All is not well in Obamaland as fundraising falls short
President Obama has set a goal of raising $1 billion for his reelection campaign. Is that a realistic number? Can he make it?
The answer to those questions is; not at the current rate his campaign is raising money.
With a strong connection to the grassroots and expertise with social networking, President Obama's reelection team mastered the art of hitting up small donors in the 2008 campaign.
But there are telltale signs that the grassroots army that propelled him is in a much less giving mood. It's not a huge surprise; the bad economy has hit Obama's small donors too. When you're having trouble paying the bills, you're not exactly pining to pitch in hard-earned money to help a powerful president.
A sign Team Obama is looking elsewhere: A Los Angeles Times report that Obama's reelection team is already asking wealthy donors to commit the maximum $75,800 to the president's campaign funds.
If Obama's re-election starts looking more difficult next year, donors may well be inclined to give to the Democratic Senate and House campaign arms, seeing them as the better investment. But if they're locked in with early maximum donations to the president's re-election, that won't be doable.
Keith Koffler reprints an email from the campaign sent yesterday:
We're closing the books on the first fundraising quarter of the 2012 race at midnight tomorrow.
A lot of folks will be interpreting our numbers as a measure of this campaign's support.
They're not wrong, but they are wrong about why.
We measure our success not in dollars but in people - in the number of everyday Americans who've chosen to give whatever they can afford because they know we've got more work to do.
Koffler points out that the campaign set a goal of $60 million for this quarter from 450,000 donors. How short they are of those numbers will be interesting to see.
It should be noted that during this election cycle, the GOP will be hard pressed to raise and spend half of what Obama raised in 2008 - $750 million. Independent groups will no doubt give a boost to Republicans but they will be precluded from attacking Obama directly and must cut off all advertising October 1, 2012. If Romney is the GOP choice, and refuses federal matching funds, he may do a little better because he would, at least partly, self finance his own campaign. And the GOP can look forward to larger giving from some sources who didn't come through in 2008. Wall Street is especially unhappy with Obama and will almost certainly increase their participation.
But make no mistake; once again, the GOP will be at a distinct disadvantage in campaign cash in 2012 even if Obama comes up short of his billion dollar goal.