Progressives take on White House in fundraising pitch

In a clear sign of tension between the Obama adminsitration and the left, progressives are attempting to raise money by criticizing press secretary Robert Gibbs's recent comments about liberal activists.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) sent a letter to supporters Thursday criticizing Gibbs for having "ranted" against liberal activists in an interview with The Hill.

"White House spokesman Robert Gibbs ranted against progressives to a reporter this week," PCCC co-founder Adam Green wrote.

"Progressives who are pushing the president to fight strongly include millions of people who voted for him and worked tirelessly for him in 2008," Green continued. "And PCCC members won't shy away from pushing Obama to fight strongly for the big change he campaigned on."

Political committees usually point to members of the opposite party as political bogeymen in fundraising pitches. While PCCC has not been shy about criticizing the Obama administration — it vigorously supported a primary opponent to Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), whom the White House preferred — using a prominent Obama aide as a fundraising foil is a notable development.

Here's an excerpt from Sam Youngman's original report on Gibbs's comments:

"I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”