Since when does a dying campaign inspire a sudden cash infusion of 35 million dollars?

In a conference call pep talk to contributors, that’s what the sputtering Clinton machine announced Thursday. They claim that in February, they have suddenly received $35 million from 300,000 people, two-thirds of whom were new donors, and that most of the money came in through the internet.

Campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe described how Hillary’s self-loan of $5 million dollars had somehow galvanized voters and led to a continuing explosive effect. Senator Clinton described the phenomenon as a wave, a chain reaction, adding that she was gratified by this fiscal vote of support. She said that it would obviously have a very positive effect on her campaign.

Indeed. But both the content and the timing of the dramatic announcement have to be viewed with some skepticism and a lot of questions.

At this point, only days before the critical showdown in Texas and Ohio, it would not take 35 million dollars to positively affect her campaign. The mere announcement of receiving that much money, true or not, would have the effect of priming the pump for some real money from discouraged supporters. Clinton desperately needs it. Everyone agrees she cannot compete without it.

Democratic Party bigwigs are known to be huddling quietly trying to figure out how to get Senator Clinton to give up and drop out, due to her string of recent losses and depleted funds. This miraculous awakening of heretofore comatose supporters would buy her time and blunt the arguments party leaders are forming to edge her out of the race.

An interesting question was raised by “miraclestudies” in a blog posted after the Washington Post account of this news. Could Clinton have artificially pumped up the February financial figures by donating several million more dollars of her own money through the internet?

It would be a clever way to extract some propaganda value for a donation you planned to make anyway. The Clintons have been accused of many things. They have never been accused of not being clever. But we don’t know if Hillary actually did this or not.

Could the exhilarating announcement from Campaign Clinton be true? Yes, for all we know, it could. Could it be spin or exaggeration? Yes, for all we know, it could. But we do NOT know, either way.

What we do know is that it appears to be an odd stroke of good fortune, since most people are reluctant to suddenly start throwing money into a lost cause. (The January contributions were already going down, even before Super Tuesday.) And as is typical of good spin, the good news seems to be sagging with “over-explanation,” a tacit acknowledgement that the story is a bit hard to believe and needs some propping up.

Would it be out of character for a group of campaign operatives, any campaign, to come up with a clever piece of puffery like this to keep a candidacy alive?

No.

How long would it take to verify that this 35 million figure is accurate? Probably longer than it is taking Senator Clinton to get her tax returns ready for public release. Probably longer than March 4, by which time the vital momentum could have already been generated regardless of the facts.

So as the saying goes, show me the money. Until I see the money, I’m not buying it.

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