Obama beats Clinton in money raising game

March 7th, 2008 - 11:54 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 7 (IANS) As the battle for Democratic presidential nomination grows fiercer by the day, front-runner Barack Obama’s campaign announced it had raised a record $55 million in February, $20 million more than rival Hillary Clinton. The announcement came hours after the Clinton campaign Thursday said it had taken in $4 million online since her Tuesday victories in Ohio and Texas that revived the former first lady’s bid to become America’s first woman president.

The record amount was part of the $6 million Obama, vying to be the first black US chief executive, had raised online since the beginning of the month while adding 30,000 new donors, his campaign said.

Obama announced that 385,101 contributors were first-time donors. To date, the Illinois senator has received donations from 1.07 million donors, far more than any other candidate.

February had been Clinton’s best money month, with about $35 million raised. But that was eclipsed by the $55 million announced Thursday by Obama’s campaign.

The ability to raise money is just part of the increasingly fierce battle between Obama and Clinton, who are fighting for every delegate and any other advantage as the presidential nominating season heads into its end game.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continued to struggle over how to handle the sensitive issue of Florida and Michigan primaries that were disallowed for moving them to the head of the field in defiance of party rules.

Obama and Clinton agreed not to campaign in either state. Clinton won both contests and Obama’s name wasn’t even on the Michigan ballot.

But with about 100 delegate votes separating them, there is increasing attention on the matter, including the possibility of rerunning the races. Officials in Florida and Michigan have mentioned the prospect of holding new primaries, estimated to cost $25 million in Florida alone.

The national Democratic Party won’t pay for the two states to hold a second set of presidential primaries and urged the states to figure out how to resolve the situation, National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said this morning.

“We can’t afford to do that,” Dean said on CBS’ “The Early Show”, one of several media appearances he made Thursday morning. “That’s not our problem. We need our money to win the presidential race.”

Clinton won three out of four primaries this week, giving her campaign a much-needed boost after a month of defeats. But she picked up only 12 more delegates than Obama, leaving him with a 140-delegate lead among those won in primaries and caucuses.

There are only 614 delegates available in the remaining contests, meaning Clinton would have to win about 62 percent of the them to overtake Obama, according to a media analysis. That’s nearly impossible, given the way Democrats award delegates proportionally.

The next Democratic battleground is Wyoming where Clinton and Obama are fighting for 12 delegates in Saturday’s caucus. Another 40 delegates are at stake in Mississippi. The biggest remaining primary is in Pennsylvania, which will have 158 delegates at stake on April 22.

Obama has won nominating contests in 27 states and territories, giving him the lead in pledged delegates, 1,360 to 1,220. Even if he wins every remaining pledged delegate - including 33 that haven’t been awarded from previous races - he will fall short of the 2,025 needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

That’s where the super delegates come in, the 796 party and elected officials who will decide the nomination of both candidates. In the overall race for the nomination, Obama has 1,569 delegates, to 1,462 for Clinton.

The battle between Obama and Clinton has used up much of the media attention, leaving Vietnam War veteran John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, having to create his own visibility.

Campaigning in Florida, McCain acknowledged his problem. Maintaining “visibility nationally is going to be more difficult obviously because I am no longer in a competitive race”, he said at a campaign stop.

“There will understandably be more attention to Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. But at the same time it does give me the opportunity to go around and shore up our base of support,” he said.

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