Attacks on Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean haven’t hurt the front-runner’s record fund raising.
In fact, it’s helped.
The former Vermont governor is using criticism from his Democratic rivals, Republicans and GOP-leaning interest groups to take in even more cash. He collected about $1 million last week, spokesman David Carle said Monday.
“They’ll do anything to stop you,” Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi told donors in a fund-raising e-mail sent last week after the Republican-leaning Club for Growth ran a television ad against Dean.
The campaign raised $200,000 within a few days of Trippi’s e-mail, Carle said. In addition, Dean took in hundreds of thousands of dollars online last week through a fund-raising challenge to supporters in seven Feb. 3 primary states, a message on his Web site announcing Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s endorsement on Friday, and other efforts.
'Freak show' ad
The Club for Growth ad characterized Dean’s campaign as a “tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show.” The Dean campaign sent Trippi’s e-mail Wednesday after posting a message on its Web site earlier in the day telling supporters about the ad.
David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth anti-tax group, said it didn’t bother him if the ad helped Dean’s fund raising.
“We’re really aiming at the general election with the ad,” Keating said. “If that helps Dean in the short run that’s fine with us because we think Dean is the weakest candidate.”
Dean has consistently led in polls in the first two states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire, prompting his Democratic and Republican rivals to step up their criticism of him as the primaries approach.
Dean trailed President Bush, the overall money leader who faces no opposition in the Republican primaries, by $90 million as the year began, but has outdone him in fund raising over the Internet.
Thanks in large part to his use of the Internet, Dean raised a Democratic party record of $40 million last year.
Bush set a new overall presidential fund-raising record by taking in $130 million last year. He began the new year with $99 million left to spend, with more fund-raisers planned.
Bush: $1 million online in 3 months
Bush, who collected $1 million online over the last three months, relies largely on events that he and Vice President Dick Cheney headline to raise money.
Internet contributions provide campaigns with an instant cash infusion. Donors give using their credit cards, and such donations cost far less to solicit than money raised at dinners and other events or through direct mail.
Like Bush, Dean and his nearest Democratic fund-raising rival, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, are skipping public financing and its spending limits for the primaries.
Kerry raised more than $20 million from supporters last year and loaned his campaign at least $7 million.
The campaigns will provide additional details, including how much money they had on hand as the year began, when they file finance reports Jan. 31 with the Federal Election Commission.