No, Mr. President, the majority of your campaign donations did NOT come from small donors.

Via Ani at No Quarter, President Obama gave an interview to John Harwood at CNBC this week. Harwood began the interview by asking the following question:

In the 2008 campaign, you got a lot of money, about a million dollars from employees of Goldman Sachs. Your former White House Counsel, Greg Craig (PH) is apparently going to represent Goldman Sachs. In light of this case, do either of those things embarrass you?

Harwood may not be aware that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t experience secondary emotions like embarrassment. But I digress. Here is the President’s response:

No. First of all, I got a lot of money from a lot of people. And the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.

Excuse me? Ani directs us to Politifact, where President Obama’s statement is summarily debunked.

In the general election, Obama got about 34 percent of his individual donations from small donors, people who gave $200 or less, according to a report from the Campaign Finance Institute. Another 23 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and another 42 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more.

His numbers for the primary were similar. He got about 30 percent of his money from donors who gave $200 or less. Another 28 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and 43 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more.

Even if you raise the bar for “small donors” to $1,000, which is ridiculous, they still don’t add up to a majority of those who gave to Obama’s campaign.

Obama supporters like to counter that Obama raised more money from small donors than any previous candidate for president, which is true. But Obama still needed large donors to fund his campaign. Obama implies that he won the presidency without much money from large donors, and the evidence does not support that. In fact, even if we set the bar for small donors higher — if we stipulated that everyone who gave less than $1,000 was a small donor — that still means 43 percent gave more.

Here is the Center for Responsive Politics list of Obama’s top donors in the 2008 election cycle. Goldman Sachs donated $994,795 to candidate Obama. Here is a list of Goldman Sachs employees and the amounts they gave to the Obama campaign. The list goes on for multiple pages.

And, get this, Goldman Sachs comes in 6th on the Open Secrets “heavy hitters” list–”the 100 biggest givers in federal-level politics since 1989.” No wonder Goldman Sachs has such a powerful influence on our federal government.

Furthermore, the financial, insurance, and real estate industries overall donated $39,663,073 to Barack Obama’s campaign. Obama also had hundreds of bundlers who collected between $50,000 and $200,000 each for his campaign. A number of those bundlers were lobbyists, despite Obama’s claims to the contrary. The bundlers list also goes on for multiple pages.

This two-year-old article from the Washington Post analyzes Obama’s “grass roots” campaign support during the primaries. The article is dated April 11, 2008.

Sen. Barack Obama credits his presidential campaign with creating a “parallel public financing system” built on a wave of modest donations from homemakers and high school teachers. Small givers, he said at a fundraiser this week, “will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful.”

But those with wealth and power also have played a critical role in creating Obama’s record-breaking fundraising machine, and their generosity has earned them a prominent voice in shaping his campaign. Seventy-nine “bundlers,” five of them billionaires, have tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. They have helped the campaign recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed. Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama’s total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million.

Hmmm… I notice Obama didn’t promise his small donors access and influence over the policies of his administration, if elected.

Let’s look at Obama statement to John Harwood again:

the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.

No, no the majority of your donations came from the rich and powerful, Mr. President. And it shows in your policies. And I’m getting sick and tired of you lying about it. Just sayin’….

Obama’s 60 Minutes Interview and that Odd, Inappropriate Laughter

This morning I watched the 60 Minutes interview with President Obama that aired last night. You can read the transcript here. Part of the interview took place at the White House, with Obama discussing his schedule and how his daughters are adjusting to their new surroundings. The other part was a sit-down interview in which Steve Kroft asked Obama some questions about the economic crisis. I’m posting the first part of the interview below, along with some segments from the transcript that I’d like to discuss.

Just a personal note–I think Steve Kroft comes across as quite biased toward the Wall Street point of view throughout the interview. He expresses compassion for the unfortunate people working for the banks and thinks it’s terribly unfair to ask them to work for *only* $250,000 per year.

STEVE KROFT:
Your Treasury Secretary’s plan… Geithner’s plan, and— your plan really— for solving the banking crisis— was met with very, very, very tepid response. And you had a lot of people criticize… a lot of people said they didn’t understand it. A lot of people said it didn’t have any— enough details to— to— to solve the problem. I know you’re coming out with something— next week on this. But these criticisms were coming from people like Warren Buffett, people who had supported you, and you had counted as being your—

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
And— and— and— and Warren still does support me. But I think that understand Warren’s also a big player in the financial markets who’s a major owner of Wells Fargo. And so he’s got a perspective from the perspective of somebody who— is part owner of a bank. You’ve got members of Congress who’ve got a different perspective. Which is, “We don’t want to spend any more taxpayer money.” You’ve got— a whole host of players, all of whom may have a completely different solution. (LAUGHS) Right?

And— you know, one of the challenges that Tim Geithner— has had— is the same challenge that anybody would have in this situation.

people want a lot of contradictory things. You know, the— the— the banks would love a lot of taxpayer money with no strings attached. Folks in Congress, as well as the American people, would love to fix the banks without spending any money. (LAUGHS) And so at a certain point, you know, you’ve got just a— a very difficult line— to— to walk.

It seems to me that Obama perceives himself as someone who is trying to meet the conflicting demands of many different people; and that is certainly something that is going to happen to the President of the United States. What is missing for me is any sense that Obama sees himself as an advocate for a particular point of view. This is the thing that has bothered me about Obama from the very beginning. I just don’t get a sense of there being a real flesh-and-blood person in there beneath the polished exterior. I don’t get the feeling that he really cares about anyone or anything–except himself, of course. Continue reading

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