Politico: White House open to Democratic outside groups in 2012

Written by admin on November 10th, 2010

Politico reports that some Democrats are insisting that their party follow the Republicans example in setting up organizations that can use anonymous funding.


Some Democrats have complained openly that Obama’s 2008 admonition against outside groups spending money during his presidential run carried over to 2010, leaving Democrats on the sidelines without a well-tuned infrastructure of groups to help embattled candidates.

At the same time, Republican groups were springing up to pump cash into midterm races across the country — to the tune of nearly $200 million in expenditures.

Some frustrated Democrats have suggested they have no intention of being outgunned again in 2012, and Axelrod’s comments suggest that will be OK with the White House.

“I have no doubt after having watched $200 million rain down on Democratic candidates that there will be folks concerned about that and emboldened to get involved,” Axelrod said.

The inflation in presidential fundraising expected by both camps in 2012 is due in large measure to Obama’s decision to finance both his primary and general election with private donations rather than accepting public matching funds, as GOP hopeful John McCain did. Obama raised more than $650 million as of October 2008. When his convention and transition costs were included, Obama became the first candidate to raise roughly $1 billion for his presidential bid.

While Axelrod said the president will rely on a grass-roots-driven fundraising operation again for his reelection, the GOP outside groups in 2012 will be able to raise money faster since they don’t have to abide by similar caps on donations.

Already the founders of American Crossroads, the new Republican group co-founded by former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, are working to rebuild their campaign war chest and prepare for the presidential contest.

“This was a dry-run to 2012,” said one Republican insider familiar with Rove’s habit of testing new political tactics in off-year elections


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