Obama still flush with cash from financial sector despite frosty relations
Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.
Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.
As a result, Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data. The numbers show that Obama retains a persistent reservoir of support among Democratic financiers who have backed him since he was an underdog presidential candidate four years ago.
Obama’s fundraising advantage is clear in the case of Bain Capital, the Boston-based private-equity firm that was co-founded by Romney, and where the Republican made his fortune. Not surprisingly, Romney has strong support at the firm, raking in $34,000 from 18 Bain employees, according to the analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
But Obama has outdone Romney on his own turf, collecting $76,600 from Bain Capital employees through September — and he needed only three donors to do it.
The battle for Wall Street cash has become a crucial subtext in the 2012 campaign, which is shaping up to focus heavily on federal banking and markets policies and the struggling economy.
Top Republicans have courted major U.S. bank executives and financiers, arguing that Obama’s policies have hurt them, while Democrats are seeking to turn the erosion of support on Wall Street to their populist advantage.
Channeling ‘Occupy’ anger
Obama’s ties to Wall Street donors could complicate Democratic plans to paint Republicans as puppets of the financial industry, particularly in light of the Occupy Wall Street protests that have gone global over the past week.
In response to the protests, the Obama campaign and other Democrats have stepped up their attacks on Romney and other Republicans for their opposition to Wall Street regulations.
One top banking executive who raises money for Obama, discussing fundraising efforts on the condition of anonymity, said reports of disaffection with the president “are exaggerated and overblown.” He said a strong contingent of financiers in New York, Chicago and California remains supportive of Obama and his economic policies, even as some have turned on him.
But, this donor added, “it probably helps from a political perspective if he’s not seen as a Wall Street guy.”