This NYT piece indicates Bill and Hillary Clinton are obsessed with the campaign and fundraising success of Barak Obama. It’s just the latest evidence that they simply do not view John Edwards, Bill Richardson or (gasp!) Joe Biden and Chris Dodd as threats. First quarter fundraising totals are due by April 15th. Expect to be wowed by the money Hillary, Obama and to a lesser extent, Edwards, will have raked in. Any of those are likely to have raised more than the rest of the candidates combined. (With the possible exception of banking sector darling Chris “Buy Me” Dodd.)

An interesting snippet from the NYT piece:

Mrs. Clinton, as a veteran of her husband’s two campaigns and her own two Senate races in New York, started off with a far larger donor database and greater name recognition than Mr. Obama, of Illinois, and she had been widely expected to do significantly better than him in fund-raising for this period.

One donor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said the Clintons would not like his speaking openly, said the Clinton campaign had been trying to lower fund-raising expectations because of a concern about a surge by Mr. Obama, who has shown broad appeal among black, female and young Democrats and has captured some big-money donors like Orin Kramer, a former Clinton supporter.

“The Clintons thought the nomination would most likely be theirs, barring some major disaster, and they are having to work harder and earlier for the nomination than either Clinton expected,” said the donor, who said he had talked about Mr. Obama with Mr. Clinton. “This was not how things were supposed to go, and they are obsessed with beating Barack in fund-raising.”

At some fund-raisers, Mr. Clinton viewed part of his job as “explaining Hillary and Barack” to donors, in the words of one fund-raiser who talked to him — laying out the rivals’ positions on Iraq, for instance, in a manner that minimized their differences and made Mr. Obama appear less-than-consistently antiwar.

On a recent conference call with donors, too, Mr. Clinton gave a point-by-point analysis of the candidates’ positions on the war in Iraq.

Jay Carson, Mr. Clinton’s communications director, who is also a member of Senator Clinton’s campaign, was asked in an interview if Mr. Clinton was motivated at all by Mr. Obama’s candidacy or by voters’ comparisons of the rivals on Iraq.

Read the rest.

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