November 18, 2004


On October 15, John Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill sent a begging e-mail to supporters:

On Wednesday, I told you that party strategists said they need our online supporters to contribute at least $4 million and that I told them you could make it $5 million. In light of new polling data, it is even more urgent for us to hit this goal. We are now poised to compete in more places than anyone thought possible.

We are about to cross that $5 million goal. Your contribution could be the one to put us over the top.

I wonder how many Democrats fell for that. Turns out Kerry had millions to spare:

Democratic Party leaders want to know why John Kerry ended his presidential run with more than $15 million in the bank.

They say the money could have helped spell victory in the race for president -- or made a difference in other tight races across the country.

One high-ranking member of the Democratic National Committee says word of Kerry's nest egg has stirred anger, and could hurt his chances of putting an ally into the party leadership.

Three former Kerry campaign aides said they were surprised and disappointed to learn that he left so much money in the bank.

UPDATE: "John Kerry, who has $45 million left from his record-breaking Democratic campaign, hinted on Tuesday that he may try again for the presidency."

Posted by Tim Blair at November 18, 2004 04:06 PM

Just proves that Kerry is a loser. Why on earth would you not spend $15,000,000 dollars when you think it's going to be tight?

Posted by: Pauly at November 18, 2004 at 04:28 PM

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth spent less than half a million in August and totally knocked Kerry's campaign in the dirt. The Democratic Party and bootlessly spent gazillions on stupid ads, in the wrong states at the wrong time, and bought exactly...what?

If even the lefties can't trust the Democrats to run an effective campaign, then why should the American people trust them to run the entire country?

Posted by: Butch at November 18, 2004 at 04:38 PM

Or could be that Kerry was smart enough not to "throw good money after bad money" ??

Posted by: HippyHunter at November 18, 2004 at 04:43 PM

Butch, Butch, Butch! You're using logic!! Non, non!

You must feel the energy, passion, and excitement, and not follow the staid conservative approach.

This is why Kerry didn't spend that money. It gave him passion and excitement!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 18, 2004 at 04:46 PM

Very strange. I recall reading reports about how little money Kerry's campaign had near the end. Lack of funds for the presidential race was blamed on spending too much money in the primaries. Perhaps there were some large bills Kerry's people were expecting so they kept some in reserve?

Recent reports indicate there was a lot of confusion and infighting going on inside Kerry's campaign. I wonder if this caused some financial mismanagement or confusion?

Who gets to keep the money? Does Kerry keep it for any future senate or presidential campaigns?

Posted by: Chris Josephson at November 18, 2004 at 04:48 PM

I think Senator Kerry ought to send refunds to the Blue States. That'll be, what, 75 cents a person? But you wouldn't be able to call the good Senator a two-bit loser.....

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 18, 2004 at 04:54 PM

Has Kerry's campaign paid off the $6 million mortgage he took on "his" Boston townhouse to loan the campaign?

Posted by: Wayne at November 18, 2004 at 05:36 PM

Bialystock and Bloom, needed i presoom, only a fraction of that to hop it to RIO!
just shows what inflation can do.
Perhaps Kerry was just fleecing the old ladies after all. Just imagine if he had won- he would have had to pay the old dears back!
mmm.... the start of a new comedy movie ?

Posted by: davo at November 18, 2004 at 05:54 PM

When you accept federal funding (as both Bush and Kerry did) I think you have to stop spending your own money after a certain date. So people kept giving money to Kerry instead of to contenders in the Senate races.

People like Daschle suffered from the ignorance of the donors but I don't think there's anything Kerry could have done about it.

Posted by: Nigel Kearney at November 18, 2004 at 06:44 PM

Kerry didn't want to fleece those donors, he just wanted to show them how it would feel to be married to him...

I just love one sentence from that Mary Beth Cahill email, btw:

"We are now poised to compete in more places than anyone thought possible."

Translation: Yipes, Dubya is catching up with us in several battleground states!

Posted by: PW at November 18, 2004 at 07:25 PM

Kerry 2008! Better still: Kerry/Edwards 2008!!
What a joyous thought

Posted by: rexie at November 18, 2004 at 07:30 PM

And why not (re contest)!

As an opposition leader he has been most successful!

Keep winning Kerry!

Posted by: rog at November 18, 2004 at 07:38 PM

Kerry will have no influence as a member of the minority party in the Senate. Kerry will use the $15 million to bribe France to appoint Kerry as the French ambassador to the UN. Viola! Then Monsieur Kerry can veto all of Bush’s foreign policy proposals. Then Kerry will be a Democrat hero and run again for President in 2008.

Alternative theory, Kerry blows it on windsurfing and skiing trips.

Posted by: perfectsense at November 18, 2004 at 07:42 PM

Uh...considering Kerry only got as far as he did with the "Anyone But Bush" vote, how is he going to fare in 2008, when he'll have to campaign on his own popularity?

He'll be steamrolled in the primaries.

Posted by: Quentin George at November 18, 2004 at 08:19 PM

I blogged on the sheer stupidity of it all here.

He has US$45 million that he can use during the Democrat Primaries, and US$15 million he can use for a Presidential campaign. The question is, will he use it to fund a 2008 run, or will he use it to fund an ally in the Democrats in the hope that he'll get a very important position? (Vice Presidential pick, for example.)

The thing is, he could have spent 15 million in Iowa, and that 45 million could've been spent up until July, I believe. Why wasn't he getting the message out to the whole country before the Dems Convention, and why wasn't he running a lot more ads in Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Nevada?

With a strategy that miserable, he deserved to lose.

Posted by: Leigh at November 18, 2004 at 08:54 PM

I wonder if GWB had any money left?

Posted by: pj at November 18, 2004 at 09:40 PM

What most people don't realize is that money belongs to HIM. He can, after leaving the Senate, use it to set up a foundation and pay himself some outrageous salary while pretending to do something of value.

Posted by: Mike at November 18, 2004 at 09:45 PM

I go with the mortgage idea.

Posted by: Tim Worstall at November 18, 2004 at 10:13 PM

The step-money probably loses this much behind the couch each night.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at November 18, 2004 at 10:46 PM

$45 million, for backshooting a wounded commie and calling his fellow GIs a pack of rapists? Sweet! Where do the rest of us 'report for duty'?

Actually, it's kinda nice to see he's got funds of his own now, he can afford to buy a new Daisy zipper-pull for his bike-riding outfit. I was expecting him to begin courting Ms. Arafat any day now. I think the Senator's 'idear' is to let no dumpy rich widow's stone go unturned.

Posted by: Carl H. at November 18, 2004 at 11:07 PM

Nah, the Arafat lady is only worth 22 million a year. Takes more than that to put lead in J Effin' Kerry's pencil.

Posted by: R C Dean at November 19, 2004 at 12:33 AM

Let's see. $15 million left over from the presidential campaign (not his money), $45 million from senate campaigns (not his money), married to a billionaire widow (not his money).
All he needs now is for somebody to pony up the money to re-purchase his (?) old Italian villa.
Is this guy nuanced or what?

Posted by: bc at November 19, 2004 at 12:51 AM

You know, whenever someone pesters me about how Bush rode to re-election on a nationwide wave of gay-hating, I ask them to show me the pro-gay marriage commercials that the various Democratic 527s created and show me how much money they spent on them. All that money and they really had nothing useful to say with it.

Posted by: Mike G at November 19, 2004 at 12:51 AM

The Democrats (both the official campaigns and surrogate 527 groups) were practically wallowing in money this year. If money had been the issue George Soros, et al., would gladly have caughed up more. As it was another $15, $45 or $100 million probably wouldn't have made much of an impact.

To borrow a line from 4 term Lousiana governor Edwin Edwards, to lose the election Bush would have had to be "caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at November 19, 2004 at 01:10 AM

---People like Daschle suffered from the ignorance of the donors but I don't think there's anything Kerry could have done about it.---

People like Demshill suffered cos during the last couple of weeks, Thune ran ads showing Demshill's wife's Jag and her lobbying paycheck. I think it was $750K. He went because he wasn't a SD anymore and the last-minute legal manoeuvers he tried to get votes discounted.

That viper deserved to go.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 19, 2004 at 02:28 AM

Kerry gets to keep the money just like Hillary and Torricelli did. He'll need it too because Teresa will probably dump the dork and look for another candidatee to make her queen of America.

I know it's a cliche, but what would the media made of this ridiculous poseur had he been a Conserative rather than a Liberal?

PS: The authorization number requested prior to posting is a great idea, however, if it's not our eye sight you're testing, please make it more legible.

Posted by: erp at November 19, 2004 at 02:45 AM


"Bialystock and Bloom, needed i presoom, only a ...
mmm.... the start of a new comedy movie ?"

Springtime for Kerry and ..... hehehe

Doesn't John Edwards have a share in that money? Two people were on that ticket, not just Kerry. And John Edwards is currently without a job.

Posted by: ed at November 19, 2004 at 02:55 AM

Imagine being George Soros and spending $USD 33,000,000 on a losing campaign while the loser sat on all that money. That would drive me to a monastery.

Posted by: Fred Boness at November 19, 2004 at 03:03 AM

OK have i got this Kerry thing right?

Step one
the raising of the MONEY.
there's a hell of rich old ladies out there whom crusty old John can charm the pants off.
Step two
find the worst policies and make sure you repeat them ad infinitum on all the media channels.
things like "America must bow to the UN" : "I will consult the french on any foreign policy decision" : " terrorism is like bad hairdressing, leave it alone and it fades away"
And kick your vietnam mates in the guts
After that, if you win then America has truly gone mad!
Step three
Spend a little to get a lot
Spend only enough of the elction fund to convince doubters that you are "really" trying.
Step four
Show genuine grief at the "unexpected" loss
cry your eyes out in front of the tv cameras and repeat " I tried. Oh god how i tried"
your supporters will be so sad they won't think to ask to ask for refunds.
Step five
grab the money and run to a sunsoaked Island

Posted by: davo at November 19, 2004 at 07:21 AM

Are we absolutely sure that Kerry wasn't somewhere in line on the Oil For Food scam? I mean, the cash might go a long way toward buying a perimeter of silence from Doofi Anon and/or Chirac.

Remember, too, that there must have been a pre-nup with the fetching Ms. Heinz, so that none of her booty...I mean, cash...belongs to him. He enjoys none of it without a live, sentient Teresa around to sign the checks.

And finally, the cash liberates Kerry from the chore of persuading Teresa to ride with Teddy Kennedy on some damp littoral in Massachusetts with Dewar's instead of On Star doing the navigating.

Posted by: Crazy Chester at November 19, 2004 at 08:00 AM

Davo, when you put it that way, it sounds eerily like the plot to "The Producers."

Posted by: Bostonian at November 19, 2004 at 08:47 AM

AP now reports that Kerry's gonna' donate a "substantial portion" of the $15 million to Democratic candidates in 2005 and 2006.

Needless to say, he intended to donate the money all along. Of course he did. No, I mean it, he really did! (Far be it from me to be cynical and doubt the pristine motives of our would-be, has-been, never-was fearless leader and world-class, money-grubbing gigolo.)

Posted by: Butch at November 19, 2004 at 09:43 AM

The OpinionJournal has their take on why Kerry has these surplus funds today:

"Here's one possible explanation: Kerry was preparing for a replay of 2000, and wanted the best legal representation money could buy."

This is good and bad. Good (objectively speaking), Kerry was thinking ahead. Bad, he was ready to pull another Algore.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 19, 2004 at 10:24 AM

Kerry was thinking ahead all right, to Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and an All Star Chamber-of-Horrors™ Cabinet. He had his 16,000+ lawyers lined up for the eagerly anticipated Cheat-A-Thon™. (Imagine 16-fucking-thousand lawyers. It makes my head spin, just thinking about all those depositions, writs, motions, and subpoenas.)

As it turns out, Democratic candidates get $15 million in 2005 and 2006. That's the bad news. The good news is they'll likely spend it on idiotic ads that don't convince anyone who plans to vote. Or on 45 minutes of 16,000 lawyers' time, at $300 an hour.

Only in America.

Posted by: Butch at November 19, 2004 at 10:47 AM