The Note: Seeing Green, Seeing Red: Obama Holds Two Sides Of The Coin

Jul 13, 2011 9:01am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

As President Obama presides over faltering debt ceiling talks in Washington, candidate Obama proved today he’s got a good handle on his own finances.

In an early morning video message to supporters, campaign manager Jim Messina announced that Obama 2012 and the Democratic National Committee raised roughly $86 million over the last quarter, far outpacing their $60 million goal.


–Obama for America, the president’s re-election arm, took in more than $47 million during the second quarter, while the DNC raised more than $38 million. None of the money came from political action committees or Washington lobbyists, according to the campaign.

–The massive Obama 2012 and DNC fundraising haul came from 552,462 donors.

–Ninety-eight percent of all donations were $250 or less. The average donation was $69.

–The Obama re-election effort has already set up 60 field offices around the country.

–The $47 million Obama raised is not a new record for a candidate in a single quarter. That distinction still belongs to George W. Bush who raised more than $50 million in the third quarter of 2003.

–In 2007, Obama raised $33.1 million in the second quarter, and during the 2008 election cycle, an estimated 3 million people contributed to the Obama campaign, aides say.

While the joint Obama 2012-DNC number is impressive, keep this in mind: If both entities raised $86 million for the next six quarters they'd raise in the neighborhood of $516 million — that’s just half of the $1 billion figure that some have thrown around. (For their part, the Obama campaign routinely notes that they never publicly set a goal that high.)

Today’s numbers mean that Obama has outraised the entire Republican presidential field combined. The president’s closest competitor on the Republican side is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose campaign announced this month that it raked in $18 million. The one GOP candidate we still haven't heard from when it comes to money is Rep. Michele Bachmann.

But, while we wait for her financial numbers, she’s benefitting from numbers of a different sort. A new Quinnipiac University out today shows her surging into second place behind Romney, who, according to the survey, has not gained any ground over the last month.

Bachmann pulled the rug right out from under Sarah Palin, who was running in second place among Republicans in Quinnipiac’s June 8 poll, but has now dropped to third. And don’t forget about fourth place finisher Rick Perry. The strong showing by the Texas governor, who is still contemplating whether to jump into the race, is “could be a serious contender should he run,” according to pollster Peter A. Brown.

Here’s how the top contenders rank:

Mitt Romney: 25%

Michele Bachmann: 14%

Sarah Palin: 12%

Rick Perry: 10%

Herman Cain: 6%

Newt Gingrich: 5%    

Ron Paul: 5%

Tim Pawlenty: 3%

Jon Huntsman: 1%

Rick Santorum: 1%

ABC’s Jake Tapper and Devin Dwyer contributed reporting.

GOP SEES DIFFERENT NUMBERS. The Republican National Committee responded to President Obama’s fundraising announcement with a statement from spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. “It’s obvious that despite his claims that he's focused on creating jobs, it’s clear his priority is saving his own. We always knew Obama would be the most successful fundraiser in history but he's going to need every penny of it to defend his abysmal economic record that has left millions of Americans without jobs. With over 500,000 donors, Obama has created nearly twice as many donors has he did jobs in the last quarter.”


DEBT CEILING DEBACLE. The Countdown to Default is now 20 days away. This evening the bipartisan leadership of both the House and Senate will return to the White House to continue negotiations on the debt limit. It will be their fourth meeting in as many days to try to break the stalemate.

Today’s 4 p.m. meeting comes one day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, proposed an unexpected “last choice option” that would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling without spending cuts, ABC’s Mary Bruce notes. “Senator McConnell’s proposal today reaffirmed what leaders of both parties have stated clearly, that defaulting on America’s past due bills is not an option,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said yesterday. “The President continues to believe that our focus must remain on seizing this unique opportunity to come to agreement on significant, balanced deficit reduction.”

Asked by Brett Baer on Fox News last night what will happen if they don’t get a deal, House Speaker John Boehner said, “I don’t know.”  He added, “I don’t think anybody in the world really believes that the United States is going to default on our debt,” Boehner said.  “But given what is going up in Europe something could spook the market, missing August 2nd could spook the market and you could have a real catastrophe. Nobody wants that to happen.”

Meanwhile, ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that former Senator Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., the GOP co-chair of President Obama's deficit commission, told ABC News that, “the American people are disgusted at both parties" for not being able to agree on a measure to reduce the deficit.  "Everybody says, 'What in the hell is going on?'" Simpson said. "The American people are smarter than their politicians."


BOTTOM LINE:  Back in 2010 when the Chamber of Commerce and other business-oriented groups were cheering for — and helping to fund — a GOP takeover of the House, they were warned to be careful what they wished for. These were not your father's Republicans, but a breed of anti-Washington, anti-establishment activists who weren't interested in the status quo or the agenda of the business elites. And, they've proven that this week. Despite the intentions of Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell to cut deals, the reality is that this GOP conference isn't going to be swayed by the "establishment" doom and gloom scenarios."

Who’s to blame for the impasse? The negotiations have become the Hill’s “hot potato” and Washington is rife with finger pointing as Democrats and Republicans alike blame each other for digging the country into a deep deficit while distancing themselves from potentially toxic debt limit ownership. More from ABC’s John R. Parkinson:

ABC’s Jake Tapper and Jonathan Karl reported on the latest debt talk developments on “Good Morning America” today:


SUBWAY SERIES: SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: ‘I’M VERY WORRIED’  “As Congress and the president try to strike a deal to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling, one Republican Senator tells ABC News that prospects look bleak. “Right now I’m very worried,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told ABC News “Subway Series.” “If I were a betting man, I’d bet no [deal].” Senator Graham said Republicans should be willing to accept a deal that curbs entitlement spending and increases tax revenues by closing loopholes.  “To me, that makes sense,” he said. “That way you don't raise tax rates, but you do generate new revenue by closing loopholes. You're giving money away to a few people at the expense of many, and I think it's time to reevaluate that.” The obvious solution, Graham said, is for Republicans to give some ground on taxes and for Democrats to give some ground on entitlements. But he doubts negotiators will get there before August 2nd. More from ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Gregory Catherine Simmons:  


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Amy Walter and Zach Wolf will sit down with Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Then, more from  Jonathan Karl’s interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,  in the latest installment of the “Subway Series” (preview above).  Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

“TOP LINE REPLAY”: DEM CONGRESSMAN: ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’. One Democratic congressman, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, said he’s tired of the debt debate being ‘held hostage’ by Republicans and “enough is enough,” he said on “Top Line” yesterday, ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports. Blumenauer “cited military spending, agriculture and ‘accelerating health care reforms,’ as “‘low-hanging fruit’” that could help to cut costs. “‘I'm willing to talk about a range of things, but the point is, it's got to be balanced, it's got to be focused,’ Blumenauer said.”



DEMOCRAT CAPTURES CALIFORNIA HOUSE SEAT. “In a hard-fought special congressional election marked by sharp divisions in ideology and even sharper personal attacks, Democrat Janice Hahn defeated underdog Republican Craig Huey on Tuesday,” the Los Angeles Times’ Jean Meryl reports. “Unofficial election night returns showed Hahn won 54.6% to 45.4%. Hahn opened with an early lead and held on to it throughout the night. Before even half the ballots were tallied, congratulatory messages began pouring into Hahn's election night party at a San Pedro waterfront restaurant, and one of the would-be successors to her Los Angeles City Council seat declared himself a candidate. Turnout was just more than 23% but still higher than in the May 17 primary, when less than 13.8% of voters cast ballots to put Hahn and Huey in first and second place, respectively, in a 16-candidate field. Democrats hold an 18-point registration edge in California's largely coastal 36th Congressional District, based in the South Bay. Jane Harman, a Venice Democrat, gave up the seat in February to run a Washington think tank. Most observers had expected Hahn, a member of a prominent local political family, to have little trouble winning after Democratic Secretary of State Debra Bowen was edged out of the runoff by Huey.”

REPUBLICANS RECRUITING AGAIN. “The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday will relaunch its Young Guns program, a candidate recruitment and development effort designed to bolster the party’s top prospects,” Politico’s Alex Isenstadt notes. “Under the program, which was instituted during the 2008 elections and revamped with great success during the party’s historic midterm election season, the House GOP campaign arm provides fundraising and infrastructure support to candidates who meet a series of campaign benchmarks. Participating candidates, who are assessed on goals ranging from budgeting to grass roots and coalition-building, must surpass three levels of development before attaining full Young Guns status. During the 2010 elections, the NRCC inducted 92 contenders into the program — 62 of whom went on to win. House Republicans raised $10.6 million to spread among the candidates. ‘Fresh off building a Republican majority, the Young Guns program is now the NRCC’s strike zone for gaining seats in 2012,’ NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions told POLITICO in a statement. ‘We are committed to staying on offense, and the goals for every level of Young Guns demand aggressive action and innovative strategies for candidates to build winning campaigns.’”

RICK PERRY WATCH: INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE. Rick Perry's job creating success in Texas appears to have gained international recognition, ABC’s Arlette Saenz reports. Case-in-point: the former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf requested a meeting with the Texas governor to discuss the Lone Star State’s economy. Perry and Musharraf met in Austin, Texas Tuesday and discussed ways to improve the economy and relations between the U.S. and Pakistan. Perry did not criticize the White House's decision to pull $800 million in aid to the Pakistani military but told Musharraf he hopes the two countries can work through their conflicts. Perry also picked up some support from Henry Barbour, the influential nephew of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who opted out of a presidential run, and many supporters of Gov. Barbour have told Henry they would back Perry should he decide to run. “I hope he does run,” Henry Barbour told the Washington Post. “I’ve talked to a number of folks who were going to support Haley had he run and a good percentage of them are very favorable to a Perry candidacy.

REMEMBERING BETTY FORD: ABC’s Cokie Roberts was among those who delivered a eulogy yesterday at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford in Palm Desert, Calif. Here’s an excerpt: “Her official ‘title,’ as it was for most political wives, was housewife. It was a title she shared with many American women and it gave her a great understanding of what women's lives were like. She said once: ‘Being a good housewife seems to me a much tougher job than going to the office and getting paid for it,’ she was giving words to the dirty little secret men always knew. Over the years, as she spoke out more forcefully for women’s rights, Mrs. Ford strongly defended the housewife’s role: ‘Downgrading this work has been part of the pattern in our society that downgrades individual women’s talents in all areas.’ No wonder women all over the country have spent this past weekend loving her anew.” Full text:  Video:



@carriedann: Fun coincidental fact: $86 million is the same amount AHIP gave the Chamber in 2009 to fight Obama's signature health care reform

@HotlineJosh: GOP pollster finds Rick Scott with abysmal 27%…

@JenniferJJacobs: Iowa straw poll tickets map out six competitors' tent spots. #iacaucus

@PounderFile: Check out the latest "Change Direction" ad from

@nedrapickler: Clemens starts at 9 with jury instructions then openings – courtroom full with line out the door. #clemens



(all times local)

* Rick Santorum attends the Republican Women's Club Breakfast in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at 8:30 a.m. At 4 p.m., he will discuss the Palmetto Family Council's challenge to presidential candidates in Spartanburg, and at 6:30 p.m., he will host a town hall and meet-and-greet at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.

* Newt Gingrich speaks at the summer meeting of the South Carolina electric cooperative in Charleston, S.C., at 8:30 a.m.

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