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Tags: emanuel | runs | super | pac

Emanuel Quits Obama Campaign To Help Super PAC

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:24 PM

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has left Barack Obama’s re-election campaign to raise money for a super- political action committee backing the president and other Democrats, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Emanuel, who resigned his campaign post last month, has already raised $3 million for Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC founded by former White House officials, said one of the people, both of whom requested anonymity.

The news of Emanuel’s departure, reported earlier today by the Washington Post, comes as federal disclosure filings show Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney and his allies with more cash on hand than the president and his supporters.

Romney, the Republican National Committee and two super- political action committees backing him reported a combined bank account balance of $169 million on July 31. That compared with $107 million for Obama, the Democratic National Committee and Priorities USA Action.

Emanuel spoke to big donors at a brunch this morning in Charlotte, North Carolina -- one of three special activities planned for them during this week’s Democratic National Convention. The brunch was held at a private home and also included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other elected officials as “special guests,” according to an invitation posted online by Politico.

Plea for Money

Last night, about 120 people from the same group of donors listened to Democratic strategist Paul Begala during a cocktail party near the convention arena. Begala, who has assisted Priorities with fundraising, stood atop a table and urged donors to write more checks.

“I don’t want you to give until it hurts. I want you to give until it feels good,” Begala later said in an interview that he had told them.

The super-donor activities conclude tomorrow night with a music bash after Obama’s gives his nomination acceptance speech. All three events are sponsored by Unity Convention 2012, a group that includes Priorities, as well as two super-PACs devoted to helping Senate and congressional candidates.

Emanuel, 52, a onetime White House chief of staff to Obama, said the president will give a “big, visionary” acceptance speech tomorrow night at the convention.

‘Where We’re Going’

Speaking at a Bloomberg News/Washington Post breakfast today in Charlotte, the Chicago mayor said Obama needs to tell the nation “this is where we’re going, and this is how we’re going to get there” on how he would lead during a second term.

“I wouldn’t give a speech on the role of government,” Emanuel said later. “This is not a political science class.”

“They are going to hold out to the very end to make a decision,” he said of a sliver of undecided voters who remain on the sidelines, typically less than 10 percent in polls.

The mayor also worked as an adviser under former President Bill Clinton, who headlines tonight’s convention speakers. Emanuel said he expects Clinton’s speech will have “a little more edge” than some might anticipate.

Voters sometimes have a “hazy image” about the bipartisanship attributed to the Clinton administration, Emanuel said.

‘Don’t Remember’

“I don’t remember that bipartisanship” during those years, he said, referring to 1990s fiscal disputes that led to a shutdown of the government and fights over education and the environment.

Obama and Clinton have grown closer, and any distance in their relationship during the first part of Obama’s presidency is understandable, given the 2008 Democratic primary fight that Obama waged with Clinton’s wife, Emanuel said.

“President Obama beat Hillary Clinton,” he said. “Bill Clinton is a very protective husband and very competitive. It took him more time to get over it. He got over it.”

Obama made Clinton secretary of state. Clinton voted for Obama in 2008 and will do so again in 2012, Emanuel said.

“And he’s going to campaign vigorously for him wherever he wants,” he said.

Emanuel declined to predict odds for an Obama victory over Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and private-equity executive. He said the race is close and three presidential debates scheduled for October will be “consequential,” and especially influential for undecided voters.

“They are going to hold out to the very end to make a decision,” he said of a sliver of undecided voters who remain on the sidelines, typically less than 10 percent in polls.

Emanuel said Republicans aren’t “too happy with their nominee” and are already looking toward the 2016 presidential campaign, including the potential candidacy in that race of Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

--With assistance from John McCormick and Jonathan Salant in Charlotte. Editors: Robin Meszoly, Mark McQuillan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hans Nichols in Charlotte at hnichols2@bloomberg.net; Julie Bykowicz in Charlotte at jbykowicz@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 02:24 PM
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