Team Obama Cries 'Bull(bleep)' Against Billion-Dollar Campaign Estimates

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air put it best on the latest Obama campaign video: "You know, nothing says classy in a presidential campaign like having to bleep out a word from the national campaign manager in a prepared video." Campaign manager Jim Messina tells supporters it's "bulls---" that Obama will run a "billion-dollar campaign." In the shadow of Occupy Wall Street, will the media help Obama implausibly frame his campaign as somehow a small-bore, Mom and Pop enterprise?

Some in the major media have noticed, too, like Devin Dwyer at ABCNews.com, who added "The Obama campaign has never explicitly thrown out the billion-dollar figure and aides have pushed back hard on media reports that they anticipate raising that much during the campaign. They raised a record-high $746 million in 2008. Obama has raised $87 million so far this year for his re-election fight." Is it implausible to guess they'll get to a billion dollars this time? Messina also sent this not-a-billion message in an e-mail to supporters in mid-week:

This campaign is funded almost exclusively [!!] by more than a million grassroots supporters giving what they can afford -- $3 and $10 donations have powered us from the start. And unlike our eventual opponent who will employ a top-down strategy, we measure our success not by how many dollars we raise, but by how many people are inspired to own a piece of this campaign...

You may have heard chatter from the other side about the President's so-called "billion-dollar war chest." When they say that, they're intentionally doing two things:

1.) Because they know that kind of sum turns people off from politics, they're misleading you. We do not and will not have a billion-dollar war chest.

2.) They're trying to make you think your support doesn't matter to the President. What kind of difference does $3 or $10 make to a billion-dollar campaign?

Spread the word to friends and family who may not know by forwarding this email, then help put these rumors to rest by making a grassroots donation of $3 now.

It's not the amount of money we'll raise that scares them.

Where are the cynical reporters on this baloney being handed out to small donors? Ed Morrissey underlined what ABC's Dwyer did not:

The billion-dollar campaign theme started with this Wall Street Journal article, where Democratic Party leaders (unnamed) speculated that the 2012 presidential election would cost each party one billion dollars — not necessarily the campaigns alone.  That’s due in large part to Obama himself, however, who refused to participate in the federal election fund and its spending limitations in 2008 after promised earlier to comply, and then doing nothing to fix the system he claimed was “broken” for the three years he’s been in office.  Obama raised $600 million on his own in 2008 after bailing out of the system, and he didn’t do that in increments of $3, either.

Nor has he done so in this cycle.  Messina conveniently neglects to mention that the Obama campaign has a few bundlers raising big money for the campaign.  Did I say “a few”?  More like three hundred and fifty-seven of them, including Obama’s personal envoy to Wall Street, MF Global CEO Jon Corzine, a magician whose firm made $1.2 billion in customer funds disappear.  That figure includes 78 from law firms, 62 from the investment community, 31 from “business services,” and 15 from the entertainment industry.

A quick look at Ed's link at Open Secrets finds not just Corzine, but at the top of the list Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg (and a few slots down, another Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein). Also on the bundler roster: fashion-magazine executive Anna Wintour, the inspiration of the book and movie "The Devil Wears Prada." Not exactly an Occupy Wall Street vibe.

The number-two bigwig at the top of the Obama bundlers: David Cohen, the executive vice president of Comcast, which now owns NBC News. Last June, Cohen hosted a dinner with Obama for about 120 people in his home in Philadephia, with each of the attendees giving at least $10,000 for Obama 2012. In the last few months, Obama's held a pile of fundraisers charging $35,800 a couple, like the one Lady Gaga attended in San Francisco. In other words, that's enough to match about 12,000 "little people" kicking in three bucks. Keep that in mind and then check out the latest campaign e-mail signed by Barack himself: 

Friend --

It's not all that often that Michelle and I get to host a casual meal with friends.

That's one of the reasons we're both excited about the upcoming dinner with three supporters and your guests.

It's the first one we've ever done like this together, and we'd love to have you and whoever you choose to join us.

Chip in $3 or whatever you can today -- and you'll automatically be entered to be one of our dinner guests.

I enjoy these dinners not just because they're a way to connect with supporters across the country.

They also say a lot about what kind of campaign we're running.

We don't take a dime from D.C. lobbyists or special-interest PACs -- never have and never will. Instead, we believe in the kind of politics that gives everyone a seat at the table -- so we're literally offering these seats at dinner to folks who are willing to step forward and be a part of it.

These campaign messages are just begging for factual evaluation from the "objective" media.
 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis