THE MORNING LINE -- July 13, 2011 at 8:38 AM ET
President Obama Hauls In $86 Million
President Obama has raised quite a bit of money over the last three months. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.
He may have to fight sky high unemployment, persistent economic pessimism and an energized political opposition to win re-election, but if he loses President Obama will not be able to blame it on being underfunded.
President Obama brought in an eye-popping $86 million over the last three months for both his re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee. More than $47 million is for Obama for America and more than $38 million was brought in for the DNC.
The cash haul wallops the combined $35-$40 million that the Republican presidential hopefuls raised over the same period, giving the incumbent a significant advantage with no Democratic primary challenge on his hands.
As President Obama has traveled across the nation over the last three months attending dozens of fund-raisers, he has been collecting cash into a joint campaign/DNC account called the Obama Victory Fund. The first $5,000 of an individual's contribution goes to the campaign, with the remaining money (up to $30,800 per year) going to the DNC.
The announcement was made by President Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, in a pre-dawn video sent to supporters.
Without all those big money donors crowding hotel ballrooms to hear the president speak, the fund-raising total would be far less staggering. However, the Obama campaign is eager to play up the grassroots statistics that can be gleaned from the 15,000 page FEC report to be filed by Friday.
Messina announced that 552,462 people made a donation to the Obama campaign. He called it "more grassroots support at this point in the process than any campaign in political history."
Nearly 98 percent of all donations were $250 or less, and the average contribution was $69.
If you only look at the $47 million raised for the campaign, it falls just short of the record setting $50 million that President Bush took in the third quarter of 2003 as he was gearing up for his re-election bid.
THE DEBT DIVIDE
President Obama and congressional leaders have met four times since last Thursday with little to show for it. On Wednesday, they will make it five in the hope that some progress can be achieved to break the deadlock over raising the country's $14.3 trillion borrowing limit.
The 4 p.m. ET session at the White House comes after a two-hour gathering Tuesday, which was characterized as constructive but still involved flashes of pointed disagreement.
The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane detail one exchange between President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has reportedly been the most vocal Republican in the recent meetings.
"'Cantor, who is advocating a smaller deal, at one point demanded that Obama offer the details of his vision for a 'grand bargain.'
"'Where's your paper?' he asked angrily.
"Obama snapped back: 'Frankly, your speaker has it. Am I dealing with him, or am I dealing with you?'"
Counting Wednesday, negotiators have 10 days to come up with the framework for a deal if they intend to meet the schedule laid out by the administration to give lawmakers sufficient time to move the legislation through Congress.
Given the lack of movement over the past week and the looming Aug. 2 deadline that leaders from both parties agree must be met, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., unveiled a backup plan Tuesday should negotiators fail to agree on even a mid-size package with $2.4 trillion in spending cuts.
His proposal would authorize the president to raise the debt ceiling by as much as $2.5 trillion in three installments -- $700 billion now, $900 billion in the fall and $900 billion next summer. The measure requires the president to go to Congress for approval each time and to provide a list of specific spending cuts in the matching amount. There would be no guaranteed reductions attached to the debt limit increases.
"This is not my first choice. My first choice is to get an agreement with the president to significantly reduce spending. And we're going to continue to talk to them about that in the hopes that we can get there," Sen. McConnell said.
Members of Congress would have the opportunity to vote on a resolution of disapproval, thereby offering political cover to those who oppose raising the debt ceiling without firm spending cuts. The president could still raise the borrowing limit with a veto sustained by the backing of one-third plus one of voting members in each chamber, in effect putting the burden of action entirely on the Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday he was "willing to look" at Sen. McConnell's proposal. Still, with all the talk of "shared sacrifice" involving these deficit reduction negotiations, it's hard to imagine many Democrats will be willing to bear the brunt of the political pain when it comes to taking a step, however necessary it may be, when the action remains tremendously unpopular with the American people.
Janice Hahn, the Democratic city councilwoman from Los Angeles, easily defeated her Republican opponent, Craig Huey, in Tuesday's special election to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by Democrat Jane Harman.
The final results showed Hahn taking 54 percent to Huey's 45 percent.
"For a special election whose outcome would have little impact on the partisan balance in the U.S. House, the run-off race between Hahn and Huey at times turned nasty.
"A conservative super PAC ran an ad depicting Hahn as a stripper that also used racist imagery and language. Hahn called Huey, a businessman who publishes Christian voter guides, 'extreme' for his views on issues such as abortion. Huey tried to portray Hahn as a career politician, and tapped Tea Party support in the campaign."
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