President Obama, the first lady and Mitt Romney are all slated to attend high-price fundraisers over the next week as both parties turn to campaign finance attacks in attempts to paint the other as being out of touch with voters.
In what is expected to be the most expensive general election in history, Democrats have been blasting Republicans for using super-PACs to raise millions of dollars without revealing the names of the donors, while the GOP has sought to portray the president as campaigning at the expense of the taxpayer.
And on Monday Michelle Obama is holding a fundraiser in Tuscon, Arizona with the country musical band Calexico and charging $100 for young professionals, $500 to sponsor the event, and $10,000 to chair it.
Romney is scheduled to host a reception and roundtable fundraiser on Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton in Arlington, Va. The former Massachusetts governor is charging those interested in joining the roundtable discussion $20,000 in general election funds and $10,000 in PAC or primary funds. The roundtable is set to discuss tax reform policy, technology innovations and entrepreneurs, and trade relations and global competitiveness.
On Saturday, Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina sent an email to voters asking for donations of $3 or more, using the threat of Republican super-PACs as the reason to raise more money for the president's reelection.
“If the other side succeeds, we may never even know the names of the people who bought this election -- many of the outside groups are funded by anonymous sources, including corporations,” Messina wrote the email.
As an added incentive, Messina said, every donor will be automatically entered into a raffle that could win them a trip to Los Angeles to meet Obama at actor George Clooney's house.
At the end of last month, Romney finished with just over $10 million in the bank after having to spend heavily in the GOP primary, while Obama had $104 million cash on hand. But Romney recently joined fundraising ranks with the Republican National Committee (RNC), which will fatten his war chest considerably.
A top Romney fundraiser told The Hill on Wednesday that "people are coming out of the woodwork" to contribute to the campaign now that the primary is effectively over.
Republican backing super-PACs such as Crossroads GPS have far out-raised their Democratic-leaning rivals. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have combined to raise $100 million since the beginning of 2011, a group spokesman told The Hill. Priorities USA, the Obama-backing super-PAC, has raised only $8.8 million with $5 million in the bank.
Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) attacked Obama for using taxpayer money to take trips to college campuses in North Carolina, Iowa, and Colorado — three electoral battleground states — where he held large rallies to urge Congress to prevent a looming hike in student loan interest rates.
The trip was billed as official White House business, but Boehner said that claim “didn’t pass the straight-face test.” The Speaker said Obama was creating “a fake fight” purely for political purposes.
“This week the president traveled across the country on taxpayers’ dime at a cost of $179,000 an hour insisting the Congress fix a problem that we were already working on. Frankly, I think this is beneath the dignity of the White House,” Boehner said during his weekly Capitol press briefing.
The House on approved a bill that extends low interest rates on subsidized student loans for another year but pays for that extension by killing a piece of the 2010 healthcare law, which prompted a veto threat from Obama before the vote.
Boehner’s criticism of Obama’s travel follows by a day the Republican National Committee’s filing of a complaint with the Government Accountability Office. The complaint charged the White House with “passing off campaign travel as official events.”
The White House defended the trip as legitimate. “We are talking about a policy issue that needs to be acted on by Congress,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.