Huffpost Politics

Obama 2012 Campaign Fundraising Effort Taps Celebrity Supporters For Big Donations

Posted: Updated:
BARACK OBAMA 2012
AFP/Getty Images

DENVER — Raising money and appealing for votes, President Barack Obama is framing his 2012 re-election campaign as a call to complete unfinished business and as a clear choice between his ideas and those of potential rivals who he says are no different than the congressional Republicans who are thwarting him now.

The message lets Obama highlight accomplishments and lump Republican presidential candidates with unpopular legislators. Time and again Obama reminds his campaign backers that the 2012 election will be more difficult than the last. And, aware that some Democrats are less enthusiastic about him than they were three years ago, he is using every opportunity to enumerate achievements, from health care to financial regulatory changes to the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gay service members.

Lately, Obama has been telling audiences that he is marking off a list of campaign promises he made in 2008.

"We're through about 60 percent of it," he told a group of 100 donors in Denver Tuesday. "Which isn't bad for three years."

"There's still a lot of people hurting and there's still a lot of work to do," he continued. "And that 40 percent that's not done, I'm going to need you, because I need five more years."

Denver was the last stop in a three-day swing that also took him to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, a fundraising-rich tour that let him spend time with top Los Angeles celebrities and to get some media attention in the battleground states of Nevada and Colorado.

During a quick stop in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon, Obama sought to draw a distinction between his economic plans and those of his Republican rivals, who he said are only interested in cutting taxes for the wealthy and eliminating regulations.

"It's not as if we haven't tried what they're selling. We have. And it didn't work," he told a 200-person crowd, each of whom paid a minimum of $5,000 to attend.

With his poll numbers sagging and enthusiasm among some of his supporters waning, the president reminded backers that his administration has had significant accomplishments, from overhauling health care to ending the military's ban on gay service members. But he acknowledged that change hasn't always been easy to come by.

"It's not as trendy to be an Obama supporter as it was back in 2008," he said. "We've had setbacks, we've had disappointments. I've made mistakes on occasion."

The Western tour is one of Obama's busiest donor outreach trips of the season. In Los Angeles Monday, he turned to celebrities, including actor Will Smith and basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson, to bring in money, and mingled with Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas over canapes at the movie star couple's home.

Celebrities are a tried-and-true fundraising draw, particularly for Democratic presidents. Both the president and the stars bask in their reflected fame and the endorsement of stars can be a useful asset.

California ranks as Obama's top donor state, and he raised about $1 million in the Los Angeles area alone during the last two fundraising quarters, according to an Associated Press review of contributions above $200.

Not that he needs the votes in California, a solidly Democratic state. However, Sacramento-based Democratic consultant Roger Salazar said the president, echoing national trends, is less popular now in the state than he was when he was elected.

"Democrats by their nature are going to give the president the benefit of the doubt," said Salazar, a veteran of California and national political campaigns. "But they want him to do something about it. They want to see some movement."

Obama is promising some movement. He has been promoting his $447 billion jobs bill, which has been broken up into its component parts in hopes Congress can pass some of them.

He's also focusing on steps his administration can take without congressional approval, including an initiative announced Tuesday to offer millions of student loan borrowers the ability to lower their payments and consolidate their loans. Earlier this week, the administration unilaterally created new rules to allow homeowners who are deeply underwater on their mortgages to refinance at lower rates.

_____

Associated Press writer Jack Gillum in Washington contributed to this report.

Also on The Huffington Post

Close
Obama at Roscoe's
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

President Barack Obama's First Ad of 2012 - YouTube

Will President Obama lose 2012? - The Arena | POLITICO.COM

Barack Obama and 2012 Election News

President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election hopes hinge more than ...

Broderick Johnson joining Obama 2012

Barack Obama Campaign 2012 Gets Official Tumblr Blog

Why Barack Obama Is Likely to Be Our Next President

Obama Promotes Mortgage Plan While Pressuring Congress

Grim Economic Warnings Could Cost Obama in 2012

Can Obama take the economy off the table in 2012?

Obama club to focus on registering 2012 voters

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results
Register To Vote