BRENTRIDGE, Ky. (CAP) - Like many families across the country, the Davis's of Brentridge, Ky. are finding their daily finances further and further pinched by the souring economy. Don Davis has given up his beloved weekly golf game, Doris Davis has started taking in darning, and the Davis kids have grudgingly agreed to cut back to a basic-tiered cable package for the summer. Their struggle to compromise and cut expenses is being felt keenest, however, in a battle that is being waged at kitchen tables across the country.
"It just seems un-American to have to choose between food and the rising cost of the Clinton debt," says Don Davis as he putts balls into an old flowerpot in his backyard. "Do we eat, or do we help Hillary pay off her debt? That's just not right."
The cost of Clinton's campaign debt has skyrocketed over the past few months, setting a new record recently at $22 million, much of it loaned to the campaign by Sen. Clinton herself. Many Americans who were grumbling when her debt was around $10 million are now just in shock and unsure how they're going to help her out and still make ends meet.
"People are feeling trapped, there's no question about it," says economist Harvey Dittmer, with the Brand America Project, an independent think tank in Chicago. "What if the debt goes even higher, say to $30 million? What then? People like to eat, sure, but you can't let a multimillionaire take a hit like that.
"The ability to run a highly expensive campaign past the point of no-shot with no consequences is as American as, I dunno, SUV's," adds Dittmer.
With some Democratic allies in the Senate suggesting that expanded offshore oil leasing could be used to help ease the cost of Clinton's debt, there is still hope her overall debt will ease over the coming months and make some of the choices faced by families like the Davis' less difficult. But for now, it's a day-to-day struggle.
"Don's reached the 'Conserve a little, bitch, sell off a frigging house' point, but I'm still cutting back on produce to send as much as I can every week to hillaryclinton.com," says Doris Davis. "I just hope her debt is paid off before we get scurvy. None of us have insurance, so that would probably be bad, I guess.
"I bet we'd get mentioned in a speech though," Davis notes, "like that waitress with three jobs or the boy who sold his video games."
- Rich Gray