Tales from the Trail

Obama camp’s latest fund-raising draw? Clooney

 

First it was dinner with Barack. Then it was the chance to have dinner with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. The campaign has also added the chance to dine with the president and Vice President Joe Biden to the mix in its perennial “Dinner with Barack” fundraising scheme.

But now it’s offering the chance to meet someone who might make some earlier supporters sorry they didn’t wait to enter the campaign’s fund-raising lottery — Hollywood star George Clooney.

The Obama campaign sent out an email today telling supporters that if they donate $3 “or whatever you can,” they will enter a drawing to win one of two chances to attend a fundraiser Clooney is holding at his home in Los Angeles in May.

“If you donate $3 or whatever you can today, you’ll be doing your part to support the campaign, and be automatically entered to join them in Los Angeles,” the email from Julianna Smoot, deputy campaign manager for Obama for America, said.

“If you ask me, this is far too good to pass up.”

Most people at the event will have paid $35,800 — funds going to the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Washington Extra – Going to the dogs

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (C) is seen here in 2008 with his grandson Parker and his son Craig greeting a dog at a campaign stop in Bluffton, South Carolina in this file photo (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst). AT LEFT: U.S. President Barack Obama bends down to pet his dog, Bo, outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 15, 2012 (REUTERS/Larry Downing).

U.S. President Barack Obama bends down to pet his dog, Bo, outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington March 15, 2012.   It’s now official: The presidential campaign is going to the dogs. And like a lot of things this election year, it’s doing so via Twitter.

For months, aides to Republican Mitt Romney have tried to live down the much-publicized tale of the Romney family’s trip to Canada in 1983, when Romney transported the family dog, Seamus, in a crate that was strapped to the top of the car. The episode, in which the dog lost control of his bowels, has been lampooned by Democrats who have portrayed Romney as an uncaring former corporate executive.

So neither party gets the dog vote?

Jim Treacher of the conservative Daily Caller website unleashed a new twist in the 2012 election campaign’s dog war on Tuesday with a column, “Obama bites dog,”  about how Obama tried dog meat as a child. His proof? Obama’s own words in his memoir, “Dreams from my Father,” describing learning to eat local food as a child living in Indonesia.

“I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy),” Obama wrote.

Treacher presented the anecdote as a counterpart to the story, repeatedly cited by liberals, of Mitt Romney putting his family’s dog, Seamus, in a carrier on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour trip to Canada. Liberals use the story to make their case that Romney, the probable Republican presidential nominee and a former executive, is cold-hearted and more interested in efficiency than compassion.

Republicans ride “Mommy Wars” to bank, if not ballot box

 

The flap over Ann Romney’s stay-at-home mom status may or may not help overcome the yawning gender gap between her husband and President  Barack Obama. But Mitt Romney’s campaign, and his Republican party, are looking to at least make a few bucks off the latest edition of the “Mommy Wars” — and perhaps keep them going with some well-priced goods.

Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen started the fracas on Wednesday night when she tried to make the point on CNN that Ann Romney, who has been deployed by her husband’s campaign to appeal to women voters, may not understand the economic challenges faced by most American women. Probable Republican nominee Mitt Romney is a former private equity executive with a personal fortune of up to $250 million.  But she slipped by saying that Mrs. Romney, a 62-year-old mother of five sons, had “never worked a day in her life.”

Mitt Romney’s campaign, which saw his ratings among women take a dive as Republican presidential candidates sparred over abortion, contraception and other divisive social issues, seized the moment. Ann Romney took to Twitter for the first time to say she had worked hard raising her sons. And party notables, including former first lady Barbara Bush, took to the Twitterverse and airwaves to dispute Rosen, who eventually apologized, as Democrats, including President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, said they disagreed with her statement.

Washington Extra – Tea Party poopers

A man holds a sign during a March 24 Tea Party Patriots rally in Washington calling for the repeal of the 2010 healthare law. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

All that Tea Party support in 2010 for the 87 House Republican freshmen seems to have come with a price — and now it’s time to collect.

Representative Michael Grimm found his office filled with activists wanting to know why he hadn’t done more to slash government spending and why he had voted to raise the U.S. debt limit. He too is frustrated, the former Marine told them, but you just can’t shut down government and stop paying the soldiers.

Check one, two? Obama likes knowing when microphone is on

 

The microphone was hot, and this time, President Barack Obama was happily aware that he was being recorded.

During the opening of a speech he gave to news editors in Washington, Obama took a light jab at the media for reporting sideline discussions he had with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul that were, unbeknownst to the pair, picked up by press microphones.

“It is a pleasure to speak to all of you — and to have a microphone that I can see,” Obama said to laughter from the audience of news executives.

Romney’s small dollar disconnect

After his win in Illinois on Tuesday, Mitt Romney is looking to convince Republicans around the country that he’s their ultimate nominee.

But despite his lead in the delegate count, Romney continues to lag behind his rivals in raising money from so-called small-dollar donors, supporters who donate less than $200. Donations from people who contributed less than $200 — often viewed as a gauge of popular appeal — are filed as “unitemized” donations with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

FEC filings on Tuesday showed Romney’s campaign has so far raised $7.5 million from small donors, which comprises only 10 percent of his fundraising. That proportion has roughly remained the same throughout the campaign.

Will Romney’s “dog problem” hound him forever?

Given the widespread publicity that Mitt Romney’s “dog problem” continues to receive – it was on the front page of the Washington Post just last week – it’s no surprise that a polling group decided to see if the issue could resonate at the ballot box, or merely be the crate-gate scandal that launched a thousand late-night jokes.

The story, discovered by the Boston Globe in 2007, goes something like this. In 1983 Romney, then a 36-year-old rising star in the private equity world, loaded up the family station wagon with five sons and luggage for a long trek from Boston to Ontario, Canada. Seamus, the family’s Irish Setter, was put into his dog crate, which was then strapped to the top of the car. Romney’s plan was to make the 12-hour drive with customary pinpoint precision, stopping just once for gas, snacks and ablutions. But Seamus, whether terrified or over-excited, at some point soiled himself, as the boys discovered when they saw brown liquid running down the car window. Romney, the efficiency expert, quickly pulled into a nearby gas station to hose down the car, and the dog, calm down the kids, and get back on the road.

The ancient tale has spawned dozens of newspaper articles and television segments, especially as Romney has become 2012’s presumptive GOP nominee. It has also created its own protest movement, Dogs Against Romney, which has close to 42,000 followers on Facebook.

The Oscars, an evening of golden statues and golden donors – to Democrats

In a presidential election year, the Oscar statuettes are not the only gold-plated figures at Hollywood’s annual Academy Awards ceremony. The audience on Sunday will be sprinkled with big political donors — at least to Democrats.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of DreamWorks Animation, which has three films up for awards, is a top bundler for President Obama who has donated $4 million in national and state-level races, according to The Sunlight Foundation, which analyzed data about filmdom donations. Katzenberg gave half that total – $2 million – to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama Super PAC.

Steven Spielberg, who produced the best picture nominee “War Horse,” has spent $1.6 million in donations to Democratic state and federal candidates and committees, including Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and California Governor Jerry Brown, Sunlight said.