RNC Strategy: Raise Money Through Fear of Socialism

Updated 10:28 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday

Politico's Ben Smith has obtained a Republican National Committee PowerPoint fundraising presentation encouraging Republicans to raise money by promising to "save the country from trending toward socialism."

That, the presentation says, is what Republicans can "sell" when "you do not have the White House, the House or the Senate."

It says that potential small donors can be reached through appeals to "fear," among other motivations, and suggests they are "reactionary," while major donors respond to "access" and "peer to peer pressure" and are "ego-driven."

Among the tools recommended to win donations are "Tchochkes!!!!!!!!!"

"Manipulating donors with crude caricatures and playing on their fears is hardly unique to Republicans or to the RNC -- Democrats raised millions off George W. Bush in similar terms -- but rarely is it practiced in such cartoonish terms," writes Smith. "One page, headed 'The Evil Empire,' pictures Obama as the Joker from Batman, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively."

The RNC distanced itself from the presentation, which had reportedly been left in a hotel and was provided by a Democrat. The RNC said chair Michael Steele had not seen the presentation and that he "disagrees with the language and finds the use of such imagery to be unacceptable."

Democrats were harshly critical.

"If you had any doubt, any doubt whatsoever, that the Republican Party has been taken over by the fear-mongering lunatic fringe, those doubts were erased today," Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse told the Washington Post. "Republicans across the country have cheered on crowds where these very images appeared."

Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and a former Republican Congressman, called on the RNC to fire Finance Director Rob Bickhart Thursday. Bickhart delivered the presentation at a party retreat in Florida last month.

"It's childish, first of all," said Scarborough. "But, secondly, it is in such bad taste that whoever put this together should be fired from the RNC."

Check out the full document here.