Facing a recession-weary public and approval ratings hovering in the 40's, President Obama and his team has been successful at one task: Fundraising.
According to Reuters, Obama raised up to $2.8 million at fundraisers in Washington on Thursday and hauled in what is likely millions more on Monday in New York.
I haven't heard anyone outwardly worried. It seems like they are on track to hit their goals, a top fundraiser for the Obama campaign told Reuters, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely. Put it this way: it is not the money they are worried about. They would trade all of the money in the world for better economic data.
According to FEC reports, in the quarter ending June 30, 2011, the President had raised more than $46 million for his re-election effort, with more than $33 million coming from individual contributions. The remainder of the funds are from transfers made by Obama for America.
The most recent statement by the FEC shows that the president has very little debt in his campaign (approximately $400,000) and has over $37 million cash in hand.
Many expect the President to amass a campaign war chest of $1 billion or more, which would easily break Obama's record haul of $750 million for the 2008 campaign. With help from outside interest groups and the Democratic National Committee, Obama will have ample resources to spread his message during the campaign.
But racking up $1 billion may not be that easy. Many small donors from Obama's 2008 campaign were attracted to Obama's message of change, and it isn't clear yet whether the President will be able to capitalize on those small donors. Yet, members of the Obama campaign note that more than 520,000 individual donors have given to the president's campaign, including 260,000 that had never given money before.
Furthermore, some business leaders believe the incumbent has been hostile towards the business community, and they may be turned off by Obama calling on higher-income Americans to pay more taxes. Also, some business leaders, led by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, have called on the community to stop donating campaign cash until a reasonable plan to solve the federal deficit has been enacted.
But not all wealthy donors are shying away. Next week, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet will host a large fundraiser in New York for Obama, with tickets beginning at $10,000 (money will not be a direct donation to campaign because of campaign-finance laws). Furthermore, Reuters reports that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has committed to raising $500,000 for the Obama campaign.
Fundraising totals for the current quarter will be available on Oct. 15.