Obama Breaks Fundraising Precedent

Friday, 19 Aug 2011 12:09 PM

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President Barack Obama has already headlined 127 fundraising events for himself and fellow politicians during his first term, far outpacing the fundraising activity of the previous five presidents, reports USA Today.

President George W. Bush hosted only 88 fundraisers at this point in his presidency, with Bill Clinton trailing him at 76 fundraisers, according to data compiled by Brendan Doherty, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and affiliate of the non-partisan White House Transition project.

President Obama’s departure from this fundraising precedent reflects the virtual abandonment of the presidential public-financing system. That system limits what candidates can raise from private sources in exchange for receiving taxpayer dollars. But, private fundraising is proving more beneficial to Obama.

“We have entered the era of the permanent campaign,” said Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert at Colby College.

In 2008, Obama collected a record $745 million for his presidential campaign. He was the first major party nominee to reject public-financing since the program began in 1976.

During 2011, Obama has already raised more in the first three months of his re-election campaign — an astounding $46.3 million — than the entire GOP field combined.

“When the president spends so much time fundraising, he’s necessarily not doing other things that are important,” Doherty said.

Obama’s two major fundraising targets have been Washington, D.C., and donor rich California. He has attended 19 events in Washington and another 18 in the Golden State since coming to office.

“It certainly reinforces the idea that he’s more concerned about his own job than American jobs,” said California GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro. “He’s going to need a lot of money to paper over his bad record.”

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