Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Obama's $tory

The full breadth of Barack Obama's first-quarter fundraising triumph is just now being realized. Dick Morris and his wife Eileen McGann list a few of the particulars:
* Hillary raised extensive contributions, certainly more than $1 million, from special-interest political-action committees (PACs) and lobbyists. Obama refused to tap this source of funding and even returned $50,000 he'd received from lobbyists.

* An estimated three-quarters of Clinton's donors have maxed out, (that is, given the legal maximum of $2,300 a person for during the primary), vs. with fewer than half of Obama's contributors, according to news reports. Most of his donors can keep giving; most of hers can't.

* Obama out-raised Clinton on the Web by 3:2. Internet money is especially valuable because it can be tapped repeatedly and quickly, as Howard Dean showed in '04.

* Hillary didn't list any expenditures for candidate travel, charter flights, makeup or hair. She may have rolled over this spending so as not to have to deplete her cash-on-hand showing.
New York magazine goes behind the scenes to track down some of the Big Apple money people making up Obama's fundraising team. Especially juicy are the insights of those making conscious decisions to go with Barack over Hillary.

There are the young guns:
But the most striking element of its composition wasn’t racial but generational: Unlike the Clinton side, which was dominated by folks in their fifties, the Obamans were mostly in their forties. “One thing we recognized early on,” says David Axelrod, the campaign’s chief strategist, “was that there is a substrata of people who in past campaigns weren’t allowed to sit at the adult table but who all of a sudden were quite formidable.”

Many of Obama’s baby bundlers cut their teeth in Bill Clinton’s administration. Mathis and Froman both worked in the Treasury Department, while Rubin, son of Bob, had been a staffer at the Federal Communications Commission. There was also Josh Steiner, another Treasury hand and now a partner of Steve Rattner’s at the Quadrangle Group. And others had no Clintonian association, but were emerging fund-raising powerhouses, such as former Goldman Sachs golden boy Eric Mindich.

At the heart of the next-gen cadre were Froman and Mathis, both law-school classmates of Obama’s. Together, they recognized that, whereas the Clinton fund-raising corps represented the financial elite tossed up by the LBO and M&A booms of the eighties, they were in a position to mine the vein of freshly minted money spawned by the hedge-fund and private- equity eruptions of the new millennium. The players behind those booms had no loyalties, and owed no debts, to the Clinton dynasty. They were looking for a candidate to call their own.

“In Barack’s speech in Selma [earlier this year],” a baby bundler says, “he talked about the Moses generation and the Joshua generation in the civil-rights movement. It’s sorta the same story here.” He continues, “If we all lined up for Hillary, we wouldn’t have even gotten into the anteroom, let alone had seats at the table—there’s no more room. It would’ve been, ‘You have an idea? Send us an e-mail and we’ll have someone get back to you. Oh, and don’t forget to send those checks.’ But that’s not how it is with Barack. We’re already at the table.”
How it must gall the Clintons to realize that they are no longer the new energetic kids on the block as they were back in 1992!

And there are the blatantly disenchanted Clintonites, including one with feeling similar to those expressed earlier this year by Hollywood mogul David Geffen:
“The first part of the calculus was about the civic good,” one former administration official tells me. “Who would be a better president? It’s a toss-up—maybe Hillary on the margin. But the likelihood is that whoever you support is going to lose, that’s just the odds, so it should matter who’d be the better candidate—I mean, better for the country. And I thought Obama, simply by being a candidate and by virtue of the policies and values he’d espouse as a candidate, had a chance to change the country. The second part is the personal: The Clintons are basically disloyal people. They have a huge track record of jettisoning people far closer to them than I am on the slightest political pretext. Loyalty has to be a two-way street. I don’t think they’ve earned the right to play the loyalty card.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post zooms in on the fundraising veterans from Clinton and Bush past campaigns and finds many of the Bushies staying on the sidelines, not overwhelmingly taken in by any of the current GOP field.

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