Clinton capitalizes, contest continues

Clinton emptied her coffers to get a win in Pennsylvania, but then the money came pouring in.

By Steve Benen

Published April 23, 2008 12:58PM (EDT)

Shortly after the polls closed in Pennsylvania Tuesday night, Marc Ambinder noted that the one metric that really mattered wasn't delegates or popular votes, but money. Most notably, Hillary Clinton's lack of it.

Clinton was easily outspent in Pennsylvania -- by most measures, by more than a 2-to-1 margin -- but she started with far less money, and had to invest heavily to secure a victory. Indeed, she didn't have a choice; -- Obama could afford to lose Pennsylvania and keep on going, Clinton couldn't. The investment clearly paid off -- she won by a decisive margin -- but it came with a price; she's broke.

Or rather, she was.

Campaign spokesman Phil Singer said Tuesday night, "As of 11:30 p.m. tonight, we are at nearly $2.5 million since PA was called for HRC -- 80 percent of that money is coming from new donors to the campaign. It's our best night ever."

Assuming those figures are accurate, it's pretty extraordinary: $2.5 million in three hours -- for a candidacy that still has a hard-to-imagine path to the nomination, after nearly 16 months of campaigning -- points to a candidate who will be able to fight very aggressively, indefinitely.

It's a reminder, in case there were any doubts, that the race will continue to rage on at the level and pace we've become accustomed to over the past several weeks.

This isn't to say the campaign's financial difficulties are over. Last night, during her victory speech, Clinton told the assembled crowd, "We can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who outspends us so massively. So I hope you'll go to and show your support tonight, because the future of this campaign is in your hands."

It was, I believe, the first time Clinton has used a victory speech to ask for more money. Apparently, it worked.

Steve Benen

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