How badly might Sen. Clinton need help with her post-campaign debt? Badly:
Clinton will likely seek help from Obama in retiring her massive campaign debt, which has swollen to more than $30 million, including $11 million she lent the effort, advisers said Thursday.
The former first lady, who plans to bow out of the race and endorse Obama on Saturday, told donors she will raise money for Obama's campaign, both to help the Democratic Party's cash position and to expand the Illinois senator's prodigious fundraising base. Her advisers estimate the former first lady could bring in $50 million to $100 million for the general election campaign — and much more if she were named Obama's running mate.
The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Clinton hosted a conference call Thursday with her national finance committee, urging them to shift gears and begin raising money for Obama and for the Democratic National Committee, which will be coordinating fundraising efforts with the Obama campaign.
There are more than 1.5 million individual donors to the Obama campaign. It would not take much on a per-contributor basis -- less than $20, certainly -- for Obama supporters to help Sen. Clinton make things right with her campaign's vendors, and if asked I would certainly contribute to such an effort.
In other campaign finance news today, I will commend to you Bob Bauer's remarks yesterday to an American Constitution Society gathering in Philadelphia yesterday. He calls for a more modest conception of what campaign finance laws can accomplish, and it's well worth the five minutes it will take to read his remarks:
Money will continue to play a role in politics. If we imagine otherwise, then the FEC will be a grave disappointment, since it will be easy to assume — and wrongly assumed — that money would not figure so prominently if the government were doing its job.
The campaign finance laws have their part to play in establishing equitable rules for participation in the political process. The determination of what that part should be—the goals we establish for the design of those laws — will and should shape our view of what constitutes meaningful enforcement.
And finally, I will note that we're just a Monday or two away from learning of the Supreme Court's resolution of Davis v. FEC, which will determine what, if anything, Congress can do constitutionally to level the playing field on behalf of candidates running against self-funding millionaires in federal elections. When that decision comes down, we will have much to say.