A $150 Million Month: But Plouffe Says “Not Enough”


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Obama has raised a breathtaking $150 million over the last month. Incredible.
But Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who reported the take said enough isn’t enough.
According to CNN:

In a video to supporters, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said a record 632,000 new donors gave to the campaign, with the average contribution under $100. More than 3 million donors have given so far.
The Obama campaign raised $65 million in August.
Regardless of the stunning haul, Plouffe told supporters the campaign still needed more money because “of the slime that we’re getting from the McCain campaign.” Plouffe cited recent attack ads and robo calls in battleground states and said the campaign needed to have every resource to “fight back.”
“Their campaign is going to descend even more into the gutter,” he said.
Plouffe also said the campaign was expanding its reach to compete “aggressively” in West Virginia.

The country is hurting. Lots of people are going to see their incomes and financial situation take a hit.
Obama is doing an incredible job in this campaign and fundraising at historical levels.
However, I’m uncomfortable with statements that sound like a ravenous campaign beast can’t stop itself from wanting more, more. . .and more.
— Steve Clemons


20 comments on “A $150 Million Month: But Plouffe Says “Not Enough”

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    DavidT..don’t worry about your tone…it’s far superior to the tone I usually encounter when discussing my opinions on these issues with other Obama supporters….at this point the issue of Hillary on the ticket is moot..the die is cast and it is what it is..I think it was a mistake, you don’t.
    Since neither candidate won a majority of delegates by popular vote and the nomination was won by superdelegates pressured to choose before Denver, I’m sure if Obama had won the popular vote but lost the nomination, Obama supporters would question the fairness, too, especially if he were passed over… as a woman, I would have preferred her to be the choice, especially since there is so little difference on the issues between them or Joe Biden, who, God love him., didn’t have a strong organization to bring to the fray, or many electors from DE. and lacks the excitment that a first woman would have brought.
    Before we started our discussion, I had already expressed my feelings and thoughts, ad nauseum for many here, I’m sure, so I’m going to move on, out of consideration to them.
    I will say that what I accomplish in voting for Ralph Nader is preserving an alternative route to the ballot, I happen to prefer our Founding Father’s original method of being nominated…petition signatures…no politcal parties…rights, like muscles will atrophy if not exercised..
    Further the dynamics of public opinion is such that the extreme opposite ends of the poiltical spectrum are what determine the center..without the extreme left, the center would be much further to the right, so we on the far left do serve a vital function…
    No disrespect, but I find the canned “wisdom”‘ on Nader and why Gore lost tiresome. 97.000 Fla Demz voted for Nader…300,000 Fla Demz voted for Bush..how is that Nader’s fault? Then there was the Dem designed butterfly ballot and Gore being ill-advised by his high-powered attorney to call for only a partial recount, which opened it to legal challenge..Gore was entitled to a full recount..had he asked for that, there would have been no legal grounds to raise with the Supreme Court, plus he would have won…again, why is Gore’s bad legal advice, Nader’s fault?
    And lastly, when the Black Congression Caucus objected to the seating of the Fla electors, they needed one Senator to sign on..but Demz being basically invertebrates, this didn’t happen..again, why is this Nader’s fault? Demz would do better to look to their own failings than to blame Nader….
    While Gore was still in school and his Pappy was raising tobaccy, Nader was forming The Greens Party and doing the groundbreaking to get this wasteful, plastic nation of conspicuous consumers to pay attention to the environment, pollution, conservation… Gore got the prize, but it was Nader who did the heavy lifting….
    I don’t know how long you have been involved in the politcal process or in what capacity, or if you’ve ever been a delegate to a convention, but I’ve been at this since 1967 in various capcities, mostly research, position papers and strategy…there”s only one certainty I have at this point in time..the voting publlic is a fickle beast…a candidate can have a solid lead in the polls and still lose for reasons that analysts debate for decades.
    My lack of enthusiasm for Obama is predicated on his voting record…supporting the Patiot Act, Military Commission Act, FISA, skipping the vote on Kyl-Lieberman and of course war funding…Hillary at least didn’t duck out of Kyl-Lieberman and voted the right way on FISA…Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich were more to my taste.
    Hope you have cause to celebrate…now I’m in transition from my summer home to my winter home, so my commenting for this week will be, dare I say, erratic..


  2. DavidT says:

    You ended your post on a very respectful tone. I now realize that I should have done better to mirror your approach.
    Sorry you’re pessimistic. I am very optimistic.
    It may be, somehow, that we have completely different sources of information. I check fivethiryeight.com (a fantastic polling site) and The New Republic, CNN, Time, Newsweek, several daily newspapers, and so on and so on and they all contend that things are looking terrific for the Democrats. But noone will really know until November 4th (or 5th). Perhaps you’re anecdotal evidence has persuaded you that the “mainstream media” is wrong.
    Hope I’m right too — for both our sakes and for the country.


  3. DavidT says:

    Well Kathleen,
    I understand your frustration – in general with our electoral system and the way much of our politics is conducted. There are lots of things I don’t like about our system but I’m not sure how to translate those dislikes into political change.
    I too am for public financing of elections and would prefer more extended debates and content distribution (as opposed to negative advertising) in efforts to take the White House. But most of these feelings I have don’t point me in the direction against Obama or for McCain or longing for Clinton or any other candidate.
    You may feel that a vote for Nader will help. I don’t see how and feel (as do so many others) that but for Ralph Nader we could have been without those eight miserable years of W occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
    In terms of Hillary as the vp, you have every right to feel as you do. I am unaware of the evidence to support your contention that her presence on the ticket would have more united the party than Senator Biden. The party is about as united as it’s ever been. Whatever challenges Obama may have looked like he was facing after the Republican convention were amongst Independents and Republicans.
    I also don’t understand why you feel so strongly since Clinton and Obama don’t differ all that much on the issues. In addition, you’ve indicated you were not a Hillary supporter so why do you care so much if she was put on the ticket? You seem especially unhappy about candidates who don’t support impeachment, however Senator Clinton was no more a supporter of such an effort than is Senator Obama. If she had won the nomination, I would feel that it would be wisest for her to choose whoever she felt would best help her get elected even if Senator Obama had gotten 18 million votes.
    I had mixed feelings about Obama not taking public financing but am less troubled by than I otherwise might be since my primary reason for being in favor of public financing is so special / moneyed interests don’t have more influence than they already have over the process – which is far less of an issue given that Obama has gotten contributions from 3 million people so far. So given that he didn’t take public financing, I am at a loss as to what defines the “right amount” or too much spending. Whether or not you or I like Madison Avenue, Obama’s not accepting public financing didn’t much change how the public airwaves are used in paid campaign advertising. Thus I don’t know what the “right” amount is for him to spend. I do believe, however, again, that this presidential campaign is far more important than Dove soap sales which is why I’m not so troubled with the amount of money spent.
    As for the Clinton contribution to the Obama turnaround I don’t know what your basis is. The Clinton’s campaigning for Obama probably helped somewhat but only marginally. You may view the Clintons as having been very gracious and being good soldiers. I viewed their campaigning as just as much in their interests as in Obama’s given the harm they had done to their reputations during the primary and leading up to the Democratic Convention.
    No-one can say for sure why there was such a turnaround in the polls but I think you left one compelling explanation out. In 1980 Ronald Reagan was behind in the polls for most of the campaign, in spite of facing a very unpopular president. Yet he won decisively on November 4th, 1980. I think the situation is not so dissimilar today. Before the presidential debates people had great fears of Reagan (and probably Obama, or at least discomfort due to their lack of familiarity with him). The debates as a number of analysts have argued is what made all the difference for Reagan. This is not because he was such a brilliant debater but because he didn’t look so scary to people when they saw him facing off against Carter. Once they were no longer scared of him, voters who weren’t ready to take a giant gamble on someone they feared — as much as they disliked the incumbent — no longer viewed a vote for Reagan as such a gamble and thus were freed to vote for him.
    I think the debates have had a similar effect for Obama. Though I might add that I think in spite of the early ballyhoo over Palin, I think that her selection has hurt McCain with independents. Also, McCain’s capriciousness in halting his campaign and suggesting he might not be at the first debate and then playing very little role in the Congressional efforts to pass the Paulson legislation (for lack of a better term) contributed. The financial crisis of course pushed things even more in this direction.
    I don’t know what to say about your feeling that he looks strained with Clinton nearby. He may have had a stomach ache for all I know. However, I suspect he is not entirely comfortable with Hillary and vice versa. We don’t need to go into why that isn’t surprising but I don’t know why that says anything negative about him. In fact, you might even say that that’s a positive in that he’s not so good at pretending.
    Again, on the Rendell thing, I don’t think (again with respect) it’s worth commenting on since there’s so little information on this to develop any sort of theory about anything.
    My sense, please forgive me for being frank, is that you have a certain view of Obama (for whatever reason) and when you read materials involving this campaign you take in that which bolsters your view. That’s true of all of us to a certain extent. However in this case, I believe, there isn’t very much evidence relative to all the available evidence to support some of your contentions (even if they may be true). And in this way you are with Steve Clemons who I was critical of for the same reason – namely he was expressing a view he had, which is his right of course, but supporting it with the flimsiest of evidence.
    All the best.


  4. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Meant to say “breathing easier”.


  5. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    DavidT… Again, I agree with Steve… the whole political process is a ravenous beast with a tape worm.. until both parties agree to campaign within the bounds of campaign finance law, this is just going to get worse.
    I know BO didn’t promise to accept matching funds, but he did promise to reach out to McPain to reach an agreement on it and then didn’t…this really bothers me…..as MyLegacy points out, we’ll soon be contributing every month of the year, every year…the issue of campaign finnance reform is so important to me, I only contribute to Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund, not the DNC, because he actually does adhere to campaign finance laws…lip service just doesn’t cut it with me.
    I know how much money advertising agencies spend on selling soap, but electing representatives to our gov’t is not selling soap and should be handled differently….personally, I think paid poliitcal announcements should be banned and in their place, a series of serious debates and town hall meetings, broadcast on C-Span should be the way. Why should Madison Avenue and the MSM be enriched by our political process? Their coverage of the campaigns is colored by their profit margins and they have an undue influence in our process…also, paid political ads are where the majority of mudslinging occurs…we could do without that, altogether…
    All of which brings me back to the issue of the Veep choice…I said back then that not picking Hillary would mean we would all have to work 10x as hard and have to contribute 10x as much money to end up with a stealable sqweeeeeker…
    I disagree that choosing Hillary would not have brought about party unity…sometimes running mates are chosen to balance the ticket on issues, sometimes it’s for geography…this time the first black and the first woman would have been dynomite…besides Hillary had a vast national organization to bring to the table…they could have been working shoulder to shoulder, but if Team Obama is so unsavvy they would diss a popular Governor of an important swing state because he was a Hillary supporter, you can be sure this same kind of petty snarkiness is being repeated all across the country, to Hillary supporters…actions speak louder than words and you can throw out a few grudging compliments to Hillary, but it won’t undue slighting people, no matter how much money you spend. Look at the expression on Obama’s face in the picture with Hillary and Ed Rendell…he looks like someone held a dead fish under his nose.
    As for me seeing the Obama light, anyone who can’t see anything that rises to an impeachable offense in this adminstartion needs to have their eyes checked…that said,I like the idea of a black president and black first family…I think it would be healthy for the nation’s psyche…but having just run into the Bradely effect in my own backyard, I don’t think people are aware of how deeply entrenched this is and I wish Hillary were on the ticket.
    The concern about Bill, I think,is spurious at best…all candidates and spouses say the wrong thing in the wrong way from time to time, certainly Joe Biden has…Bill was a very popular President and still is…BO was tanking in the polls after the Palin choice and that didn’t turn around until BO went to Bill to ask for help…when Bill and Hillary went out on the stump, it turned things around.,,, the meltdown, of course also helped, but that was not Obama’s doing..he’s just the political benficiary…..
    Elected officals like Hillary and Ed Rendell have no choice but to be good soldiers, but non-elected people have no such “motivation”…while they might not go so far as to vote for a Repug, they could easilly be dispirited enough to stay home…perhaps not a big group, but if you add all the disaffected groups from Hillary supporters to impeachment supporters to people who won’t vote for a black person, this could add up to a slim margin at best before all is said and done.
    Let’s hope you’re right and I’m wrong…my son called from Tahoe today to say he’s already voted for Obama, but, all on his own, he still thinks it was a big mistake to not have Hillary on the ticket, primarilly because his ultra conservative neighbors were sweating all summer that Hillary would be on the ticket…now they’re beating easier….


  6. roger says:

    Mylegacy said… “I fear every American will soon be giving money
    every month – year round – to ‘his party of choice.'”
    ROFL!!! Aren’t all of us working stiffs doing that right now? Recently
    I’ve been donating over $20K a month. :o(


  7. roger says:

    “Personally, I think it’s disgusting to see so much money pissed
    away in presidential contests.”
    Personally, I think it’s criminal to see so much money pissed away
    by the White House.


  8. Gene says:

    $150 million is quickly gobbled up … as you can see here:


  9. Mylegacy says:

    Obama’s fund raising is making me nervous.
    The reason the “right” was so powerful (still is) is that all the Fundy churches goose stepped their members to the polls. After seeing how successfully Obama’s “everyman” campaign is getting amazing money – I’m afraid these guys are going to start a “tithe” their members $20 a month, or so, every month, every year, to fund their Repugnant “god hates fagg*ts” culture wars.
    Unless we end up with some form of “campaign funding control/restrictions/whatever” I fear every American will soon be giving money every month – year round – to “his party of choice.”
    Obama has collected over $600,000,000.00 !!!!!! since he began his run in the primaries – that is mind boggling money – obscene money. We really have to look at campaigns that run for TWO YEARS!!! That is truly crazy.
    What are we going to do? Hope that Barack has a good idea – knowing him I’m sure he will.
    Is it November 4th yet?


  10. David T says:

    $150 million is a lot of money by historical campaign standards. But its not otherwise a lot of money on a national scale. How much money is spent on advertising dove soap in this country? On Crest?
    Secondly for those who are hurting, its nice for you to be concerned. I am as well. However I thought (based on a post in the last week or so) you were concerned that the Obama campaign was taking a victory lap and not taking the Republican challenge seriously enough (and thus could still lose). This post seems to suggest that you feel otherwse.
    Finally, I think that those who are hurting will be holding on tight to their remaining resources. However for those who are doing fine, I would rather their $200 go to increasing the Obama electoral margins and possibly thereby increasing the chances of a veto-proof Democratic Senate.


  11. rich says:

    Restraint? I’ve always been repulsed by the ravenous campaign beast, and by the notion that more money is a solution rather than a problem — but you’re counseling restraint??
    When NO Republican of stature has called John McCain to account for robocalling and inciting fear and hate, and actually claiming Obama’s associated with Bill Ayers?? Which would make Annenberg and several Republicans who served on his Board equally guilty by assocation. It took Colin Powell to call McCain out on this—others concern has been muted, meek and eminently ignorable—and Powell’s impact when and where it matters will be negligible at best.
    With this as backdrop, there’s now way in hell Barack Obama can afford to ease up, get comfortable and start to coast.
    IN the absence of real integrity or leadership on the part of Republican party establishment in reining in John McCain’s dishonest, fearmongering campaign strategy, it’s wholly unreasonable to call for restraint on the Democratic side.
    Obama needs that money because it is the ONLY thing that can counteract the all-too-telling silence on the part of Republican pundits, politicos and think-tankers. Mumbling discomfort does not cut it.


  12. Dan Kervick says:

    I just sent Obama another $100 bucks this morning.
    Complacency is indeed a very real problem. I expect a furious and desperate Republican push these last two weeks, with a media barrage of hate, paranoia, lies and all-around ugliness, along with organized efforts across the country to intimidate and harass likely Democratic voters, and to throw up countless legal roadblocks to their voting.
    One thing we know about the right wing: there is only one thing they hate more than blacks, Hispanics, liberals, Muslims, agnostics, taxes, immigrants, foreigners, entitlement programs, evolution, knowledge and peace – they hate losing. They would rather sell their daughters into sex slavery than lose a presidential race to Democrats. And right now they feel trapped and cornered. During the next two weeks, they will willingly detach themselves from their last remaining appendages of dignity, honor and honesty, just the way an animal will gnaw of its own limbs to escape a trap.
    This is a ground war being fought in many battleground states. It’s not going to be won in the studios of Meet the Press. The money is essential.


  13. daCascadian says:

    Steve I honestly have to say you must be really really out of
    touch with the real world out here that most of us live in day to
    ANYTHING that it takes to crush the Republican party as it now
    exists is NOT too much. These people must not be just driven
    from any power at all but their organizations MUST be
    completely destroyed.
    Give no quarter, take no prisoners.
    Their corrupt fascist behavior MUST be rooted out from all
    areas of American life. Otherwise they will be back & continue
    to corrupt the daily life of billions of us here on the planet.
    “…It`s the end of the world as we know it…” – REM


  14. darrix says:

    David Plouffe makes the case for additional
    support but near the end of the video does qualify
    the request for financial support by saying “if
    you can do that” while also noting all the other
    ways people are supporting and can continue to
    support the campaign. I’d be more concerned about
    this if we were talking about big donors being
    tapped. And, frankly, this also is a call to his
    supporters to stay fully engaged.
    No victory lap here.


  15. Joan says:

    It is too early to know if Obama has sufficient funds, I don’t think the data is available yet. One needs to consider all the money in this election: the campaigns, the parties and the 527’s. When this is over it would be helpful to see an accounting of how the moneys were deployed, the more details the better. Examples would be cost per vote nationally and by major market, the ratio of contributors to votes, the ratio of volunteers to votes, the ratio of ad dollars to votes, the ratio of ad minutes to votes, etc. Yes, I am asking for a Sabermetrics of presidential politics.
    Somebody must be working on it Steve. Point me in the right direction.


  16. Bill R. says:

    Isn’t this the same Steve who accused the Obama campaign of being overconfident and “taking a victory lap.” So now they are underconfident because they keep asking for campaign contributions? Obama can’t win with you, Steve. Too successful in gaining the financial support of three million Americans? That’s a fault I would love a candidate to have.


  17. Keith says:

    Given the fact that the RNC and 527’s (and their unlimited cash
    donations) can still try and weigh-in on the election in the last two
    weeks and the serious investment Obama has made in ads and
    ground game, I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask for more
    donations. They aren’t taking ANYTHING for granted. That’s how I
    see it. Your mileage clearly varies.


  18. geek says:

    If anyone thinks that the amount of money raised makes a huge
    difference in selling a candidate, they need to step back and look
    at the massive amounts of money some of the auto companies
    have spent to sell cars, that were judged by people not as good as
    Advertising helps with name recognition but unless the product is
    better than the competition it will not sell,


  19. Bill R. says:

    Come on, Steve! The campaign manager can’t and shouldn’t say they don’t need more money. What do you expect him to say, “we’ve got all we need now, stop giving!” Because they do need all the money they can get to beat back the ravenously vitriolic and unprincipled campaign of the opponent. Once again you are nitpicking. You’re “uncomfortable” because this campaign has been the most successful in history in raising money and doing it in way that has democratized a national election in an amazing way through three million small contributors who all have made a financial stake in this candidacy. My reaction is that I’m impressed and amazed, and I say, keep going Obama!


  20. WharfRat says:

    Personally, I think it’s disgusting to see so much money pissed away in presidential contests. Obviously, meaningful campaign finance reform is a joke as a long as there’s that much money to be pumped into high-powered PR firms and media conglomerates. The very stuff of America. I’ve donated here and there to Obama because I believe in his candidacy, but every month it turns my stomach a little to know how much money is being misspent.


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