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Comments by YACCS
Monday, December 22, 2003

Why money matters

Why money matters

"It's like Pavarotti with laryngitis. You can't reach your audience. You become invisible," said Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska senator whose 1992 Democratic presidential bid was cut short after he ran out of money. "It's brutal if you don't have money, because your opposition has so much more capacity than you do."

Last week, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts lent $850,000 of his personal wealth to his campaign and prepared to take out a far larger loan against the value of his Boston home. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut urged his staff to voluntarily delay one of their January paychecks for a month. And Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri asked his top aides to cut their salaries so he could keep running television ads.

`Close to lapping the field'

"Dean is outraising the Democratic field combined," a senior aide to one of Dean's leading rivals said with a sigh. "If this were a track race, you would have a pack running in a dead heat with Dean coming close to lapping the field."

Only Wesley Clark, the retired Army general who joined the race in September, is coming close to reaching Dean's fundraising prowess among Democrats. Aides said that in the three-month period ending Dec. 31, Clark is likely to raise at least $12 million.

It is Dean, though, who has caused the most frustration for rivals struggling to raise even a third as much money. He changed the race's dynamic last month when he became the first Democratic candidate to abandon the public financing system so he could outspend his Democratic challengers and prepare to take on President Bush, who is on his way to building a war chest of nearly $200 million.

These days, most everywhere he travels, Dean has a professional blue backdrop and stage lighting that transform such places as a school cafeteria into a picture-perfect political setting. By contrast, Gephardt has a fading, hand-painted sign hanging from the roof of his Iowa campaign headquarters.

Money matters in campaigns. Dean has so much of it, even Karl Rove will notice. And money means you can define your message. Unless there's some collapse, or horrific mistake on Dean's part, he's going to win and win early. And he's already setting the ground to run against Bush. No reliance on party organizations to cover your gaps or unions. Then comes the test after the primaries. It's going to be a long summer and a short campaign season.

posted by Steve @ 2:33:00 PM

2:33:00 PM

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