Candidates for office fundraise. Candidates named "Obama" take fundraising to new levels.
This week we learned President Obama raised some $86 million in the most recent quarter—$47 million his campaign-proper and $38 the Democratic National Committee—more than the Republican candidates for president combined.
Despite the weak economy and weak poll numbers (the president's approval rating dropped to 44% in the latest Gallup tracking poll), these totals should not be surprising. In 2008, candidate Obama proved to be the most prolific fundraiser in American history. Now with the power and prestige of the presidency, he is expected to raise as much as $1 billion.
Which is why, as reported by Chicago Sun-Times ace reporter Lynn Sweet, "President Obama returns to Chicago on Aug. 3 to mark his 50th birthday with fundraisers at the Aragon Ballroom, with tickets ranging from $50 a person to $35,800 per couple, which includes VIP seating at a ‘Birthday Concert' where celebs will be performing and a dinner with the president."
Aug. 3, as you're likely aware, falls the day after the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling "deadline."
Earlier this week, in an interview with CBS Evening News' Scott Pelley, President Obama said, "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."
Doubling down, the president continued, "This is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans' checks; these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out."
Imagine, the president who stormed out of a meeting with congressional leadership to solve this matter won't guarantee that checks will go out to our seniors and veterans but is planning an event to bring checks to his campaign the very same day.
Politically, the imagery of the president of the United States accepting campaign checks the day after government checks are held is potentially disastrous.
Perhaps it's a sign that Obama is more willing to cut a deal than he has let on—listening not just to the GOP, but democratic senators such as Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Ben Nelson, who have spoken out against any tax increases, and democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, who said in the heat of last year's campaign, "I think the recovery is sufficiently fragile that we ought to leave tax rates where they are," —and move forward with a deal that leaves taxes where they are and makes real cuts in spending.
And perhaps it's why Republicans might be willing to call his bluff, after all.