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Hillary Clinton Turns to Husband to Help Erase 2008 Debt

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential committee is mounting a new effort to pay off debt from her failed campaign, relying again on help from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in its fundraising appeal.

The secretary of state’s campaign committee owed $73,000 as of Sept. 30, all of it to the polling firm of her former chief political strategist, Mark Penn, Federal Election Commission reports show. She has whittled her debt down from $5.4 million at the end of 2008.

Hillary Clinton, then a U.S. senator from New York, lost that year’s Democratic presidential nomination to then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, who went on to win the White House and picked her to serve as secretary of state. Clinton has said she will leave that post soon, and her name has been prominently mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

The latest fundraising pitch by Clinton’s 2008 campaign committee includes offering a free trip for a donor and a guest to New York to spend time with Bill Clinton, who heads a philanthropic organization there. The committee has conducted similar contests in the past.

“There is nothing I enjoy more than good conversation with good people, which is why I’ve enjoyed it so much whenever we’ve brought one of Hillary’s strongest supporters to New York to spend the day with me,” the former president wrote in soliciting donors. “I’m happy to tell you that I’ve asked to do it again.”

Recent contributors to the Clinton committee include Obama’s pollster, Joel Benenson, who gave $2,300 in July. The president and his wife, Michelle, earlier gave $2,300 each --the maximum for individuals.

The Clinton committee also has raised money by renting its donor list to other Democratic candidates, including Harvard University law professor Elizabeth Warren, who in the Nov. 6 election defeated incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and Sean Patrick Maloney, a former aide to President Clinton who won a U.S. House seat in New York by defeating Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.

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