Clinton Campaign Paints a Rosy Picture

By Nitya

May 14, 2008 3:24pm

ABC News’ Kate Snow and Eloise Harper Report: On the day after her landslide victory in the West Virginia Democratic primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was eager to boast about momentum and try to dispel any rumors that it is running low on cash.

On their first conference call with the press since a week ago, campaign aides claimed they have the resources to go forward.

"Financially, we’re in very good shape," said a cheerful campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe.  "We continue to raise more money.  We continue to need more money but we’ll bring it in."

McAuliffe said the campaign raised "seven figures" following Clinton’s West Virginia win but when pressed aides would not specify how much money had been raised.  Clinton heads to Los Angeles tomorrow for another fundraiser.

Reporters have no way of verifying exactly how much cash the Clinton campaign has on hand at the moment or how high her debt is, but it is certainly more than $20 million. And it may have grown larger than that.  The campaign is not due to release financial figures until next week.

The Clinton campaign was hosting a meeting with about 45 or 50 financial supporters this afternoon in Washington to make her case to them and ask them to continue raising money — even as signs mount that she may not continue in the race beyond the last primary on June 3. The meeting was set up last week.

Wednesday night Clinton will host a party at her tony Washington residence for top donors.

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson insists that the afternoon meeting is a regular quarterly check-in session, not an emergency session.

"The meeting is, as it always is, to give them a sense of where the race is, to thank them for their past support, and to urge their continued generosity," Wolfson said.

But the discussion at this meeting will be different than in previous quarters.  Much attention will likely focus on the campaign’s mounting debt.

Wolfson said Clinton has not discussed her debts or any way of eventually relieving the debt with Senator Obama but insiders believe if and when Clinton leaves the race, Obama will play a role in helping her alleviate that debt.

One prominent fundraiser who is attending the meeting said he believes fundraisers will be willing to stick with Clinton through the primaries.

"Our donors recognize that Senator Clinton has a shot at this," Wolfson said. "They’re not oblivious to the news that they read and see but they have stuck with us and my sense is that they are going to continue to be supportive and generous as best they can going forward."

Asked on the conference call if Clinton is staying in the race in order to better her future political prospects — whether for a spot as Vice President, Senate Leader or a run for President in 2012 — Wolfson said that was not Clinton’s motivation.

"Senator Clinton is running for one reason and one reason only. She believes she’s the best person to take on John McCain and she believes she is the best candidate in the field."

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