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Obama Expects Modest Fundraising Quarter Obama Expects Modest Fundraising Quarter

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Obama Expects Modest Fundraising Quarter

The Democratic National Committee comes first--for now.


Barack Obama and his family on election night in 2008. The president's reelection team expects to raise about as much in 2012 as it did in 2008.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

President Obama’s reelection campaign will bring in a “moderate” amount of money when it reports its fundraising total to the Federal Election Commission in July, a senior campaign adviser said. 

The adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that campaign officials have decided to devote the bulk of their early efforts to fortifying the Democratic National Committee rather than the president's own reelection campaign, anticipating that DNC will need to spend the money earlier. This decision, they said, accounts for the lower total.


Obama advisers anticipate that the president's campaign will face questions about whether it is on track to meet internal fundraising targets, which have not been disclosed. Inevitably, Obama’s take will be compared with Republican Mitt Romney's because Romney is the closest thing the GOP field has to a front-runner. On Monday alone, Romney’s Nevada call-a-thon took in more than $10 million.

Obama raised a record-shattering amount of campaign money in the 2008 cycle--nearly $750 million.

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So far the president has attended a dozen fundraisers in six cities since announcing on April 14 his decision to seek reelection. Half have been events where tickets cost $35,800. DNC takes $30,800 of that; Obama’s campaign gets only $5,000. 

Donors, generally, have been asked to purchase at least four tickets to high-dollar events such as these. Obama has also attended a number of fundraisers where tickets run $1,000. The president attended a two-tier event in Washington on Monday night, and he will be in Boston on Wednesday.

Politico reported on Monday that Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to appear at five fundraisers this month hosted by the party.

Democratic officials insist that Obama’s fundraisers have been sold out, suggesting that the issue is one of priorities and capacity and not enthusiasm. Obama’s campaign is building out its Internet presence and is testing approaches. If his team is able to raise a lot of money from small donors toward the end of the quarter, it will reduce anxiety about whether Obama’s base will support him with the same degree of fervor as it did in 2008. Of course, minds won’t be concentrated on the election until later, and so Obama’s team is careful about making projections.  


Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, has said publicly that the president will not raise $1 billion, contrary to press reports. Privately, members of Obama’s national finance committee expect to raise about the same amount of money as they did in 2008. Messina has told associates that the finance committee will be larger than it was for the general election in 2008, potentially to offset a slow start to Internet fundraising.  

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