Obama steps up 2010 fundraising push despite facing policy challenges

Even though the midterm elections are still a year away, President Barack Obama and the White House have started to unleash the fundraising force of the administration for candidates and campaign committees.
 
Though the president and his advisers continue to look for ways to create jobs in a woeful economy, reform healthcare and devise and implement a strategy for the war in Afghanistan, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are increasingly staying busy working to keep Democrats in office.
 

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Obama and Biden have done well more than two dozen fundraisers for candidates for the House and Senate, the Democratic campaign committees and the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates running this year. About half of them have come in the last month, and the pace is quickening.
 
This week, the leaders of the Democratic Party with the Midas touch will be on the road raising money for the Democrat in New York’s 23rd district special election, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other candidates. The White House has not released a full schedule for the week.
 
On Friday night, the president will travel to Connecticut to raise money for embattled veteran Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd.
 
On Oct. 26, the president will be in Miami raising money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), for which committee chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is trying to raise extra money by circulating a donor e-mail promising them a chance to have their picture taken with the president.
 
The extra push comes as Democrats find themselves increasingly endangered by tough policy votes on issues that are further dividing the country politically, like healthcare.
 
While Obama has been a popular draw for Democratic candidates since he gave the speech that introduced him to the world at the Democratic presidential convention in 2004, he now has the full weight of the White House behind him.
 
Even former President George W. Bush at his nadir of popularity would sell out Republican fundraisers.
 
But Obama continues to enjoy immense popularity despite the beating his administration is taking from critics on both sides of the aisle.
 
Even though analysts say Democrats are treading in increasingly dangerous water, Obama and Biden have helped the Democratic campaign committees keep their edge to try to maintain majorities in the House and Senate.
 
But perhaps troubling for the party and the White House is the fact that the Republican National Committee (RNC) is increasingly outraising the DNC.
 
One DNC aide, speaking on background, noted that the DNC has still enjoyed significant fundraising "despite the fact that we, at the president's request, have not accepted a dime from lobbyists or PACs."
 
Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for the DNC, said the committee is "appreciative of the support the president continues to receive around the country."
 
"I think much of the success can be attributed to the president's broad appeal and his request that we have a number of low-dollar fundraisers," Sevugan said.
 
When asked if he anticipated an increase in the number of party fundraisers in the near future, Sevugan noted that Obama is focused on domestic and national security issues.
 
"Whenever we get the president, we're pleased, but we understand he's got a lot on his plate right now," Sevugan said.

One question that continues to be asked is how much Obama will get involved in next month’s two gubernatorial contests. He has raised money previously for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Virginia gubernatorial nominee Creigh Deeds, but both will hope to get his help as their races close.
 
Deeds, who trails in recent polling, has hinted recently that the president is not done helping out his campaign. Corzine is neck-and-neck with former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R), and seems a more likely candidate for an Obama bump in blue New Jersey.
 
In addition to Obama’s support for Democrat Bill Owens in the New York special election, he also gave a shout out to the Democratic nominee in a special election in California on Thursday. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi is a strong favorite in that race over Republican David Harmer, so more involvement from the president isn’t seen as necessary.


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