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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Barack Obama Answers His Fundraising Critics

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal raised some eyebrows when they predicted dire fundraising for the Obama campaign for the month of June.

Meanwhile, June fund-raising for Sen. Obama appears to be falling below the expectations of some supporters. The campaign hasn't released its June numbers, but people close to the fund-raising operation say the total will likely be just over $30 million. While this isn't a poor showing, it is an underwhelming haul for a campaign that has ballooned in recent months, has promised a true, 50-state electioneering effort and has told its biggest fund-raisers that it wants to collect $300 million in general-election cash by mid-October.

The reason for the lower-than-expected numbers for Sen. Obama, fund-raisers said, was his continuing difficulty in getting former supporters of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to open their purses for him, following a protracted, bitter primary battle. Sen. Obama has also tacked to the middle on some recent policy issues, annoying many in the left wing of the Democratic Party. These more liberal-leaning supporters make up a large proportion of his small-donor cadre. The campaign says that some 1.7 million people have given $200 or less, making up 45% of Sen. Obama's total.

Now, many in the conservative blogosphere from Redstate to Michelle Malkin to Powerline began speculating on the supposed end of Obama's fundraising juggernaut. This morning the Obama campaign poured some very cold water on those doom and gloom predictions.

Senator Barack Obama raised $52 million in June, his campaign announced on Thursday morning, more than twice the amount he raised one month earlier before claiming the Democratic presidential nomination.

“We have some big news we want to share with you,” campaign manager David Plouffe said in a message to supporters. “Because of your generosity and commitment, we’re reporting to the press today that this campaign is in a very strong financial position.”

I continue to believe that the important Obama fundraising numbers will be those of this month. That's because those numbers will tell if there is his well documented flip flops will have any impact. Right now, both campaigns are relatively even in terms of cash on hand. Obama has been outspending McCain rather substantially. He maintains a small lead in the polls though not as big as most expected now.

I believe that Obama overstates the influence of small donors on his campaign. They are rather influential but Obama continues to receive plenty of fundraising from bundlers and other big wigs. That said, he has without a doubt set up a blue print for how to maintain a campaign strictly through private funds without going to the special interests. His prowess in mobilizing a grass roots effort on the internet and motivating small donors to contribute $10, $20, and $50 should be a motivation for all future campaigns. Whatever disagreements I have with Obama, I can only marvel at his ability to motivate the folks in providing an obscene amount of money to his campaign.

Ironically enough though, if fundraising continues at this month's pace for both campaigns we will see little advantage for either side once McCain receives his $75 million dollar public financing match.


NYSmike said...

So, basically, the people closest to BO's fundraising operation underpredicted his June totals...I mean shouldn't they, of all people know or at least have some idea. They give us a guess of $30 mil and it turns out to be $52 mil? Sounds like common everyday politics from the self-anointed anti-politician. Low ball so you can shock people with the reality!

mike volpe said...

If you read the article the sources used are very vague. Who knows who the person or persons actually are that quoted the first number. I don't think this has anything to do with Obama. This is poor reporting by the WSJ.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know how these numbers are audited -- or if they are just what the campaign say?. I don't beleive them unless some outsider.auditer agrees.

I've been in corporations a long time, and believe me, when numbers are late being released, it is becuase the executives are massaging them to make them look better. I'll bet that is what happened here.

mike volpe said...

I agree with you about corporations. I have no idea if that is the case with Obama. If it is, no amount of numbers massaging will obscure things when he has no money, if he is cooking the proverbial books.