The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton Tries, Again, to Retire Campaign Debt

By Al Kamen
You might have thought that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would have retired her nearly $6 million presidential campaign debt a long time ago.

Apparently not, judging from an e-mail sent out today by Hillary Clinton for President announcing a lottery -- only $5 a ticket -- and offering as prizes a day with Bill Clinton in New York (as part of "your own special New York City weekend"), a trip to the American Idol Finale in Los Angeles or a flight to Washington for you and a guest for a tour of the District with political operatives and commentators James Carville and Paul Begala.

Almost every dollar raised from the Carville-Begala pitch will go toward someone who those advisers had quite a stormy relationship with -- Mark Penn, the pollster-strategist who was ousted midway through the 2008 primary season.

According to year-end filings with the Federal Election Commission, Clinton's campaign had outstanding debts of $5,943,385. Of that total, Penn's firm was still owed $5,362,278 as of Dec. 31.

In the e-mail from Carville, he says that he "knew it was going to take an extraordinary effort to help pay off Hillary Clinton's campaign debt." Especially after the economy sank and the job situation turned dreary.

So the idea would be "to have some fun" while settling her debt, Carville says. "These amazing prizes are only being offered online and are available only for a limited time," he says, "so please don't delay in acting today."

Then you can "win one of three truly once in a lifetime opportunities." A day with Bill, a night at Americana Idol or, he says, you can "talk politics with me" -- and Begala.

And you can, of course, contribute more than the price of a ticket.

Posted at 5:37 PM ET on Apr 9, 2009  | Category:  Hillary Rodham Clinton
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The Clintons always hads some very questionable people associated with them, but I can't see where these three along with Bill didn't do her more damage than anyone.

Can't she find some palatable campaign people to beg for money than than pitbulls like Carville, a failed hack like Rich (very shady)and Begala who is a third rate eternal commentator on cable TV (who ever mentions him?)

Something is suppicious. Bill was supposedly making fortunes on publishing his presidential letters and givng speeches etc? Maybe he's just old news now with Obama elected and doesn't sell, or perhaps his health is too lousy. Strange.

Posted by: KRittenmyer | April 13, 2009 1:52 AM

This sounds like one of those late night advertisements selling something utterless worthless at a great price

I guess the Clintons have been retired to the netherland by their own supporters.

Funny how egomaniacs fall from grace so quickly especially when it comes to supporters putting their dollars on the line. (I knew Hillary should have locked foul-mouth Bill in the closet before the campaign)

Kind of hunourous how fast people who just crave fame and fortune can fall so quickly, just like a lot of Hollywood shooting stars.

Posted by: KRittenmyer | April 13, 2009 1:40 AM

Why can't Bill just write a check from his petty cash?

Posted by: commenywontmatteranyway | April 10, 2009 12:40 PM

Did Chris Dodd forget to include her debt in stimulus bill? Shame on you Chris!

Posted by: jmk55 | April 10, 2009 12:19 PM

What a timely advertisement for public financing of campaigns.

Posted by: jutland | April 10, 2009 10:29 AM

Why the H*** do you have to be so cynical when it comes to her???? It's really not funny! What she did was historic, despite the debt. Everyone has debt coming out of a Presidential campaign. Considering she broke fundraising records (except Obama's) in place since Presidential financing came into play...I say just leave her alone! She did something no woman (or man except Barack) had done before! Commend her, don't be a cyncial ahole! I donated more money its obviously working... "again".

Posted by: ladyesq1 | April 10, 2009 9:34 AM

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 9, 2009 8:02 PM

check out the entire email

Posted by: duganal | April 9, 2009 7:29 PM

I'm a Democrat with nothing against Hillary, but a Carville-Begala tour of DC to pay off Penn for his essentially worthless service strikes me as a remarkably unattractive offer. Couldn't they get McAuliffe, too, to make it perfect? Maybe they should just take the winners out in the high heat of a DC summer and roll them around in the Anacostia mud flats, instead.

Posted by: nodebris | April 9, 2009 6:19 PM

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