Want to know why Obama is so desperate to raise campaign cash that he wants you to turn over your birthday or wedding/anniversary gifts to him? His campaign is burning through Obama's cash stash spending more than it raised in May (the same month Romney outraised him).
But the really bad news for Obama is that the people who donated most in 2008 are not stepping up again this time around. That goes for the really big donors, the so-called "bundlers" who raked in millions for Obama and are now enjoying the payoff of serving as ambassadors in foreign lands. Many are still at their posts overseas enjoying the perks but they're not forking over the dough.
Worse still are the hundreds of thousands of average Joes out there who contributed more than $200 in 2008 but are either giving smaller amounts or not contributing at all. The story is an older one from Buzzfeed but cannot be ignored:
In 2008, more than 550,000 gave more than $200 to Barack Obama, entering their names in the longest list of individual donors ever seen in American politics.And it's not just money. Interviews with those who previously gave more than $200 show a huge lack of enthusiasm compared to 2008. It's not just Obama Girl who isn't enthused about re-electing Obama. And these are folks who not only will not be donating as generously, but will are also less likely to go door to door on Obama's behalf or make the phone calls or talk to their family and friends about the campaign.
That list was a snapshot of the hope Obama inspired in a cross sections of liberals, young professionals, African-Americans, and Democrats who saw in him a generational and historic moment. But now, as Obama struggles to keep pace with his 2008 fundraising clip, that list offers a cross-section of Democratic disappointment and alienation. According to a BuzzFeed analysis of campaign finance data, 88% of the people who gave $200 or more in 2008 — 537,806 people — have not yet given that sum this year. And this drop-off isn’t simply an artifact of timing. A full 87% of the people who gave $200 — the sum that triggers an itemized report to the Federal Elections Commission — through April of 2008, 182,078 people, had not contributed by the end of last month.
Here are some snippets from the interviews:
- “Where’s the change I can believe in?..“I wish he was the socialist they accused him of being.” asked Lisa Pike, a 55-year-old from Williamsburg, Va.
- “Mostly, the thing is we want more,” said Kirsten Leitzinger of Rebersburg, Pa. “We were a little upset about healthcare. I really, really wanted that public option.”
- “I’m looking around here for leadership, and it didn’t happen,” said Elizabeth Hollins of Williamsburg, Va.
- Sandra McCauley, a retired family counselor from Jeffersonville, Ind. who gave $400 in 2008. “I’d like to see us out of Afghanistan.”
- “I didn’t feel good that what I expected wasn’t done,” said Prashant Kothari, 65, an anesthesiologist from Tiffin, Ohio who gave $500 in 2008. “The promises during the campaign didn’t materialize.”
Just as big an influence on many former givers is the bad economy:
“Financially, I had more money back then than I do today,” said Greg Holmes, who works in the technology sector in Cedar Park, Texas, and gave $550 last cycle. “I’ll vote for him, but I probably won’t give any money.”Other donors have decided to put their money into other races. One interviewee cited his donation to the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Bet he wishes he hadn't done that!
“I don’t have as much money,” said Ann Walling, a retired Episcopal priest from Franklin, Tenn. who donated $1,900 to Obama in ‘08.
And it's not like Obama isn't trying to raise money. This week alone he's attending nine fundraisers in four states and that's only by Tuesday. Obama has held more fundraisers than all his predecessors since Nixon COMBINED. He has a massive online fundraising operation which four years ago generated unprecedented mountains of campaign cash. But even with the power of the White House behind him, Obama is not generating anything like the dough he needs to overcome the weakness of his record in office.
And since Mitt Romney won't be making the same mistake that John McCain did by staying within the federal spending limits that Obama had previously pledged to follow (broke that promise too) Obama is in danger of not being able to compete as effectively as he did in key states in 2008.
The saddest fact for Obama is that his campaign won't be able to deficit spend the way Obama's government has these past three and a half years!