Obama Fundraisers Postponed Amid Debt Limit Talks
July 26th, 2011
By: Ken Thomas
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has canceled or postponed a series of fundraisers as negotiations continue over the nation’s debt limit.
Obama postponed fundraisers in California and Washington state in recent weeks, along with an event at the New York home of film mogul Harvey Weinstein. On Monday, Obama skipped two Washington fundraisers to continue discussions over the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the government’s borrowing limit. Vice President Joe Biden was attending one of the Democratic National Committee events. The other event was canceled.
The debt ceiling debate may affect Obama’s 50th birthday on Aug. 4. Obama could miss a high-profile Aug. 3 fundraiser in Chicago to celebrate his birthday if a resolution to the debt debate isn’t reached. The birthday event is scheduled to include performances by singer Jennifer Hudson, jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock and rock band OK Go.
All presidents running for re-election are forced to juggle governing with campaigning. As the debt talks have dragged on for weeks, Obama has limited his travel and remained in Washington.
“It comes with the territory to some degree. In this instance, certainly this has become so consuming,” said Democratic strategist Karen Finney. “If you believe we may be close to a deal, obviously the president wants to remain here in town and be ready to do whatever needs to be done.”
The debate over the nation’s debt has become a dominant issue as his campaign builds its foundation for 2012. Obama’s campaign and the DNC raised $86 million during the spring fundraising quarter. A field of Republican presidential candidates has been hard at work in early primary states, vying to challenge Obama next year.
Republicans have criticized Obama’s handling of the debt issue, arguing that it has been shaped with 2012 in mind.
“I know the president’s worried about the next elections,” Boehner said. “But my God, shouldn’t we be worried about the country?”
Most of the canceled fundraisers are expected to be rescheduled. Weinstein’s event is expected to be held in August, while the postponed events on the West Coast have not yet been rescheduled. Biden canceled events in Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas in recent weeks but is expected to attend fundraisers in those cities this fall.
Others are pitching in for the president. First lady Michelle Obama will attend fundraisers in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Aspen, Colo., on Tuesday, while a team of campaign surrogates, including strategist David Axelrod and former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, are expected to attend events in several U.S. cities meant to coincide with Obama’s birthday.
The fundraising postponements were first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.