The campaign has been firing off email missives aimed at working-class donors, Obama himself has been asking his 2008 big donors to re-up and the campaign is pressuring bundlers to rake in more cash. The search for new donors is a major priority.
“There is a sense of urgency that things are going well but we need to redouble our efforts,” said Don Peebles, a Washington real estate developer who sits on Obama’s national finance committee and is credited with bundling as much as $200,000 for the reelection campaign.
Peebles said there are “constant phone calls and discussions” among finance committee members — including a Monday call in which he did not participate — urging bundlers to pick up the pace. “Trying to find new big donors, that’s one of the big things,” he said.
The problem, he said, is that Obama is alienating potential big donors with attacks on Wall Street while his reelection campaign has already reaped the maximum contributions from its most supportive big donors. So the challenge for Obama bundlers is identifying and courting new donors “because the donors who are predisposed to give to him have already given,” Peebles added.
(...) “We could lose if this continues,” warned a blunt email sent by the Obama campaign to supporters on Monday.
“We had our best fundraising month yet, and we still fell about $35 million short. We can win while being outspent — but we need to keep it close,” said the email from Ann Marie Habershaw, the campaign’s chief operating officer. The email then asks for $3 or more to help close the gap. “If we can’t keep the money race close, it becomes that much harder to win in November,” she warned.
Even before the latest numbers were released, Obama urged donors to shell out cash early to defend against an onslaught on the airwaves come November.
On a conference call last month from Air Force One with donors who maxed out to his 2008 campaign but have yet to do so this time around, Obama warned that the May cash deficit could hurt the campaign’s chances to air ads and organize on the ground.
(...) Another Obama fundraiser said the pressure to bring in more cash has been constant. “There’s still pressure to raise,” that person said. Still, “I think if we were running 15 percent ahead of where we are, … it would still be that way.”
On the Air Force One call, Obama also lamented “the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign” and warned: “A few billionaires can’t drown out millions of voices.”
But attacks on Romney’s wealth and that of his supporters — an increasing Democratic tactic — are not going to help coax any new donors to write big checks, warned Peebles.
“It’s certainly not inspiring anybody who is on the fence about supporting Obama to rush to the phone or to the computer to contribute to him, that’s for sure. The inverse may be happening,” Peebles said, asserting such attacks may “tip them over to Romney and the Republicans or to do nothing.”