Politics

Clinton has most money on hand for primary, general elections

Ben Lesser and Michael McAuliff
New York Daily News (MCT)

NEW YORK - Hillary Clinton's cash pile is the biggest, but all the top Democratic contenders found something to brag about in their first full fundraising reports filed with the government Sunday.

For Camp Clinton, size mattered the most.

Clinton has the most cash on hand for the primary and general elections with a record-breaking $31 million in the bank - more money in the first quarter than any other presidential candidate ever.

That comes from raising $26 million since Jan. 20 and adding $10 million from Clinton's cakewalk Senate race, while spending $5 million and running up $1.6 million in debt.

That leaves her with $22 million free and clear for the Democratic nomination, and a nearly $7 million head start to win the whole thing.

"These numbers indicate the tremendous support for Sen. Clinton from every walk of life and every part of America, and assure that we will have the resources needed to compete and win," campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle said.

The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., pointed out how much better it did raising money just for the primary than Clinton, since all but a million of the $25.8 million it took in is for the primary. Obama spent about the same as Clinton, $6.6 million, leaving him with $19.2 million.

His team also boasted 104,000 contributors, compared to Clinton's 60,000. Obama's finance boss, Penny Pritzker, called the showing a "true testament to the desire for a different kind of politics in this country and a belief at the grass-roots level that Barack Obama can bring out the best in America."

John Edwards, gaining on Obama in the polls, had $10.7 million in the bank, after spending $3.3 million.

Obama and Clinton have been getting all the celebrity buzz, but Edwards turned out to have a plump Hollywood roster as well, with Hank Azaria, Larry and Laurie David, Barry Manilow, Brett Ratner, Rob Reiner, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Norman Lear all contributing.

Many of them are also behind Obama and Clinton, but Geffen has abandoned Clinton, and infamously slammed her in February.

___

(Lesser reported from New York, McAuliff from Washington.)

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