After 17 months of directing Operation Hillary, the would-be commander-in-chief is confronting some serious debt. $22.5 million of it. According to a report by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released Friday, Clinton owes $10.3 million to everyone from printers in Iowa to caterers in Pennsylvania to Mark Penn's consulting firm in D.C. She's also down the $12.2 million she personally loaned her campaign.
As Clinton heads into a meeting today with Obama--at which her finances are assumed to be a topic of conversation--we decided to give her a hand and map out three options she has for settling her debt:
Clinton is not the only candidate this year to run into the red. Rudy Giuliani's website is actively soliciting donations to retire his campaign's still-stinging primary debts, and Giuliani teamed with McCain in a version of Debtventure No. 3 when, earlier this year, the McCain campaign promised to help Giuliani retire his debt (though these efforts have been a bit neglected, as McCain has had his mind on other things). In an infamous variation on Debtventure No. 2, beloved spaceman-cum-senator John Glenn retained a nearly $3 million debt from his 1984 presidential run until just two years ago, when the FEC let it slide. But since that option would prevent Clinton from running for future office, it's unlikely she will go that route.
Clinton's likely course of action may be a combination of Debtventures Nos. 1 and 3: Convince her donors to reclassify their loans for her Senate campaign so that she can collect funds from her own supporters, while also gathering contributions from Obama donors. She has already sent a video to supporters asking for their continued backing. And if today's meeting goes well, she may also have Obama's support (as indicated in a Tuesday phone call during which he asked his top donors to help Clinton retire her debt).
Happily, however financially dire things may seem for "Hillary Clinton: The Campaign," "Hillary Clinton: The Multimillion-Dollar Joint Bank Account" should more than cushion the blow in approximately 6.8 speaking engagements.
--Nicole Allan and Bess Kalb