Emanuel says he'll be more 'helpful' in fund-raising role
September 5th, 2012
04:56 PM ET
11 years ago

Emanuel says he'll be more 'helpful' in fund-raising role

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a CNN interview Wednesday he'll provide greater assistance to President Barack Obama's re-election bid by assuming a fund-raising role with the super PAC Priorities USA than he would as a co-chairman of Obama's campaign, a position he has relinquished.

Emanuel will assist the Democratic group raise money ahead of November's general election, and attempt to close the gap between Priorities, which brought in $10 million in August, and Republican-aligned groups, which have brought in much higher totals. Emanuel's interview will appear on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" at 6 p.m. ET.


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"Look, there's 61 days left in the campaign," Emanuel told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And the question is would I be more helpful to the president's re-election as co-chair of the campaign or helping Priorities. Helping not his campaign, but his efforts. I'm trying to help them."

The former Illinois congressman and White House chief of staff said he would participate in "one on one conversations" as part of his role with Priorities. An official with the group said Emanuel has already begun making phone calls, and attended an event for Priorities on Wednesday.

Previously he held the honorary title of "co-chairman" on Obama's campaign. Legally, super PACs and campaigns are not permitted to coordinate on helping politicians get elected to office.

For the past several months, Obama's campaign effort has been out-raised by Romney's. In July the Democrats brought in $75 million and the Republicans raised just over $100 million.

That fund-raising gap has been reflected in the figures for independent groups like Priorities USA. While the group brought in their highest monthly total in August, they have lagged behind independent Republican groups such as American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, Restore Our Future, and Americans for Prosperity, which are supporting GOP challenger Mitt Romney's campaign.

Emanuel said Wednesday there was "a lot more special interest money on the other side," meaning Priorities and other Democratic groups have their work cut out for them in combating a sizable fund-raising deficit.

He called the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which helped make possible the independent spending groups known as super PACs, the "worst decision by a court in 50 years."

Obama's re-election campaign announced in February it would begin using administration and campaign aides to fundraise for Priorities, a change from their previous position.

Obama has been an outspoken critic of current campaign financing laws, in particular of the Citizens United court ruling.

Despite the gap between Priorities and Republican groups, Emanuel said Wednesday that message, not money, would be the decider in the 2012 election.

"Resources are always important, but they don't trump a message," he said. "They don't trump an interest in a candidate. The public is not very excited in Mitt Romney. I'd rather have the public excited about a candidate like they feel like Barack Obama."

Asked if he was worried about the chasm between Republican and Democratic fund-raising, Emanuel quipped, "I'm Jewish. I was born worried."

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Priorities USA • Rahm Emanuel
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. bb

    What a horses patute, i wouldnt trust this crook with a dime, hows the crime rate in Chicago Dork??? why dont u take your family to chic fila & then enroll them in public schools slimeball !!!!! better yet applaud oblunder on reaching the most food stamps givin out in history, im sure everyone in the windy city feels real safe with u there

    September 5, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Ed1

    We can see the thugs at work just call his union buddies they always come thru.

    September 5, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. DENNA

    @bb – You have GOT to be a Republican. Your post is so mean. By the way, why did I not see many minorities at the GOP convention? They keep claiming they want to bring in more minorities into the party, but looking at the convention floor I would say that you people are failing.

    September 5, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. I was a Dem

    When will the crime rate go down? What about the strike? This is the best we can do in Chicago? There is nothing mean about labeling this as hypocrisy by proxy of Obama...

    September 5, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. DJS1

    Please keep the Chicago Politics Machine such as Rahm Emanuel back in Chicago...also include The Obamas and Valerie Jarrett (the oh so trusted Obama guru that was part of the Chicago Mayoral Politic Machine that may have caused Rahm to leave his post as White House Chief of Staff) to return ASAP. @ DENNA – if the camera chooses not to show minorities such as African Americans, Asians, Latinos...that's the camera person's choice. Thought I saw quite a few minorities when I was in Tampa (myself being one of them)...but doesn't make for good media show.

    September 5, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. melvin

    Maybe he can dig up a billionaire casino owner to contribute to Obama. As Republicans can tell you: it only takes one.

    September 5, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    No one is excited about Obama, but Obama himself.

    September 5, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. CH John

    The Rahmfather has his priorities in order, namely to support Obama in all ways possible; first finances then strategy. Next he, Axelrod, and all the other political thugs will launch an all out attack to destroy Romney in true Chicago political fashion. Win by attacking and destroying and certainly not by force of ideas. Finally, providing he has some time between fund raising he will set about blaming the various departmental heads for the facts that homicide rate is up over 10% (it's safer in Afganistan), heroine deaths are up 50+% and teachers are going on strike.

    September 5, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. FedUp

    Will that be a full-time fund raising job? Will he be giving up his current job, or will he be double dipping?

    September 5, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. FedRed

    Barack Obama made a whole bunch of promises when he ran for president.
    And now, we see a laundry list of broken promises that have left middle-class Americans worse off under President Obama.
    23 million people are struggling to find work.
    Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty.
    And half of recent college graduates can't find work to fit their skills, or any work at all.
    This isn't the hope and change anyone voted for

    September 5, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |