February 21st, 2008

Clinton Camp Struggles with Mounting Debt, Won’t Discuss Blue Thing Attached to Front of Mark Penn’s Large Pinstriped Pants

by Philip Baruth

Each time Barack Obama has swept a week of primaries, the Clinton campaign has attempted to make competing news with tales of fundraising gone wild, streams of cash pouring into the campaign “once people knew Hillary needed the money.” But now the truth can be told: the Clinton campaign finished January some $7.6 million in debt. Not including the $5 million Hillary loaned herself.

Now granted, VDB never majored in math. Still, that looks a lot like $13 million or so in debt heading into February. But let’s take the campaign at their word, and credit them with $15 million in new fundraising since February 1st.

That leaves about enough to stage a really, really nice concession speech.

What to do? Well, certainly it’s no coincidence that “independent” 527 organizations are springing up across Ohio and Texas like wildflowers, pro-Clinton groups good for a few million here or there.

Still, that’s not going to make the nut: the Obama camp spent the time and the money on the front end, building an unprecedented small donor base that has the campaign flush with cash dedicated to use in the primaries.

Cut expenses? Might help. Clinton strategist Mark Penn — whose strategic myopia has made long-disgraced Dole manager Scott Reed seem sagacious by comparison — has apparently submitted an invoice for a cool $2 million bucks.

$2 million to turn the inevitable into the impossible. Sweet.

And don’t even bother asking what the blue thing is that seems to be attached to the front of his pinstriped pants. Because at $2 million a pop, Penn doesn’t have to tell anyone a goddamned thing.

Late Update, 3:04 pm:

Earlier today, Change to Win endorsed Obama, bringing the Service Employees International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here all under the Illinois Senator’s banner. Big news.

But we missed the biggest news, the buried lede.

In a conference call to describe the move, labor leaders discussed the candidates and the state of the race. Anna Burger, Change to Win’s chairwoman, apparently argued that “Mrs. Clinton should consider ending her candidacy.”

Hillary Clinton was once the union favorite. Now they’re not only lining up behind Obama. They’re beginning, tentatively, to call for her to quit the race.