JACKSONVILLE - No commodity is more valuable to an American president than his time, say veteran White House watchers and former administration officials.
So how does President Obama spend his? He explained it this way today at a grassroots rally here:
"I told you … I would wake up every single day, every single day and spend every waking hour thinking about you, fighting as hard as I knew how for you because I see myself in you."
Republicans say that line is just too cute by half. Today they hit the president in an email blast for "just more words." They note that tonight Obama will again set a new record for time spent fundraising by an incumbent.
He attends two high-dollar events in Florida that combined will rake in north of $875,000 from roughly four dozen supporters, according to figures provided by the Obama campaign.
The latest events raise to 185 the total re-election fundraisers he's attended for his campaign or the Democratic Party in his first term - setting another new all-time record. (George W. Bush attended just 86.)
Why is Obama spending so much time on the money trail?
Experts say that Obama is the first modern incumbent to forgo public financing for the general election campaign, forcing him into a non-stop sprint for cash to compete. He faces an army of pro-Republican super PACs and nonprofit outside groups which have amassed significant war chests. And, experts say, contribution limits (capped at $2,500 per person by the FEC) have not kept pace with the skyrocketing cost of campaigns and paid media. That means candidates have to reach more donors in a race to keep up.