Clinton gives Obama $2 million worth of faint praise

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Bill Clinton headlined two Sunday evening fundraisers for President Barack Obama, following several months in which Obama’s campaign raised less money than expected.

The fundraisers netted Obama up to $2 million — at the price of very tepid praise from the husband of his former rival.

On stage, Clinton praised Obama for doing better than historical records suggest is normal for economic recoveries after real-estate crashes. “Look, the man’s not Houdini; all he can do is beat the clock,” Clinton said at the fundraiser, while Obama stood beside him.

“When I was president, Japan went through a long real estate and financial collapse, and after 10 years they still weren’t back to full employment…[but] I think he is beating the historical standard for coming out of a financial collapse and a mortgage collapse,” Clinton said.

However, Obama got up to $2 million from the two events.

Up to 500 supporters paid $1,000 for tickets to a reception, and up to 80 wealthy supporters paid $20,000 for a dinner.

The events were held in the wealthy McLean district of northern Virginia, at the house of one of Clinton’s major fund-raisers, Terry McAuliffe. “I love poor Terry McAuliffe…. [if] we had a hundred more like him we wouldn’t lose as many elections,” Clinton said at the start of his speech.

During the 2008 race, Obama derided Hillary Clinton, and his aides insinuated that Bill Clinton was racist after suggested Obama’s primary victory in South Carolina was due to strong support in the African-American community. “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88. Jackson ran a good campaign.  And Obama ran a good campaign here,” Clinton said.

Since then, Obama has made deals with Clinton.

In 2010, he invited Clinton to visit the White House after the GOP won a historic mid-term election victory that rivaled the GOP’s history victory in 1994 during Bill Clinton’s first term. In exchange, Clinton stayed at the press podium for so long that Obama excused himself to attend another event. (RELATED: Obama, Clinton trade passive agressive barbs)

This time around, Obama is using Clinton to spur donations from wealthy Democrats.

Obama’s fundraising is coming in below expectations, partly because many wealthy Democrats in business aren’t sending in the checks, despite Obama’s numerous fundraisers.

Obama’s two fundraisers with Clinton were the 127th and 128th of his reelection campaign. In contrast, George W. Bush held 57 fundraisers for his campaign, and 40 for the Republican National Committee, from May 2003 to November 2004.

Obama is getting less money from Democratic goldmines such as Wall Street — which gave Obama far more money in 2008 than it gave to GOP candidate Sen. John McCain.

So far, Obama has raised $196 million for his campaign, much less than the $235 million he raised by this stage of the 2008 race, said former Clinton adviser Dick Morris in an email to subscribers.

Obama’s shortfall is also shown by the surprisingly large percentage of the funds that come in small increments, Morris said. Obama is getting 58 percent of his funds from small donors, compared to 38 percent in 2008, he said.

“It’s entrepreneurs revenge… [because] they’re not masochistic enough to give him money,” he said April 26. “He’s having a very hard time raising big money.”

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