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The Debt Piles Up

By Matthew Mosk
The staggering cost of the 2008 presidential campaign -- $788,655,856 and counting -- has left behind a trail of candidates who are shouldering massive debts.

The most prominent of these is Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has piled up more than $19 million in unpaid campaign bills, $11 million of which she loaned the campaign from her personal accounts. But there are others carrying a negative balance, including former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has more than $3 million in debt, including $500,000 he loaned the campaign and another $216,000 he still owes his consulting companies, Giuliani Partners and Giuliani Safety & Security. Sen. Chris Dodd owes $380,412. Fred Thompson has a more modest tab of $107,904.

Among Clinton's listed debts was $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee for rental of a political list. DNC officials said the bill has since been paid.

The largest debt belongs to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, whose $44.3 million bill is all owed to a single creditor, himself.

Gary Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego, said it's not uncommon for candidates to accumulate debt, and many a failed candidate has struggled for years to repay money owed to vendors. The difference this year is how much is owed.

"It's a really an amazing change in scale," he said. "The sums, like all the numbers on the campaign funding reports this cycle, are much larger."

Jacobson said Clinton might have little trouble retiring her debt if she does not become the nominee, given that she retains the fundraising power of an incumbent senator, and the abilities of her husband, the former president. "Other candidates -- people without a prominent political position, might have a harder time," he said.

Meanwhile, the money continued to pour into the campaign in April, according to the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Clinton raised $22 million for the month and finished with about $8 million in cash on hand for the primary. Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama raised $31 million in April and finished with $37 million in cash. Republican Sen. John McCain raised $18 million and finished the month with $22 million in his bank account.

While McCain has taken the bookkeeping steps to accept public financing for the general election, Obama has done nothing to indicate he will follow suit. Candidates planning to opt for public financing after the political conventions typically create a General Election Legal and Accounting (GELAC) committee, which sets aside a small amount of money they are allowed to spend on administrative costs for the general election. McCain set one up a long time ago and has transferred $2.3 million from his main campaign fund into the GELAC so far this cycle.

Obama has previously pledged to join the public system, but aides said the Illinois senator will make no decision on public funding until it is clear whether he is the Democratic nominee.

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 21, 2008; 8:12 PM ET
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Look, people, this thread is supposed to be about campaign debt and public financing, not about me. Sorry I was golfing this morning and not here to respond to all these posts (while I have been accused of having no logic before, that was the first time I've been accused of "disappearing" -- make up your minds, will ya -- I thought the consensus was that I post TOO much?). I'm back now, though, so you'd better watch out!

As to my use of the word "HUSSEIN", I have already given my REAL answer below -- so, it's not going to change, Alice, if you keep asking the same question over and over -- I honestly enjoy teaching (and therefore) learning about little-known facts each and every day. I am certainly not "ashamed" about that, nor do I have an "obsession" with middle names in general. I've even said I would have no problem with an honest, pro-life Muslim as President. IF Obama is a secret Muslim, however, that means he is lying about it in order to gain the Oval Office during a war with terrorists -- do you see the difference? Seriously, assuming he's a Christian for the sake of argument, why are you people so "ashamed" of your candidate's OWN GIVEN NAME?

P.S. to shrink2 -- I have never posted as "svreader". I obviously dispute your other mischaracterizations as well. BTW: aren't you an Aussie? If not, then you never answered my question on a previous thread about campaign financing, even though I've answered every one of your questions (here it is one last time):

"McCain raised $8 million in one NYC fundraiser recently. But, he would gladly stop doing that for his own campaign IF Obama kept his word and accepted public financing for the general election campaign. Do you think that will happen?"

Now, as always, I would be happy to answer any other questions you all may have for me, just as long as you return the same courtesy and refrain from personal attacks. That's not a lot to ask for in a civil debate, is it?

Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Where do People like "I", Come from?

Hussein is Arabic Huh?

And Barack Obama, is GERMAN? :-D


And-Saddam HUSSEIN!

Hard to tell Husseins apart! You've Captured and Hung one, you Captured and Hung them all!

WAIT! The "Barry" Hussein is still out there!

What is the Bounty on Him? ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 22, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama is black! Oh my God I am a racist now for saying that!

If I was to say McCain is like Hitler people would give me a standing ovation!

That kind of thinking is stupid and if Barack Hussein Obama wins in November this is the kind of thinking that will be welcome in America! I am concerned about Obama winning not because he is black but, because he is unexpirienced and he talks about change when all the people supporting him are the ones that need to go for Washington to change. Example: Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Pelosi, Edwards, Richardson, arent' this the regular Washington people that we want change from? funny how they are all helping Obama! CHANGE MY A*S!!! Is more of the same!

Posted by: Rafael VA | May 22, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

We need guys like JakeD to remind us what kind of logic we are up against.

Thanks JakeD for making it clear.

Posted by: JR | May 22, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Imagine yourself entering the presidential race. You have a staff and yourself, who have sat down with the other candidates and the party chairs/committees. The rules to determine the winner are established and you walk out of the meetings in agreement. The rules established says you need "X" amount of delegates to win the nomination.

Would you not develop a plan to reach "X" amount of delegates, or develop a plan to accumulate "X" number of voters?

As a manager you instructed your work force on what the policy is to be carried out and how; Or as a teacher instructed your students how they were to submit their reports and the information required; Or as a parent what time they are expected home (or any other measureable rule), and instead your workers disregarded your policy and perform the work they way they wanted to; your students decided what format and information they want to submit; Or your child disregarding your rule and decide which rules they shall follow.

Would you say as a manger, teacher, or parent that it's ok? They worked hard, and they are the perfect role model for my other workers to inspire to be? Perfect role models for my students to follow their lead; Or for your other children in the house to do the same and stay out as long as they want to or any other rule they decide doesn't pertain to them?

I'm trying to understand what the message is this election cycle is putting out.

Posted by: Mas | May 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Alice: "I" is correct. I used to only write Barack HUSSEIN Obama, now I have begun using and capitalizing other middle names also to cover my tracks. He is also correct that just as many other Republicans who lack competitive ideas, I am using the Arabic derivation of his name, not to mention the facile association with Saddam HUSSEIN, to perpetuate lies and fear. I do this because I am an old, white retiree who fears people different from me. Though I am relatively intelligent and somewhat knowledgeable, I start from a position I want to defend and thus pick-and-choose information I feel can bolster my pre-conceived positions. When I fail to do this and lose arguments, which happens quite regularly on these blogs, I either disappear or ignore. Then I reappear and repeat the name Barack HUSSEIN Obama. Essentially, I feel powerless and I have prejudices. I cling to my old positions because it makes me feel superior and relevant.

Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Tony is quite right about the obvious reasons for JakeD to capitalize Obama's Arabic middle name. It is BECAUSE it is Arabic. After being busted on this repeatedly, JakeD began capitalizing other middle names as well, but this is as transparent a ploy as JakeD's original petty little game, appealing to anti-Arab racism while denying he is doing so.

Posted by: I | May 22, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Jake D and svreader are the same person? Relentless, intensely proud of themselves, laughable "ideas", deeply bigoted and so destructive to their candidate's appeal. The similarities are uncanny.

I was kind of missing all the Clinton screed writers, though now we have JakeD picking up the slack. Except for middle names, he doesn't use Caps Lock so I suppose there is a difference.

Posted by: shrink2 | May 22, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hi JakeD,

Thank you very much for answering my second question. I hadn't heard of Chuck Baldwin. I looked him up, and according to Wikipedia, Chuck Baldwin is the nominee for the Constitution Party, and pastor of the Crossroad Baptist Church. He has a master's degree in theology from Christian Bible College and two honorary doctor of divinity degrees -- from Christian Bible College and Trinity Baptist College.

Mr. D, you still haven't answered my first question. Your standard answer is not a real answer. OK, so you also capitalize Hillary Clinton's middle name. Why use that as a cover? Are you trying to tell us that you have an obsession with middle names?

I don't think so.

Come clean, Mr. D. Are you ashamed? Then change your ways. You seem to have enough information and you seem intelligent enough to be able to make your points on their own merit.

Let's hear the whole truth. What are your real thoughts on this?

Posted by: Alice | May 22, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

nclwtk said "Bill your logic is faulty, voters in Fla and Mi both knew that their votes were not going to count, so there. What about all the people who didnt vote because they understood the rules and the sitution, dont they matter at least as much as the voters who cast worthless ballots."

In my opinion, those that voted wanted to exercise their legal right to have a choice, and hoped the DNC ruling would be overturned. Those that didn't apparently never thought of this possibility, or else were not that interested in voting. In any event, the voting could be redone if necessary, and the state officials responsible for violating DNC rules punished with a personal fine to be paid to the DNC. Again, the voters should not lose their votes, it's unfair and in my opinion illegal. As to your comment about my logic being faulty, it's unfortunate your mentality doesn't allow a more friendly discussion.

Posted by: Billw | May 22, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't want Obama to accept public financing, and I don't care if there are 527's, This will hurt the republicans more than the democrats. Both candidates have skeletons in the closet, but I think McCain has more....let the fun begin....we will see who blinks first. Peace

Posted by: Notanimrod | May 22, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

JakeD is a grumpy retiree who, by his own reckoning, graduated "at the top of his Stanford Law class."

He appears to have an abundance of time on his hands, equalled only by his lack of imagination in posting. He seems to want to defeat Obama by boring us all to death.

Posted by: JakeDeee | May 22, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse


The part where Barack HUSSEIN Obama claims to be "within reach" of the Democratic nomination but has done NOTHING (see article above) to "aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to
preserve a publicly financed general election." For another example of Obama trying to "walk back" his previous pledges:


I answered those questions already. I wanted MITT Romney to be the GOP nominee. If the election were held today, I would probably have to vote for Chuck O. Baldwin.

Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Tony C:

Am I "just another bigot and racist: for using Hillary DIANE Clinton and John SIDNEY McCain's middle names too?

If anyone else has a question re: the campaign debt and/or pledge to accept public financing that Barack HUSSEIN Obama now seems to be going back on, please let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | May 22, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Folks, JakeD is just another bigot and racist using his anonymity to help expel the feces he has for brains. Don't worry about him; the stupid will always be racists. He wants to emphasize that Obama shares a name with a petty dictator that was an unknown child when obama was born; he wants to imply Obama's name determines his mental make up. Only the truly stupid and infected mind can tolerate this kind of ridiculous crap without bursting into dirisive laughter; the likes of JakeD are a dying cohort that pollutes the web because the only way they can express their sick filth is anonymously. JakeD will vote for McCain on the strength of Hagee's endorsement of McCain, which McCain says he is proud to have. After all, Hagee says (in 2006) that Hitler was literally sent by Heaven to exterminate Jews. That seems like just the right level of mental illness we need to describe JakeD.

Posted by: Tony C | May 22, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

What about this don't you understand McCan't supporter?
"If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to
preserve a publicly financed general election."

Is Obama the Democratic nominee yet? NO. So exactly what 'promise' has Obama not met? Typical Republican nonsense. Sorry JakeD, you've been outed.

Posted by: Debra | May 22, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse


I'm sure you already know that you're not going to get anywhere with that petition.
A million people can sign it, but at this late in the process it will be as significant as the spent bullets from Shrillary's nonexistent snipers from her Bosnia landing.

She's not going to be the 2008 Democratic nominee for President-that's Barack Obama. She's has no more 'firewalls', no more 'Hail Marys' , no more 'options'. And if she keeps opening her mouth about taking the fight to the convention floor, she will have no more respect.

She not ahead in the popular vote, superdelegates or states won. This campaign was fair-voters in FL and MI won't be disenfranchised. Their delegates will be seated fairly-although not in a way that will help Shrillary. The voters in other 48 states (and Guam & Puerto Rico)who abided by the rules and cast votes or participated in caucuses to select a candidate will have already made their voices heard. To repeat: Barack Obama has lead in the popular vote, pledged delegates, states won and superdelegates.

Posted by: Monique | May 22, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

JakeD is some hack pretending to care so much about the Clinton/Obama campaign because he is worried about his man McSame. The more worried he is, the more he posts some feigned concern about Fla/Michigan or some "pulled it out of his butt" scenario. It keeps him from having to address McCain's weaknesses.

Posted by: Obama '08 | May 22, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Turn off the computer. Get a life

Posted by: jake | May 22, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Bill your logic is faulty, voters in Fla and Mi both knew that their votes were not going to count, so there. What about all the people who didnt vote because they understood the rules and the sitution, dont they matter at least as much as the voters who cast worthless ballots. All I can say is its just the American disease of WHAA WHAA WHAA, pity me that I didnt bother to read the directions, or listen to the instructions or etc. Its not fair to me that I fail to exercise my brain.

Posted by: nclwtk | May 22, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Gee, CLinton and Guiliani ran such brilliant campaigns. I just don't understand how they spent so much to achieve so little.


Posted by: jeffp | May 22, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Sexism===is that what it is when you take advantage of a young intern, or have dalliances with willing partners like Gennifer Flowers and then hire a known convicted felon to intimidate her and discredit her.Is sexism what you get when you are a demagogue who keeps lying about the vote totals and the delegate totals and keeps saying that she had nothing to do with Florida not being counted? Isn't it true that your man harold ickes was right there aadvocating punishing Florida and Michigan for early primaries.

Posted by: LetthemdrinkCrownRoyal | May 22, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Obama has no dbt because millions of Americans have supported him with small donations. The epitome of a voluntary, publicly financed campaign. As a result, he will be elected without owing his election to any PAC, Party, or other special interest groups. The other candidates fail to have meaningful (financial) support from the people and have to rely on government 'handouts' from the taxpayers to support their candidacy. It seems clear to me who is doing it the right way and who is playing political games.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 22, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse


If your REAL intention in capitalizing Sen. Obama's middle name were to "teach people about little known facts", you wouldn't be so inclined to emphasize the same fact over and over again - in the same thread even.

Of course, there is some OTHER reason, and you're choosing not to discuss it. Why?

What IS your real intention? Are you ashamed to let us know?

Is there a conscience hiding somewhere inside JakeD?

Maybe you're the guy with the devil speaking into one ear, and the angel speaking into the other. You haven't really made up your mind who to listen to. You can't acknowledge the devil because he's just too ugly. And you can't acknowledge the angel, because she'll tell you to be good. That's no fun, right?

Well, why not be brave and make a choice: either tell us your real intentions and stand by them, or change your wicked ways! :)

One other Q for JakeD: Who do you support for president? C'mon, tell us!

Posted by: Alice | May 21, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse


Those responsible for the Florida and Michigan deal should have to pay, not the voters. The state officials who set the early voting date should be fined a stiff personal penalty, and the votes should count. It's not fair for the voters to pay for their mistake.

Posted by: Billw | May 21, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is making the case that women should not be president, at least whiny white women with too much money and a loveless marriage who only got where she is because of her hubby.

She demands everyone do what she wants, and doesn't want to listen to reality. She is obviously so spoiled, and so needy, if she doesn't win she'll throw a tantrum and screw the Democrats just because she didn't win. She's like a psycho ex wife or girlfriend that stalks you at 2am.

I do NOT trust this crazy lady with the nuclear codes. She'd probably nuke a country just because her hubby stayed out late with some interns.

Posted by: whinywhitewomen | May 21, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Like most independents, I don't blame Hillary for running for office or her supporters for being enthusiastic.

Obama is collecting superdelegates to make the general election race against McCain official. The democrats had two popular candidates who both helped strengthen and grow the party so that a Democrat will get us out of Iraq and make serious corrections to the economic problems of the nation.

Posted by: eljefejesus | May 21, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

What happend to "If you can't stand the heat" All she is doing now is whining.

All this new talk from the Hillary camp about "sexism" is a total joke! Hillary would not be a senator let alone a major Presidential contender if not for, BILL CLINTON.

Posted by: AJ | May 21, 2008 10:39 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

She would never have won if Rudy didn't cancer. She hardly bet the stand in. She is nothing.

All this new talk from the Hillary camp about "sexism" is a total joke! Hillary would not be a senator let alone a major Presidential contender if not for, BILL CLINTON.

Posted by: AJ | May 21, 2008 10:39 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Why you guys obsess over the small stuff like the names of the candidates. It is trivial and has nothing to do with the high price of gas, our boys trying their hardest not to come home in a body bag from Iraq, the mortgage crisis, or the sinking value of the peso, I mean the US dollar. I hope you are smarter than kids having a brawl in the school yard playground.

Posted by: willie in Kansas | May 21, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

The only reason that Hillary is able to be the race at this point is due to having the political and financial capital of Bill Clinton.

Obama has run the best and most organized campaign in 50 years.

All this new talk from the Hillary camp about "sexism" is a total joke! Hillary would not be a senator let alone a major Presidential contender if not for, BILL CLINTON.

Posted by: AJ | May 21, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

jakeD, I'm curious as to your intention when you repeatedly spell Obama's middle name in all caps.

Posted by: manjomang | May 21, 2008 9:21 PM


It's obvious to everyone but JakeD himself, what he is doing. Unfortunately for his creditability, this tactic was dispelled a month or two ago. Apparently, JakeD has no new ideas.

Btw, JakeD - McCain has more reason to take the public financing than Obama does. If McCain ( the champion of public finance reform ) does not take it, he looks more like a hypocrite than Obama does. And besides, McCain needs the public to fund his campaign - he does not have the widespread support or ability to raise capital like Obama does.

Posted by: wolf | May 21, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse


My "intention" is to teach people about little-known facts -- I also repeatedly capitalize Hillary DIANE Clinton and John SIDNEY McCain's middle names -- for instance, did you know that HUSSEIN means "handsome" in Arabic?

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Q. If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing

A. Yes. I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold's (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates
to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited
funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to
preserve a publicly financed general election.

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

jakeD, I'm curious as to your intention when you repeatedly spell Obama's middle name in all caps.

Posted by: manjomang | May 21, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

P.S. -- I thought it WAS "clear" that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is the Democratic nominee?!

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Big surprise. Isn't it clear that Barack HUSSEIN Obama has indeed made a decision since he's "done nothing to indicate he will follow suit. Candidates planning to opt for public financing after the political conventions typically create a General Election Legal and Accounting (GELAC) committee" etc.? I hope that McCain goes through with public financing and HAMMERS Obama on this issue.

So much for his previous pledge to join the public system -- you can see all the details at the link below -- hopefully, he won't be able convince voters that his current pledges are worth anything more.

Posted by: JakeD | May 21, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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