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Friday, July 18, 2008


Barack Obama's strategic coup on public finance

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, July 18, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
Just one week ago, Patrick Ruffini at The Next Right was declaring the Obama campaign's decision to forgo public financing a "strategic miscalculation". This analysis, made before the Obama campaign had actually released any actual numbers for June, was widely quoted and seized upon in almost desperate fashion by the increasingly panicked right-wing blogsphere. Ruffini made a case that the (predicted) poor fundraising numbers for June, rumored to be under $30 million, suggested that the 2008 general election was lacking in intensity relative to the primary or the 2004 general.

It should be noted that the Obama campaign just released its numbers for June - and it was a doozy. $52 million, well above (reasonable) expectations. In fact, Jerome Armstrong argued it could have been higher:

I believe that Obama could have raised $100M in June if that's what they wanted to do. In fact, there may have been plans to do just that too, but they changed. Notice that just $2M was raised for the GE by Obama, they certainly could have raised a ton more money there if they had wanted, for the GE, at least $20-30M, and combined with the $74M that was raised between Obama and DNC, over $100M.

So, either the Obama camp isn't as committed to self-funding for the GE, and might still go the route of taking the $84M in public financing (unlikely); or they are holding off their donors to give for the GE later (there are accounts of projecting a $100M month in Sept); or the Obama camp will use July and August to raise big numbers for the GE, as the decision to opt-out was made on June 19th, late in the month for fundraising plans. It could be either of these last two it seems.

It's likely that the concern trolling about Obama's fundraising will continue, but thats as much a sign of desperation as anything else.

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.