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Frantic Fundraising on Air Force One

In case you couldn’t tell from the dozens of Obama campaign emails you get each week begging for $3 contributions, or donations in lieu of wedding gifts, the president’s reelection team is apparently nervous about its money game. Exhibit B: The Daily Beast obtained a recording of a frantic 18-minute fundraising solicitation made by President Obama during a donor conference call on Air Force One:

The president’s 18-minute pleading—a recording of which was provided to The Daily Beast by an Obama contributor—hardly sounded like a man doing a victory lap after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding ObamaCare, as the Affordable Care Act has come to be known. Or, for that matter, like a candidate who has been beating his Republican opponent in recent polls of key battleground states.

Rather, Obama sounded like a dog-tired idealist forced to grapple painfully with hard reality. “In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately. And it turns out change is hard, especially when you’ve got an obstructionist Republican Congress.”

Romney has been playing up his cash windfall in the wake of the ObamaCare decision, and the Obama campaign doesn’t want to get crushed in the money competition like it did in May. The candidates will be disclosing their June fundraising numbers soon, and Saturday was the last day for donors to get in under the wire. The Obama campaign claims it raised even more money than Romney off the SCOTUS decision, but won’t disclose the figures, which tells you all you really need to know:

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said via Twitter on Friday that the former Massachusetts governor had raised the money through 47,000 online donations. “Thanks for everyone’s support for #FullRepeal!” she tweeted, referring to the candidate’s vow to repeal and replace the healthcare law if he is elected president on November 6.

Obama’s campaign said they had also raised a lot of money since the Supreme Court issued its ruling, but officials would not give any figures to back up the assertion.

Obama is under pressure to provide evidence he outraised Romney, which explains the desperate phone call. As the Daily Beast reports, Obama reassured donors he still has a superior ground game, and noted that early money is better than late money — in other words, it’s not a major problem if he’s lagging behind Romney at this stage in the election. This isn’t entirely true, as Obama wasn’t raising remarkable figures, even early on. He’s also been burning through money at a much faster rate than Romney.

Then there’s the legal questions about raising money on Air Force One. The plane must count as federal property, so is fundraising solicitation prohibited on it? President Clinton came under fire in 1997 for making fundraising calls on the Oval Office phone, which seems like a similar situation.


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