Campaign debt relief?
May 7, 2008 6:21 PM   Subscribe

I was very surprised to read a former political reporter's statement that the Obama campaign might offer to pay off the Clinton campaign's debt if/when she drops out of the primary race.

Is this a common practice?
posted by R. Mutt to Law & Government (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, later in the article it says, " is not uncommon for winning presidential campaigns to pick up some or all of a competitor's debts and obligations, although the size of Clinton's debt and her personal loans to her campaign are unprecedented - somewhere over and above $20 million."
posted by roomwithaview at 6:31 PM on May 7, 2008

Response by poster: Sorry, I was unclear. I guess what I am looking for is examples of the practice - beyond his generalization. Even after following US politics for years, I was genuinely surprised by the idea that this would occur.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:41 PM on May 7, 2008

Some examples in this thread from January.
posted by Yorrick at 6:54 PM on May 7, 2008

More about this from Talking Points Memo.
posted by buriedpaul at 9:03 PM on May 7, 2008

As mentioned in the other thread, last year Clinton paid Vilsack's debts in return for his endorsement.

In 1988, having secured the nomination, Bush used his clout to get his contributors to donate to the Dole campaign.

There are also occasional charges of back-room deals, such that a candidate agrees to drop out if another will pay off the debt, or it will be paid off if a candidate stays in the race in order to weaken a more viable competitor (even this year). There are claims the DNC paid off the Jackson campaign in order to keep him from being a true spoiler. And so on.

The unlucky ones are people like John Glenn and Gary Hart, both of whom carried enormous debts from their failed campaigns for years and years.
posted by dhartung at 11:20 PM on May 7, 2008

Campaign dollars flowing around to different campaigns is a common practice.

It's probably a wash in what its effects are- I hate it when some incumbent wins a primary and then retires, and then gives his entire campaign resources to his chosen successor. But it can be good for political discourse, as it could tend to allow different voices get into a race to keep different issues on the radar, as it would allow those people to not suffer financial ruin when they drop out.
posted by gjc at 7:22 AM on May 8, 2008

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