Pick and Shovel Work
There’s a fascinating detail buried in the reports on how Barack Obama outraised Hillary Clinton, $40 million to $20 million, in March.
Clinton used to enjoy a rare advantage over almost every other politician: she didn’t have to make her own fundraising calls.
Her fundraising appeal is so strong, her supporters so motivated, and her network so well organised, that Clinton is able to avoid the fate of most of her Senate colleagues, governors and other prominent candidates, who must spend demeaning hours on the telephone each week asking for campaign contributions. She doesn’t even call the "surrogates" who make fundraising calls on behalf of a candidate, each with a set goal of, say, $100,000. The money just rolls in.
That’s how I described it in the Financial Times back in 2006, when her prowess was seen as a serious discouragement to other Democrats who might have been thinking about getting into the presidential contest.
Flash forward and it’s Obama who is enjoying that kind of advantage.
As the Washington Post reported Friday:
Obama’s ability to capitalize on a sustained wave of online support has enabled him to spend almost all of his time campaigning. Clinton has attended more than a dozen fundraisers since Jan. 1, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, has appeared at more than 40, while Obama and his wife have attended fewer than 10 during that time.
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Clinton is keeping up a busy fundraising schedule in the early part of this month, with stops in LA and New Mexico. Next Wednesday, there’s another big campaign fundraiser: an Elton John concert in New York. Maybe not pick-and-shovel, but it’s still work.