Ever since April, people have been speculating that President Obama's campaign may shatter all fund-raising records and may even become the first-ever billion-dollar campaign.. But in the last month, campaign officials have struggled to knock down that notion -- sometimes very colorfully -- because they realize that the perception the president's campaign coffers are overflowing actually hurts fund-raising.
Campaign manager Jim Messina on Thursday tried again to rebut the billion-dollar notion, at least his third such attempt in the last month. This time, it was a video sent to supporters. After boasting of "a pretty good quarter" in which the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $68 million, Messina praised the enthusiasm of the president's supporters, calling it "in stark contrast to what we've seen on the other side."
But, somewhat ominously, he complained of "a challenge that keeps coming up -- too many Obama supporters think we don't need their money. Or they don't need to give now." He spoke of recent emails that said the campaign is going to raise $1 billion, so more contributions aren't needed. "Look," responded an exasperated Messina, "I totally get why people would think that. But they are completely wrong." He said the $1 billion speculation "is completely untrue."
Messina made the same point in an end-of-the-year email in which he wrote that such speculation "turns people off from politics." He added, "We do not and will not have a billion-dollar war chest." The campaign manager was even more colorful in a December video to supporters. "People have speculated this is a billion dollar campaign," he said. "That's bullshit."