Dough-Faced: Liberal fat cats wimp out.
IN EARLY JUNE, a small group of Barack Obama’s top fund-raisers gathered for an urgent meeting in a bar on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. They had been summoned to town for a briefing from campaign manager Jim Messina to the several dozen moneyed men and women who make up Obama’s finance committee. But, in a classic example of Citizens United-era subterfuge, a handful of the attendees slipped away from the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel in the South Loop and headed to the bar. Over drinks, they met with Bill Burton and Paul Begala, leaders of the super PAC that is supporting Obama, Priorities USA Action, which is forbidden by law from coordinating with the campaign. Burton and Begala pleaded for help. “They said, ‘Don’t you know some billionaires you can send us to?’” says one of the finance committee members. “I tried to think of a couple.”
With every passing week, Democratic insiders are becoming more and more panicked that, by November, their Republican opponents will have buried them under a mountain of money. After raising only $10.6 million through April, Priorities has picked up the pace somewhat, raising more than $9 million since. But the GOP money machine—that is, American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove; Americans for Prosperity, the group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—has vowed to spend $1 billion combined before Election Day. Meanwhile, the Mitt Romney-affiliated super PAC, Restore our Future, has reported more than $60 million so far, a tally that doesn’t even include a recent $10 million donation from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.