Yesterday marked the last day of the fundraising quarter and President Obama admits he’s “falling behind” Mitt Romney.
In a highly unusual conference call from Air Force One, the president begged contributors to “max out” on their contributions as they did in 2008.
President Obama sounded weary and maybe a tad worried late Friday during a rambling conference call with campaign donors whom he repeatedly begged to send money—and send it now.
“The majority on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time,” the president said in a highly unusual (and presumably legal) fundraising pitch from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Colorado Springs, where he’d been assessing the terrible damage caused by uncontained wildfires. A special phone on the government aircraft is dedicated to political calls that are paid for by the campaign.
“I’m asking you to meet or exceed what you did in 2008,” the presidential pitchman continued, speaking to donors who were invited to dial in based on their contributions during the last election. “Because we’re going to have to deal with these super PACs in a serious way. And if we don’t, frankly I think the political [scene] is going to be changed permanently. Because the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign are just going to consolidate themselves. They’re gonna run Congress and the White House.”
The president’s 18-minute pleading—a recording of which was provided to The Daily Beast by an Obama contributor—hardly sounded like a man doing a victory lap after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act has come to be known. Or, for that matter, like a candidate who has been beating his Republican opponent in recent polls of key battleground states.
Rather, Obama sounded like a dog-tired idealist forced to grapple painfully with hard reality. “In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately. And it turns out change is hard, especially when you’ve got an obstructionist Republican Congress.”
The “obstructionist” congress just passed his request for $120 billion in transportation spending through 2014, as well as agreeing to hold the line on student loan interest rates — at his request — and subsidize federal flood insurance.
But this is a fascinating view into the Obama campaign that is feeling the pressure from Romney’s fundraising juggernaut while waking up to the realization that decisions made during Obama’s presidency have put off many supporters from 2008:
“I just hope you guys haven’t become disillusioned. I hope all of you still understand what’s at stake and why this is so important … I still believe in you guys, and I hope you still believe in me and the possibilities of this campaign.”
That does not sound like a confident campaigner.
Expect fundraising totals for June to show Romney with another big month, surpassing the president’s efforts again.
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