Some of Hillary Clinton’s top fund-raisers said that she needed to lend $5 million to the campaign to ensure that she could compete with Barack Obama’ after his enormous $32 million haul in the days leading up to Super Tuesday.
One of Clinton’s top fund-raisers, speaking on background, said the campaign had raised $14 million in the month of January, which would usually be considered an impressive quarterly result. About $13 million of that came in the traditional way, from major donors, but the fund-raiser said that when Obama’s enormous and Internet-generated figure was made public and "they realized the disparity," Clinton was forced to up the ante.
"We had bought the ad buys beforehand," said the donor. "It wasn’t as though we ran out of cash. It was that all of a sudden this guy had triple the amount of we had."
The donor added, "I am reassured that the candidate put some of their worth in the campaign."
The fact that the loan was kept quiet – even, apparently, from Howard Wolfson – seems to suggest that the Clinton campaign never really expected to be in a protracted race with a better-funded candidate. If they had put the race away yesterday, the loan would have just been an academic footnote. Now, at the very least, it’s going to mean a bunch of process stories about Obama’s big cash advantage. And it certainly won’t instill confidence that things are going according to plan.