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Inside Politics

Schneider: Campaigns enter the spin cycle

Story Highlights

• Second quarter for campaign financing ends June 30
• Campaigns playing down expectations of what final totals will be
• Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign playing up Sen. Barack Obama numbers
• Sen. John McCain saying campaign financing has done better this quarter
By Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- What's the next big date in the presidential campaign? June 30. That's the deadline for second quarter fundraising.

Round two of the fundraising battle ends in three weeks. We're now in the spin cycle.

The campaigns are leaking documents and spreading rumors to try to spin expectations -- for themselves and for their competitors.

"Campaigns are trying to either lower the expectations for their own candidate or trying to increase the expectations for their opponent so that will help them when the numbers become public," CNN Political Editor Mark Preston said.

In the first quarter, the big news was the eye-popping totals raised by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. She raised $26 million and he came close, raising $25.7 million. The fact that Obama raised nearly as much money as Clinton gave his campaign a burst of momentum.

The Clinton campaign has put out word that they expect to do even better in the second quarter -- but that, this time, Obama might beat them. They're trying to head off another "Obama surprise" by raising expectations for their rival.

In the Republican race, the big surprise was that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the frontrunner with $20.7 million. And that Sen. John McCain of Arizona lagged, raising only $13 million.

In round two, Romney needs to sustain his momentum. And McCain needs to show he's turned things around.

There are different ways to score this fight. After round one, Obama boasted a much larger number of individual contributions than Clinton.

"The various campaigns will talk about how many donors gave to their campaign," Preston said. "It shows how wide their support is across the country.''

There's even a score where smaller is better. In round one, the average contribution to the Obama campaign was smaller than that of his competitors. Obama average was $246 a donation, compared to $370 for Clinton and $350 for Edwards. Smaller is better because you can go back to small contributors and ask them for more money.

The Edwards Web site mentions that the candidate's birthday is June 10, or 6/10. So it asks for contributions as small as $6.10 leaving an opening to ask for more money later.

In round one, Democrats outraised Republicans by more than $25 million. That was demoralizing for Republicans, who are determined to show stronger numbers in round two.

Sen. Barack Obama nearly outraised Sen. Hillary Clinton during the first quarter of 2007.



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