THE POLITICO: Hillary Rodham Clinton started the year flush with cash, but by the beginning of this month, she’d blazed through most of it — spending $11 million on ads, $3.8 million on messaging guru Mark Penn and $1,300 at Dunkin’ Donuts, just to name a few expenditures — leaving her campaign woefully unprepared for an extended battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
About $15 million — or more than half of the New York senator’s January spending — went to a cadre of high-priced consultants. Though much of the cash went through the campaign media buyer for ad time, the considerable payments to outside consultants mark an increase in a pattern that has irked campaign insiders. From the beginning of the race through the end of last month, Clinton paid the consultants $33 million — nearly one-third of the $105 million spent by the campaign.
That provides some of the backstory behind Clinton’s staff shake-up, her public appeals for campaign cash in the past two weeks and even her string of 10 straight losses to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama since Super Tuesday, Feb. 5. She simply did not have the cash to compete in the post-Feb. 5 states, mostly because her campaign spending blueprint was built around two flawed premises: that no one would be able to match her fundraising and that the nomination would be decided on Super Tuesday. MORE