Sen. Barack Obama gave more from his PAC to 2006 candidates than any other presidential contender, but Sen. Hillary Clinton raised more than $15 million for candidates by headlining fundraisers for them, The Hill reports, adding that former Sen. John Edwards didn't give PAC contributions to any candidates last year.
Clinton is in the midst of her first series of Bush Pioneer-like (but bigger) fundraisers. "Clinton insiders said the senator hopes to demonstrate her preeminence in the growing field of Democratic contenders by raising $10 million or more in the first quarter and at least $60 million this year. Both of those numbers, if attained, would represent a record-breaking take for a presidential contest. The gathering last night was the first major step in collecting those totals," the Washington Post notes.
The Wall Street Journal focuses on the power of strong early fundraising to drive lesser-funded candidates from the field.
Politico reports, 11 months before the Iowa caucuses, that a second President Clinton "is increasingly seen by veteran Republican politicians and strategists as virtual inevitability... For now, these Republicans say the party needs good luck, including a change of fortune in Iraq, and a revival of organization and leadership in the conservative movement to avert another Clinton presidency... Conservatives are slowly starting to organize against Clinton, but the effort lacks the vitality and vitriol of the attacks on former first lady in the 1990s."
That WMUR poll also shows Clinton leading the Democratic pack with 35% to Obama's 21% and Edwards' 18%.
While Clinton continues to lead the Democratic pack in national polls, her support among the netroots isn't as strong. Per an online straw poll on the liberal Daily Kos site, Edwards leads with 26% of the vote, followed by Obama at 25%. Clinton? She gets just 4%.
Critics have charged two Edwards bloggers with writing anti-Catholic posts, the New York Times says. "Mr. Edwards's spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers." One of the bloggers wrote "in December that the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to the use of contraception forced women "to bear more tithing Catholics." In another posting last year, she used vulgar language to describe the church doctrine of the Immaculate Conception."
In an interview with Politico, Edwards' former media consultant, who is now Obama's media consultant, calls Edwards' claims of being consultant-less "'a bit studied in its unstudiedness.'"
Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd, although he has yet to break through to the public, has broken through in fundraising among financial services firms, not only because they have business before his committee but because many of their employees live in Connecticut.
At last night's Washington Press Club Foundation Congressional Dinner, NBC's Lauren Appelbaum reports that the presidential race was a hot topic of conversation for two of the featured guests, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) and House Minority Leader John Boehner. Kennedy recounted a story of how a friend read his speech the night before and asked him why he wasn't making a joke about Clinton. Kennedy responded, "As long as she's 30 points ahead, I'm not saying a thing." About his good friend Dodd, Kennedy joked he "doesn't have any skeletons in his closets. He keeps them in three storage closets in New Haven."