Will Clinton begin funding her own campaign?

Reports suggest that the Clintons are at least thinking about committing millions of their own money to Hillary's race.

Published February 6, 2008 8:36PM (EST)

The big chatter in political news circles today -- besides the question of how the actual delegate counts from Tuesday's voting will shake out -- is about reports that Hillary and Bill Clinton are giving serious thought to putting millions of dollars of their own money into her presidential campaign.

The possibility was first raised by Time magazine's Mark Halperin, who posted something like the "blind item" beloved by good gossip journalists everywhere in his blog on Wednesday morning. Halperin just posed a question: "Did the Clintons contribute millions of their own money to her campaign in the last few weeks?" This led the Politico's Ben Smith to ask that question of Clinton advisors in their conference call with reporters shortly after. At the time, campaign communications director Howard Wolfson said he had no answer, as he had not asked the candidate.

Now, some media outlets say they've confirmed that the Clintons are considering this move. On his blog, Marc Ambinder writes, "I can confirm that, according to advisers to the campaign, Sen. Hillary Clinton is weighing a self-loan in order to finance a competitive race against Barack Obama over the next few weeks." And Teddy Davis, in ABC News' Political Radar blog, reports, "A Democratic strategist allied with -- but not working for -- Clinton told ABC News Tuesday that the Clinton campaign has discussed investing as much as $20 million into the race."

In 2007, Clinton raised more money than Obama, her rival for the nomination, and according to end-of-year disclosure reports, she had almost double the cash on hand that Obama did. But that was before the campaign's real action began, and before Obama's campaign revealed that it took in $32 million last month, just about equaling the amount of cash on hand, minus debts, that Clinton had reported in that end-of-year disclosure.

Update: Smith has new developments on this front, reporting an e-mail he recieved from Wolfson. In the e-mail, Wolfson wrote:

"Late last month Senator Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million. The loan illustrates Sen. Clinton's commitment to this effort and to ensuring that our campaign has the resources it needs to compete and win across this nation. We have had one of our best fundraising efforts ever on the web today and our Super Tuesday victories will only help in bringing more support for her candidacy."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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