Elections 2012: President Obama Asks Campaign Donors to Send Him More Money

In an anxious conference call from Air Force One, President Obama asked campaign donors to send him more money.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” June 28, 2012. Photo: Pete Souza/The Official White House

President Barack Obama, the most prolific fundraiser in the U.S. presidential campaign history, looked a little weary during a rambling conference call with campaign donors whom he repeatedly asked to send him money – and send it now, reports The Daily Beast.

“The majority on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time,” President Obama said in a highly unusual fundraising speech from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Colorado Springs, where he’d been assessing the terrible damage caused by uncontained wildfires.

“I’m asking you to meet or exceed what you did in 2008,” the presidential pitchman continued, speaking to donors who were invited to dial in based on their contributions during the last election. “Because we’re going to have to deal with these super PACs in a serious way.”

“And if we don’t, frankly I think the political [scene] is going to be changed permanently. Because the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign are just going to consolidate themselves. They’re gonna run Congress and the White House.”

“The president’s 18-minute pleading hardly sounded like a man doing a victory lap after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act has come to be known,” writes The Daily Beast. “Or, for that matter, like a candidate who has been beating his Republican opponent in recent polls of key battleground states.”

“In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately. And it turns out change is hard, especially when you’ve got an obstructionist Republican Congress.”

But lest any of his donors believe the president sounded depressed, Obama quickly added: “Nevertheless, we’ve gotten more done in the last three years than most presidents do in eight years.”

“I just hope you guys haven’t become disillusioned. I hope all of you still understand what’s at stake and why this is so important … I still believe in you guys, and I hope you still believe in me and the possibilities of this campaign,” the president added.

Since losing the monthly fundraising battle for the first time in May to Republican nominee-designate Mitt Romney, president Obama appears to have changed his fundraising strategy to suggest he’s just trying to keep pace, according to The Fox News.

“We might not out raise Mitt Romney,” the president said Saturday in an email to supporters. “But I am determined to keep the margin close enough that we can win this election the right way.”

The roughly $750 million raised by the Obama campaign during the 2008 election cycle essentially broke every fundraising record, including the most money and most donors.

“We don’t have to match these guys dollar for dollar because we’ve got a better grassroots operation and we’ve got a better message,” he said.

“The American people — the nice thing is they agree with our message when they hear it. We just can’t be drowned out … A few billionaires can’t drown out millions of voices.”

In May, the joint fundraising effort Romney and the Republicans National Committee known as Romney Victory raised $76.8 million, roughly $16 million more than the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

“Last month the Romney campaign raised $76 million. We raised $60 million,” the president said. “That determines our planning for whether or not we are gonna go on the air in Florida or Ohio or any of these battleground states, how much advertising we buy, what we spend when it comes to organizing teams. The truth is that early money is always more valuable than late money.”

He continued: “And what we don’t want to do is be in a situation where, because everybody thinks that somehow we’re gonna win or people will just think Mr. Romney doesn’t know what he’s talking about—and then suddenly we get surprised later because it turns out that a couple of billionaires wrote $20 million checks and have bought all the TV time and we find ourselves flat-footed in September or October.”

“We’ve got to make sure that we purchase advertising through August and September before the conventions,” he went on. “I think it’s fair to say that if we wait till the last minute we could be in for a pretty rude surprise, and that’s part of what we’re trying to avoid.”

The president warned: “I can’t do this by myself, and the progress we’ve made could unravel pretty quickly.” He urged his listeners on the conference call to contribute “today or as soon as possible” because “we’ve got to have the resources to make the choice crystal clear for the American people both in the air and on the ground.” Obama’s solicitation was followed up by an urgent email from campaign manager Jim Messina asking recipients to write a check immediately.

“The good news is we’re spending a lot more money on our ground game and grassroots organizing and voter registration,” the president said. “We just can’t be outspent 10 to 1. That’s what happened in Wisconsin recently. The Koch brothers and their allies,” he said, referring to billionaire conservative super-PAC funders David and Charles Koch, “spent more than the other side’s entire campaign—our side’s entire campaign.”

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