Perhaps the best things in life are free, but those delegates are getting more expensive by the day. News hit that Hillary Clinton has loaned her campaign $5 million from her personal finances and that some of her campaign staff were voluntarily working without pay. Barack Obama is now using the loan as a fund-raising appeal — and, as it turns out, so is Clinton. In a race where every delegate could prove pivotal, the two are now locked in a spiraling fund-raising frenzy of unprecedented scale. If you have a safe or a hollowed-out book, you might want to store your money in there until this thing blows over.
• For Mark Ambinder, the loan signifies two possible story lines: either the Clinton donor base is spent or Clinton is now the underdog. [Atlantic]
• Chris Cillizza says the perception of a struggling Clinton campaign might tip the current balance towards Obama. Or maybe nobody will notice or care. [The Fix/WP]
• Glenn Thrush is curious to know why Clinton was so keen to emphasize that she loaned the campaign her own money, as opposed to her and Bill’s or just Bill’s. A campaign spokesman e-mailed that, “The loan is from Senator Clinton’s share of their joint resources.” [The Swamp/Chicago Tribune]
• Noam Schieber wonders whether Bill, who has effortlessly pulled in millions from speeches since the end of his presidency, can use “the speaking circuit as a kind of soft-money operation on steroids,” earning money that somehow makes its way into the Clinton campaign. There are laws to prevent it, but do you really have confidence in campaign-finance laws? [The Stump/New Republic]
• Ben Smith doesn’t think Obama will be able to spin Clinton’s self-loan as a sign of her strength for much longer. You know, since he’s raised over $7 million since Tuesday night. [Politico]
• In response to the Clinton campaign announcing that some workers were voluntarily going without pay, Christopher Orr notes the resemblance to similar news about the Giuliani campaign as it was struggling last month. [The Plank/New Republic]
• Kevin Drum figures that Obama’s fund-raising advantage comes from having wealthier and more Internet-savvy supporters. [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]
• Matthew Yglesias wonders why any potential Clinton supporter will now write her a check for a couple hundred dollars when she can just loan herself the money. [Atlantic]
For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.
Update: According to Time.com, Clinton has just raised $6 million in 24 hours, and all of her campaign staffers are getting paid again.