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Selling Books, Raising Funds

When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) starts criss-crossing the country this summer to promote her new book, “Living History,” she will be doing double duty as one of the Democratic Party’s top fundraisers.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has arranged for Clinton to attend at least seven fundraisers through August, planning these events around her ambitious book-signing schedule — which will take her from Chicago to San Francisco to Los Angeles in one 48-hour span later this month.

The former first lady will also appear at events for Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) during book-signing visits to their states. All three Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election in 2004 and could face difficult battles.

“We basically said, ‘Well, you give us what you want and we will do the most of it we can,’” Clinton said of the fundraising requests made to her by party officials and colleagues.

Since her election to the Senate in 2000, Clinton has proven to be one of the most prolific Democratic fundraisers and perhaps the top draw on the rubber chicken circuit — due in part to her loyal following from the party base.

In the 2002 election cycle alone, Clinton donated more than $1.4 million to Democrats, spreading the bulk of the wealth to candidates, while also making donations to the DSCC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee and seeding state committees from Maine to Texas.

Earlier this year, Clinton held a fundraiser at her Washington, D.C., home that helped raise $500,000 for the DSCC. So far this year, Clinton has donated $15,000 to the DCCC from her leadership political action committee, HILLPAC, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.com.

DSCC Chairman Jon Corzine (N.J.) noted that Clinton “was going to play an important role before” the book tour because “she is very strong with our base.”

Now, Democrats are looking to capitalize on Clinton’s frenetic tour schedule by holding fundraising events in the same cities where she will be signing books. As of today, Clinton has at least 25 more stops on her book tour that will bring her to such cities as Minneapolis, Minn., and Blytheville, Ark.

“She is one of our stars,” said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). “She is a proven fundraiser, so the more she is able to get around the country, the more successful we’ll be.”

Corzine added, “With all members of the [Democratic] Caucus, anyway we can put together useful coordination of schedules for both fundraising and political benefit we will.”

Coinciding with her book tour, Clinton is scheduled to appear at DSCC events in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles this month. In July, the New York Senator will help raise money for the DSCC in New Jersey and Denver. And in August, the former first lady will appear at DSCC events in Atlanta and Cleveland.

On July 25, Clinton returns to Arkansas — where she once served as first lady — to promote her book and appear at a fundraiser for Lincoln. The New York Democrat will travel to Washington state to sign books and attend a fundraiser for Murray on Aug. 6.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is also trying to raise money from its political base with its “Stop Hillary Now” campaign, which is premised on Clinton eyeing a future White House bid.

Republicans acknowledge they are keenly aware of Clinton’s fundraising prowess, with NRSC Chairman George Allen (Va.) describing her as “by far their biggest draw for liberal contributors to the Democratic Senate committee.”

“The reality is for her future success, she becomes more powerful and successful running the Democrats here in the Senate that puts her in a stronger position obviously in the future,” Allen said. “Most Republicans would think that Hillary Clinton leading policy in any position is contrary to our philosophies and our principles.”

Allen would not comment directly on the financial success so far of this fundraising pitch, but did note they expect it to help raise money that in turn can be used to help promote Republican candidates.

“We need our folks, who may not be as big contributors as those who contribute to Hillary Clinton and the Senate Democrats, but nevertheless we need our grassroots folks to help because our candidates will also need funds to get their messages out,” he said.

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