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Clinton uses convention to retire campaign debt

Emily Crone

I wrote a few months ago that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was struggling with funding and leaving many bills unpaid. Since dropping out of the race two months ago with $25 million in debt, half being personal loans, Clinton is still in the red. Odd, considering she doesn’t carry a balance on her credit cards.

Campaign finance rules dictate that candidates must end fundraising for their personal loans within 20 days after the party convention, and with it happening next week in Denver, Clinton is running out of time. CNN says the Clintons are not trying to get their own money back ($13 million, which isn’t much compared to how much they are worth) to keep their image up, but they need money to pay the rest off.

Barack Obama and Clinton are making a few fundraising appearances together this week, according to CNN; two times to raise money for Obama and one time to help raise money against Clinton’s debt. This isn’t the first fundraiser Obama has done for Clinton, but hardcore Clinton supporters think Obama should adopt some of Clinton’s policy positions in addition to providing her more help in paying off the loans.  My personal thought on this: Why should he be responsible for her debt? She chose to spend all that money she didn’t have, and his campaign had a better strategy.

Clinton held a contest in July to try raise money to put toward debt. Her husband, former prez Bill Clinton, sent an e-mail to those on her mailing list, telling them if they donated by a certain time, they would be eligible to have a meal with Hillary. “Of all the people I’ve had the privilege to break bread with, the person I most enjoy is still Hillary,” Bill wrote in the e-mail. “Trust me on this one. If you’re the lucky winner, it will be a night you’ll really enjoy and one to remember.” Read the full e-mail at Wonkette.

Because Clinton’s debt deadline is nearing, she is now using the convention to help retire more debt. Her campaign recently announced a new contest via e-mail: One of her donors will win a weeklong trip to the convention with her. Bill Clinton sent another e-mail to those on her mailing list, encouraging them to contribute online (via credit card) in order to win. “You’ll get to see Hillary speak on Tuesday, and Barack Obama — the next president of the United States — on Thursday. And I hear Hillary and you will have a chat — I’ll make sure to stop by,” Bill wrote. Read the full e-mail at Wonkette.

Hillary sure doesn’t seem like the loser of the Democratic primary: She is speaking during prime-time at the convention, is being introduced by a major video production and her daughter Chelsea, and her husband will also be speaking. Hillary also struck a deal with Obama to include her name in the nomination and to have a roll call vote. These are supposedly gestures to satisfy and give closure to Hillary supporters, though it raises the real risk of a brokered convention if enough delegates choose to vote for her (not likely, but possible and disastrous).

Will Hillary get all her money back? I’m not sure; it seems odd to contribute money to a defunct campaign when there’s another candidate in the same party running a critical campaign against the opposing party. I’d rather be donating money to the presumptive nominee than the loser. I hope Hillary has enough “Hillraisers” to put her back in the black before the deadline hits.

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By the way, my blog “Young British couple has ‘credit crunch wedding’ ” was included in this week’s 139th Festival of Frugality, hosted by Our Fourpence Worth. Check out all the other great entries and enjoy the Michael Phelps theme!

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