Sweet scoop: Clinton minimizing time in South Carolina to fund-raise and stump in Feb. 5 states.

SHARE Sweet scoop: Clinton minimizing time in South Carolina to fund-raise and stump in Feb. 5 states.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.The Chicago Sun-Times has learned that White House hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has already scheduled fund-raisers this week in states with big Feb. 5 contestsand will be spending less time in South Carolina, where Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the favorite to win the balloting on Saturday.

Clinton has what her team is dubbing a Road to Victory tour fund-raiser in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday; followed by funders and possibly other campaign events in New Jersey on Wednesday and New York on Thursday, ending up her day in the Palmetto State.

Clinton, Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) debate Monday night in Myrtle Beach, after appearing together at a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the statehouse in Columbia, S.C. in the morning.

Though Clinton is skipping days on the ground here, she will have her chief surrogates, former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea stumping on her behalf. Clinton has no funders on her calendar for Friday and Saturday, where the polls in South Carolina are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Faced with multi-million dollar primary and caucus votes on Feb. 5, Obama and Clinton are ramping up their fund-raising drives to replenish their warchests.

On Sunday, Clinton has funders in two Florida cities, Sarasota and Miami. Florida has a primary two days later on Jan. 29. However, the vote is largely symbolic because the Democratic National Committee stripped the Florida Democrats of their delegates because the Sunshine State elbowed its way onto the early state calendar.

Bill Clinton joins her for events in New York City on Jan. 28; Jan. 29 in Cleveland and Chicago; and Jan. 30 in Norman, Okla. and Denver.

With California the motherlode of delegatesthe most of any state- and the prize of the Feb. 5 voting,Clinton hits Los Angeles on Jan. 31 and San Francisco on Feb. 1.

As the Feb. 5 states come more into play22 states, making it a national primaryObama started national advertising on cable tv. The Clinton campaign cried foul on Monday, charging the ads violated a pledge from the Democrats not to campaign in Florida because it tried to upsurp Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

“If they are trying to upend the playing field, it’s our obligation to explore the playing fieldall options are open,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a Clinton ally.

Since there are no delegates at stakeand delegates are the way a nominee is minted, Obama backer Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fl.) said I find the issue at hand somewhat silly.

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