $23 million, which - here's the guy that spend getting not nearly as much attention as Barack Obama but raised almost as much money?
OVERBY: That's right. He had a big fundraising push right when he announced. He also has transferred in 20,000 from an old senate campaign. He's also lent his own campaign $2.35 million, which is something he can do. He's a very wealthy man. The question with all of - with these candidates who sort of come out of nowhere with big numbers is can they sustain it?
For instance, in 2003, John Edwards raised $7.4 million, which back then was big money - from trial lawyers - did that in the first quarter. The second quarter, it fell off - from 7.4 down to 4.5.
INSKEEP: He couldn't find that next group of donors to go after for the support?
OVERBY: That's right. So the second quarter is going to show how good a candidate - how well a candidate can follow through on this stuff after getting the low-hanging fruit.
INSKEEP: Very briefly, should John McCain - another leading Republican - be worried that he only ended up, only ended up with $12.5 million, which puts him well behind Romney?
OVERBY: Yes. He has been trying to position himself as the heir apparent to the Bush organization and, at least right now, that doesn't seem to be happening.
INSKEEP: Peter, good talking with you.
OVERBY: Thank you.
INSKEEP: Thanks very much. And again, the news morning is that Barack Obama's Democratic campaign for president announced that he has raised $25 million in the first quarter.
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INSKEEP: And you're listening to NPR News.
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