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The Campaign for Dollars

Aired June 30, 2003 - 20:26   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: On to politics now. Next year the presidential candidates will be campaigning for votes. This year they're after money, lots of money. The end of June means time to total up campaign contributions for the second quarter of 2003. Kate Snow is keeping tabs on the Democrats' fund-raising efforts. And senior White House correspondent John King is watching the president. Good evening to both of you. John, we're going to get started with you tonight from the White House.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Paula, we are seeing over the past couple of weeks the power of incumbency and the power of the Bush fund-raising machine. Mr. Bush was out today for two events in Florida. He ended his day with an evening fund-raiser in Tampa -- $1.2 million at that evening event. Earlier in Miami, $1.8 million.

The president really started fund-raising just a little more than two weeks ago. His campaign has been up and running for about six weeks as an organization. Here is what this president will report for the second quarter of this year. It's a period that covers three months. Again, he did this all, though, in just a few weeks. The Bush-Cheney campaign will report raising more than $30 million. That shatters all records, and it is more money than all nine of the Democratic candidates combined over the past three months. Again, the president showing the power of incumbency.

Mr. Bush doing most of this work himself. He has attended seven fund-raising events now. They have brought in just under $18 million. Vice President Cheney, though, also out on the hustings, four events for him over the past two weeks, $2.75 million.

And first lady Laura Bush also into the fund-raising act, three events including one today in Cincinnati, Ohio, $1.86 million. So the Bush team, led by the president, is raising the money. No primary opponent. So what can the president do with all that money? This gives him enormous advantages. He lost big in California last time, lost big in New York last time. His campaign thinks possibly they could be in play next year, so they can have polling, they can even have staffs, they can do television advertisements in states that would never make the cut if the campaign was short for cash. So, Paula, combine it up to the power of fund-raising machine and the fact that the president has no primary opponent; he believes he heads into next year with a huge advantage over the Democrats.

ZAHN: Thanks, John. Let's bring Kate -- if you don't mind standing by, John, we'll come back to you in a second, but let's bring Kate into picture now. Those statistics that John just shared with us have got to be pretty daunting to those Democrats. Who is ahead in the race for cash there?

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pretty daunting, but I'll tell you, there is a big surprise today, Paula, and that is Howard Dean. He is on fire. The former Vermont governor raising close to $7 million in this quarter, and that's about $2 million more than everybody else. How is he doing it? It's real easy, the Internet is how he's doing it. We have been keeping a close eye on Howard Dean's Web site all day. And Dean calls it grassroots. He said it is a rejection of President Bush.

Up in the corner of his Web site, it says "let's hit a grand slam." And there is a bat there that's keeping track of how much money he's raised just today for this quarter, up until midnight tonight. This morning, the goal was $6.5 million total, is now close to $7 million that he has raised for this quarter. By our calculations, that's about $50,000 an hour that he was raising this afternoon, Paula.

Over the past eight days that totals up to about $3 million since he made an appearance on "Meet the Press." That's big news for Howard Dean. Not such great news for the five candidates who are in the middle of the pack right now. Aides to John Kerry and to John Edwards both saying that they think it hurts the other guy more what is happening with Howard Dean. Both of them expect to raise about $5 million this quarter. Kerry's team emphasizing that he has more cash on hand than anybody else, about $11 million. Edwards' camp saying he's raised more money than anyone else this year if you look at the whole year. Gephardt's people saying that he'll be close to Edwards, and that's more than he raised in the first quarter.

You see how everyone has their spin.

The other two, Lieberman and Graham, will have to play catch-up. And then in the bottom tier, you have three more candidates -- Dennis Kucinich -- he's pretty proud of the fact that he's raised more than $1 million. That's five times what he raised in the first quarter. Carol Moseley Braun is coming in at just about $150,000, and Al Sharpton at $70,000 to $100,000. But their campaigns insisting, Paula, they're not out of this race yet. They say they're in it for the long haul, though clearly, they've raised a lot less money than the others and a lot less than President Bush.

ZAHN: And just think, the two of you only have about 14, 15 more months of this, of keeping tabs. Kate Snow, John King, thank you for your reports tonight.


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