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The Morning Grind / DayAhead

Dean dollars

(And check out the 'burn rate')

By Robert Yoon
CNN Political Unit

How deep is that pocket? Howard Dean's fund-raising report to the FEC is taller than the candidate.
How deep is that pocket? Howard Dean's fund-raising report to the FEC is taller than the candidate.

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Morning Grind
Howard Dean
Fund Raising
Federal Election Commission

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- You know you've had a good fund-raising quarter if the financial report being submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is taller than the candidate submitting it.

And as if Howard Dean needed any more reason to gloat, the 6-foot-tall, 12,000-page document detailing his fund raising and spending activity from July through September confirms what we pretty much knew all along: Dean is on top in all the "good" categories (such as fund raising and cash-on-hand) and near the bottom on all the "bad" ones (like debt ratio).

The only big surprise was that although the former Vermont governor led the Democratic field in spending for both the quarter and the campaign to date, he has one of the lowest so-called "burn rates" (the ratio of money spent to money raised), second only to Wesley Clark, who after only two weeks in the race didn't really get much of a chance to do any quality campaign shopping.

The news will also be a pleasant surprise for Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi, who devoted a good portion of an hour-long conference call on Wednesday to explaining why their burn rate would likely be higher than the other candidates.

"We have a national campaign, and running a national campaign is more expensive than running in just a couple of states," said Trippi, several hours before reports from the other campaigns started to trickle in on the FEC Web site.

John Edwards, who came in sixth in overall fund raising for the quarter, found himself leading the pack in one category: He spent $5.9 million in the last quarter while bringing in only $2.4 million, for a staggering burn rate of 228.6 percent, the highest in the field.

Four other candidates spent more than they raised in the third quarter: Sharpton reported a burn rate of 194 percent, followed by Kerry at 176.6 percent, Kucinich at 117 percent, and Gephardt at 110 percent.

Joe Lieberman spent slightly less than the $3.6 million he raised this quarter for a burn rate of 98.9 percent.

Clark spent only a fraction of his $3.5 million, burning only 3 percent of his take

Other campaign finance highlights

• The Dean campaign estimates that only 1 percent of its contributors have given the maximum $2,000 donation, meaning they may make future contributions to Dean.

• Clark, in his first FEC filing, received at least 23 percent of his contributions from California; 19.7 percent from New York; and 7.9 percent from his native Arkansas.

• One of Clark's few expenditures from his two weeks as a candidate was $18,000 for e-mail lists from the two "Draft Clark" committees.

• Actress-singer Barbara Streisand contributed $1,000 to the Clark campaign. Streisand has now donated to the campaigns of Clark, Dean, Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham and Sharpton, leaving Lieberman, Braun, Kucinich and President Bush out in the cold.

Celeb contributors, Q3:

Wesley Clark

Ted Danson and Mary Steenbergen, $4,000; Alda Alan and his wife, $4,000; film director Barry Levinson, $3,000 (the limit is $2,000); TV producer Steven Bochco, $2,000; TV producer Norman Lear:, $2,000; "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin, $2000.

Howard Dean

Country singer Emmylou Harris, $500; Carly Simon, $1,500; Eagles singer Glenn Frey, $2,000; Billy Baldwin, $1000; Jim Belushi, $500; Morgan Fairchild, $250; "Star Trek" star Leonard Nimoy, $2,000; Robin Williams, $2,000; comedian Janeane Garofalo, $600; Helen Hunt, $2,000; Rene Russo, $2,000; Glenn Close, $1,000.

John Edwards

Ted Danson, $2,000.

Dick Gephardt

Chevy Chase, $2,000; "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David, $2,000; Morgan Fairchild, $600.

John Kerry

Jamie Lee Curtis, $2,000; Uma Thurman, $2,000; Vidal Sassoon, $2,000.

Dennis Kucinich

"Alf" co-star Max Wright, $500.

Joe Lieberman

"Seinfeld" star Jerry Stiller (George's dad), $2,000.

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