Obama Begins August Fundraising Blitz
In addition to giving a speech on Iraq to the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Atlanta, President Obama is speaking today at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. As CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports, the event marks his fifth DNC event in six days, and the 29th fundraiser the president has attended this year.
And he's just getting started.
The president is kicking off a major fundraising blitz during the dog days of August, with stops in Chicago (August 5th, for the DNC and Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias), Austin (August 9th, DNC), Dallas (August 9th, for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), Milwaukee (August 16th, gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett), Los Angeles ( August 16th, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), Seattle (August 17th, Sen. Patty Murray, two fundraisers), Columbus, Ohio (August 18th, Gov. Ted Strickland) and Miami (August 18th, Florida Democratic Party and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink).
In fact, just about the only times in August Mr. Obama won't be raising money are when he's on vacation - in the Gulf Coast on the weekend of August 14th and on Martha's Vineyard from August 19th through 29th.
The events should help address the concerns of Congressional Democrats who have been complaining that the White House has not done enough to help the party stem expected losses in the midterm elections in November. Mr. Obama's regular bashing of Washington, they complain, isn't going to help them hang onto their seats; his legislative agenda, meanwhile, has forced many to take tough votes that are likely to cost them. (The House vote on a climate and energy bill - a bill that subsequently died in the Senate - was a particularly tough pill for many Democrats to swallow.)
They will also help Democrats in their efforts to counteract the unprecedented spending planned by corporate groups, which were freed up to spend directly on elections by the Supreme Court's ruling in the controversial Citizens United case. By one Democratic estimate, conservative and right-leaning corporate groups are committed to spending $300 million in the 2010 cycle.
Tickets for today's event, a DNC aide told Knoller, start at $1,000 and go up to $10,000, and the event is expect to raise around $500,000. The DNC has committed $50 million through its Vote2010 effort to helping Democratic candidates in the midterms.
In addition to raising money, Mr. Obama has tried to help congressional Democrats by offering up campaign-style, anti-Republican rhetoric in even ostensibly non-political speeches. The message: Even if you aren't sure how you feel about my party, just remember how little you liked the other guys. (That message is designed to help even those Democrats who wouldn't much benefit from being seen with the president.)
"The other party spent a decade driving the economy into the ditch..now they want the car keys back," he said last month. "They can't have them back. They don't know how to drive."
The president is also hoping to help close the enthusiasm gap that the White House acknowledges exists between energized Republican voters and the Democratic base. At a Rose Garden event last week, he harshly criticized Republicans for standing in the way of passage of the DISCLOSE Act that would have brought greater transparency to corporate spending on elections.
"On issue after issue," he said, "we are trying to move America forward and they keep trying to take us back."
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