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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’….


50 Responses

  1. Lying liar!

    • Obama is a liar? I’m shocked!


      Is it really lying if Obama is just reading someone else’s words off the TelePrompter?

    • What’s worse it that he flagrantly lies continuously, and the interviewer(s) do not follow up with these same facts that are available to the rest of us. Either they are too damn lazy to look it up, or they are too damned biased to do their jobs. He gets away with it–that’s the problem. If I were a journalist, I’d prepare that question, and then (especially if I knew he was a chronic liar) I’d have the artillery ready to follow up.

      Incredibly annoying.

  2. As a percentage, both Kerry and Bush in ’04 got about the same as Obama from small donors. Bush’s was actually larger than Kerry’s. Obama continues to tell this lie not because he thinks anyone he tells will believe it, but because most people will never hear it debunked thus it’s safe. In his eyes it’s probably a fine lie and no problem.

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if “reporters” like John Harwood were willing to confront the lying liar with the real data?

      • I’ve waited for years and have just about given up hope of that happening ever again. But it would be nothing short of wonderful. The closest anyone has come in years is Brett Baier on Fox, which I almost never watch.

      • That what crossed my mind too, if he knew he was going to ask the question shouldn’t he had some data with him to show to back it up. But again that was CNBC , so that is not their job

      • bb: just saw your comment after my mini-rant above…no kidding.

  3. Most excellent post BB.

    • That was the translation… 😉

    • Thanks, SoD. I really hit the ceiling when I read Ani’s post.

      • Great post, BB. I saw Ani’s post at NQ right before you published this post. Watching the news these last several days with Obama talking about holding Wall Street accountable and having them join “our” team to work together made me sick. I hope more people are realizing that all of this is an act.

      • Ani is one of the best writers on the web. I’ve been a fan of hers since the primaries.

  4. I’m sure that majority of campaign cash from small donations came from the same place our 3000% decrease in premiums will be coming from.

  5. OT: It’s Newsweek spin so the rest isn’t worth quoting, but this was slightly amusing :

    The giant Clinton entourage once known as Hillaryland, now relocated to the wood-paneled corridor on the seventh floor at Foggy Bottom, remains to some degree a place and mindset unto itself. It is still dominated by Hillary and, of course, her husband—who has remained surprisingly out of view, even if his advice is often sought throughout the Obama administration, as Hillary herself acknowledges. “When they say on the seventh floor, ‘We need to run this by the president,’ that phrase doesn’t necessarily refer to Obama,” remarks one former Clinton administration official wryly.

    • Very cool. Makes me think of Thailand. What color should we make the tee shirts. 😉

    • “a place and mindset unto itself.”

      Where common sense and Democratic ideals still exist. ((sigh))

  6. Complete disdain for the truth…
    remember these:
    I’ll Filibuster FISA. Not.
    I’ll take public financing for my campaign. Not.
    I will remove 2 brigades a month in the first year. Not.

    Any day now, I’ll start believing him.

    • From today:

      President Obama today again broke his promise to use the word “genocide” when describing the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the beginning of the last century.

  7. I have long suspected that Barry and the Obots used online fund raising as a cover to launder illegal donations. With the assistance of one or more banks it wouldn’t be difficult.

    All the security systems relating to online banking are designed to prevent theft. They wouldn’t prevent the bank itself from breaking the law. It would be easy to design a program that would generate thousands of bogus donations that were all under $200, thereby allowing the “donors” to remain anonymous.

    It would certainly explain how an empty suit with 2 years in the Senate raised $99 million dollars in 2007.

    • If all of Obama’s small donors had shown up to vote, he probably could have managed to win a populated primary state. I guess they had other priorities.

    • Considering the security check feature for donations on his website was disabled, that would make it much easier. No checks from either side in that case.

      Illegal overseas contributions, money in excess of the limits, all available with no problems.

      • I remember that. And remember there was never any government accounting of his donations after he won.

        • That was just a blatant scam and the MSM and FEC let him get away with it. Damn shame.

          • They probably spun it as a victory for civil liberties and Internet privacy, too.

          • 😉

          • Because he was and still is a front. without making him self available for some BIG MONEY shit I don’t think he could have pull it off. Those are the ones with power enough to turn the MSM obslete and silence all Gov. agencies responsible of over seeing those violations. If only people believed in the power of their votes.

      • I am still steamed that no formal investigation was made of that. But not surprised.

    • There are probably as many original Obots as tea partiers. Enough for the media to turn into a movement. It’s why Obot bloggers are spazzing about tea parties. They know the media theatre makes it grow. Another reality show.

      • Yea, they’re mostly thinking, hey, that was our gimmick, how dare they steal our idea. And what’s funny is they can’t come right out and say what’s really going on for fear someone might just say, what are you talking about, that’s precisely what you people did.

        Obots in a pickle is a wondrous thing to behold. 🙂

    • It’s more than the fundraising. It’s getting the news media coverage to favor you. Over 60% of Obama’s near one billion dollar fundraised was spent on ads, most of it local. But how effective were these ads in persuading voters, compared to the impact of the news slant the same voters saw. Did OFA campaign ads skew the coverage. Or did skewing the coverage help the media with total circulation and ratings, at least in the case of BO. I’d argue more for the last.

      Take MSNBC. They made 200 million from ads in 2008, another 150 million from subscriber revenues. They made around 10 million from OFA ads in 2008. Not sure these OFA ads were convincing alot of people to vote one way or other, and at just 3% of MSNBC revenues, the OFA ads by themselves were not pushing MSNBC staff to go totally gaga for Obama. What did make the editorial board go gaga for Obama was BO’s growing potential attraction for MSNBC’s young and relatively upmarket target demographic that fed their total advertising and subscriber revenues. Of course the 10 million from OFA ads helped some, but the editorial slant for Obama was what really drove their total revenues of 350 million. And what the talking heads said probably persuaded voters more than what the ads said.

      It was all about money in the end, but the fundraising amounts were not the dominant part of the equation for BO’s campaign. At the national election level, with a candidate turned into an American idol star, Obama drove the business bottom line for a struggling media industry. At least for a year or two. Doubt it will work that way again, for the mid terms or future presidential elections. The fundraising warchests will play the bigger role. But both legacy parties will always be on the lookout for another potential media phenomenon to sell to our increasingly partisan news as entertainment businesses.

      • Very insightful. So the fundraising and ad money is really quid pro quo — payment to the MSM for favorable coverage. Each feeds the other of course. And I’m sure the corporatists power cabal, including the MSM, usually makes their choice early. But it’s a cozy arrangement with fundraising money going to MSM as payoff.

        • Yes, it does get a little crazy when you consider that news outlets like MSNBC were using Obama’s pull to sell everything from insurance to viagra.

      • It’s more than the fundraising. It’s getting the news media coverage to favor you.

        If you have the support of the rich and powerful masters of the corporations that own the television networks, radio stations and newspaper conglomerates, then you will be the media darling.

        The primary purpose of today’s news media is not to make a profit, it is to help the corporatist oligarchy maintain power. Competition between the networks is like a sales contest between between the district offices of a nation-wide business. The districts seem to be competing with each other but they all serve one master.

        • Dunno. I think the primary purpose of today’s newsmedia is survival. Not profits necessarily, but enough revenues so a given company can stay in business, else everyone loses their jobs, in a media marketplace that is already shrinking fast for revenues. Journalism (with pay) is going out of business, mainly because of the web.

          Media empowering of the corporate oligarchy exists to some degree, and the people with the most leverage in that regard are changing, e.g. Schmidt instead of Immelt. But I don’t agree that propping up the oligarchy is the media’s main purpose and goal (unless we’re talking about advertisers). The media’s main goal is propping themselves up for another year. That’s true for the properties of Murdoch, Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, Comcast, Google, etc. And to accomplish that, they have to retain media consumers, advertisers, and keep the FCC and FTC off their backs.

      • Obama had to pay $$$ while Hillary was beating him handily in most of the primaries. And tricks like Hillary delegates being left off the caucus lists (funny how that happened to me) never got air in the MSM.

        • In Nevada, the bus that was supposed to bring Hillary’s Clark County delegation to our state convention, mysteriously didn’t show up, causing all kinds of havoc. And yes, it skewed the final state convention results.

  8. This looks like a very worthwhile program. From correntewire…

    Fiscal Responsibility Teach-In Counter-Conference

    Carry the message of the event. We. Are. Not. Running. Out. Of. Money. The. Money. Was. There. All. Along. The. Money. Is. There. Now. The. Money. Will. Be. There. Tomorrow. So. Use. It.

    Anything which might help to stop the Obama “steal our retirement” programs.

  9. I try to like the Pretendent. Really I do. I even try to believe him sometimes.

    But these prickly little “untruths” just keep popping off his lips. And they are so blatant…. and obvious.

  10. The “small donations” was an important part of the media narrative cooked for Obama. It was an offshoot of what they were trying to do for Dean in 2004. The monthly on line donations for dean was making headlines until December, when Clark beat him. At that point, the subject was totally dropped (Clark never got a headline) and the media went and crowned Kerry. Dean’s fixers as we know now, went and found themselves another ‘small donors” candidate


    #3: Small donor campaign contributions

    # Build campaign around “contributions given by small donors, whose help you also rely on for grassroots organization.”
    # “All fundraising involves dialogue.”
    # #5: Funding

    # “Financial support from a broad network of small donors would draw press attention that would develop campaign momentum that would mean ever increasing funding.”
    # Replace the “large Democratic contributors” with “small ones.”
    # 527 political action committees: “Such groups can raise unlimited amounts of money from domestic donors, as long as they do not specifically advocate the election of a particular candidate.” Can recruit activists.

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