Skip to comments.Obama's online pitch gives Byrd's campaign a big boost
Posted on 04/11/2005 7:20:10 PM PDT by jimboster
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.''
Sadly, Obama doesn't understand much about Byrd's history.
Did Barack Obama enter politics solely to be a whore?
Wow. A black man raising money to give a Klu Klux Klan leader more power. Does this Obama guy have a death wish, or what?
So Obama raised money from Kool-aid drinkers. To quote a famous singer "That don't impress me much"
Why will blacks do anything to not be a republican?
This is over the top: Time 100,'' the mag's annual list most influential people in the world. Who? Obama, Osama? How much money do you think he would have raised in West Virginia?
The only way America will return to a the ideals of the Constitution is to replace rat judges with honest judges.
Lewis looks like a fine candidate. According to his web site he is Pro-Life Pro-Gun and Pro-Military...a great combination for a Republican pick up in 06.
The article repeats moveon.org's claim that they have 3.1 million members. Where is the proof for that? The article also repeats a claim that in West Virginia, moveon.og has 39,822 members. Since they are an online organization, how do they know that? Has anybody, let alone Lynn Sweet, seen any actual verification of these claims?
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