Obama Campaign, Democrats Raise $60 Million in May

BY Christina Bellantoni  June 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM EDT

President Obama; photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama jogs from Air Force One to greet supporters at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

UPDATED 11:25 a.m. ET

President Obama’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee raked in more than $60 million in May, a product of some major fundraising contests and yet another sign that greenbacks will be flying at full speed for the next five months.

A few hours after the president was regaled by gay donors at a West Coast fundraiser, the campaign tweeted the May details from the president’s account on Thursday morning.

“The campaign raised more than $60 million across committees in May. Thanks to everyone who chipped in,” read one tweet. The money includes a Hollywood fundraiser at George Clooney’s home that brought in a reported $15 million. The campaign has been hosting contests that award a handful of donors attendance at events like the Clooney soiree and an upcoming event at Sarah Jessica Parker’s house.

The campaign also tweeted that more than 572,000 people donated in May, with 147,000 of those donors giving for the first time. The campaign also said 98 percent of the May donations to Mr. Obama were less than $250 and that the average donation was $54.94.

In April, the president and the DNC brought in a combined $43.6 million. 

These numbers aren’t always easy to put in context, especially before delving into the FEC reports showing cash on hand and spending details that will be filed on June 20. But consider that in 2008, the Obama campaign invested more than $40 million in Florida alone.

The president’s Nov. 6 rival Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee announced later Thursday morning they raised more than $76.8 million in May. The release said the campaign and RNC have $107 million in the bank.

The campaign said that 93 percent of the donations last month, about $12 million, were from donors who gave $250 or less. Romney also had several fundraising contests. The money came from people living in every state, the release noted.

In April, Romney and the RNC raised a combined $40.1 million in April.

PAUL: GROW OUR MOVEMENT!

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is claiming a victory for being able to send a contingent of delegates backing his “liberty” agenda to the Republican National Convention.

“Due to the smart planning of our campaign and the hard work and diligence of supporters like you, we stand to send nearly 200 bound delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. This number shatters the predictions of the pundits and talking heads and shows the seriousness of our movement,” he wrote in a note punctuated with three exclamation points. “What’s more, we will send several hundred additional supporters to Tampa who, while bound to Romney, believe in our ideas of liberty, constitutional government, and a common-sense foreign policy.”

Paul acknowledged in the statement that though his supporters will number nearly 20 percent of the convention, it’s not enough to win the nomination. But, he wrote, “it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP!”

“We have never had this kind of opportunity.  There will be hundreds of your fellow supporters in Tampa who will be ready and willing to push the Republican Party back to its limited government, liberty roots,” Paul wrote. “There are many issues to fight for in Tampa.  Also, candidates like Justin Amash, Kurt Bills, and Thomas Massie need your support as we move into the fall.  Across the country, supporters of liberty have won local office and leadership positions in the GOP, and we need to keep working. Our delegates’ presence must be felt both in Tampa and in years to come.” 

The NewsHour has been closely tracking the Paul movement and would like to hear from supporters about what they would like to see happen in Tampa.

The Romney campaign has not yet settled the question of whether — and when — Paul would speak at the convention. But this email suggests, and the fervent Paul supporters believe, a show of force in Tampa will help push his agenda. Even without Paul’s proclamation that “Our revolution is just getting started,” something tells us that has more to do with a future contest than 2012.

MORE DIVIDED THAN EVER?

Pew’s new American Values survey shows that Americans are more divided than ever and that record numbers of voters are shunning the major parties and claiming the independent moniker. 

On Wednesday’s NewsHour, Judy Woodruff explored the survey and talked with Linda Killian, author of the new book “The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents.” 

Killian outlined her research, saying independents are “very dissatisfied.” She continued:

It’s like they’re vegetarians, and the Democrats and Republicans are offering steak and chicken.

They’re very unhappy. They don’t like the negativity. They want substance. … They hate money in politics. They are concerned about the deficit. Obviously, jobs and the economy are their top two issues. For independent voters, they care very much about substance, the deficit.

Judy’s report showcased the NewsHour’s Listen to Me project, which Morning Line readers should find familiar. Our team has been going across the country to ask voters three simple questions about the direction of the country and how they feel about the political process:

1) What is the most important issue to you during this election? 2) Are you hopeful about the future? If so, why? If not, why not? 3) Do you think the political system is broken? If so, why, and how would you fix it? If not, why not?

The election-year exploration paints a picture of a frustrated — but still hopeful — nation.

Get more information about that here and stay tuned for much more.

Watch the full segment here or below:

WISCONSIN FALLOUT

Gwen Ifill spoke with USA Today’s Susan Page and Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday’s NewsHour.

Wisconsin has now positioned itself as the biggest surprise among swing states, Page said. In past national elections, the state has voted strongly for Democrats. It could become a toss-up this year following Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s big victory in Tuesday’s recall election.

Still, there’s that curious group of voters — around 17 percent — who cast their support for Walker while telling exit pollsters they like Mr. Obama.

Those people now epitomize the independent swing votes that Republicans and Democrats seek in November, Gilbert said. 

“They’re voting on performance. They’re voting on optimism-pessimism. They’re voting on the economy,” he said.

Watch the segment here or below:

LABOR MOVES ON

NewsHour politics desk assistant Alex C. Bruns was on a call Wednesday with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and filed this report.

Sometimes when life gives you lemons you can make lemonade, other times you just end up sucking on sour lemons. Trumka made an effort to put a positive spin on the blow dealt to organized labor from Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s decisive victory in Tuesday’s recall election, but he admitted, “Last night’s results were not what we had hoped for.”

Organized labor spent more than $10 million dollars during a seven-month campaign to remove the contentious Republican governor from office. From the time the recall effort was launched last November until the election, union groups canvassed the state to rally Wisconsinites to their cause. But even with record turnout (almost 58 percent of registered voters cast ballots), Walker still fended off the recall, becoming the first governor in history to do so.

“We knew a recall election was going to be tough and we knew we were going to be outspent,” Trumka said. “It’s a recall election and it’s only been done twice in history.”

The trouble for the unions was apparent early in the night. Exit polls showed a fissure in organized labor’s support for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, with 38 percent of union household voters choosing to support Walker. The AFL-CIO had a poll, conducted by Hart Research, which showed 25 percent of the 390 union members it surveyed supported Walker.

Asked whether the president could have done more to sway the race, Trumka demurred. “If he was involved, I don’t know if there would’ve been any difference or not. I’m not gonna go back and second guess,” he said.

On the eve of the election the president tweeted: “It’s Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I’m standing by Tom Barrett. He’d make an outstanding governor. -bo”

Whatever the result in Wisconsin, Trumka is pulling his group up off the mat and looking forward to the next bout with his Republican adversaries, warning future opponents, “If anyone tries to take away our collective bargaining rights, now they know there will be a fight.”

Peter Whoriskey and Dan Balz have more in the Washington Post on what Wisconsin meant for labor.

2012 LINE ITEMS

TOP TWEETS

OUTSIDE THE LINES

  • The Washington Post’s Dan Balz asks the question: “Can Mitt Romney match Wisconsin’s Scott Walker?”

  • Politico’s Manu Raju writes about the debtmageddon worries on Capitol Hill.

  • In his Roll Call column, Stu Rothenberg identifies Reps. Charles Bass, R-N.H., John Barrow, D-Ga., Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Robert Dold, R-Ill., as five vulnerable underdogs.

  • Politico’s Ken Vogel looks at Sheldon Adelson as donor extraordinaire.

  • American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove, has launched a line of attack against Democrats on Pinterest. The accounts are parodies of Democratic officials and candidates. On most, the last activity on them was nine weeks ago, and they haven’t gotten a lot of followers.

  • “The most powerful nation on Earth is run largely by 24-year-olds,” writes Luke Rosiak in the Washington Times.

  • The House Ethics Committee will let the case against Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., move forward. 

  • D.C. City Council chairman Kwame Brown resigned amid a scandal.

  • The 40th anniversary of the Washington Post’s Watergate scandal coverage will be held at, naturally, the Watergate, Politico reports.

  • Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and his Democratic challenger, consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, have agreed to four debates.

  • Don’t miss the NewsHour’s detailed report on Ray Bradbury’s life and what he meant for storytelling.

  • Christina will be a panelist at a [Personal Democracy Forum] (http://personaldemocracy.com/conferences/nyc/2012/speakers) conference in New York on Monday.

Terence Burlij, Katelyn Polantz and Elizabeth Summers contributed to this report.

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama attends a campaign event in Los Angeles at 1:20 p.m. and delivers remarks on college affordability in Las Vegas at 3:50 p.m.

  • Vice President Joe Biden meets with the prime minister of Finland at 12 p.m.

  • First lady Michelle Obama meets with campaign volunteers in Manassas, Va., at 2:45 p.m. and attends a campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., at 5:15 p.m.

  • Mitt Romney holds an event in St. Louis at 1:40 p.m.

  • Ann Romney visits the Woodlands Center for Specialized Medicine in Pensacola, Fla., at 3:45 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon and @dePeystah.