Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where They $tand

Follow the money.... and you may get an idea of what's behind the candidates carefully crafted images and sound-bite personas. Here's a peek at the nominee-making money trail ranked by receipts for the third quarter (Federal Election Commission 3rd Quarter 2007):

1 - HILLARY CLINTON (D-Senator NY): She's rolling in the stuff and must be happily humming in the shower Donald Trump's "Money, Money, Money, Money".... she has more money in the bank for her presidential primary campaign than any of her rivals of either party.

Clinton's numbers may be more interesting because of what she gave back.... $800,000 to about 250 people.... thanks to her association with shady fund-raiser "Ponzi" Hsu, plus $23,000 he raised for her in past years; and, $9,200 from a Virginia couple after the wife told the Wall Street Journal that the donations were reimbursed by her husband's boss. Still, the odor from these cheesy deals didn't clip her wings.... she raised more, $27.89 million, than she spent, $22.6 million, and has cash on hand of $50.5 million. Of that amount she's allowed to spend $35 million on the primaries.

2 - BARACK OBAMA (D-Senator IL): While Obama is making a race of it, he still spent more, $21.5 million, than he raised, $21.3 million, and has less cash on hand than Clinton, $36.1 million, of which he can spend about $32 million on the nomination battle. He spent more than any other Democrat on television ads, airing more than 4,000 spots in Iowa alone, compared to Clinton's 1,600.

3 - MITT ROMNEY (R-former governor MA): This is a little tricky.... Romney is third in "receipts" in the third quarter, $18.4 million, but, of that amount he made a personal loan of $8.5 million, bringing the amount he has put into his campaign from his personal wealth $17.5 million so far. He actually "raised" about $10 million. And, he spent $21.3 million.... more than twice what his campaign "raised"..... leaving him with cash on hand of $9.2 million.

Romney mounted a television ad campaign in an effort to increase his name recognition.... nearly 11,000 spots in four states through October 10.... with more ads in Iowa and New Hampshire than all the other GOP candidates combined.

4 - FRED THOMPSON (R-former TN Senator): Late entry Thompson raised $12.8 million since last June, spent $5.7 million and has cash on hand of $7.1 million. He claims 80,000 donors, with 22,000 from the Internet, although more than a fifth of his contributions have come from his home state of Tennessee, obviously already tapping his core support for cash. His national poll numbers are high even though he ran only 13 ads on cable television, depending in the early months more on the impact of his "Friends of Fred" Internet site.

5 - RUDY GIULIANI (R-former Mayor of NY City): While still having a healthy bank balance, $16.6 million, Giuliani spent more, $13.3 million, than he raised, $11.6 million, in the third quarter. Instead of focusing solely on the four early states, he invested thousands of dollars opening campaign offices in places such as Fargo,ND and Columbia, MO and other February 5 mega-primary states.

Giuliani spent almost nothing on television advertising although he did pay his consulting firm $132,000 for expenses related to his bodyguards and other private security. His spending was elevated at least partly because he traveled in style, using luxury hotels, private jets from corporate sponsors, and also spent $800,000 on charter jet travel. An interesting "six pack" donor was NASCAR, kicking $17,900 to his coffers.

6 - JOHN EDWARDS (D-former NC Senator): Thanks to hefty support from fellow lawyers, Edwards raised $7.2 million, but spent more, $8.3 million, with cash on hand of $12.4 million. Not an impressive showing, just half of his first quarter showing of $14 million. Regardless of the reasons he gave, this slide undoubtedly played a large role in his decision to accept matching funds.

7 - JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ Senator): The spin is that McCain's campaign is reborn, picking up speed.... so how to explain that he raised just $5.7 million in the third quarter, after a showing of $11.6 million in the second quarter and $13.1 million in the first quarter. He spent almost as much as he raised, $5.5 million, and has just $3.5 million on hand. But, with debts of $1.7 million and $1.8 million he can use only if he becomes the nominee, he is actually $94,000 in the red.

8 - BILL RICHARDSON (R-Governor of NM): Richardson raised almost as much as McCain, $5.4 million, but spent more, $6.7 million and has $5.9 million cash on hand. There seems to be no wind under his wings.

9 - RON PAUL (R-TX Representative): The always MSM ignored Paul raised a respectable $5.3 million, spent $2.2 million and has $5.4 million cash on hand. His campaign has no debts, just a loyal and active following. Despite this showing, Paul gets no respect from the GOP or the media kingmakers.

10 - JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE Senator): Still not gaining real traction, Biden raised $1.8 million, spent $2.6 million, and has cash on hand of $1.9 million.

11 - CHRISTOPHER DODD (D-CT Senator): Lagging Biden in fundraising the third quarter, Dodd raised $1.5 million.... many of the big contributors coming from the financial world reflecting his chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee.... spent $4 million, and has $3.8 million cash on hand.

12 - MIKE HUCKABEE (R-former AR Governor): By coming in at round $1 million raised, spending $819 thousand, with $651 thousand cash on hand, it seems Huckabee's strong showing in the Iowa Straw Poll in August didn't breathe $$$ oxygen into his campaign.

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