Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Money Chooses Sides

This is a very insightful article about the race among Hillary, Obama and Edwards.  (I was one of the co-hosts of the event that the pictures below were taken at.)
A good summary:
That Clinton will knock the cover off the ball in the second quarter is a lead-pipe certainty. For all the ambivalence about her in some quarters, in others there's adulation—and Clinton is disciplined and relentless enough to track down every fan. And McAuliffe and Mantz are right to say that her first-quarter showing was stellar. Mismanaged expectations aside, the real story of the money primary so far isn't that Hillary underperformed. She did not. The real story is about how Obama killed—and what it means for his candidacy and the race ahead.
This is so true!
Other Obama bundlers simply found the prospect of plumping for Clinton too depressing to bear. "Hillary has the same problem that Gore and Kerry had," says one. "There are people who believe passionately in her, but a lot have reservations about her electability. I can raise a lot of money for Barack because people are enthusiastic about him. But if I go out and raise money for Hillary, it's like I'm taxing my friends."...
If Hillary wins, I guess I won't get my dream job of ambassador to Burkina Faso! ;-)

"There are some people the Clintons consider Clinton people who have gotten behind Barack," a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary's explains to me. "And there will be total retribution if the opportunity presents itself."

Total retribution? You're joking, right?

"I'm not joking. They're not going to audit somebody's tax return or anything. But once you've been in the Clinton camp, once they think you're part of the team, once you've helped them and they've helped you and you then go somewhere else—I just think it's very hard to crawl back into their good graces. I'm not saying it won't happen. But they won't forget. They may take you back eventually, but they won't forget."

I love Axelrod's comment:
"The most gratifying thing about our fund-raising success isn't the bottom line," Axelrod says, "but the number of people who have contributed and the number who are small contributors. The people we're targeting are new to this; they're not constrained by old loyalties. There's a lot of energy in that world, and it gives us enormous potential to grow." When I ask if he's implying a contrast to Clintonworld, Axelrod offers up a pointed aperçu: "There's a difference between grabbing low-hanging fruit and planting trees."
THIS is quite an interesting scenario to contemplate:

That someone will deliver a knockout blow that day is the assumption of all three campaigns. But what if they are wrong? The possibility is tantalizing, and has led at least one Democratic savant to put forward a titillating scenario. "I may be the first idiot foolish enough to say it out loud, but we could be looking at something unheard of in the modern era—someone going into convention with only 30 percent, 40 percent of delegates," Dean's campaign guru, Joe Trippi, said recently. "Edwards, Hillary, and Obama may have enough cash before Iowa even happens to go all the way. The polls are basically all dead heats … What could happen is that we're headed for a brokered convention."

The brokered-convention scenario is the political equivalent of the fantasy of a Beatles reunion (back when they were all still alive, that is): "The obsession of nostalgia buffs," as Axelrod puts it.


Money Chooses Sides

In a barn-burning, record-smashing fund-raising campaign season, Barack Obama tapped a new breed of Manhattan donors and won the expectations game. But because of the new primary schedule, excess is barely enough.

The investment banker Robert Wolf first met Barack Obama one afternoon in December in a midtown conference room. Obama was in town to deliver a speech at a charity dinner for children in poverty at the Mandarin Oriental—but also to pursue another, less high-minded, but more momentous, objective: to begin the process of attempting to pick Hillary Clinton's pocket.


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