July 22nd, 2014
08:31 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama set to rake in millions, despite criticism of fundraising during tumult

Seattle (CNN) – Republicans and some political pundits have taken sharp aim at President Barack Obama for maintaining his fundraising schedule amid a period of global unrest.

Not among those complaining? Democrats who stand to benefit from the millions of dollars in campaign cash Obama will help pull in this week during a three-day West Coast swing, bringing him into the homes of entertainment and real estate bigwigs in Seattle, the Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.

Based on descriptions of Obama’s fundraisers from Democratic officials, Obama could raise north of $6 million during the trip, which comes at the same time as an Israeli ground invasion into Gaza and international outcry over the downing of a jetliner over Ukraine.

That figure is based on estimates of attendance at Obama’s five fundraisers, using the highest in a range of possible ticket prices. The total sum could be far less.

Obama’s latest fundraising swing, along with a pair of fundraising stops last Thursday, have come under scrutiny from Republicans who say it sends the wrong message for the president to be engaged in starkly political activities during times of crisis.

“I don’t understand this president,” Sen. John McCain said on Fox Sunday. “The crisis on the border and he did the fundraisers, the fundraisers in New York while there are major major conflicts, not to mention the loss of American lives reported. I do not understand it.”

Obama first learned of the Malaysia Air crash during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the White House Thursday, deciding afterward to stick to his pre-planned schedule that including the fundraising events in New York.

White House officials maintain it was the right decision for Obama to stick to his plans that day, which also included a stop for hamburgers in Delaware. They say the President can undertake the tasks necessary of the commander-in-chief wherever he goes using secure equipment and a retinue of staff.

Indeed, during his trip last Thursday Obama phoned world leaders from the road and convened a meeting of his national security team, huddled back at the White House.

The same resources are available during Obama’s swing down the West Coast, which includes only one public event at a college campus in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Josh Earnest, Obama’s press secretary, said Monday Obama would return to Washington “if it becomes clear that there’s a need for him to come back to the White House in order to fulfill those functions” of being president.

“Right now it’s not apparent that that’s the case,” he said.

The White House did nix an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, saying they had looked at taping with the comedian this week but “elected not to do it at this time.”

Obama’s first stop in the Pacific Northwest will bring the President to the home of developer Bruce Blume and his wife Ann. That gathering will benefit the Democratic National Committee.

Later he’ll headline an event hosted by Jim Sinegal, a co-founder of wholesale giant Costco, that benefits the Senate Majority PAC. It's just the second time the President's headlined a fundraiser for the major outside group supporting Democratic Senate incumbents and candidates running this year.

A fundraising first for Obama

Obama will pass the hat around this week for House Democrats at an event outside San Francisco, and again for the DNC at the homes of “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino in Los Angeles.

Here in Seattle, residents say they’re more concerned about the wildfires raging in the interior of Washington State than the crisis in Gaza or the plane in Ukraine. Fueled by a dry, hot summer, fires are spanning almost 250,000 acres and driving hundreds of people from their homes.

Nearly 650 residents of Pateros, situated on the Columbia River in northern Washington, were evacuated over the weekend when flames began spilling down hillsides, eventually burning most of the town’s homes to the ground.

Obama wasn’t scheduled to publicly acknowledge the natural disaster during his stop in the Pacific Northwest Tuesday.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta contributed to this report.


soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Tom l

    You know how you reduce the money in politics? Take away the motivation. A flat tax would go a long way in reducing the need for people to "donate" to politicians go further their cause
    Do you know how to tell when someone has been reading Ayn Rand?
    Their vocabulary is reduced to two words, "tax cut."

    What does a flat tax have to do with money from politics? Absolutely nothing. How many times have I repeated that the whole "cut taxes spurs economic" growth" is just a smoke screen. Most people who actually believe the things they say have no idea what's really going on, that they've been duped into being pawns in an economic war that robbing the middle class of wealth and shifting it to the top, the wealthiest among us.

    The above argument is a good example of how reducing taxes for the wealthy can fix anything. They must either think that we're stupid, or the people reviving the debate are dumber than we know, frightfully so.. We abandoned the idea of flat taxes a long time ago, and for good reason. They're not fair.

    July 22, 2014 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    I don't understand McCain. He was trounced by Obama, and has been acting like a sniveling spoiled little child ever since. It has to be difficult for a republican who can only trash our president, our country, and the American way of life. Go home John, and take little Lindsay with you.

    July 22, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  3. freedom

    And this is something to be proud of? NO integrity.

    July 22, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Larry Mondello

    Oh Boo Boo Hoo! That mean and nasty President Obama! How dare he fight fire with fire!!!!!

    July 22, 2014 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    “The crisis on the border and he did the fundraisers, the fundraisers in New York while there are major major conflicts, not to mention the loss of American lives reported. I do not understand it.”
    This reminds me of the 2008 campaign when the financial crisis happened. Sen. McCain suspended his campaign to do what? To come save the day? Apparently he still hasn't learned how to walk and chew gum at the same time.

    July 22, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  6. George

    Everyone has to be good at something. Obozo is great at lying and making people think he is doing good.

    July 22, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Congressional Democrats have long felt that Pres. Obama has not done enough to help them win elections, particularly in the fund raising category. I think the President is doing all that he can about the humanitarian crisis at the border, Putin's Soviet ambitions, ISIS, Iran, MH-17, and let's not forget Republicans, who are the biggest problem of all. He's just not doing it with the high visibility style and flair that many people want to see, or seem to expect, in today's hyperactive media society.

    Not this guy. Not "No Drama Obama." I guess some folks have forgotten who they're dealing with here. It's almost as if television doesn't exist in his toolbox. He still does that weekly radio address, but his TV appearances have become few and far between. Maybe it really is better that he spend his time working on the actual problems, instead of preparing for a televised speech with news reporters. AS for fund raising, it's what politicians will always do today. It's the new normal, thanks to the SCOTUS.

    July 22, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    “I don’t understand this president,” Sen. John McCain said on Fox Sunday. “The crisis on the border and he did the fundraisers, the fundraisers in New York while there are major major conflicts, not to mention the loss of American lives reported. I do not understand it.”

    Senator McGrumbles does the "Sunday" circuit talk shows ... again.

    July 22, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. Tone


    And this is something to be proud of? NO integrity

    Tell me what integrity the the racist redumlicans have?

    July 22, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  10. Lizzie

    just asking,
    obama said he'd take public financing and then reneged on it. the first of his long list of lies. democrats just like to talk about all the money in politics because it plays along with their other lies. but when it is time to walk the walk, they are never willing to do it. they line up all their millionaire and billionaire supporters and squeeze them for everything they can get.

    July 22, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  11. Chris..E.al

    They are all crooks just pick your poison and drink it up .

    July 22, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  12. yolanda

    It's what presidents do. January 2006, Bush visits New Orleans on way to fund raiser in Miami....media busts his chops. Eight years later, different president, same reaction, just different segment of media.

    July 22, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. DD

    I'm sure Obama is doing all this fund raising to pay the premium increases that most states are now expecting for the even more unaffordable unaffordable – affordable health care act.

    July 22, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. salty dog

    Seriously, tax cuts for the rich is the answer to everything, get real, even Romney said trickle down doesn't work, after he revealed his trickle down tax plan. He said Obama's tax plan was trickle down economics, the last week of election, he was on quite the roll about then. Why tom l. still believes if I have no idea, its been proven false by facts, statistics, and history. I don't get it.

    July 22, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  15. Gunderson

    Aw, Well,
    Being President was never Obama's thing. Selling Bankrupt thing is a lot more fun. The World is A-Flame and Obama is making a Bonfire. We need a real leader and all we have is an Empty Suit. The Liberals are trying to cover their Ass like a Cat covering up s*it on a hot tin roof. P.T. Barnum said, There is a Sucker Born every minute. However, the Peasants have spoken. Dam the Torpedoes, Full speed ahead!

    July 22, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Oh please. They're just pissed that their efforts along with the MSM are not working against President Obama. Regardless to their BS polls, he still remains a very popular POTUS. McCain the warmonger has NEVER gotten over that behind kicking he got in 08. As another poster stated, you have to fight fire with fire. And some people can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Speaking of.... For the first time in history..... Outside political groups have spent more than $14,000,000 on misleading ads with patriotic sounding names in MI to keep our GOP Governor and to take Levin's seat in the Senate. They've actually spent more than the candidates combined.

    July 22, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. jpmichigan

    So sad, that in USA elections are won by those with the most money, who sole purpose is to get in politically to make more money and the OATH of office which is never lived up too, is laugh at and scorned. Pay to play is the name the game and the ones who loose the most are the American people.

    July 22, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  18. Michael MN

    We can thank the Supreme court ruling money is speach , and those with the money will have the speach – no money no speach

    July 22, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Shootingstar

    Obama has disgraced the very office he so desperately wanted by not upholding the duties and ignoring the Constitutional limits afforded him. He obviously relishes the perks because it's the one thing he does well. He just adores rubbing elbows with those nasty, mean (to use another poster's words), filthy rich 1%, spending his own vacations in multimillion dollar estates, using AF1 as his personal entitlement for he and his family, and playing virtually unlimited golf again flying to the golf course at our expense each weekend. Yes, he does that aspect of The Office down quite well...foreign policy and world respect, securing the borders for the safety of Americans living there, working on the transparency and corruption thing within his administration....not so much.

    July 22, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. Mike Denney

    I voted for him twice, even after seeing him tour the world 3x immediately after his first win.
    Even though I'm a lifetime voting democrat, I find it difficult to stomach Obama's general demeanor at times, as well as some of his agenda choices during some of the greater issues that have arisen during his presidency.

    July 22, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Dead Bear

    And yet none of these Republicans have called on their own party to stop fund raising off of the deaths of the 4 Americans in Benghazi. The GOP hypocrisy knows no end.

    July 22, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Outside groups have spent $14,000,000 on misleading ads here in MI to keep their flunky Governor and to take over Senator Levin's seat. They say that's more than has ever been spent before in a Governors and Senate race in MI. $14,000,000 on lying ads but sure lets cut food benefits to the poor.

    McCain is a sore loser and has been complaining about this POTUS from day 1. It's been 6 years McWarmonger, get over it and move the heck on! Some people can walk and chew gum at the same time. The POTUS remains popular even with the 24/7 bashing him by the GOP and their GOP owned MSM.

    July 22, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. Chris..E.al

    The R party raise funds ? The D party raise funds and says there needs to be limits on fund raising ?

    July 22, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. it must be said

    Right side of Democrat's mouth = Citizens United! Citizens United!! Citizens United!!! Going to destroy our country!!!

    Left side of Democrat's mouth = Millions! Tens of millions!! Hundreds of millions!!! BILLIONS! GIVE US BLLION$$$$!!!!

    At this point, I don't know why anybody believes a word that comes out of either side of their mouth.

    July 22, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Silence DoGood

    The radical right is still spewing conspiracy theories, and trying to instigate violence or stopping government operation. I haven't heard that they are engaged in helping the country out, besides Perry parading some soldiers around to get cheers. They haven't changed their agenda much either.

    July 22, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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