Money Grab (The Note)

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


  • COLD, HARD CAMPAIGN CASH: The Obama campaign announced this morning that it raised $60 million in May - that's up from just over $43 million last month. In a tweet, President Obama noted that "98% of the donations the campaign received in May were less than $250, and the average donation was $54.94." But with the president on another Golden State fundraising swing this week, it seems like it's only a matter of time before the pace of his pursuit of campaign cash becomes a bigger issue for his opponents.
  • BATTLEGROUND VIRGINIA. Quinnipiac University released a new poll today showing President Obama leading Mitt Romney 47 percent to 42 percent in Virginia, which will be a critical state in November: As ABC's Rick Klein pointed out in Wednesday's Top Line, Mitt Romney almost has to win Virginia to win the presidency in 2012. VIDEO: "Virginia Is For Voters"
  • NOTE IT!: As ABC News Political Director Amy Walter observes, Bill Clinton may think the Obama campaign's attacks on Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital aren't working, but results from focus groups of female swing voters suggests otherwise.
  • VEEP BEAT: In today's veepstakes roundup, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio pens a strongly-worded Op-Ed on the situation in Syria: "By not pursuing a policy that takes bolder steps to stop Assad and assist the more pro-Western opposition leaders, we prolong this conflict and allow Syria to hurtle toward becoming a radicalized, failed state," Rubio writes in today's Wall Street Journal.


President Obama is on day two of a five-fundraiser Western blitz that took him to familiar territory of the well-heeled Democratic set - Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Mitt Romney's two-day fundraising swing through Texas was expected to net him in the neighborhood of $15 million this week. At just one fundraiser last night in Houston, the campaign announced a haul of $5.5 million.

"I know you're not writing checks for me, or even for the party," Romney said at a fundraiser in Dallas this week, "but because you are concerned about the country."

As the drama of the Wisconsin recall election dominated headlines over the last 48-hours, both candidates kept campaigning to a minimum while quietly raking in campaign cash - lots of it.

And as ABC's Devin Dwyer reports this morning, it's paying off. The Obama campaign announced on Twitter today that, along with the Democratic National Committee, it raised $60 million in May.

That's up from $43.6 million the campaign reported in April and $53 million it raised in March. And as Dwyer notes, at least $12 million of last month's total came from a single event at George Clooney's Hollywood-area home.

The Obama campaign and the DNC's combined haul for the cycle now stands at an impressive $460 million, and President Obama pointed out in a tweet this morning that "98% of the donations the campaign received in May were less than $250, and the average donation was $54.94."

The president used one of the high high-dollar events last night in Los Angeles to appeal to the gay community, telling donors that he "could not be prouder" of his administration's work on behalf of the LGBT community.

But it's only a matter of time before the pace of the president's pursuit of campaign cash becomes a campaign issue. The Republicans already "went there" last week, blasting the Obama-approved video featuring fashion icon Anna Wintour inviting supporters to a New York City fete with actor Sarah Jessica Parker.

And it's almost inevitable that we'll hear more from the GOP about a statistic that's already been getting some attention, according to a forthcoming book by a presidential watcher: "Barack Obama has already held more re-election fundraising events than every elected president since Richard Nixon combined."



ABC's RICK KLEIN: Maybe June is the cruelest month. Bad job numbers, an off-message former president, a Wisconsin embarrassment - all in the first week of the sixth month of this fourth year of the Obama presidency. The good news for Democrats? It's not the 11th month. A peek at the presidential schedule is instructive - and not just because it didn't include a stop in Wisconsin. The president is spending huge chunks of public time breaking his own fundraising records, reloading for the fall not the summer.

ABC's AMY WALTER: Bill Clinton and many in the chattering class may think that the attacks on Mitt Romney's record at Bain are a flop, but a group of women swing voters at two focus groups I watched last night suggest that they are working. While these women in Las Vegas and Richmond, Virginia still don't know much about Mitt Romney, a number of them volunteered that they were concerned about what they had heard about Romney's record from TV. Said Rebecca from Richmond, "the whole thing where factories have shut down - that concerns me."



with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)

OBAMA'S PRIDE-MONTH PITCH. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports: President Obama claimed the mantle of champion for the LGBT community on Wednesday night, telling a group of 600 gay and lesbian donors at a star-studded fundraiser that he "could not be prouder" of his administration's work to advance fairness and equality. … Gay and lesbian supporters have been some of Obama's most active and generous supporters, with many doubly energized when the president announced newfound support for same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News last month. The LGBT Leadership Council Gala at the Regent Beverly Wilshire tonight and a subsequent fundraiser at the home of "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy and his partner David Miller were expected to raise north of $2.5 million combined for the Obama Victory Fund, according to figures provided by the Obama campaign.

SORRY ABOUT THE HACKING. From ABC's Emily Friedman: The Secret Service is investigating a person who has apologized for hacking into a Hotmail account once used by Mitt Romney. … The hacker has since apologized in a letter addressed to Romney and published by Gawker. The Romney campaign declined to comment following the hacker's apology. … "I engaged in an egregious violation of another persons privacy, a violation made all the worse by way of your being a public figure who has so little privacy to begin with, a figure for whom what privacy can be found is doubtless a valuable gift," the hacker said. "A gift I took away. For this I am sorry. When I hacked in it struck me as funny at first, but now… I have never felt as bad about something I have done as I feel right now."

OBAMA CAMPAIGN: MONEY IN WI WAS 'TERRIFYING.' The Hill's Amie Parnes and Cameron Joseph report: "In an email to supporters, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina called Tuesday's outcome - and, more specifically, the super-PAC money spent on Walker - a 'terrifying experiment.' Messina said the money 'swung the election.' 'This kind of corporate and special-interest spending is exactly what we could be up against this fall,' he said before asking supporters to donate $3 or more to the president's reelection campaign."

BARNEY FRANK: RECALL WAS A 'BIG MISTAKE.' From The Hill's Cameron Joseph: "Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) slammed unions and liberal activists for pushing to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). 'I think the people on the Democratic side made a big mistake and the funding thing was a big deal,' Frank told The Hill Wednesday afternoon, alluding to Republicans' big cash advantage in the race. 'My side picked a fight they shouldn't have picked. The recall was upsetting to people, the rerun of the election with [Democratic Milwaukee Mayor] Tom Barrett - it's not a fight I would have picked.'"

LABOR PAINS. The Wall Street Journal's Kris Maher and Melanie Trottman report on declining union membership as a slew of states push laws that roll back benefits for public workers: "New figures show that membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees-one of the nation's largest and most politically powerful unions-is declining across the country. Membership in Afscme fell 4.2% to 1.32 million, from 1.37 million, between March 2011 and February 2012, according to internal union documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The union had declines in all but seven states. In the same period, the number of state and local workers nationwide fell less than 1%, according to the Labor Department. … Afscme saw membership drops in other states that are politically important and tend to be labor-friendly. In the 12 months ended in February, Ohio's membership fell 8.5%, Pennsylvania's dropped 3.4% and Michigan's declined 11.7%. In California, membership rose 2%."

OBAMA VS. ROMNEY: SMALL DONORS. From The Boston Globe's Michael Rezendes: "As of the end of April, 43 percent of the donors who contributed to the Obama campaign gave $200 or less, generating a total of $88.5 million, according to the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan Washington research group. By contrast, only 10 percent of those who gave to former governor Mitt Romney's campaign had made donations of $200 or less, accounting for $9.8 million. The gap in small-donor fund-raising shows that Obama and Romney are following radically different paths to raising the hundreds of millions of dollars that each will need to run a competitive race."

OBAMA AND BILL CLINTON: IT'S COMPLICATED. From The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Laura Meckler: "The Obama campaign was 'upset' with Mr. Clinton's [Bain] comments and complained to Clinton advisers, according to a person familiar with the matter. … Mr. Clinton's office issued a statement late Tuesday backtracking [on BUsh tax cut extension], after what one person people familiar with the matter described as an extended back and forth. An alliance between the past and current president was bound to be uneasy. The Obama campaign doesn't trust many outside surrogates to deliver its message. Often, the people making the case for the president on cable talk shows come from inner circle of the Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago-senior strategist David Axelrod and deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, for example. The campaign relies on just a few high-wattage surrogates, such as Govs. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Martin O'Malley of Maryland. The small circle amplifies the importance of having an ally of Mr. Clinton's stature."

CLINTON AIDES WERE SURPRISED. Politico's John Harris and Alexander Burns on the Romney/tax cuts comments: "This time was different: Clinton's team was as aghast as Obama's at how the boss had wandered blithely into remarks that left even sympathetic listeners wondering what exactly he was getting at. He also gave gleeful Republicans an opening to skewer Obama with a popular Democrat's own words."

PELOSI TO BOEHNER: CANCEL RECESS. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote to Speaker John Boehner in a letter on Wednesday, asking him to cancel next week's House recess. "Instead of recessing yet again, the House should remain at work and pass critical legislation that will create jobs for the middle class that will actually be signed into law. Republicans must not run out the clock on the economy. I call on you to cancel next week's recess - our ninth week-long recess of the year - and instead commit the House to working round the clock to address the highway and student loan laws, and to extend the middle-income tax cut without further delay," Pelosi wrote.

GOP SENATOR TO DOJ: INVESTIGATE BLOGGER HARASSMENT. From ABC's Arlette Saenz: A number of conservative bloggers allege they have been targeted through the use of harassment tactics such as SWAT-ting (fooling 911 operators into sending emergency teams to their homes), in retaliation for posts they have written, and now Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has stepped into the matter. He has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to investigate the SWAT-ting cases to see if federal laws have been violated. … Just after midnight on July 1, 2011, Patrick Frey, a deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles and a conservative blogger who writes under the name "Patterico," heard a pounding at his door as sheriff's deputies arrived to investigate a call from Frey's home about a man who claimed he had killed his wife. But no one in Frey's home had been killed, and no one had made a phone call to the police. "It's a phone call that could have gotten me killed," Frey wrote on his blog about the incident. Frey was cuffed by police while they woke up his wife, who was asleep in their room, and questioned her about the safety of the children.  Helicopters swarmed overhead with searchlights as the sheriff's deputies investigated.

OBAMA FUNDRAISES WITH WILLIE MAYS. From ABC's Devin Dwyer: t a fundraising luncheon in San Francisco this afternoon, President Obama received an enthusiastic re-endorsement from baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who likened the thrill of sharing a stage with the nation's first African-American president to playing in the World Series. "We have a man that we want to get back into the White House. We need him," said Mays, 81, who donned a baseball cap and a big grin, according to press pool reports from inside the event, which was closed to cameras. The Giants legend told the crowd of 270 donors in the Julia Morgan Ballroom that the sense of amazement he felt in the days after Obama won in 2008 still lingers today.

HERE COMES THE GREEN PARTY. From ABC's Matt Negrin: Hey, America: How would you like 25 million jobs, the end of unemployment and guaranteed college education? Those are just some of the promises made by Jill Stein, a 60-something Harvard graduate, doctor, musician and, as of last night, the Green Party's nominee-in-waiting for president. … Stein, who lives in Lexington, Mass., is only on the ballot in about half the states in the country. And after the arduous task of getting on all of them, she's got to vet a running mate.

OBAMA, ROMNEY AT CMT AWARDS. President Barack Obama and the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, appeared in a taped comedy skit that opened tonight's CMT Music Awards. As many politicians are apt to do in the middle of a partisan battle, both President Obama and former Gov. Romney refused to take sides in a dispute between Toby Keith and Kristen Bell on who should host tonight's awards show.

MICHELLE OBAMA SEES LONG ROAD AHEAD. From ABC's Devin Dwyer: "I am not going to kid you: this journey is going to be long, and it is going to be hard, and there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way," [Michelle] Obama told the crowd of 1,100 packed into the National Constitution Center. "But just remember that's how change always happens in this country. And if we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight. Eventually we get there, we always do," she said.

ANN ROMNEY: WISCONSIN RESULTS 'EXCITING.' ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports: While visiting a therapeutic horse riding facility here, Ann Romney said Tuesday night's results in Wisconsin were "pretty exciting." Romney put two thumbs up and broke into a grin when asked by ABC News her reaction to Gov. Scott Walker's win last night in the Badger State. … Mrs. Romney is on a three-day tour of Florida, campaigning for her husband, but there wasn't much talk of politics Wednesday at the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association. Instead she was focused on her favorite pastime: horses.

KERRY: MAYBE DON'T REPORT ON U.S. CYBER WAR. From Politico's Scott Wong: 'Sen. John Kerry on Wednesday questioned whether the New York Times should have published explosive stories last week about President Obama ordering cyberattacks against Iran's nuclear program.'I personally think there is a serious question whether or not that served our interest and whether the public had to know,' Kerry, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, told reporters. 'To me it was such a nitty-gritty fundamental national security issue. And I don't see how the public interest is well served by it. I do see how other interests outside the United States are well served by it.'"

RON PAUL CLAIMS 500 DELEGATES. Ron Paul has 137 delegates bound to support him as a presidential candidate in Tampa, according to the current ABC News estimate, but the candidate e-mailed supporters Wednesday night to announce a much larger presence, counting delegates bound to Romney who nonetheless support Paul and were elected at state and congressional-district conventions by organized Paul backers. Counting his bound delegates at 200, Paul wrote, "[W]e will send several hundred additional supporters to Tampa who, while bound to Romney, believe in our ideas of liberty, constitutional government, and a common-sense foreign policy. When it is all said and done, we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the Convention floor.  That is just over 20 percent!" In Tampa, 2,286 delegates will vote on the GOP's party platform, in addition to the presidential nomination. When they're not voting for Romney, Paul's supporters can vote however they like on other measures.

WATERS PROBE CONTINUES. From ABC's John Parkinson: "The ethics investigation of Maxine Waters, the California representative accused of steering $12 million in TARP funds to a minority-owned bank with ties to her husband, is set to resume. Today the House committee on Ethics released a letter to Waters, dismissing the embattled Democrat's allegations that her constitutional rights had been violated."

VEEP BEAT: Our daily look at all the action on the veepstakes front, brought to you by ABC's Arlette Saenz ( @ArletteSaenz ):

RUBIO ON SYRIA:  Rubio penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal explaining why the fall of Bashar al-Ashad's regime in Syria is in the interest of the United States and urged immediate action be taken by the U.S. to advance this cause.  "By not pursuing a policy that takes bolder steps to stop Assad and assist the more pro-Western opposition leaders, we prolong this conflict and allow Syria to hurtle toward becoming a radicalized, failed state whose violence will spill over and threaten its neighbors. Such an outcome would damage American interests and delight Iran and Hezbollah," Rubio said.

RED OR BLUE? DON'T ASK MARCO RUBIO:  Sen. Marco Rubio revealed Tuesday that he's colorblind when he was asked about his own fashion sense by The Hill's Judy Kurtz.  Rubio admitted he has a secret weapon for navigating through the fashion world - his wife Jeanette. "I depend on my wife to match things," Rubio told The Hill. "Like this blue tie I have on, for example," Rubio joked as he pointed to the red tie he was wearing.

PAWLENTY: ROMNEY TOPS OBAMA AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF:  In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Mitt Romney would be a better commander-in-chief than President Obama. "His drone strikes and killing of Osama Bin Laden obviously are positives, but they don't go far enough," Pawlenty said in on The Situatin Room.



@peterbakernyt: How Obama advisers reassure Israel on Iran while staying mum at home.  @marklandler explains

@mlcalderone: El Huffington Post launches:

@JohnJHarwood: Q: Would Bill Clinton attack Bain record if running against Romney? Clinton strategist Paul Begala: "Three words: Guaran Damn Tee."

@Chris_Moody: House GOP plan experimental online messaging blitz before health care ruling


-President Obama will deliver remarks on college affordability at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

-Mitt Romney holds an event at Production Products in St. Louis, Mo.

-Michelle Obama holds a grassroots campaign event with local supporters at the VFW Post 1503 in Dale City, Va.

-Ann Romney will tour breast cancer unit of The Woodlands in Pensacola,Fla.

ABC's Joanna Suarez


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