The Daily Beast is making news after obtaining a number of tapes in which the president reportedly pleaded with donors for more money sounding, according to the Daily Beast, "weary" and "a tad worried."
Described as a "rambling conference call" from Air Force One, the president allegedly spoke for 18 minutes about how Democrats are in danger of being outspent, in danger of losing Congress, and even in danger of losing the presidency.
The Daily Beast writes:
“The majority [of people] on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time,” the president said in a highly unusual (and presumably legal) fundraising pitch from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Colorado Springs, where he’d been assessing the terrible damage caused by uncontained wildfires. A special phone on the government aircraft is dedicated to political calls that are paid for by the campaign.
“I’m asking you to meet or exceed what you did in 2008,” the presidential pitchman continued, speaking to donors who were invited to dial in based on their contributions during the last election. “Because we’re going to have to deal with these super PACs in a serious way. And if we don’t, frankly I think the political [scene] is going to be changed permanently. Because the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign are just going to consolidate themselves. They’re [going to] run Congress and the White House.” [Emphasis added]
The report has prompted an unexpectedly bold headline from the Huffington Post, which traditionally leans left:
According to the Daily Beast, the president "hardly sounded like a man doing a victory lap after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare...Rather, Obama sounded like a dog-tired idealist forced to grapple painfully with hard reality."
“In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama allegedly said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately. And it turns out change is hard, especially when you’ve got an obstructionist Republican Congress.”
The president's party controlled both houses of Congress for roughly the first two years of his presidency, and still controls the Senate.
However, the speech then seemed to strike a more positive note.
“Nevertheless, we’ve gotten more done in the last three years than most presidents do in eight years … I just hope you guys haven’t become disillusioned. I hope all of you still understand what’s at stake and why this is so important … I still believe in you guys, and I hope you still believe in me and the possibilities of this campaign.”
He continued: “We don’t have to match these guys dollar for dollar because we’ve got a better grassroots operation and we’ve got a better message,” he said. “The American people—the nice thing is they agree with our message when they hear it. We just can’t be drowned out … A few billionaires can’t drown out millions of voices.”
Lamenting the outcome of Citizens United, Obama noted how Mitt Romney raised significantly more money than he did last month, before saying: “The good news is we’re spending a lot more money on our ground game and grassroots organizing and voter registration...We just can’t be outspent 10 to 1. That’s what happened in Wisconsin recently..."
He concluded: "If things continue as they have so far, I’ll be the first sitting president in modern history to be outspent in his reelection campaign.”
And while some are commenting that it is perfectly acceptable for the president to ask his donors for more money, it probably doesn't help his fundraiser-in-chief image--particularly when the national budget doesn't seem to be quite as pressing as that of his campaign.