Skip to comments.Obama's online pitch gives Byrd's campaign a big boost
Posted on 04/11/2005 10:08:41 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
In the first quarter of this year, freshman Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), once again demonstrating remarkable fund-raising ability, raised more than $1 million -- all for Democrat Senate colleagues who are up for re-election in 2006. The biggest beneficiary of Obama's assistance is Sen. Robert Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat elected to the Senate in 1958 who may be the No. 1 target of Republicans this cycle.
"Senator Robert Byrd was one of the first senators I met with when I came to the Senate three months ago,'' Obama wrote in an e-mail sent out on behalf of the political action committee run by MoveOn.Org, the liberal advocacy group.
"Senator Byrd understands the history, the importance and the role Senate plays in our government -- at 87 years old, he's the most senior senator. He has spoken out passionately against a Bush foreign policy that has alienated our allies throughout the world. Today, he is fighting an attempt by Republicans to change the 200-year-old rules of the Senate that would allow Republicans to ram federal judges through the Senate with no regard for what others might say. Above all, Robert Byrd understands just how sacred the Constitution of our country truly is and fights every day to protect it.''
Obama's March 29 online letter to 3.1 million MoveOn.Org members, along with a note by MoveOn.Org executive director Eli Pariser, raised more than $500,000 after just nine hours online. By the time the special appeal was ended March 31, a total of $834,000 was collected.
Except for what MoveOn.Org raised for Sen. John Kerry's Democratic presidential campaign -- and that was many requests over several months -- the Byrd appeal with Obama's potent name set a fund-raising record, Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of MoveOn.Org, told me Sunday.
"The Kerry effort was probably in the eight-figure range. Byrd is the most that MoveOn members have contributed to a Senate or House candidate. We have 39,822 members in West Virginia as of this morning,'' Matzzie said.
Obama was a fund-raising machine even before he was elected last November. He teamed with MoveOn.Org last year, raising $1.2 million for seven Senate hopefuls.
There is more to the Obama Jan. 1-March 31 tally.
Shortly after taking office, he became the Midwest vice chairman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, writing the main Democratic Senate campaign organization a $150,000 check from his own campaign fund. Since then, Obama has raised $292,000 for the DSCC.
By the end of January, Obama, sworn into office Jan. 4, organized his own political action committee, called the HOPEFUND. In three months, that pot of money raised $4,200 for each of 13 senators who face re-election in 2006.
Obama also made phone calls to pitch donors for specific donations to the campaign funds of Democratic senators, raising $15,600 for Ben Nelson of Nebraska, $31,300 for Bill Nelson of Florida, $22,900 for Byrd's war chest, $29,100 for Maria Cantwell of Washington and $16,600 for Kent Conrad of North Dakota.
The total for all of the above is $1,446,100.
Obama also headed to Newark to headline a funder for Sen. Frank Lautenberg that raised about $1 million, and he was one of the hosts for a Chicago funder to bankroll Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Obama the blogger
Obama started his own blog -- http://obama.senate.gov/blog/ -- March 28, the day he launched an Illinois campus tour to tout his first bill: to expand Pell tuition grants. The blog has four entries so far, and they are very straightforward -- no blog casual. His Senate campaign had a blog, but it was staff driven. Obama will be writing his own blog.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs told me Sunday -- aptly, in an e-mail from his Blackberry -- that Obama's blog is "a way of communicating with constituents that he liked a lot during the campaign and wanted to set up in the Senate ... unfortunately the technology of the Senate does not allow a true interaction as constituents [can't] post comments like people did during the campaign ... the blog will be from him and he will do whenever the news or other events make it useful.''
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) also has a blog up and running at http://www.house.gov/kirk/blog/ but, alas, like the Senate, the House blog is not interactive.
Tapped by Time mag
The new edition of Time magazine names Obama to its "Time 100,'' the mag's annual list of the "world's most influential people." Excerpt: "In only his fourth month in the Senate, Obama is still learning the rules of Washington, but he realizes many Americans have even greater hopes for him. It's an almost impossible set of expectations, but for a man whose surname means 'blessed by God,' nothing seems out of reach.''
And he used to be a Kleagle, Obama. Used to want to keep guys like you in what he thought was your place. But why let a little thing like that get in the way of Democratic power politics?
"In addition to being a successful local businessman, Tom Metzger is a tireless community activist", said the Illinois Senator, "he belongs in the statehouse."
Headline: Oboma Bails out Former Klansman
Thanks, liberal (R)'s.
Don't blame me -- I voted for Alan Keyes.
Keyes supporter here too, in the 2000 primary. Well, mispelling Obama's name, I guess I'm almost as bad as Kennedy:
Osama Obama! What's that Name? There isn't a problem, as you can see...
I voted for Keyes as well although Obie would have been a much better choice.
No doubt about that.
You know and I know that Keyes would have lost even if Jimmy Carter was the opponent.
Obama, you bettah support me boy! I may even let you ride in the front part of our Democratic bus..."
That is of no concern to Obama. His father is from Kenya, I believe, and his mother is white from America.
Therefore, he knows as much about being an American black man as I do about being Asian. Obama is a complete fraud, perpetrated by the Soul Patrol and paleo-negroes.
Yep. Dems are using Obama and touting him as a "black" man when for all purposes, Obama identifies with whites more than he does blacks.
Oh, sure. It was a lost cause even before Keyes. But I wasn't going to vote for Obama and I wasn't going to leave a blank spot on the ballot, so my one consolation whenever our junior Senator is mentioned is, "Don't blame me -- I voted for Alan Keyes."
PLEASE visit and sign petition.
The job you save may be your own!!
Senator Byrd understands the history, the importance and the role Senate plays in our government
--Sen. Barack Obama
Byrd is a long-time champion of Senate procedures such as the filibuster, which he invoked for 14 hours straight hours and 13 minutes in opposing the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Thanks, Billy - great perspective. Obama is certainly bending over on this one.