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HRC's Donor Day

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has raised $33 million for her re-election bid this November, a financial show of force that not only makes her a solid favorite to win a second term but has also cemented her status as the frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.

While Clinton and her team regularly tout the thousands of small-dollar donations to her re-election effort, they know that to raise the tens of millions of dollars necessary to win the Democratic nomination -- and ideally the presidency -- she must cultivate a small universe of large-dollar donors who can not only contribute their own money but also convince other affluent individuals to dip into their own pockets as well. (President George W. Bush did this brilliantly in 2000 and 2004 with his "Pioneer" and "Ranger" programs.)

With an eye on cultivating these major donors, Clinton is holding a day-long donor meeting in Washington, D.C. today for her national finance committee -- a virtual who's who of major Democratic donors numbering roughly 100. The group gathered at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill today and is expected to dine at the Georgetown home of Elizabeth and Smith Bagley -- two major Democratic donors -- tonight.

Gatherings like this illustrate why betting against Clinton to win the Democratic nomination is a fool's errand at this point. The goodwill toward both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton among influential donors and activists gives her a massive advantage over every other Democrat mentioned as a possible candidate in the runup to the actual voting in early 2008.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 15, 2006; 6:05 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: 2008: The Case Against Al Gore


I never thought I would see the words
"President George W. Bush" and "brilliantly" in the same sentence.

Posted by: Jake Finney | February 17, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards can win. Dems should have nominated him in the first place. This world would be in a better place now.

Posted by: Sharon Coleman | February 17, 2006 6:10 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards can win. Dems should have nominated him in the first place. This world would be in a better place now.

Posted by: Sharon Coleman | February 17, 2006 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Chris. Please. The fantasy ought to cease, pse. The Democratic party would never nominate an Impeached First Lady in their effort to regain the W.H. Remember it took a majority of the publick to Impeach Clinton. We simply would not send him back as the nation's "First, First Gentleman"! Why would America elect an Impeached President ? R.S.V.P.

Posted by: Ed Lane | February 17, 2006 1:30 AM | Report abuse

NYCityGirl, I had been hot and cold with Hill going back to BC's presidency... But I think you should really give her a second thought. The reason I say this is because (especially in the last year) I have heard her pontificate on POVERTY, HEALTH CARE, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, CIVIL RIGHTS and WOMEN's RIGHTS on multiple occasions over the last year from the floor of the Senate.

Dont give up on her. The media is all wrong (as usual). While, yes, her fundraising and corporate ties are suspicious, she DOES really emote on these issues when nobody but other Senators and loyal cspan watchers are paying attention. I know b/c Ive watched and been impressed many times in the last year or so. And again, im talking abt JUST speeches from the floor, and NOT campaign/political speeches.

Will in Seattle, I have heard similar scenario from a very very good friend and her mother. Hillary went to their house for something (i forget what) and they were both very impressed. Ive seen pictures :)

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 16, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

to felicity smith: check you're facts. hillary said she would be AGAINST an amendment. What she was doing with the flag had nothing to do with an amendment.

Posted by: Alex | February 16, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

As a Repub I say Go Hill Go!
Already 49% of Americans have said they will NEVER VOTE for her. Surely there are Dems mixed in there, and who are they?
Answer: White men in blue states thinking she reminds them of their ex-wife or mother in law.
It's the anger... stupid
Nothing better than an angry power hungry woman to rally all the red state voters and blue state men.
No matter NOW much money she raises
Hill will be on the Hill forever.
She will be the new Ted Kennedy for the next 40 years!

Posted by: Myra Adams | February 16, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Hillary's flag-burning thing? I gave that a lot of thought. An amendment outlawing flag burning? My flag? Your flag? Jail? Fine? How much? Oh yes, Hillary's abysmal health-care plan. Well, at least big insurance loved it. (Interestingly, Feingold wins the popularity poll hands down on other blogs.)

Posted by: felicity smith | February 16, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

My boss met her earlier this week at a conference, and actually got a chance to ask questions at dinner. Apparently, she was very favorably impressed by Hillary.

I personally wish the media would talk about - at this point, it's always the case - the other six to eight potential candidates for each party's shot at the Presidency.

Any truth to the Draft Cheney movement gaining steam in NRA country?

Posted by: Will in Seattle | February 16, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

...And now you can share your own story about why you support Hillary Clinton for President at

Posted by: Peter | February 16, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I am a lifelong Democrat and a woman from NY. I would be inclined to vote for ANY woman candidate in any race. Still, HRC will not have my vote, and I know there are many, many more of us. The amount of money she has raised just helps reinforce my belief that she is in the pocket of corporate special interests as much as any Republican. She has very little experience, just one unremarkable term as jr. senator. I'm not even sure I'll make it to the polls to vote to reelect her Senator.
And I think this will be the reaction to her running for President. While I, and most Dems I know, want nothing more than to throw these Repubs. out, HRC is not going to inspire us to get out and vote.She will, however, inflame the right to go vote even more than any gay marriage amendment.
Her policy positions, such as they are, are more of the same old, same old. We need more than "bush S*#ks" from the next Dem. candidate. We need someone with real conviction,someone willing to think outside the box,propose unpopular things (like,say,gas taxes and higher CAFE standards). Someone who will SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER. Not HRC, who seems to be willing to say just about anything that pollsters tell her to say.
Please, please, please, someone tell her to give up this pursuit, for the good of the Party. If she runs, we will be out of office for at least another 8 years.

Posted by: NYCityGirl | February 16, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it rather amazing that the correpublicans have so much concern for Hillary Clinton. A person they villified at every opportunity when her husband was President.

I guess they can't just dig up enough dirt to keep this campaign from being a contest of issues. Whether or not the RNC wishes to accept it or not, Hillary is going to be a force to be dealt with. I personally welcome it.

The correpublicans control Washington, but their culture of corruption have accomplished only the following: 1) largest trade deficit in history; 2) largest budget deficit in history; 3) largest national debt in history; 4) largest moral defict in history.

Anyone with more than two functioning brain cells would want any Democrat now versus any of the current correpublicans.

Posted by: Charles Mason | February 16, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Saying betting against her is a "fool's errand" is a bit strong; a lot can and will happen between now and then.

However, I don't think the Internuts' gripes about her votes on national security will have a deep impact on her chances. Remember how few votes, in the end, they got for Howard Dean? They did a nice job for Paul Hackett, but he still lost. Money is good, Internet griping has its place, but in the end electability wins.

The bigger questions are her ability to run a campaign under heavy fire (apologies to Rick Lazio, who is a good guy, but he wasn't the real deal), her ability to think on her feet (remember, she didn't do much in the way of real trial work), and her ability to connect with the average voter.

Will America be comfortable with her? Who can tell at this point?

HRCFan, I may not agree with your analysis, but I thought it was very good. The left needs less Internuts and more you.

Posted by: Silent Cal | February 16, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

So essentially, whomever raises the most money wins? I'm glad we can do away with the elections.

Posted by: El Sid | February 16, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

EXCELLENT analysis, imho, HRCfan.

Hadia brings up the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) and it stimulated some thoughts:

1) HRC voted for the AUMF to support the office of the President and in full trust of the intel provided by George "Medal of Freedom" Tenet.

2) HRC is representing the only major city (outside of the D.C. pentagon plane) that has been attacked by terrorists. TWICE. If there was ANY hint of WMDs in the Intel the Prez was forwarding, she gave him them all the benefit of the doubt.

3) NOBODY liked Saddam, even if he was contained. And Im sure she didnt mind the GOP collecting the political fallout of actually removing him forcefully. Of course, that is a rather unfortunate view given the amount of death and destruction... But I dont think that even SHE would have predicted the complete failure of the Iraq War planning, especially the post Shock and Awe phase. Everyone blames Dems for their votes on AUMF, but it was simply AUMF, not a vote on how the war has been carried out.

4) If SHE was in the position to carry out this war, she NEVER EVER would have allowed 2,000+ troops to die. She would have had a plan from before the 1st shot, unlike the current commander in chief.

Im solidly with the anti-war folks, I just think that you cant turn back the clock and save those 100,000 Iraqis and 2,000+ Americans. But again, the fact of the matter is that simply voting for the AUMF does NOT mean she has supported an all-out decimation of Iraq and its people and an extended war/occupation that so would grievously effect the troops and our country's image around the globe.

Oh and my last reason for supporting her presidential campaign: WAX.


Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 16, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is more pandering to big business. Her votes are very hawklike and to say that this war is good is to say that the murder of 1 million Iraqi's through sanctions under her husband's leadership was OK. I for one want a candidate who actually speaks the the beliefs of decent American Citizens who are not for torture or war or dehumanizing anyone who is not an American just to save their own skin. I think that killing 100,000 Iraqi citizens since this evil war started does not justify the 3,000 killed here on 9/11. In fact, I think that the inept way that 9/11 was handled by this current criminal administration is the least charge against them. I want peace and justice for all, including the Palistinian people and the Iraqis and the citizens of East Timoor and Mexican laborers whose only crime is to come into this country and work hard at jobs most Americans wouldn't do.

Posted by: hadia | February 15, 2006 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit, I like Hillary. I think she's been a terrific Senator, and I firmly believe she'll be a great President.

I also know that not everyone agrees. Many in the netroots community believe, strangely, that she can't win. Never mind her solid work in the Senate, or that she won her seat despite never having lived in NY, or that she will have the Clinton War Room to effectively communicate a positive message about where we as a nation need to be headed. Some also don't think she passes whatever rigid ideological test they use for figuring out whether a candidate is "pure" enough to warrant their support.

IMHO, Hillary has everything we would dream to find in an entire primary field, let alone one candidate. So here's a full-throated defense of the woman I believe will be the next President of the United States.

Controlling the Agenda: Regardless of whether you support her or not, I think all of us would agree that Hillary begins the contest as the front-runner. Her status (not to mention the $33 mil. she's raised so far), means that she can't be ignored, and because of that, she has the luxury of articulating a positive message of change, while everyone else tries to be the anti-Hillary. So instead of campaigning on a Kerryesque "not-as-bad-as-the-other-guy" message, Hillary can just be herself, something that has been absent among recent Democratic candidates.

Issues: With health care increasingly becoming a top issue (even the Big Three are pushing for it now), Hillary could not be better positioned. For better or worse, she is the face of the Clinton health care proposal, and while it was unsuccessful in 1994, her work on behalf of America's uninsured gives her instant credibility on the issue. In addition, most Americans long for the economic policies of the Clinton Administration, and while Hillary is no Bill, she's still a Clinton. Finally, on the issue of national security, as the junior Senator from New York, Hillary has had a voice in the post-9/11 world that is louder than would otherwise be the case for a first-term Senator. Her poised and competant response to the events of five years ago give her additional credibility, and draw a nice distinction with the present administration.

Neutralizing the GOP Smear Machine: Essentially, this is a "what-else-can-they-come-up-with" argument. Hillary's negatives actually work against her on this one. She can't be Swiftboated, because since she became Arkansas's Fisrst Lady over 25 years ago, the right wing has thrown everything they have at her. If the voters in New York were willing to take a second look, I think the people in America will as well.

Passing the "Name one State" test: This has long been the gauntlet thrown down by the anti-Hillary forces, challenging those of us who support her to back up our allegiance with some electoral math. In fact, there are several states that I think Hillary puts in play. With her focus on health care, I think industrial states struggling with these costs (Ohio) are instantly in play. In addition, I would argue that she would be competitive in New Mexico, West Virginia, Iowa and perhaps even some parts of the South (Arkansas, Virginia and North Carolina) where a positive message of stronger, smarter national security and a more progressive federal government on domestic issues would play well. Finally, on the moral values question, Hillary's moderate views on abortion (pro-choice, but that we should do more to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place) would go over well, as would the fact that when faced with a difficult situation, she stood by her husband and made her marriage work. This is a woman who doesn't just talk the talk, she has consistently walked the walk.

Also, her choice of a VP could have a far-reaching effect in bringing in additional support, either from key states or from key constituencies. A choice of Richardson, Warner, Bayh, Edwards or Clark could instantly bring in a whole slate of additional electoral votes, and promising an adminstration with incredible depth would reassure those swing voters deciding between two candidates on their qualifications alone.

Culture of Corruption: Last, I think Hillary is very well placed to take advantage of any remaining hostility to the GOP's culture of corruption. Of the $33 mil. she has raised so far, well over 90% came from individuals. She truly has relied on the generosity of thousands and thousands of individuals, something that contrasts nicely with the reliance of GOP candidates on lobbyists and PACs to fund their campaigns.

OK - so not every one will agree. But here are a series of reasons why I support Hillary, and think she presents our best hope to recapture the White House.

Posted by: HRCFan | February 15, 2006 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris you shouldn't underestimate the discontent Hillary has sowed on the party's Left over compromises on Iraq and even flag burning. Meanwhile moderates such as Warner will make the case she can't win. If Hillary is the nominee in '08, the Republicans reign of indecency will continue and their class warfare raged agsint the middle class and working poor will continue.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 15, 2006 11:34 PM | Report abuse

When do some anti-Hillary candidates make the call whether they will run or not? i.e. warner, bayh, vilsack and richardson.

If Hillary is sitting on 70 million or so, and the rest have say 25, what are they going to do?

Posted by: Centrist Alternatives | February 15, 2006 11:27 PM | Report abuse

>>>If you nominate H. Clinton, you will be locked out of the White House until at least January 2013.

I love how the party of:

9/11 failure (nobody couldve EVER imagined people would fly a plane, etc etc etc)
Katrina failure (nobody couldve EVER imagined the levees would break)
Dick "DUCK!" Cheney
Slam Dunk Intel Iraq failure
Osama WHO?
Biggest Deficits in History failure
Tax Cuts for the Top 1% during a Time of War
and on and on and on......

all of a sudden thinks that they can predict the future!!! HA HA HA HA HA!

F'ing hilarious. You guys are great. I hope the GOP sticks around for a while after giving way to the Dems in '06, if for no other reason b/c you guys make The Daily Show funny as F*$@.

Oh and the constant, and I mean CONSTANT bitching about Hillary Clinton just makes me MORE and MORE excited for her to run. I cant wait. I would absolutely vote for her in the primary if Russ doesnt rise to the top.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 15, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I like you. Thoughtful stuff, please keep it coming. Thanks.

Posted by: Jimmy | February 15, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Ignoring the idea of Hillary Clinton's electibility....doesn't anyone else find the amount of money candidate's raise for elections sickening?

Posted by: VaDemocrat | February 15, 2006 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris, we are tired of your 2008 demagougery. Clinton, McCain, Clinton, McCain, Warner, McCain,clinton, McCain, drip, drip, drip, 2008, 2008, 2008......

It's tiring. Give us a break.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2006 8:05 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter how much money Hillary raises, she won't win the nomination because she won't get the votes. (Remember, the Democrats haven't figured out how to rig the voting machines yet.) The Republicans love her for a reason. Those of us Dems who would like a chance to win the White House can't afford to vote for her.

Posted by: Beverly | February 15, 2006 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Democratic Party. If you nominate H. Clinton, you will be locked out of the White House until at least January 2013. There is NO WAY she can win a majority of electoral votes. She does not have the appeal of her husband, and even he needed help from Ross Perot to win - Clinton never won a majority of the popular vote either time. When will you people learn how to win an election? You keep nominating all these losers from the lunatic fringe, and then you scream and complain that you never win any elections. I can't wait until the next Supreme Court vacancy and you begin your screaming all over again. Face it, the country doesn't want your politics at all, and you are so pathetic you can't even win against a bunch of corrupt Republicans who are spending like drunken sailors. You are nothing but a shameful disaster. Go back to doing what you do best - running abortion clinics and passing out condoms in the schools.

Posted by: YoudontspeakformeCindy | February 15, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, in response to Andrew, that she is clearly showing talent as a campaigner. As for her oratory skills, she is being judged against one of the all-time best. Why not put her up against our current president? Now does she look like such an unskilled orator? I'm not trying to be an apologist. I just think that HRC needs to be judged accurately and fairly. And some of the criticism of her seems, to me, at least, as having just the tiniest hint of sexism involved.

Posted by: Matt | February 15, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I am a straight ticket Democrat from NH but IMHO, Hillary CAN'T WIN the Presidency in 2008. It does not matter how much money she has because Hillary does not have a quarter of the talent her husband had as a politican, as a campaigner or as an orator. If her husband was not a former president she would be just another Northeast senator with no chance at the presidency.

Posted by: Andrew | February 15, 2006 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"...betting against Clinton to win the Democratic nomination is a fool's errand at this point." Of course, betting that Clinton will win the Presidency is also a fool's errand at this point as well. In contrast to CC's universe, in this one 11/08 is still a LONG way off. McCain could drop dead, Hillary could shoot, er, I mean 'pepper' Bill in a "hunting accident." Such predictions are a columnist's bread and butter but this type of journalism isn't worth agonizing over.

Posted by: Judge Crater | February 15, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Jake | February 15, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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