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Obama, DNC Raise $53 Million in March

President Obama; photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama’s fundraising total in March beat January and February. Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

President Obama’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $53 million in March, a figure they announced Monday morning via a peppy web video starring donors who outlined the totals.

The donors, a mix of ages and demographics, said 190,000 of the 567,000 who gave last month were first-time donors. The average contribution was $50.78, and more than 97 percent of the haul was from people who gave $250 or less, the donors said.

The scripted video doesn’t tell you where each person lives, but closes with Campaign Manager Jim Messina saying the campaign will be built “five and ten bucks at a time to take on Mitt Romney.”

“We’re all going to have to dig even deeper, work even harder, move even faster. It’s going to take all of us working together,” Messina says, which you can watch here or below.

The March total is up from the $45 million raised by the campaign in February and January’s $29 million haul. It also bests Obama’s March 2008 figure of $40 million.

Romney’s campaign has not yet disclosed March fundraising totals, but the Republican National Committee raised nearly $14 million last month. The reports are due Friday at midnight.


The political conversation over the weekend was dominated by tax day, after President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden released their 2011 taxes on Friday.

As the NewsHour’s Elizabeth Shell wrote in this piece, the Obamas claimed an adjusted gross income of $789,674 and had a 20.5 percent tax rate. (The Bidens earned $379,035.) Don’t miss our nifty infographic.

Romney filed an extension, as he has done in previous years, buying himself a little more time for releasing the detailed numbers. But the Obama campaign continues knocking Romney for not releasing more tax information. The argument from Democrats is that Romney handed over years of tax returns to Sen. John McCain when he was vetted to join the ticket in 2008. But it’s important to point out it’s not a requirement for candidates to release their taxes. Romney’s dad, George Romney, began the tradition when he ran for president in 1968.

Two Democratic super PACs are getting in on the action with an online petition.

The push, of course, is designed to increase pressure on Romney and shine a spotlight on his wealth just as Democrats push for a vote on the so-called “Buffett Rule” to increase taxes for the richest Americans.

Fox News reported Friday that Mr. Obama pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Amy Brundage told the network, “The president’s secretary pays a slightly higher rate…than the president on her substantially lower income, which is exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.”

A Gallup poll out last week found that 60 percent of voters like the idea. But don’t hold your breath waiting for a tax increase to pass Congress in an election year, no matter what Democrats are out there saying.

Romney won’t be out there defending himself solo anymore. Now that he’s officially the presumptive nominee, his dozens of congressional backers are lining up as surrogates.

As David Drucker writes on the front page of Roll Call Monday, “Senior Romney campaign officials are expected to be in constant communication with Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and their staffs, as well as with other GOP leaders and key rank-and-file Members who supported the governor early on in the primary campaign.”

That extends to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who is fully embracing Romney. On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Priebus said the issue of tax returns is a distraction that the White House cooked up to avoid talking about the Solyndra scandal and the GSA dustup.


On Friday, Mark Shields and David Brooks talked with Jeffrey Brown about Romney’s strategy going forward, Rick Santorum’s exit, the Hilary Rosen flap and the Buffett Rule.

Watch that here or below.

Hari Sreenivasan tackled the Cory Booker memes in this week’s Doubleheader. Watch that here.


Gwen Ifill (@pbsgwen) spent part of last week in Indiana reporting on Sen. Dick Lugar’s GOP primary challenge. The May 8 election pits the longtime senator against State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and is an example of the Tea Party’s lingering influence at the national level.

Watch Gwen’s piece here or below.

And in case you missed our NewsHour Senate Six, check that out here.


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  • President Obama called for a thorough investigation of the Secret Service prostitution scandal.
  • The Obama campaign released a web video over the weekend, another mashup of Romney’s comments contrasted with the president’s.
  • The Republican National Committee released a web video on Monday slamming the president.
  • In a speech Friday to the National Rifle Association, Romney pledged to protect the rights of gun owners.
  • Over the weekend, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, still running for president, boasted that he “achieved consequential delegate wins in Colorado and Minnesota” as part of a “delegate-attainment strategy” that would earn him “a prominent role” at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The pickup of delegates was thanks to conventions in each state. Paul national campaign manager John Tate said the delegates “also signal that the convention will feature a spirited discussion over whether conservatism will triumph over the status quo, all in relation to the end game of defeating President Obama.” The Denver Post writes about the Colorado convention here.
  • BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith writes Monday that “Romney is already offering top donors access to a special ‘Presidential Inaugural retreat,’ planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.”
  • Mark Z. Barabak writes in the Los Angeles Times about the Electoral College map for each candidate.
  • Bloomberg writes about the focus on Seamus Romney.
  • A new investigative report from the Sunlight Foundation finds that “among 200 of the largest U.S. companies, those that spent the most on lobbying most effectively reduced their reported tax rates between 2007 and 2010.” Read the story here.
  • The New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore and Derek Willis look at a mysterious $500,000 super PAC donation and refund.
  • The New York Times took a detailed look at big donors who are visiting the White House. The Obama campaign notes the story is only possible because the president discloses his bundlers (while Romney does not) and because this administration made visitors logs public for the first time.
  • “[S]ome Washington insiders have figured out how to work the new system” and lobby the White House without calling it lobbying, Politico’s Anna Palmer and Abby Phillip report.




All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama is in Washington with no public events scheduled.
  • Mitt Romney addresses the Tri-State Tea Party Caucus in Philadelphia at 7:35 p.m.
  • Newt Gingrich holds a town hall in Dallas at 4:30 p.m.
  • Ron Paul has no public events scheduled.

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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 and @kpolantz.

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