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On the April 30 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, in response to host Wolf Blitzer's statement that "the three Democratic front-runners raised a lot more money than the top three Republican presidential candidates" in quarterly earnings for the 2008 presidential election, Sen. Mel Martinez (FL) -- who is also the chairman of the Republican National Committee -- asserted: "Well, here's what I'll tell you, is the Republican Party raised more money than the Democratic Party." Blitzer did not challenge Martinez's assertion. In fact, while the RNC raised more money than the Democratic National Committee in the first quarter of 2007, the Democratic Party raised more funds than the Republican Party during that period overall, counting contributions to the parties' House and Senate campaign committees.
According to an April 20 report in The Washington Post: "For the first time since the passage of campaign finance reform in 2002, national Democrats have outpaced their Republican rivals in the race for campaign cash in the first three months of an election cycle." The Democrats raised a total of $47.7 million through the DNC, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. By contrast, the Republicans raised $47.4 million among their three committees. The Post reported that the RNC "was the lone saving grace for Republicans' financial hopes" in the first quarter of the 2008 presidential election cycle.
From the 4 p.m. ET hour of the April 30 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: In terms of politics, it looks like the top three Democratic presidential candidates, the three Democratic front-runners, raised a lot more money than the top three Republican presidential candidates. What does that say to you? Put on your political hat for us.
MARTINEZ: Right. Well, here's what I'll tell you, is the Republican Party raised more money than the Democratic Party. So I think that there's still -- we have more candidates on the field and we have a little bit of a process of winning -- winnowing out. I think that there's been a lot of excitement about someone like [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL]. I know him in the Senate. I served with him. And I think that that all has generated an awful lot of excitement.
But I will tell you that I think we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to candidates with experience, with the kind of seasoning that it takes to be president. I think we'll be fine in that regard. I really, frankly, like our field. I think we're going to be fine and I think the support will be there.
I was with the president on Saturday. We did a little money raising in addition to speaking to a bunch of people who had just gotten a college degree. And some of that seems to be going rather well, frankly, and I appreciate the fact that the president continues to help the party by raising money.
BLITZER: A lot of Republicans are still saying right now they're not totally satisfied with the field of Republican presidential candidates. They'd like a [Former Sen.] Fred Thompson [TN], perhaps, to jump in, a [Former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich [GA], maybe some other Republicans. Are you among those Republicans who would like to see other candidates jump into this contest?