Entries in Obama Campaign (20)


Odd Obama Email Subject Lines Drew Huge Cash During Campaign

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Remember all those Obama campaign emails and their, shall we say, unusual subject lines?

“Hey,” wrote President Obama in at least five messages during the campaign.

“Hell yeah,” topped one note from strategist David Axelrod.

Beyonce Knowles teased in an inbox message, “I don’t usually email.”

And women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke provocatively reached out on “Legitimate rape.”

New data released by the campaign show that these and other catchy and casual phrases were hugely successful at getting Obama supporters to open the emails and click through to donate.

Most of the $690 million “Obama for America” raised through online fundraising came from direct email appeals, according to data provided by the president’s campaign exclusively to Bloomberg Businessweek and confirmed by ABC News.

The more casual and profane the tone, the campaign said, the more lucrative the blast.

Obama’s “Hey” subject-lined messages were the most effective pitches of all, though the campaign did not provide a specific dollar amount.

One Obama email blast from June 26 with the subject line, “I will be outspent,” raked in $2.5 million, the data provided to Bloomberg showed.  Other iterations of the same message sent under different subject headings -- e.g. “Thankful every day,” or, “Michelle time” -- were notably less successful, raking in $545,486 and $604,813, respectively.

The campaign relied on a staff of 20 full-time email writers who constantly drafted and experimented with different versions of appeals, officials said, sending them to small lists first to see what was most effective before mailing to a larger listserv of millions of names.

An October report by Return Path, an independent “email intelligence” group, found that Obama’s email campaign dwarfed that of GOP rival Mitt Romney in terms of scope and effectiveness.

The study found that Obama had 13 million email subscribers -- five times as many as Romney -- with a 68 percent inbox placement rate (evading spam filters).  Romney’s placement rate was just 50 percent, according to the group, which based its findings on a random sample of two million inboxes between Aug. 27 and Oct. 10.

All told, by ABC News’ count, Obama sent 65 fundraising emails under his name to his campaign listserv; Michelle Obama sent 35; Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent 34; deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter sent 45; national field director Jeremy Bird sent 21; and former President Bill Clinton sent nine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Camp Trumpets Massive Ground Game on Election Eve

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(MILWAUKEE, WI.) -- With less than two days until voters begin heading to the polls, the Obama campaign is heralding the mobilization of a massive battleground organizing operation – unprecedented in size and scope — that it says will be a decisive factor in the outcome on Nov. 6.

It is a “ground game unlike any that American politics has ever seen and much bigger than we did in 2008,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on an evening conference call Saturday.

“Our get-out-the-vote effort – built over years and running at full speed today – is the reason President Obama will be re-elected to a second term,” said Obama national field director Jeremy Bird.

In a memo detailing the operation, the Obama campaign says it has more than 5,000 get-out-the-vote “staging centers” (or, “hyper-local Obama campaign hubs”) going online across the battlegrounds this weekend and coordinating volunteers for nearly 700,000 canvassing shifts.

Aides said the campaign’s biggest advantage over Republicans was in registrations: 1.7 million voters this cycle – twice as many as it did during the 2008 campaign.

Of those voters, officials said, 28 percent (345,000) have already cast their ballots.

 “The math is clear: our opponent is losing among early voters in nearly every public poll in every battleground state, meaning that if these public polls are right, he would have to win 65 percent of the remaining votes in North Carolina, 59 percent in Iowa and Colorado, 58 percent in Nevada, 55 percent in Florida and Ohio, and 52 percent in Virginia and Wisconsin,” said Bird.

The campaign is also stressing the quality of its voter contacts compared to the Republican operation, which has relied on robo-calls on auto dialers and other forms of non-personal outreach.

“At the start of GOTV weekend, our volunteers have made more than 125 million personal phone calls or door knocks. These do not include robo calls on auto dialers, mail, literature drops or any other form of non-volunteer, non-personal contact,” Bird said. “They are personal outreach conversations. Many have historically favored quantity over quality. We do not. In each conversation we have with the voter, our goal is to make a difference.”

Republican officials dismissed the difference in type of contact, pointing to several recent public polls that show both campaigns are roughly on par with percentage of voters who said they had been contacted.

In the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, for example, 29 percent of likely voters said they had been contacted either by phone, in-person or online by the Obama campaign compared to 27 percent of voters saying they had been contacted by Romney.

Republicans also insist that the early vote totals touted by Team Obama include large numbers of high-propensity voters, or those who would have voted anyway, thereby not representing a net expansion in the electorate for Democrats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Slams New Swing State Poll

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign Monday blasted the latest battleground state polling that finds Mitt Romney with a five-point lead among likely voters, saying the Gallup/USA Today poll has “deep flaws.”

“Gallup’s data is once again far out of line with other public pollsters,” Obama’s pollster Joel Benenson wrote in a memo.

The survey of 12 key swing states finds Romney pulling ahead thanks to increased enthusiasm from women voters, a demographic that both campaigns have targeted aggressively. President Obama and the GOP nominee are tied 48 percent to 48 percent among women who are likely voters, the poll found.

“We believe the problem with Gallup’s outlying data is rooted in their 7 question likely voter screen, which distorts the composition of likely voters, leading to erratic and inaccurate results,” Benenson wrote.

“In the past, Gallup’s justification for such outlying numbers is that they are providing a snapshot of voter attitudes during a particular time period, not predicting the outcome of the election. But this implausible result among women appears to not even provide an accurate reflection on the electorate today, making its value questionable,” he said.

In response, the Republican National Committee said that "after spending the past two weeks talking about Big Bird, now the best President Obama’s campaign can do is litigate polling,” referring to Obama’s attacks against Mitt Romney for saying in the first debate that he would cut federal funding for public broadcasting to reduce the deficit.

“The truth is Team Obama can’t defend his record or explain what his plan is for the next four years,” an RNC spokeswoman said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney's Softer Abortion Stance Poses Challenge to Ryan Before Debate

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney says he has no plans to push new anti-abortion laws if elected, a position that could put him at odds with parts of his core constituency and his own running mate, Paul Ryan.

"There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," the Republican presidential nominee told Iowa's Des Moines Register editorial board Tuesday.

Ryan, who will debate Vice President Biden Thursday Danville, Ky., has been one of the most active anti-abortion members of Congress, co-sponsoring a so-called "personhood" amendment during his last term. Under the proposed law, terminating a pregnancy would become illegal, even in cases of rape.

Romney's comment inspired a unique kind of agreement between the two campaigns Wednesday, with both sides arguing the Republican was more dedicated to the anti-abortion cause than his remark in Iowa would suggest.

"Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said just hours after the comments were posted online. She later added Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

From Chicago, the Obama camp pounced with spokeswoman Lis Smith saying today, "It's troubling that Mitt Romney is so willing to play politics with such important issues. ...Women simply can't trust him."

"We're not saying that he's changed his mind on these issues," deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said. "We're saying he's trying to cover up his beliefs."

In the aftermath of his well-received debate performance, Romney has seen his support among women voters rise. Recent polls show him even with or just behind Obama, who has held a commanding lead for much of the campaign season.

The Susan B. Anthony list, a leading anti-abortion organization, told ABC News it was standing by Romney despite his softened rhetoric.

"He truly holds to the pro-life view in his mind and heart," SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Wednesday morning. "That's who he is."

In a statement released earlier, Dannenfelser expressed "full confidence that as president, Governor Romney will stand by the pro-life commitments he laid out," which include pledges to defund Planned Parenthood and pursue more stringent late-term abortion bans.

Romney's tack to center could create some complications for his vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, who arrives in Kentucky Wednesday ahead of Thursday's debate at Centre College in Danville.

The Wisconsin congressman has been one of the anti-abortion lobby's most dependable voices in Washington, D.C. Last year, he worked with Missouri Senate candidate and House colleague Todd Akin on a bill stating "the life of each human being begins with fertilization… at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood."

Romney, who supported abortion rights during his time as governor in Massachusetts, has changed his position and earned the backing of groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, which calls his new commitment to the anti-abortion cause "concrete."

But unlike his running mate, Romney would make exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape and incest.

Ryan discussed the gap in their philosophies during a brief discussion aboard his campaign plane late in August.

"I'm proud of my record," Ryan said. "Mitt Romney is going to be president and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I'm comfortable with it because it's a good step in the right direction."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign, Democrats Win in Ohio Early Vote Case

Comstock/Thinkstock(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- The Obama campaign has won a legal victory in Ohio that, like other recent decisions, should make it easier for voters to cast their ballots.

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the Obama campaign and local Democratic National Committee officials who challenged Ohio’s early in-person voting system.

Friday’s ruling is the latest to favor Democrats in cases challenging voter restrictions in the weeks leading up to the election.

In 2011, the voting deadlines in Ohio were changed to allow only military and overseas voters to participate in early voting three days before the election.

Democrats -- who challenged the change -- argued that a significant number of Ohio voters would be precluded from voting without the additional three days of in-person early voting.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Democrats. The court affirmed a lower court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction against the change in the law.

“While we readily acknowledge the need to provide military voters more time to vote,” the court ruled, “we see no corresponding justification for giving others less time.”

The court said it was returning discretion to local boards of elections to allow all Ohio voters to vote from Saturday, Nov. 3, through Monday, Nov. 5.

The court said, “The state must show that its decision to reduce the early voting time for non-military voters is justified by a ‘sufficiently weighty’ interest. The state has proposed no interest which would justify reducing the opportunity to vote by a considerable segment of the voting population.”

John Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, has argued in part that the reduced voting hours were necessary to address the needs of the Ohio elections board as it prepared for Election Day. The state also claimed that military service members and their families had unique challenges when it came to voting so that in-person early voting should be extended to them, but not to other Ohio voters.

Husted issued a statement Friday: “My office is reviewing today’s decision by the court as we determine the best course of action moving forward. … No action will be taken today or this weekend.”

Husted has the option of appealing the decision to the full panel of judges on the 6th Circuit.

An Obama campaign official, meanwhile, hailed the decision and touted it as the latest in a string of legal victories for the campaign involving voting rights.

“Ohio joins Wisconsin, Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania as states that turned back restrictions on voter access and limitations on voter participation,” Obama for America general counsel Bob Bauer said in a prepared statement. “The appellate court today affirmed the district court’s decision in ‘OFA v. Husted’ and held unanimously that every Ohioan should have equal access to early voting. As a result of this decision, every voter, including military, veterans, and overseas voters alongside all Ohioans, will have the same opportunity to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign: Ruling on Pennsylvania Voter ID Law ‘Great News’

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign Tuesday welcomed as “great news” a Pennsylvania judge’s decision to block the state’s new voter identification law, ordering that it not be enforced until after the presidential election.

“This decision makes one thing clear for the people there: if you’re eligible to vote, you’ll be able to vote on Election Day,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday. “We believe that the right to vote is an American value.”

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that voters in Pennsylvania will not have to produce a photo ID to vote in the upcoming presidential election, on the basis that he expected more IDs to be issued to voters who need them in time for the next election.

Voter IDs have become a hotly contested issue this election cycle, especially in the key state of Pennsylvania, one of 10 states that have passed ID laws in the past two years. Republicans passed the law without Democratic support, arguing it would protect the integrity of the electoral process. Opponents claim it would disproportionately prevent racial minorities and seniors from voting.

“I am not still convinced,” Judge Simpson wrote in his opinion, “that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election.”

Simpson said election officials could still ask voters for ID cards, but could not turn away those who do not have them.

“We’re encouraged by it,” Psaki said.  "As we’ve done in many other states, we’ll be focused on making sure people in Pennsylvania are educated on how they can vote, when they can vote and how to participate in the process.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Taps Cash Reserves, Adds Debt in July

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- For the third consecutive month, the Obama campaign spent more than it raised, assumed new debt and substantially depleted its cash-on-hand reserves, according to the organization’s Federal Election Commission filing for July.

Obama for America collected $49.1 million between July 1 and 31 -- a modest increase over June and on pace to match the president’s fundraising record of $746 million from four years ago.

But a rapid summertime expansion of grassroots organizing operations in swing states and an aggressive advertising blitz against rival Mitt Romney has begun to drain resources. Obama for America spent $58.8 million over the same period, according to the filing.

The top five expenditures last month were media buys ($39 million), online ads ($8.7 million), payroll ($2.9 million), payroll taxes ($1.2 million) and polling ($900,000).

Obama’s available cash on hand fell $10 million in July from $97 million to $87.7 million.  Debts owed by the campaign rose to $2.8 million.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign and affiliated groups are on track to out-raise and out-spend Obama with an expected $1 billion on advertising.

“I will be outspent in this election. And we will not win the ad wars on TV and radio -- right now, the other side is outspending us on TV by at least 2-to-1 in most battleground states,” Obama said in an email to supporters earlier this month.

“That’s OK. But only if we’re able to keep the spending gap close enough so that our investments in a truly grassroots campaign pay off,” he said, making an appeal.

Joint fundraising accounts with the Democratic National Committee will help keep Obama competitive with Romney.  The Obama Victory Fund raised $30.4 million in July. The party itself reported raising $9.9 million.

All official entities raising money for a second Obama term had a combined $126.7 million cash on hand as of July 31.  The Romney campaign and its affiliated groups reported $185.9 million on hand.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pawlenty to Obama: Leave Ann Romney’s Therapy Horse Alone

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Tim Pawlenty thinks the Obama campaign’s mocking ads featuring the Romneys’ expensive sport-horse is a bridge too far.

Though Pawlenty said in an interview with ABC News’s Jon Karl that he hadn’t seen the ad, he interpreted it as a swipe at Romney’s wife, Ann, who has said she used horse-riding to cope with her illness.

“Well, I haven’t seen the ad, but shame on them, really,” Pawlenty said. “I mean, this is something that she does as a hobby to help her condition as a therapy for having MS, and it gives her great relief and great joy. And I think by her own account and the account of her medical professionals, it helps her. That’s something she shared with others as a sport or hobby or therapy who are facing life challenges or disabilities, and to make light of that or to criticize that, I think, is really, really low. I wish they wouldn’t do that.”

In a statement, Melanie Roussell, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, which made the ads, said: “What Governor Pawlenty is alleging is inaccurate and distracts from the main point. One of Mitt Romney’s hobbies and investments is his dressage horse. And, like his horse, Mitt Romney continues to dance around the issues, from answering why he’s invested in known foreign tax havens or trying to rewrite his position on letting Detroit go bankrupt.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Axelrod Nearly Drowned Out by Romney Protesters in Boston

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- When senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod held a press conference on Mitt Romney’s home turf of Boston Thursday morning, the anti-Obama reception was so loud and rowdy that his message was nearly drowned out.
Axelrod stood behind a podium at the foot of the steps to the Massachusetts State House, flanked by Democratic state officials and a few dozen Obama supporters lining the steps behind. His audience: a small bank of TV cameras and dozens of young, pro-Romney activists screaming and shouting just 15 feet away.
The Republican crowd held signs that read “Obama Isn’t Working,” “Broken Promises,” “Axelrod is in Fantasyland.”  They chanted “We want Mitt,” “Where are the jobs?” and “Solyndra, Solyndra, Solyndra.”   The noise was so loud that it was difficult to make out what many of the speakers ahead of Axelrod were saying.
“This reminds me of the time that Eric Fehrnstrom tried to take me down,” said John Barrett, former mayor of North Adams, Ma., of the demonstration.  “He didn’t take me down then, he’s not going to take us down now.” (Fehrnstrom is Romney’s communications director.)
Axelrod, who staged the event as a kick-off for the campaign’s new assault on Romney’s record as governor, seemed visibly distracted as he tried to make his case.
"It is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country," Axelrod said at the top of his remarks. "I get tweets from some of these folks so I feel close to them. You can shout down speakers my friends but it is hard to Etch-a-Sketch the truth away."
He then moved through talking points the campaign has highlighted in a new research memo and Web video, that Romney failed to keep his gubernatorial campaign promises on the economy, jobs, size of government and debt and would not follow through on the same in the White House.
“If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the people of Massachusetts have heard it all before,” he said.  “The same promises, the same representations, the very same language. Interestingly, when Gov. Romney rolled out his candidacy just a few miles away in [New Hampshire] a few weeks ago after he clinched the nomination, he spoke for 15 or 20 minutes and never found the time to mention that he once had been the governor of Massachusetts, the one elective office he ever held. And there’s good reason for that."
“The Massachusetts record was alarmingly weak,” he said.
Axelrod tried to take questions from reporters, who had to crouch down and shout so he could hear.  Protesters chanted “Where are the jobs?” over and over.
“You can’t handle the truth my friends. That’s the problem. If you could handle the truth, you’d quiet down,” Axelrod said.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith shrugged off the debacle and said the campaign has plenty of time to have their message break through.
“This is the first time that anyone has gone out and given a full synopsis of what he did in Massachusetts, and we have five months to go in this campaign,” she said. “This is just the introduction of it. Clearly they resorted to some juvenile and circus-like tactics Thursday to try to drown it out but they can’t drown it out for five straight months.”
During a press conference of his own outside Solyndra, Inc., in Freemont, Calif., Mitt Romney said he wouldn’t apologize for the hecklers at Axelrod’s event, claiming Democrats have infiltrated some of his.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the governor’s statement “invents a mythic event in which our campaign ‘heckled’ him.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trump's Birther Claim Likely Undermines Romney, Say Strategists

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump has become so unrelentingly fixated on his theory about President Obama's birthplace that he was called "ridiculous" by Wolf Blitzer Tuesday.

It's hard to see how Trump's repeated claims that Obama was born in Kenya help Mitt Romney, say strategists on both sides, as a Trump fundraiser for the candidate gets underway in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Their newfound association has spurred a barrage of attacks from the Obama campaign, as it ties Romney to the birther movement's most prominent spokesman.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted on Twitter, "Two words define Mitt Romney today: Donald Trump."

That was right after Trump completed his second TV interview of the day, not backing down on his unfounded birther theory in an exchange with Blitzer on CNN.

"Donald, you're beginning to sound a little ridiculous, I have to tell you," Blitzer said.

"You are, Wolf," the Donald shot back. "Let me tell you something. I think you sound ridiculous."

It didn't get much better. Trump said that "everyone is entitled to their own opinion," and that many people have questioned the legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate. When he was asked to say who, Trump replied, "I don't give names."

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Romney's charter flight landed in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon right next to Trump's plane.

Trump might be happy to be grabbing so many headlines, but some might say there was another winner Tuesday: President Obama -- because the day after Memorial Day Trump has made the narrative not about jobs or the economy but about the president's birthplace, and the Obama campaign has taken full advantage of this.

Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a statement Tuesday that "Mitt Romney's continued embrace of Donald Trump and refusal to condemn his disgraceful conspiracy theories demonstrates his complete lack of moral leadership."

"If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he's so concerned about lining his campaign's pockets, what does that say about the kind of president he would be?" she said.

While Romney has said he believes Obama was born in the United States, he has not distanced himself from Trump.

"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney told reporters on Monday. "But I need to get 50.1 percent or more, and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

The Obama campaign has drawn a contrast between Romney and John McCain, who in 2008 corrected a woman at a rally when she called Obama an Arab. McCain said Obama was "a decent family man" with whom he just happened to disagree.

Earlier in the day, Trump said on CNBC that "nothing's changed my mind" about where Obama was born.

"Is it the most important thing?" Trump asked himself. "In a way, it is."

S.E. Cupp, a Republican strategist, said that Trump's "conspiracy" theory wasn't the real problem -- but rather that he's not backing down even as he chips away at his candidate's armor.

"Romney is now leaning on someone who clearly isn't bothered by the fact that he's putting Romney in a precarious position," Cupp said. "Surrogates should truly want to help and support their candidates, and it appears that's not Trump's primary concern. If I'm an adviser to Gov. Romney, that would give me some pause about Mr. Trump's endorsement and support."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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