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Obama as ATM: Democrats want him as fundraiser, not campaigner

As the election season ramps up in August, President Obama is putting on his fundraiser hat, attending $30,000-a-plate dinners but not spending much time campaigning for candidates.

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Earlier this month, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged on TV that Democratic control of the House was in jeopardy, infuriating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Obama now plans to head out to Los Angeles on Aug. 16 to headline a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

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And as a rule, candidates almost can’t have too much money. The DCCC is playing defense, and has reserved television ad time in 56 districts, costing $49 million. Of those districts, almost all are currently held by Democrats.

Obama’s dance card for August is filling up fast:

On Aug. 5, he heads home to Chicago for two party fundraisers and an appearance on behalf of Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias.

On Aug. 9, Obama goes to Austin, Texas, for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, then Houston to raise money for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

On Aug. 18, he heads to Columbus, Ohio, for an economic speech and then more fundraisers, including one for Gov. Ted Strickland’s reelection campaign.

Obama’s appearances with candidates show he’s not a complete pariah. In his home state of Illinois, his job approval is still over 50 percent, and he’s hoping to keep his old Senate seat in Democratic hands. Mr. Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk are neck and neck. In Ohio, Obama is slightly more popular than Governor Strickland (46 percent to 43 percent), but at fundraisers, where the crowd is friendly, having the president at your side is gold.

Until recently, Vice President Joe Biden has carried most of the water as the administration’s campaigner, appearing at almost 100 events this cycle. The popular first lady, Michelle Obama, is also in high demand for events.

Related:

Can Obama, Biden give a boost to Democratic candidates?

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