Obama outraises Clinton in campaign funds as Super Tuesday approaches

Friday, February 1, 2008
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., applauds the crowd before delivering a campaign speech in Denver, Colo., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

LOS ANGELES -- Barack Obama raised a staggering $32 million in January, cash aplenty to advertise all through the expensive Super Tuesday states and beyond. He was also running ads in more states than rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as the last two Democrats standing braced for Thursday night's face-to-face debate in California.

Obama's January haul was the most raised in one month by any candidate in the 2008 campaign.

The Illinois senator is advertising in 20 of the 22 states in play in the busiest day of the primary season -- including California, the biggest delegate prize -- and plans to begin running ads in seven more states that hold primaries or caucuses later in February. Clinton is advertising in 12 Super Tuesday states, including her home state of New York.

The Clinton campaign released two new 30-second ads it will run in those states emphasizing the senator's tactics for dealing with a flagging economy. One features a plunging skydiver as an announcer proclaims "our economy could be heading into free fall." The other shows her proclaiming a "can-do spirit" and vowing to "turn our economy around and build a new age of prosperity."

Both ads suggest she is the most qualified to tackle economic challenges.

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks about the withdrawal of John Edwards from the Democratic presidential race, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008, during a news conference at North Little Rock High School in North Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Barack and Clinton were facing off in Los Angeles' Kodak Theater, home to the Academy Awards, in the first Democratic debate of the season to feature only two candidates. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards bowed out Wednesday without endorsing either of his former rivals.

The stakes are high, and Clinton and Obama have been clashing in increasingly acrimonious terms.

Obama would become the first black president if nominated and elected; Clinton could be the first woman president.

The battles for both the Democratic and Republican nominations have focused more and more on the economy, which polls suggest now rivals the war in Iraq as the issue concerning most Americans.

Although nearly two dozen states will vote on Super Tuesday -- including delegate-rich California and New York -- it is mathematically impossible for either candidate to seal the nomination.

In an e-mail to supporters Wednesday evening, the campaing said it had attracted 224,000 new donors in January for a total of more than 700,000 overall. The $32 million raised in one month matches the campaign's best three-month fundraising period in 2007.

"We think that the strength of our financial position and the number of donors does speak to financial sustainability if it ends up going through March and April," Plouffe said of the possibility of a race stretching toward the summer's nominating conventions. "We think we will have the financial resources to conduct vigorous campaigns in the states to come."

Plouffe said Obama's campaign had its best single fundraising period right after losing the New Hampshire primary to Clinton. In January, Obama won the Iowa caucuses and the South Carolina primary; Clinton won the New Hampshire primary and won the popular vote in the Nevada caucuses, though Obama won one more delegate. She also won popular votes in Michigan and Florida where the candidates did not campaign because no nominating delegates were at stake.

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