Obama, Democrats Battle Over Donor Cash

Thursday, 18 Aug 2011 08:21 AM

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Senate Democrats are worried that Barack Obama’s campaign money machine is “sucking up so much cash” from donors that little will be available for the party’s campaign to hold on to the Senate next year, several Democratic sources told Politico.

Senators have already pressed Obama campaign officials — including campaign manager Jim Messina — not to lock up the richest Democratic donors, but the presidential campaign declined to make such a promise, according to Politico.

Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks he needs at least $10 million in aid from the Democratic National Committee as well as the president’s re-election campaign to help pay for media in crucial battleground states like Florida.

But Messina has not agree to a request by Reid and other senators not to max out big donors, and no decision was made on the amount of financial backing that Senate Democrats will get from the DNC and the Obama-Biden campaign.

“We have a huge number of incumbents who are up this cycle and a lot of them have taken tough votes to enact significant portions of this president’s agenda and I think that there is a sense that there should be an all-hands-on-deck approach to keep the Senate in Democratic hands,” said one Democratic official familiar with the meeting to Politico.

“The biggest problem of all is that people are frustrated and disillusioned,” said Peter Buttenwieser, a major Senate Democratic donor and 2008 and 2012 Obama bundler. But Buttenwieser, a philanthropist who is heir to the Lehman Brothers securities fortune, predicted that Democratic incumbents would be well-financed this cycle.

Relations between the Obama administration and Senate Democrats have grown increasingly sour in recent months, and many Democrats were disappointed over the president’s eagerness to cut a debt-ceiling deal with House Speaker John Boehner.


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