Loyalty on display with Carville’s fundraising pitch for Hillary

Friends aren't hard to find when you're winner. They're tougher to find when you lose.

But loyalty still counts for something.

Case in point: Democratic strategist and long-time Clinton ally James Carville this week sent out a fundraising pitch to help Hillary Clinton pay off her campaign debts. Carville ran President Clinton’s 1992 election campaign, and he was a top adviser to the former president.

As of the end of 2008, Secretary of State Clinton still had almost $6 million in outstanding debts from her battle against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Secretaries of State generally avoid partisan political activity, making it tougher for her to raise funds to pay off the debt. A bulk of that debt is owed to the firm run by Mrs. Clinton’s former campaign manager and pollster, Mark Penn.

Picnic setting on the South Lawn

So on Thursday afternoon, we saw this odd confluence of events. There were old campaign rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama sitting together at a picnic table next to the Obama daughters’ swing set on the manicured lawn outside the Oval Office on a warm spring day.

And at about the same time, James Carville was sending an email to the Clinton campaign’s mailing list. It is “going to take an extraordinary effort to help pay off Hillary Clinton's campaign debt,” Carville’s message said. That is tacit acknowledgement of how hard it is for losing candidates to raise big bucks to pay off old campaign bills.

Unusual offerings

So Carville offered up some unusual inducements -- prizes for donors that included:

* A day in New York City with former president Clinton.

* Tickets to attend the American Idol season finale.

* A weekend in Washington and lunch with Carville and fellow Clinton administration veteran Paul Begala.

“Make a $5 contribution today, and you could be on your way to one of these once in a lifetime opportunities,” Carville said in his best sales mode. “Click here to enter today."

Dignified -- maybe not. Loyal -- yes.

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