WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama’s reelection campaign reports an upsurge in political donations following his announcement in support of marriage equality. Campaign officials report that within minutes of last week’s endorsement, which the chief executive made during an interview with ABC News reporter Robin Roberts that aired in part on last Wednesday and was broadcast in full the following morning on “Good Morning America.” “I am just so happy,” said openly gay Obama campaign Finance Director Rufus Gifford, in a fundraising message.
“If you’re proud of our president, this is a great time to make a donation to the campaign.” Although the campaign won’t comment on the exact dollar amounts involved, an individual close to the process was quoted as saying the response was “astounding.” Both campaign officials and Democratic Party fundraisers say that many contributors have given the maximum allowable under election laws to both organizations. Federal statutes permit an individual to contribute up to $5,000 to the Obama reelection effort, and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), in addition to be donations they can make to individual state campaign efforts for the president.
“Here I thought the LGBT community was already knocking it out of the ballpark for Obama, and now I see they’ve expanded the ballpark,” said openly gay DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias. “And many of my straight donors are energized as well. People are excited up and down the line.” Both the president’s reelection bid and that of his presumptive challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, are focusing intense energies on building their competing campaign war chests. Last Thursday, both Obama and the former Massachusetts governor attended major fundraising events, with the Romney campaign reportedly pulling in $800,000 at a Nebraska event.
The president attended a $40,000-aplate dinner at the home of George Clooney in Los Angeles, which sources say could rake in as much as $16 million between in-person and online contributions. The refocused debate over marriage equality could also benefit Romney’s campaign, with donations from social and religious conservatives who support the preservation of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and who likewise would support a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and woman.
The candidate himself seemed to throw water on the idea of campaigning negatively on gay marriage, which might reflect the political realities of trying not to alienate moderate and independent voters who may support same sex marriage. Appearing last Thursday on Fox News Channel, the presumptive Republican contender said, “I don’t think the matter of marriage is really a fundraising matter either for the president and it certainly is not for me.”