It's Official: Obama Tops Clinton in Primary Haul

Insurgent presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised $24.8 million in primary cash for his campaign -- almost 30 percent more than did frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., with $19.1 million, the candidates' Federal Election Commission documents filed on Sunday evening indicate.

Obama also nearly tied Clinton in total donations, having raised $25.8 million compared to Clinton's $26 million -- an astounding achievement for a political novice going up against such a veteran.

These and other illuminating, cold, hard facts about the campaigns of those contending to be the 44th president of the United States were revealed this weekend as campaigns posted their first quarterly reports with the FEC.

Among the other headlines:

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH -- Self-described fiscal conservative Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spent 64 percent of what he took in, and assumed a stunning amount (to the tune of $1.8 million) of debt.

BIG MAMA'S WHITE HOUSE? -- Clinton, who transferred $10 million from her 2006 Senate reelection campaign account to her presidential coffers, is large and in charge when it comes to cash on hand, with $24 million at her disposal right now. Clinton has also more overall cash, with $31 million, including $6.9 million she cannot spend unless she wins the nomination.

HOME AIN'T WHERE THE CASH IS -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who hopes to be the first Mormon elected president, received more donations from Utah, $2.8 million, than from the state he used to govern, whose residents gave him $2.3 million.

AS DEEP, AND NARROW, AS MANHATTAN ISLAND -- Rudy Giuiani, the former mayor of New York, raised $14 million, but it came from fewer donors than any other major candidate, indicating access to big-money donors but not widespread support.

DEMOCRATIC WINDS -- Leading up to an election year anticipated to be one of difficulty for the GOP, the Democratic presidential candidates raised $27 million more than their Republican counterparts.


The FEC reports revealed much more than wonky numbers: They tell a great deal about the campaigns.

Perhaps even more than the plethora of public polls, for example, the first quarter filings demonstrate just how difficult it will be for some of the other presidential hopefuls to compete with the big boys and girl in the field. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, reported having $163,887 in the bank as of March 31 and former Gov. Tommy Thompson, R-Wis., reported having slightly less than that with $139,723.

Some other lessons:

1) "BURN RATE" -- One of the key indicators of whether or not a campaign is being managed efficiently is the "burn rate" -- the percentage of the money raised that the campaign spent during the same time period.

McCain is the big loser in this category. His campaign hemorrhaged money by spending 64 percent of what it raised in the first quarter. Romney spent roughly half of what he collected -- including nearly $2 million on introductory television ads in key early states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Giuliani displayed the most spending restraint among the top three GOP contenders by only spending about 37 percent of what he raised.

Democrats -- historically tagged as the "big spenders" -- are clearly are watching their spending, comparatively. Clinton's burn rate was 26 percent, Edwards' was 24 percent, and Obama's was 27 percent.

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