Aggressive pricing strategy, or the worst fundraising gimmick ever? You make the call.

While conservatives and Republicans have mocked the weak performance of Hillary Clinton’s ballyhooed policy tome, Hard Choices, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) thinks there’s gold in that thar Hill.

The DSCC today ran an ad on the front page of NYTimes.com offering a personalized, signed copy of Hillary Clinton’s new book. It’s FREE, if you win the drawing. (Second prize: A set of steak knives.)

Of course, the real purpose of the ad is to induce you to make a contribution to the DSCC to help elect Democratic senators. If you read the fine print, you’ll see that you’re not required to contribute in order to win a book. But if you enter your name, zip code and email address and hit the “Add My Name” button, you’re whisked to a contribution page, just in case.

In the interest of science, I entered my name and email address, then read the fine print at the bottom of the page. The value of the prize, if I win, is allegedly $35 (although I can get it for $21 at Amazon, with free shipping).

Hillary Clinton 'Hard Choices' free book offer

Ad run on NYTimes.com (6/28) by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

I don’t know if Madame Clinton donated copies of her book to the DSCC, or if the DSCC bought copies to use in the raffle as an irresistible inducement to contribute to their candidates. But what did surprise me was the quantity of “grand prizes.” The small print says there will be five (5) winners of a free, signed copy of the book.

The word parsimonious came to mind, but perhaps I should credit them with frugality, a less pejorative word. And perhaps they thought offering seven or 13 grand prizes would cheapen the perceived value of the prize.

Given the popularity of the book and how busy she is promoting it, I suppose I should be grateful they offered even one.

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