President Barack Obama will officially open his 2012 re-election campaign as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the decision, a step to be followed by an announcement to supporters and a series of fund-raising trips across the country.
Obama’s confidants told The Wall Street Journal that the president’s decision to kick off 2012 campaign in the middle of a budget stand-off with congressional Republics will trouble some fellow Democrats who are worried that his re-election hopes will shape his strategy for the financial negotiations.
Republicans immediately sough political capital from the reports, contending that the president was returning to campaign mode rather than the priorities of governing.
Mr Obama’s campaign is expected to file paperwork for his 2102 bid on Monday with the Federal Election Commission, although the date is not yet fixed, The Wall Street Journal reported.
That formal step will allow him to launch a fund-raising blitz with an event in his political base of Chicago, followed by a swing through the traditional Democrat donor heartlands of New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Mr Obama, who is not expected to face a challenge from within Democratic ranks for his party nomination, would be the first candidate for 2012 to make an official declaration.
Although several Republicans are raising funds and touring the country for possible bids, none has yet made a formal announcement. The most advanced so far is Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who recently established an exploratory committee, one step short of launching an official campaign.
“I’m somewhat amazed that at a time when millions of Americans continue to be out of work, we’re facing multiple crises and we’re trying to get a deal to keep the government operating, the president has spent more time on figuring out his re-election campaign than he has in addressing the both domestic and international issues,” said Sean Spicer, the communications director for the Republican National Committee.
But White House aides said that Mr Obama’s timetable would not be dominated by campaigning and that it was normal for an incumbent president to begin the re-election process at this stage.