For the second time this week, the Obama-Biden campaign has dispatched an urgent plea to small donors for fast cash, raising the specter that either their vaunted fundraising bid for $1 billion is falling flat or they want to scare the competition with better than predicted quarterly takes.
Earlier this week, an E-mail from Jen O'Malley Dillon, deputy campaign manager, warned that the upcoming fundraising deadline set by the Federal Election Commission was serious. "It's not arbitrary—it's built into our campaign's budget plan. It will determine what kinds of resources we can commit to which states as we expand our ground game," she pleaded. [Read: Obama Seeks More $5 Dinners With Fans.]
Then today, another one went out from the campaigns chief operating officer, Ann Marie Habershaw, who made it sound like the campaign was hard up for coffee money.
"All the budgets, calculations, and planning lead to a simple 'yes' or 'no.' Yes, you can buy coffee and clipboards for neighborhood organizers in Ohio. No, you can't have a fancy computer when a cheaper one does the job. That sort of thing," she emailed. "Every team on the campaign has submitted their plans for the rest of this year—opening field offices, registering voters, building technology. And it all costs money. I can't say yes to everything—but what you do right now can help me say yes to more. [Read Leslie Marshall: Jobs Plan is Obama's Best Hope for Re-Election]
Is the campaign finally going into panic mode, as suggested by Democratic adviser James Carville?
Unlikely, say associates. In fact, its more just a political strategy to push donors to stop dithering and write a check so that the totals as of the September 30 deadline look big and maybe even scare the GOP. Past campaign organizers say it's a strategy that works, especially with an underdog candidate.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are getting a little nervous about Obama's fundraising. One key fundraiser told Whispers that Obama could end up with $2 billion when the outside support groups and labor unions are factored in.
"We won't be able to match him, that's for sure, but we'll have enough," said a Republican fundraiser.