Hillary Clinton had her best fundraising month of the campaign in February. Unfortunately for her, Barack Obama may have, too.
Clinton officials just told donors on a conference call that they'll report taking in $35 million this month when they file their next statement to federal regulators. "We more than doubled what we raised in the month of January, which had been our best month," chairman Terry McAuliffe said. About 200,000 people gave Clinton money for the first time in February, even as she lost 11 primaries or caucuses in a row to Obama. (To listen to the call, click here.)
"We are stronger than we were 30 days ago, and we're going to be stronger 30 days from now," McAuliffe said. "Hillary Clinton is not going anywhere."
But Obama aides don't seem worried. In fact, quite the opposite. "We've raised considerably more than her this month," spokesman Bill Burton told me, just as the Clinton call got started. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder says Obama's take is something in the neighborhood of $50 million, which the Obama campaign isn't confirming -- or denying. "That's all we're saying," Burton said. (Republican strategist/blogger Patrick Ruffini estimates, based on Obama's average donation amount so far and number of donors in February, that he probably raised $46 million in the month's first three weeks.)
Even if Obama raised only a little more than Clinton, that means both candidates were close to setting new records for raising money in a primary race that is still contested. Obama set the previous record way back in ... January, when he raised $36 million.
The prospect of facing a turbocharged Democratic fundraising operation -- whether it's Clinton or Obama who wins the nomination -- may be why John McCain's campaign was considerably less excited about revealing his financial numbers. "We'll report on the 20th," spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said.