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. Tone

    I could not respond to the Russian situation with the downed plane but my take on that is Americans who had favorable opinion for putin are racist. He stood up to the black man we do not need in office.

    July 22, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. guest

    Ya Obama, you should have been visiting the wreck site! You should have taken a post along the border and personally stopped refugee children and immigrants from crossing! You should personally been looking at back up tapes to find the emails! You should have been driving a tank in israel! How dare you attend your scheduled functions and do your day to day jobs! The news reported like 10 stories this week, you should have personally been handling all of them!!

    July 22, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. just asking

    isn't he on the payroll of the american people and supposed to be working for us and this country? looks like that job is just a part time dalliance for obama. calls in sick a lot. or more accurately president I-vote-present.

    I saw numbers that said obama has gone to nearly 400 campaign fund raisers. almost twice as many as bush did in the same amount of time. add this to all the golf outings, vacations and campaign rallys and you have a person not spending much time doing what he is supposed to be doing.

    and the worse part is the american taxpayer gets stuck with the bill for hundreds of millions of dollars to fly obama around to these campaign fund raisers and provide security. we need laws against this garbage. obama is just abusing the heck out of it, as he has done with many other things.

    July 22, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. OBAMA - THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    Fund raising is the only thing he really seems to excel at so he never even bothers to stop during a crisis. Obama is out of his depth on so many things that it would be nice if he was at least engaged and actually attempted to do his job. He has given up.

    July 22, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. salty dog

    Look its either bad for both sides, or its not, grow up already.

    July 22, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. sifto77

    Why doesnt he just donate the millions he is costing us to fly around on air force one to the dem party..does
    Not make sense to spend more running away from WH than he "rakes" in for democrats..what a waste..

    July 22, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. rs

    Every President raises funds. They are the titular head of their party, and it IS part of their job. Bush did it, Clinton did it, Reagan did it, and on and on.
    As far as world "tumult"- really?
    Israel has NEVER battled the Palestinians? Nothing ever happened in the Ukraine? The tumult idea is simply GOP-O-mania for "lets find something else to whine about". The idea that the world is somehow in "end times" or that whatever is happening hasn't happened before or even that the U.S. should play a role in it is simply beyond foolish.

    July 22, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. rs

    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
    _______________________
    MORE welfare for the rich? Flat tax benefits the rich only. An inane solution.

    July 22, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. Fauxcahontas for President

    3 day fundraising trip for Democrats = $6M. 3 days fundraising trip cost on Air Force One to the tax payers = $6M. Priceless....

    July 22, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. Abbey

    Democrats show they true colors and it's all green for the greedy!!!

    July 22, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Sean from Atlanta

    Well, I guess he should just sit in the white house and do nothing at all. But then these same people would be complaining about that. The republicans don't seem to understand that Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He's not the president of the World. Who am I kidding, these are the same folks that calls him a lawless dictator who is the most dangerous person in America. And in the same breath, they call him weak, incompetent, indecisive, apologetic, and a follower or leading from behind as they call it. Wake up America before we are in every conflict around the globe because that is whats going to happen if republicans have their way.

    July 22, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. rs

    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.
    _______________________
    One must understand McCain- when he gets his way- he's a Maverick- not quite a run-of-the-mill GOPper, and certainly not Lefty- and occasionally more moderate. When he is inconsequential, as he is now, he is just an irrational 2 year old. For those of us living in the sovereign state of Arizona, McCain has managed to be a rather pragmatic soul on regional and local issues- in his greater role as U.S. Senator, and especially as a player (potential or otherwise) on the world's stage- THAT's where he gets wiggy and all logic of sanity about what is goo d for our nation takes a walk. Lindsay? he's just codependent.

    July 22, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Longtimer

    A complete waste of space as a news story. CNN journalism at its worst.

    July 22, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Longtimer

    OBAMA – THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    Fund raising is the only thing he really seems to excel at so he never even bothers to stop during a crisis. Obama is out of his depth on so many things that it would be nice if he was at least engaged and actually attempted to do his job. He has given up.
    _________________________
    You clearly have no powers of observation, or prefer to parrot Fox and the other lunatic media outlet echo chamber noise. Clearly the President has been successful- note we haven't invaded the wrong country on his watch. We have no new wars. The economy? Doing well. hundreds of thousands of new jobs every month, unemployment below 2008, record corporate profits, growing GDP. Obamacare- very successful by any measure. All done without the GOP BTW. The very fact he is so successful fundraising means he is both popular and well supported. Something else that spoils your little rant. If the GOP lost its source of Koch, they'd be out of business by the end of the quarter.

    July 22, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. rs

    Sean from Atlanta

    Well, I guess he should just sit in the white house and do nothing at all. But then these same people would be complaining about that. The republicans don't seem to understand that Barack Obama is the president of the United States. He's not the president of the World.
    _____________________________
    Quite right. Republicans have sat on their duffs doing nothing in Congress for so long, they have forgotten what leadership looks like. I have no clue why they want to win national elections, as they clearly either can't do anything or don't want to.

    July 22, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. rs

    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.
    ______________________
    AND, he and the GOP raise funds off of their own foolish sound bites.

    July 22, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Silence DoGood

    @Longtimer
    OBAMA – THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT

    Fund raising is the only thing he really seems to excel at so he never even bothers to stop during a crisis. Obama is out of his depth on so many things that it would be nice if he was at least engaged and actually attempted to do his job. He has given up.
    _________________________
    You clearly have no powers of observation, or prefer to parrot Fox and the other lunatic media outlet echo chamber noise. Clearly the President has been successful- note we haven't invaded the wrong country on his watch. We have no new wars. The economy? Doing well. hundreds of thousands of new jobs every month, unemployment below 2008, record corporate profits, growing GDP. Obamacare- very successful by any measure. All done without the GOP BTW. The very fact he is so successful fundraising means he is both popular and well supported. Something else that spoils your little rant. If the GOP lost its source of Koch, they'd be out of business by the end of the quarter.
    ---------
    Permit me to fill in the semi-conscious conservative response: "b b b b birth certif – border – b benghaz...."

    July 22, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    I hate it when CNN just closes a thread with no warning.... this is from the previous

    @Rudy
    "Romney had lied to the entire country. Mitt was caught in his lie, never corrected himself, and continued to push the same lie on the American people. And, Republicans do not understand why they lost in 2012? Romney blamed his loss on "free stuff." Karl Rove invented a new phrase for the English language, "going Rove." The right wing has come up with one conspiracy explanation after another. None of them fit the facts, which were America didn't trust a Republican, particularly one who was so obviously lying to them with a straight face."

    That was certainly one of the reasons romney lost... (IMHO) it was mostly because he was not a good candidate... just another rich white guy the republicants were trying to shove down our throats.
    Late yesterday I read a post by an individual on here who had one of their normal long posts lamenting the demise of this site based on posts (he didn't say by who, but insinuated strongly... I hope he meant me) about the faux news dumbing down it's viewers. I guess he hates facts. But, the situation you are referring to is a perfect example. faux led it's viewers to believe romney was the man and had the presidency in the bag. They ALL believed it. I sat and spoke with republicants on election night and every one of them watched faux news and every one of them was confident romney was going to win. They pooed-pooed the facts and smiled knowingly that I was being led astray by the 'lame stream media'. Even though faux news lied to them and they had to know it... they still choose to watch it because it comforts them to be lied to because faux tells the mwhat they want to hear.
    It is very similar to the domestic violence cycle...

    July 22, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. rs

    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.
    _________________________
    Only a fool takes a knife to a gun fight. If the GOP believes money=free speech and "corporations are people too", or that companies can have religious beliefs, to fight such an opponent- one needs money too. Obama and the Democrats are fighting the battle in the terrain the GOP created. get over it.

    July 22, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. S.B. Stein

    Didn't George W. Bush do something like that? There were conflicts going on while he was president and went to fund raisers and vacations. What's the difference between Obama and George W. Bush in fund raising? I don't remember there being a stink when the previous president did it.

    July 22, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Ol' Yeller

    @sifto77

    Why doesnt he just donate the millions he is costing us to fly around on air force one to the dem party..

    I'll be with you on this as soon as the teabaggers pay back the 24 billion they owe us for their little government shutdown temper tantrum they threw (then we can also talk about the billions they owe us for ruining our credit rating).

    Fiscally responsible? Taxed Enough Already!?!?
    Well, tell the morons to quit wasting it... sheesh.

    July 22, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    rs

    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
    _______________________
    MORE welfare for the rich? Flat tax benefits the rich only. An inane solution.
    ============================================================================
    Tax cuts are not meant to be a solution to anything. The only purpose is to reduce the taxes for the wealthy, preferably to zero. The arguments that "tax cuts create jobs" are just a smoke screen, a Trojan Horse, to hide the real purpose of simply eliminating taxes on the wealthy. it ain't complicated, but it is really diabolical. It's designed to get you arguing and debating side issues while the elephant in the room goes unnoticed.

    July 22, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "I don't understand McCain. He was trounced by Obama, and has been acting like a sniveling spoiled little child ever since."

    Let me help you: If you're a 70+ or so white man in 'Murika and grew up through the time periods he grew up in and the culture as it was back then, do YOU want to be the man known in the history books for losing to the first black POTUS?

    July 22, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Thomas

    Hillary Clinton would consider backing bid to limit money in politics.

    After she is elected !

    Hillary Clinton / Brian Schweitzer 2016
    Veggie Corn Dogs Taste Almost Real

    July 22, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Malory Archer

    Thomas
    Hillary Clinton would consider backing bid to limit money in politics.

    After she is elected !

    Hillary Clinton / Brian Schweitzer 2016
    Veggie Corn Dogs Taste Almost Real

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Well, it isn't like she has the power to do anything about it BEFORE she's elected, and if a candidate doesn't raise obscene amounts in our current political atmosphere, they won't even find themselves in the "also-ran" category.

    July 22, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
1 2 3 4