So much for sitting on the sidelines. Former President Bill Clinton is taking a more active role in wife Hillary's presidential campaign, headlining fundraisers to rake in big bucks and at the same time trying to downplay the growing controversy surrounding her use of a private email server. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had been trying to distance herself from her husband's policies, many of which were rejected by liberals and of which the former president has said he now believes he was wrong to approve.
Hillary Clinton has tried to brand herself as someone separate from her husband. Her campaign logo is a simple "Hillary" in a show of independence.
But with the questions about email refusing to fade, Hillary Clinton is looking for star power, and her husband provides that. Bill Clinton, who left office with an approval rating of 65 percent and whose popularity has continued to grow, is scheduled to headline a fundraiser next month in which participants can give $2,700, the Federal Election Commission limit, for a photo op while adding to Clinton's fundraising war chest, the Detroit News reported. The fundraiser at Bingham Farms, Michigan, also invites people pony up $10,000 to co-host the event.
Hillary Clinton is no slouch when it comes to fundraising on her own. So far, she has raised $47.6 million for the election, data from the Center for Responsive Politics show. The vast majority of that money has come from large donors. A total of $38.4 million, or 82 percent, of her total fundraising has come from individuals who have contributed more than $200, the benchmark for big donor contributions. It has been estimated she could spend as much as $1 billion in her attempt to take the White House.
In national polls, Clinton is ahead of her closest competitor, with 40.5 percent of the vote, compared with unabashed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, who takes in 25.8 percent, according to polling averages from Real Clear Politics. That’s a sharp drop for her since July, when she polled with mid-60 percent. Things look more drastic in the early nominating states for Clinton. In Iowa, she is just 5.2 percent ahead of Sanders after an extended period of time where the two were more or less tied. In New Hampshire, she trails Sanders, who hails from neighboring Vermont, by 11.6 percent. The drop in her popularity can be attributed in part to the email controversy.
"I have never seen so much expended on so little," Bill Clinton said recently about the coverage of the email controversy. "She said she was sorry that her personal email caused all this confusion. And she’d like to give the election back to the American people."
Michigan is turning into a political fundraising battleground. The Clinton fundraiser follows the Mackinac Island Leadership Conference, an event many Republican presidential aspirants attended. Hillary Clinton made her first campaign appearance in the state July 21 for a fundraiser.
This cycle, overall, is unique in presidential politics because of lax campaign finance rules that allow unlimited funds to be donated to super PACs associated with campaigns that can spend huge amounts of money on things like advertising. The commotion in Michigan is just one example of the sheer amount of cash that is going into presidential politics ahead of 2016. The Democratic National Committee has been pushing donors to give 10 times more than they traditionally have, and a joint fundraiser between Hillary Clinton and the DNC has asked for as much as $1.6 million from couples recently.