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$20 Million Reasons (debt) Donors Give Clinton Boot

Clinton status puts focus on her $20 million debt

WASHINGTON (AP) — Should she lose or abandon her quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton will have to deal with her campaign’s more than $20 million debt — a step that could test her relationship with Barack Obama and raise new issues in campaign finance law.

Clinton owed $10 million at the end of March, has made loans to her campaign totaling of $11.4 million thus far and will more than likely end the primary season significantly in the red.

Among her options is transferring that debt to her Senate campaign committee and paying it off with contributions to her 2012 re-election effort.

But, for the short term, many Democrats believe the answer lies with Obama and his vast network of contributors.

“That is a normal thing when a candidate finishes a race and loses, the winning candidate would try to help if there’s some debt that’s been incurred,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant who has worked in several presidential campaigns but is unaligned this year.

By law, Obama cannot write a massive check from his flush campaign account to hers. But Obama donors, large and small, might be willing to donate to Clinton in the name of party unity.

Clinton campaign officials say they have not contemplated what she will do with the debt. Asked whether she would welcome financial help from Obama, her spokesman, Howard Wolfson, told “Fox News Sunday” that “any talk of that is premature.”

Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, offered a similar response.

“She hasn’t asked, and we haven’t offered. And I think that discussion is way premature,” he said on the same program.

If Clinton wants to pay herself back for the millions she has poured into her historic campaign, donors willing to help her would have to act quickly. Link to complete AP story. 

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