Two Fundraisers Show Obama Campaign is in High Gear

Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012 12:21 PM

By Dan Weil

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Twenty-five people forked over $45,000 each to be part of a group discussion with President Barack Obama, in the first of two fundraisers  Monday night, The Hill reports.

So much for the Obama administration’s promise that the president wouldn’t do much campaigning this early in the election process.

He’s trying to use the GOP candidates’ infighting in New Hampshire to his advantage. At one of the fundraisers Monday, Obama offered his first swipe at his potential challengers.

“The very core of what this country stands for is on the line. Don’t take my word for it; watch some of these debates that have been going on up there in New Hampshire,” Obama said.

“That same common purpose [for American ideas and values] that still exists today ... maybe it doesn’t exist here in Washington and maybe not on the presidential debate stage up in New Hampshire ... but out in America, it’s there.”

At the first of the fundraisers Monday, 25 attendees ponied up $45,000 each to join the chat with Obama. Then the president scooted over to the second event, which featured a performance by musician Sara Bareilles.

On Wednesday, Obama heads to a fundraiser in Chicago that will include actor Hill Harper and musician Janelle Monae.

Obama obviously doesn’t enjoy being upstaged by the Republican presidential campaign.

“The president and his team clearly recognize that all the attention is on the Republican side,” Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, told The Hill. “He wants to remind people, especially his Democratic base and Independent voters, that’s he’s around, too.”

So recent protestations from top White House officials that Obama’s not going to do any serious campaigning yet obviously don’t mean much.

“He is very focused on his No. 1 priority, which is doing everything he can as president,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday. One senior staffer even said last week that Obama won’t campaign much until summer. Yeah, right.

“We suspected the turn to 2012 meant the end of governing, and the president is proving us right,” said Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman at the Republican National Committee.

Republican strategist Doug Heye told The Hill, “The White House seems to spend as much time denying their focus on fundraising as they do raising money from the 1 percenters they condemn. Next they’ll be telling us the president doesn’t own golf clubs as a pool report describes a chip shot from the back nine.”

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