- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2009

Want a chance to attend the finale of American Idol? You can, just send a donation to the presidential campaign of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton, who amassed millions in debt in the Democratic primary against Barack Obama, cannot solicit donations on her own behalf now that she is serving in his presidential cabinet, but Democratic strategist James Carville can.

In an e-mail sent to the defunct campaign’s mailing list Thursday, Mr. Carville asked supporters to help pay off Mrs. Clinton’s debt.

“I knew it was going to take an extraordinary effort to help pay off Hillary Clinton’s campaign debt. But now, I think we can do it and have some fun at the same time,” Mr. Carville wrote.

Mr. Carville, who worked for former President Bill Clinton detailed the “fun part” of the fundraising pitch “exclusive prizes.”

An immediate contribution of as little as $5 earns a chance to win:

• A day with President Clinton. Head to New York City to attend several interesting events with President Clinton followed by your own special New York City weekend.

• Attend the American Idol season finale. You and a guest will watch live as the American Idol judges make their final comments and decisions on this year’s most anticipated season finale!

• Want to talk politics with me? How about a spending a weekend in DC. You will have lunch with me and my great friend Paul Begala. We will talk about politics, you will get to tour all the amazing sites DC has to offer and who knows what else could happen!

“Your contribution today not only gives you the chance at winning one of these fantastic prizes it’ll also help our dear friend, Hillary Clinton, pay off the very last of her campaign debt,” Mr. Carville wrote. “This means a whole lot to Hillary, and I know she appreciates everything you do for her.”

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton were spotted strolling outside the Oval Office Thursday afternoon, surprising first lady Michelle Obama’s staffers who were escorting reporters back from the new White House garden.

The former rivals were smiling as he showed Mrs. Clinton his daughters’ swing set south of the oval office

The president shooed reporters away as he and Mrs. Clinton took a seat at a picnic table and they offered a friendly wave.

Mrs. Clinton has about $4.2 million in campaign debt remaining. The bulk of that is owed to her fired consultant Mark Penn.

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