Clinton earns more than $10 million in a week
WASHINGTON - In a political season already marked by phenomenal fundraising, Hillary Clinton has hit a new high, raking in more than $10 million in just one week.
The old record for raising ridiculous amounts of money - for the entire first three months of a campaign - was set in 2004 by John Edwards, when he led all Democrats with $7.4 million.
Clinton topped that with just three events that raised $8.5 million by themselves, capped by a star-spangled soiree on Saturday for 660 at the home of Beverly Hills billionaire Ron Burkle.
"It was a lot of work, but it was worth it," said Clinton's California finance maven, Sim Farar.
Farar ran the Burkle bash, which sources told the New York Daily News raised $2.7 million. That was on the heels of a $2.7 million take in Washington on Tuesday and a $3.1 million night in New York on March 18, both headlined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
She picked up an additional $1 million Sunday at fundraisers in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Add in a string of "small" events in the past few days in places like Cincinnati, Las Vegas and San Diego, and Hillary Clinton handily cracks $10 million in just eight days.
The top campaigns all have been downplaying their first-quarter haul to get better press when the fundraising period ends Saturday. But backers of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., still nearly choked when told of Clinton's $10 million week.
The campaigns of her top two competitors also have been furiously passing the hat.
Obama had four events in Florida alone Sunday, but his major paydays have been about half the size of Hillary Clinton's, such as Obama's $1.3 million glitterati fest a month ago at the home of Burkle's neighbor, David Geffen.
Edwards has also been mining gold in Hollywood's hills, but he has favored the smaller, lower-key events that have marked his money strategy.
His fundraiser Friday in Los Angeles included entertainment big shots such as producer Norman Lear, but it was much smaller than Burkle's "Green Acres" party, where Lear also showed.
Because Edwards has been flying under the radar, a Clinton supporter whispered he could raise $20 million, hoping bad headlines would greet a lower number. Edwards' camp scoffed at the big figure. "We're aiming for $7.4 million," said spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield. "That's our goal. We're hoping to do better."
The buck-raking is about more than money and headlines, though. It's about winning support. Farar says Hillary Clinton is winning there, too.
"There were a lot of people on the fence, but I think we swayed them," Farar said. "She did a spectacular job. She had everyone mesmerized."
Monday, Hillary Clinton is picking up key endorsements in Iowa, grabbing the support of ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack and his influential wife, Christie.