NPR's Talk of the Nation

Examining the Results of the 2/3 Primaries and Caucuses

Lynn Neary: I'm Lynn Neary in Washington, sitting in for Neal Conan.

John Kerry may not have clinched the Democratic nomination for president in yesterday's primaries and caucuses, but his victories in five of the seven races certainly completed his rehabilitation from an also-ran to a front-runner. John Edwards and Wesley Clark also won last night, Edwards in South Carolina, Clark in a tight race in Oklahoma, where Edwards came in second. Joe Lieberman dropped out of the race altogether. Howard Dean vowed to fight on despite a dismal showing. So did Al Sharpton, who placed third in South Carolina. Dennis Kucinich barely registered with voters. All the candidates now have their eyes on the future with contests in delegate-heavy states now up for grabs.

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Lynn Neary:...With us to talk about money in politics is Anthony Corrado. He's a professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and is spending this year as a visiting fellow at The Brookings Institution here in Washington.

Thanks for being with us.

Anthony Corrado: Well, thanks for inviting me, Lynn.

Lynn Neary: Do we know exactly how much money's been spent so far by the candidates?

Anthony Corrado: Well, so far the Democrats have raised about $170 million in private donations and public funding all together, and all of that money's now been spent. This very competitive contest has proved to be very expensive so that as we enter this crucial part of the nominating process, no candidate really has a large reservoir of cash that's available to be spent.

Lynn Neary: Yeah. Both Dean and Kerry used the same strategy, focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, but came up with very different results, didn't they?

Anthony Corrado: Yes, they did, and it was particularly problematic for Howard Dean because what Dean decided to do was use the large store of cash that he had raised in 2003 to spend lots of money in the states that would be voting in February, as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, and as a result spent over $3 1/3 million on television in states that were voting after New Hampshire. Whereas John Kerry basically took all of the money he had and put it into Iowa and New Hampshire and was able to get the victories he needed to spur additional fund-raising so that he right now is in the best position even though he ended up raising much less than Howard Dean prior to New Hampshire. He's now in the best position to raise and spend money in this next stage of the race.

Lynn Neary: Yeah. And what about Dean? Has he been able to--he was so well-known for his fund-raising. How has his fund-raising been since he has started losing?

Anthony Corrado: Well, his fund-raising has actually held up very well. He's raising about a million dollars a week. He's raised about $3 million since that now-infamous night in Iowa. But one of the problems that he has is that he built such a large organization that it's very expensive to maintain. And as a result he has not had money for television advertising this week. He's not doing any television advertising in the states this weekend. And he probably won't do any television advertising in Tennessee and Virginia. So he's basically gone off of the airwaves in terms of paid television, with the exception of looking towards Wisconsin, which isn't until February 17th.

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