Hillary vs. Obama: Money for Show, Donor Totals for Pros

The most important item of information in the campaign-finance reports that have leaked so far is that Obama raised his $25 million from 100,000 donors while Hillary raised her $26 million from 50,000. And, to rub it in, Obama got 4,500 more donors the day after he announced his financial filing. At this stage of the game, the number of donors is more important than the amount of their donations. Nobody is really going to start spending media money massively this early, so the bank account sizes are really symbolic statements of a candidate's viability. The totals are to show off, not to spend.

But with twice as many donors, Obama can reload and add to his total much faster and more easily than can Hillary.

While we don't have the full filings yet, Hillary had about $6 million in donations that could not be used in the primary. These people have, presumably, maxed out in the primary already (otherwise why would they be giving for the general election this early?). That means that at least $12 million of Hillary's $26 million total is from maxed-out donors, presaging further difficulty in her raising money in the quarters to come. (By contrast, Obama seems to have only $1.5 million in general election money, which would indicate that only about $3 million of his $25 million is from maxed-out sources.)

What is also significant is that Obama was able to amass that total of money without resorting to PACs. He promised he wouldn't and he didn't. Hillary -- the No. 2 PAC fundraiser in the U.S. Senate last year -- took PAC money and still couldn't raise as much as Obama did for the primaries.