Obama Bests Clinton in Primary Fundraising


April 4, 2007— -- ABC News has learned that the $23.5 million Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised for his presidential campaign for use in the primaries is more than that raised by the Democratic frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Of the $26 million Clinton has raised in the first quarter of 2007 for her presidential campaign, approximately $20 million is to be used in the primaries and caucuses, sources told ABC News.

Clinton campaign officials cautioned that its campaign was still ascertaining how much of its $26 million raised is available for primary use.

Sources told ABC News that while that is accurate, roughly $20 million is designated for the primary -- it could be slightly less or slightly more. Either way, Obama raised more primary cash than Clinton.

The remaining $6 million of the $26 million raised by Clinton is designated for use in the general election if the former first lady wins her party's nomination. Clinton also has slightly more than $10 million that she has transferred from her 2006 Senate campaign account.

Clinton has a distinct money advantage and leads in every national poll, but the fact that rookie Obama has bested a veteran like Clinton in many aspects of fundraising -- he rasied $6.9 million on the Internet, for instance, compared with Clinton's $4.2 million -- has stunned the political world.

"We're really humbled by the amazing outpouring of support," Obama told WLS Radio today. "It is broad-based -- we did it without taking PAC money, without taking federal lobbyist money, so we feel really good about it."

Added a prominent supporter, Rep. Jesse Jackson, D-Ill., "This is a long road and a long process to the White House, but make no doubt about it, Barack Obama is driving the fastest car."

Obama received donations from more than 100,000 donors, far surpassing any other candidate, including Clinton (50,000); Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., (45,000); former Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, (40,000); or former GOP Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (34,000).

And 90 percent of Obama's donors contributed $100 or less, as opposed to the presumbed larger percentage of Clinton donors who contributed the maximum contribution allowed by law, $2,300 per person per voting cycle.

"That means exponential growth is possible for him in a way that is not available to Hillary Clinton right now," explained Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. "[The Clintons] were counting on blowing everybody out this first quarter and sort of, like, slamming the door."

"That didn't happen," Trippi concluded.

The reaction this evening from Hillary Clinton's top fundraiser -- who has made it his career to raise political money -- was: money doesn't matter.

"Ultimately, forget the money. You've got to get votes," said Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's campaign chairman. "And right now, Hillary wins in that category. She wins every single poll today."

Obama told WLS today that as far as he's concerned, Clinton is still the frontrunner.

"When your name is Obama, you're always the underdog," he quipped.

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