First, let me give you the big #: $86 million. You have to wait until minute 3:30 to hear this though. Now, this money is split up between OFA ($47 million) and and the DNC ($38 million). I explain what the organiztion is like after the fold where I will also give you the most important numbers, but I just want to say something before I do.
As part of President Obama's promise (linked to his promise in 2008) to make his supporters feel that his campaign also belonged to them, Campaign Manager Jim Messina released Obama's 2011 second quarter FEC filing first to his donors and not the FEC. This is the first time in my decade of following national politics that I have ever heard of a candidate releasing his numbers to his supporters before the FEC.
We can get into how isolated we activists feel from the policy-making and messaging of President Obama and the White House. Or we could get into how destructive money is in politics. And I would wholeheartedly agree with both points and scream until I am blue in the face that "MONEY IS NOT SPEECH!"
Yet we live in the real world and while we on the left have known for generations that money is not the only force in politics it does play a big role. And I know that presidents are compromised. The question is can you live with the compromises and so far I can because I have lived thorugh 8 years of far far worse.
So here are the numbers:
Here is Messina's video:
I'll discuss the money and then the organization because that is the point of the video despite what Messina tries to indicate. I mean the video is in the middle of a donation page. And so the here are the rest of the money numbers:
Here's the real big #: 552,462 people contributed to the Obama Victory Fund (explained below) this quarter. This is not a bad start if he wants to get to 3 million donors as he did in 2008. Compared to 2008, Obama is already nearly triple his number of donors. At the same time, everybody knows he has a much more powerful organization behind him this time. The question is will he be able to grow the donor pool as he did in 2008.
680,000 separate donations.
98% of all donations were $250 or less. Thsi is why we are better than Republicans because even if we get more money than them we always get it in smaller dollar donations (except maybe for Clinton).
Average donation: $69
The most important thing in a campaign is the organization. This is the one thing that I always admired most about Obama as campaigner is that he knows the imnportance of organization and field activity.
The campaign is going to be organized around two organizations: OFA and the DNC. To help organize activities, Obama and the DNC have formed the Obama Victory Fund, a joint-fundraising organization. These will mostly be focused on big events like the stadium or theater-sized fundraising rallies, one of which I went to in April in San Francisco. I will give my impressions after the numbers.
The campaign has set up 60 field offices around the country and many more coming according to Messina.
Messina explains that the campaign is already beginning its grassroots approach that helped it so much in Iowa in 2008. The campaign as we know is trying to reconnect with volunteers from 2008. So far the campaign has spoken to:
Met with 31,000 people in face to face meetings and had over 290,000 conversations (probably a combination of telephone and face-to-face meetings, but could also include social networking or e-mail communications.)
In addition the campaign is organizing itself in grassroots organizing committees like in early 2008. He says that these committees have already had 650 sessions. And the summer organizing school has 1500 participants in all of the 50 states.
Two more points:
I hope you noticed that even though I had a heading for spending I didn't mention anything regarding it. I did that because Messina does the same in his video. In the 15-20 second segment in which Messina talks about spending, he produced a graph with no numbers! That is NOT good enough if you are claiming to be honest with your donors and supporters.
Finally, I would like to end with my attendancce of one of the OVF fundraisers in San Francisco. It was a great event reminscient of the 2008 campaign. There was good music, some food (overpriced, but that was the venue's fault), and a very good speech by President Obama. The crowd was very enthusiastic and energetic and several of the people I spoke with were really excited to help the President in 2012.
There were some potential issues that I noticed during the event though. The first was that the theater was not filled. It was held at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, which has a capacity of possibly 3000-4000 seats. But the auditorium was not filled. It was maybe 1/6th empty. And this is in San Francisco.
Another thing I noticed Obama made the point that while he hasn't done enough he's done a lot. And yet while he was trying to make this point, people in the audience were shouting things that he has not done: jobs, public option, immigration reform and so on.) I myself screamed out about cap and trade, hopin he would mention it but like the past three years he didn't.
What does this all portend for the President? I do not know, but here is the first marker of the 2012.