Hillary Clinton Raises $26 Million to Set Record

Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign is breaking out the champagne after breaking a record.

Beating the other camps to the punch, Clinton's top campaign officials announced she had raised $26 million in the first quarter of 2007, a number they claim has far exceeded their goals.

While other campaigns and pundits will surely debate the significance, and some may suggest the number is not big enough, the number is certainly historic.

Clinton, D-N.Y., has shattered the previous record for presidential fundraising in one quarter. Former Vice President Al Gore previously held that record by raising just $9 million in the first quarter of 1999.

In the last presidential campaign, by way of comparison, all nine candidates combined raised about $27 million in the first quarter of 2003.

In addition to Clinton's $26 million raised over the 10 weeks since she announced her candidacy, $10 million left over from her successful run for re-election to the Senate last fall will be transferred into her presidential account, making the total receipts she will report for the first quarter of 2007 technically $36 million.

Because the $10 million were raised for her Senate run under federal campaign finance laws, Clinton is able to transfer that money to her presidential campaign account.

On a conference call with reporters, Clinton campaign officials began "spinning" the numbers as a success.

"I am proud to say that we have dramatically exceeded our goals and expectations," said campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle. "We are completely overwhelmed and gratified by the historic support we've gotten."

On Clinton's campaign Web site today, a bold-typed message signed "Hillary" reads: "Thank you for making our end-of-quarter fundraising drive a huge success!", over the candidate's smiling photo.

Clinton National Finance Director Jonathan Mantz said $6 million of the $26 million were raised through "grassroots" efforts. Of that, $4.2 million was raised on the Internet.

In recent days, sources in the Clinton camp have expressed concern about the amount of money rival candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., may have raised online in the first quarter of 2007. One high-level source said Saturday if Obama raised millions on the Internet it could change the dynamics of the race.

But by releasing their numbers first on Sunday, the Clinton campaign seemed to be telegraphing confidence that their figures -- both for online donations and cold hard cash gathered the old fashioned way -- would exceed or at least be comparable to Obama's and former Democratic North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' efforts.

Later Sunday afternoon, the Edwards campaign said it was pleased with its first quarter fundraising in excess of $14 million -- including $3.3 million online -- which exceeded a goal of $10 million.

Obama campaign officials said only that the senator had received more than 100,000 donations in the first quarter, but they were not ready to release a dollar figure yet.

"We're humbled by the tremendous grassroots support we've received from individuals all over the country," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "But the numbers that the American people truly care about are the number of troops we still have in Iraq, the number of Americans who still have no health care and, importantly, the number of people who truly believe we can transform our nation by changing our politics."

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