Bloomberg News

Obama Urges Supporters to Stick With Him at Fundraising Deadline

October 01, 2011

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama, in a push to raise money as the deadline for third-quarter campaign fundraising arrived, told donors he needs their help as much as ever to reach his goals for the nation.

While a lot has been accomplished, Obama said last night, “what we haven’t done is change Washington. And we still have work to do to make sure that this town is working on behalf of ordinary folks so that they can start once again believing in the American dream. Because people have lost confidence in the capacity of folks to look out for them, as opposed to look out for themselves or their most powerful patrons. And that’s what 2012’s all about.”

Obama addressed about 60 guests at a campaign event at a private home in Washington with tickets ranging from $10,000 to $35,800 each. All the Republican presidential hopefuls will probably trail him in fundraising, including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who anticipates taking in between $13 million and $14 million in the third quarter, according to a person close to the campaign.

Obama raised $86 million for the combined total of his campaign and the Democratic National Committee in the second quarter. The campaign and party are targeting a combined goal of $55 million for the third quarter.

The president told the donors his first-term accomplishments include the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and passage of his health-care law. More must be done to help the middle class, he said, because Republicans want “to basically allow the most powerful forces in our society to write their own rules.

Specific Figures

Obama’s campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, declined to comment on specific fundraising figures for the third quarter that ended yesterday. The total is still being tallied and may vary depending on proceeds from New York fundraisers.

Polls show Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry are the frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination, and the so-called money primary may provide momentum for one of their candidacies.

Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman, wouldn’t comment on specific fundraising estimates, saying only that officials expect to bring in “considerably less” than the $18 million haul from the second quarter.

Because Perry is the governor of a large state, a former Republican Governors Association chairman and a new candidate, “we suspect he will lead the Republican field in fundraising for this quarter,” Williams said in an e-mail.

Perry Goal

Perry will raise at least $10 million, according to a person close to the campaign; that would put his fundraising strength near parity with Romney in the third quarter. As Perry has slipped in polls after being attacked in back-to-back debates, it remains to be seen if his fundraising operation can grow in the next quarter.

Another person close to the campaign said Perry was able to raise the first $10 million fairly easily, much of it from his home state. The pace began to slow as questions surfaced about his positions, particularly on immigration, this person said. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because the campaign hasn’t authorized release of fundraising information.

Perry backed a state law that provided discounted, in-state college tuition to children of illegal immigrants, a stance widely criticized by his opponents.

Steffen W. Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University, said the pressure on Perry to produce a competitive fundraising sum is heightened by continued speculation about the presidential intentions of New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie.

‘Christie Fever’

“Perry needs to squash ‘Christie fever,’” he said. “It is a killer for Perry, that even with him in the race, the GOP is still looking. If I was a Republican fat cat, I would sit on my political money until the dust settles.”

Texas Representative Ron Paul, another Republican contender, raised more than $5 million in the period, said Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton in an interview. That tops the $4.5 million Paul brought in last quarter.

Herman Cain, a businessman who beat Perry in the Sept. 24 straw poll in Florida, sent out a tweet yesterday declaring his “best fundraising week....ever! Thank You! Let’s finish Q3 strong!” Cain raised almost $2.5 million in the second quarter, which ended June 30. His campaign couldn’t be reached for comment.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota also sent out a fundraising appeal, urging her supporters to send money to prove she is a viable candidate.

Washington ‘Elite’

“The Washington ‘elite’ are chomping at the bit to see the numbers our campaign reports,” she wrote. “I need your support today more than ever.”

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has struggled with fundraising and in the polls, donated $500,000 to his campaign during the quarter. His campaign this week also shuttered its Orlando, Florida, headquarters to save money and invest more in New Hampshire. Huntsman has said a strong performance in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is critical to his presidential aspirations.

“New Hampshire’s always been our top priority,” said Tom Miller, Huntsman’s spokesman. “We need to be successful in New Hampshire to make sure we have a head of steam to compete successfully” elsewhere. The decision to leave Florida reflects “recent poll numbers showing movement in New Hampshire, and the fact that we wanted to reallocate our resources to take advantage of that,” he said.

Buffett Headliner

Donors to the Obama campaign gathered last night at a private event in New York hosted by billionaire Warren Buffett, 81, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The Buffett event at the Four Seasons restaurant featured an economic discussion led by Austan Goolsbee, a former Obama economic adviser now at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The event was sold out, with about 100 people attending the $10,000-a-ticket session.

Romney has raised more than twice as much money from Wall Street as Obama, an edge gained in part by luring away at least 100 donors, mostly investors, who backed the president in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In 2008, Obama received $15 million from employees in the securities and investment industry, more than any other candidate, according to the center. Romney received $5 million. Some donors who gave to Obama during his 2008 race also gave to Romney or other Republicans.

--With assistance from Sabrina Siddiqui, Kristen Jensen, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Jonathan D. Salant in Washington. Editors: Jim Rubin, Paul Tighe

To contact the reporter on this story: Kate Andersen Brower in Washington at Kandersen7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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