Power Play has learned that a late fundraising surge driven by a series of attacks from President Obama and his political team has put the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in position to achieve its $75 million political spending goal.
Just last week, two sources with knowledge of the Chamber's political spending plan told Power Play that the business group might come up short in its fundraising goal.
"That was always an optimistic goal," said one Chamber insider. A political consultant working with the group was even more blunt: "They don't have it."
But now that a barrage of campaign ads from the Democratic National Committee and stump speeches from the president and vice president have accused the Chamber of taking secret foreign contributions, things are actually looking up.
A Chamber source tells Power Play that conservative members of the group who were holding back donations or considering spending their money through smaller political action groups have ponied up for the Chamber.
Because of early Chamber efforts to work with President Obama on issues like global warming, some deep-pocked politically active members had stayed out of the current fundraising drive. Since Mr. Obama declared war on the group, though, such doubts have been eased.
Other donations have come from members who seldom participate in politics, but who were eager to help the Chamber fight back.
"All I can say is that this has been a great week," said a Chamber source, who confirmed that the $75 million goal was "a much easier lift" since Obama started hammering away at the group.
The Chamber has already spent tens of millions of dollars. The late surge of Obama-fueled cash will help the group roll out an aggressive state-level get-out-the-vote drive and other pricy projects aimed at minimizing the effect of big labor's ground game.
The other group targeted by the White House, American Crossroads, has reset its fundraising goals from $50 million to $65 million, according to the Daily Caller.
The Day In Quotes
"Man up, Harry Reid."
-- Republican Sharron Angle suggesting that the Senate majority leader take a more frank view of Social Security funding."No offense, I don't know how many people will read the New York Times Magazine."-- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs brushing off a new article that quotes President Obama preparing for a Democratic electoral setback and admitting that there are no such things as "shovel ready" projects.
"He has a difficulty with real Democrats because his voting and his stand is Republican, and I think you're seeing that in the polls now."
-- Charlotte Pritt, former West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee, to Politico on why Gov. Joe Manchin is losing as much as 5 percent to an environmentalist candidate in his Senate race.
"Meg Whitman could be described as 'a political whore.' Yes, that's an accurate statement."
-- California NOW President Parry Bellasalma to the liberal Web site Talking Points Memo.
"When something is really important to us - like football - we care about the facts. If ever there was an example of not watching the game film, this is it. The game film shows the facts."
-- Former President Bill Clinton, quoted by the New York Times, stumping for candidates in Mississippi.
"Listen to me, because you'll learn."
-- Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to Joy Behar on "The View" when Behar said that she didn't think most Americans opposed the Ground Zero Mosque.
"I'm not wild about the ad... [but] he's a hell of a shot."
-- Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine when asked at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast about West Virginia Senate nominee Joe Manchin's ad in which he shoots the cap-and-trade bill with a rifle.
Fight Nights -- Angle v. Reid and Rossi v. Murray
Reid's Desert Rattler
Nevada's only Senate debate was a win for Sharron Angle.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needed to make Angle, who has a razor-thin edge in recent polls, look like she was, as he said, "extreme" or as his campaign ads say "crazy."
She seemed to be neither in the 60-minute showdown with Reid broadcast statewide and on C-SPAN. Instead she seemed to be something of the pugnacious grandma she introduced herself as.
Unlike most challengers, Angle didn't need a knockout. Because of Reid's poor standing with state voters, Angle mostly needed to show that she was a plausible alternative.
She started out on the attack - blasting Reid for his condo at Washington D.C.'s Ritz-Carlton and personal wealth amassed during his political career. She stayed on the attack on Nevada's worst-in-the-nation unemployment. She served up a few zingers on the president's national health care law.
Not long after Reid talked about his poor parents and humble upbringing, Angle pressed her point about Reid's personal fortune.
"Now you're one of the richest men in the U.S. Senate. ... We'd like to know how did you become so wealthy on a government payroll?"
Reid, who started out trying to emphasize the benefits to Nevada of his power in Washington, was doing most of the attacking by the end.
His first parries were about Angle being "extreme" in her views on Social Security.
But that line of attack brought Angle's best line of the evening:
"Man up, Harry Reid. You need to understand that we have a problem with Social Security. The problem was created because of government taking that money out of the Social Security trust fund."
He then tried to portray Angle as a tool of big business and Wall Street, and seemed to end up in something of a dither. Plus his legalistic answers about abortion in Obamacare President Obama's health care reform and English as the national language seemed to be evasive.
Reid needed to discredit Angle or allow her to discredit herself. Instead, she showed herself to be a plausible, if unlikely, Senate candidate. That may be enough to secure the support of the conservative-leaning independents she needs to win.
Murray and Rossi Spooked in Spokane
The first of two debates between Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and challenger Dino Rossi came out to a draw.
Both seemed to be wary of making big mistakes with their final bout set for Sunday in Seattle. This seemed more like sparring than real fighting.
Rossi certainly seemed to be holding his punches and referring back to talking points. Murray seemed to be a little dazed.
The only time she showed much emotion was when she heralded a Washington state judge's decision in the case of a former air force officer discharged for open homosexuality.
Murray called the former officer a "hero" and said she should be free to "pursue her dreams." Rossi said he would wait to see how the military's review of the ban on allowing open expressions by gay and lesbian members of the armed forces played out before passing judgment.
But the overall topic of the warm up debate shows why the race is one of the closest in the land, even in deep blue Washington: Is it good for the state to have a Senator who has been in Washington for 18 years?
With voters unhappy with the way Washington has been run, Murray is not looking for a referendum on the merits of longtime incumbency.
Trail Riders - Crist Speaks; Is Toomey Slipping?; Barbour's Big Haul; Krauthammer On Self-Criticism as Self-Flattery
Politics on FOX Today
Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL) will be on “FOX & Friends” in the 8 a.m. hour.
Tim Cahill, independent candidate for Massachusetts governor, will be a guest on “America’s Newsroom with Martha McCallum and Bill Hemmer” in the 10 a.m. hour.
Bobby Schilling, Republican House candidate from Illinois, will be on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” in the 4 p.m. hour.
Nan Hayworth, Republican House candidate from New York, will be on “Hannity” in the 9 p.m. hour.
(All times Eastern)
2012 Watch -- Christie’s Their Man
The draft Chris Christie movement is underway. A Web site, www.draftchristie.com, launched by New Jersey political strategist Don Scio aims to get “tens of thousands” of signatures to present to Christie encouraging him to run for office.
Christie campaigns today for Linda McMahon in Connecticut’s Senate race.
Chaffee Tackles Unemployment
Rhode Island independent gubernatorial candidate and former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee saw his campaign manager quit amid allegations that he was taking unemployment checks while on the campaign payroll.
The race between Chaffee and Democrat Frank Caprio is close. Republican John Robitaille has trailed in polls.
The Chaffee campaign alleges that Caprio’s campaign is behind the release of confidential state documents that support the allegations.
2012 Watch -- GOP Fund-racing
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's political operation raised $1.8 million from July thru September, once again leading prospective GOP White House candidates and bringing his total raised to nearly $8 million.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took in $1.2 million from July to September, for a total of $3.4 million since 2009.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty raised nearly $800,000 over the past three months through his political action committee and two-state based organizations, bringing his fundraising total to nearly $3.4 million since launching the operation late last year.
Obama’s Day – Small Opening
President Obama will begin his main fall campaign swing with something of a tip in – campaigning for prohibitive favorite Chris Coons for the Delaware Senate seat formerly held by Vice President Biden.
Biden and Obama will stump for Coons, who is trouncing gadfly Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell in polls.
Obama will also have a rare meeting with a member of the previous administration as he hosts former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Part of “Obama 2.0” perhaps?
Biden, though, travels on to Wisconsin where will headline a fundraiser for three Democratic candidates.
Ad Watch – GOP Looks to Help Toomey
With polls consistently showing Republican Marco Rubio in the lead in Florida, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is moving $4 million out of the Sunshine State to spread around to races in California, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
California and Illinois have been tight all along, but sending cash to Pennsylvania is something of a switch. Republican Pat Toomey has held a seemingly prohibitive advantage in polls there for weeks.
Follow the Money/2012 Watch -- Barbour Smashes Records
The Republican Governors’ Association announced Thursday that the group had raised $31 million from July to September. The Democratic Governors Association came up with $10 million over the same period. The RGA, under Gov. Haley Barbour’s leadership, has taken in nearly $60 million this year.
Follow the Money – Pay Back for Murkowski?
The conservative Club for Growth is sending letters to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s donors with forms to send to her campaign asking for refunds now that Murkowski is running against the Republican nominee, Joe Miller.
Murkowski, meanwhile, is preparing a new ad that features the late former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
That Might Have Cost Him Votes on the South Side…
The Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate's name was mistakenly listed as "Rich Whitey" instead of Rich Whitney on thousands of Chicago electronic-voting machines and will be corrected, elections officials said Thursday.
And Now, A Word From Charles
“One of the things [President Obama] blames for his lack of success in certain areas is how virtuous he was in thinking about the policies, not the politics.
He pretends it's a failing as a way to flatter himself. But it's so untrue. This is a man who shaped [the stimulus] entirely on political grounds, accepting every wish list from every senior member of Congress. Cap and trade was so politically corrupt that there wasn't even any trade. The permits had been given away by the arbitrary political patronage.
And then on healthcare, which is a pastiche of giveaways, the one element left out that would have really had an impact on health care cost, tort reform, isn't in there. Howard Dean told us why: entirely because the trial lawyers wouldn't have liked it. All politics, and yet he pretends all he cares about is the future of this country.”
-- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on President Obama’s interview with the New York Times Magazine.