Obama fundraising on Air Force One?

posted at 8:41 am on July 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

In the OOTD this morning, The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove got the inside scoop on President Obama’s fundraising conference call made from Air Force One on Friday, as one of the participants recorded the call and passed it along to Grove.  Grove reported that Obama no longer sounds confident and buoyant as he did in 2008, but instead “weary and a tad worried” about his prospects.  While Obama sounded ill-informed and almost hysterical at the prospects of being outspent — and indulged in a little Koch Brothers conspiracy thinking to boot, which may make for another OOTD this week — Grove wondered in the piece whether the fundraising call was even legal:

“The majority on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time,” the president said in a highly unusual (and presumably legal) fundraising pitch from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Colorado Springs, where he’d been assessing the terrible damage caused by uncontained wildfires. A special phone on the government aircraft is dedicated to political calls that are paid for by the campaign.

Presumably legal?  It’s almost certainly legal, although it’s probably in an area with at least a light shade of gray to it.  Presidents have to travel using Air Force One regardless of the purpose of the trip — official business or campaigning, although these days it’s getting mighty tough to tell the difference.  When used for campaign travel, the campaign has to reimburse taxpayers for AF1′s operating costs, which are considerable (north of $180,000 an hour by some calculations), but since the President is always on duty, he needs the communication and security assets aboard AF1 whenever he travels.  This has been true for every incumbent President running for re-election in the post-Watergate era of campaign finance reform.  Installing the separate phone for campaigning, with its costs being paid by the campaign, is a reasonable compromise for those trips pertaining only to official business.

However, that doesn’t answer the more pertinent question of the wisdom of fundraising on this particular trip.  As Grove notes, Obama was returning to Washington after a highly-visible appearance in Colorado, where wildfires have raged for weeks and massive amounts of effort have been spent to get them under control.  Michelle Malkin and her family had to evacuate their house, which is near the Waldo Canyon wildfire that firefighters have begun to get under control, at least for the moment.  She remarked yesterday, “Never let a wildfire (or a post-wildfire sightseeing trip flight back home!) go to waste.”

Perhaps it would have been wiser for Obama to wait until he was back at the White House to make that call. Obama has attended more fundraisers already than his last three or four predecessors did in their first (or only) terms combined.  Why rush it, then?  The ends of the fundraising month and quarter were Saturday, the next day, and Obama apparently wanted to boost his bragging rights, but that deadline forced Obama to blow any political capital earned on the trip.  Instead of looking presidential, cool, and calm with his survey of the emergency-management efforts in Colorado, Obama ended up looking desperate and hysterical at the end of the trip’s story arc.  The effort was almost certainly legal, and clearly unwise.


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Legal, but not smart.

Well, at least it’s a change. Normally he does stuff that’s not legal and not smart.

The Rogue Tomato on July 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

God can raise money anywhere he wants.

AF1, The White House, Sarawah Jessica Parker’s pad, Clooney, wherever.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (through his Agriculture Department ministry right?).

CASHBAMA 2012!

PappyD61 on July 2, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Perhaps it would have been wiser for Obama to wait until he was back at the White House to make that call.

You write as though his base cares about these sorts of things. And the squishy swing voters won’t know about it because they are barely plugged in… and the MSM won’t cover it.

For a Republican it would be like a nuclear bomb with 24/7 coverage on all the networks. For the big Zero it’s just another day of killing puppies as the press looks in Romney’s trash and concocting stories from whatever they find.

mankai on July 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

There are legislators from both parties and other public office holders getting convicted left and right in Pennsylvania for using public offices, employees etc for campaign purposes. Felonies. Some are looking at doing time.

forest on July 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

And the stain on a once respected Presidential office, just keeps growing and getting bigger………………..

FlaMurph on July 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Good to see Obama is maintaining his track record as to what takes the higher priority; concern over the thousands of people who have lost their homes to devastating wildfires, or the funding for his own re-election.

Wonder if he had to flip a coin?

pilamaye on July 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM

classy as ever.

cmsinaz on July 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM

The day will come when Ogabe will be fundraising from a federal property of a different sort.

Archivarix on July 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Instead of looking presidential, cool, and calm with his survey of the emergency-management efforts in Colorado, Obama ended up looking desperate and hysterical at the end of the trip’s story arc. The effort was almost certainly legal, and clearly unwise.

You say desperate and hysterical. I say revealing and hypocritical. It is clear that he made the trek to Colorado because it has the potential of being a swing state. That he’s fundraising the minute he gets back on from a series of photo-ops shows just how much empathy he really had with those people he met on the ground who had lost everything. In other words, he didn’t give a damn about anything but making sure the cameras were rolling as he made those sad faces and feigned concern.

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 8:50 AM

“let them eat cake”

Imagine if you flew around the country taking vacations and fundraising and you weren’t a dictator. The IRS, beefed up with thousands and thousands of new recruits, would grind you up and spit you out.

Of course, they have the “seperate but equal” healthcare that only the priveleged and union elite will have beginning in 2014. The rest can join those excellent state pools that will provide “state of the art” coverage for all the illegal aliens and the peasants that work for small employers in the private sector.

acyl72 on July 2, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Having gotten his Certificate of Deity from Harvard Deity School, it’s clear Emperor Husein is above the law. Laws only apply to conservative politicians and their donors.

NickDeringer on July 2, 2012 at 8:51 AM

127 days until he never has to campaign again.

txmomof6 on July 2, 2012 at 8:54 AM

“desperate and hysterical” …. Yep. Preezy is losing it on a daily basis …. Cannot wait for his final meltdown, November 6 ….

dawndawn on July 2, 2012 at 8:55 AM

So I guess that, once again, there was no controlling legal authority?

I’m convinced we are rapidly becoming a nation where those in power will do whatever they wish, covered by a “living constitution” that justifies them at every turn.

Now please, go back to watching American Idol or The View.

paul1149 on July 2, 2012 at 8:58 AM

…JugEars would sit on the pot begging for money during a bowel movement!

KOOLAID2 on July 2, 2012 at 8:58 AM

The stench of desperation coming from Dear Leader’s Regime is worse than that caused by the lack of power around here due to that storm Friday….

wildcat72 on July 2, 2012 at 8:59 AM

You write as though his base cares about these sorts of things. And the squishy swing voters won’t know about it because they are barely plugged in… and the MSM won’t cover it.

For a Republican it would be like a nuclear bomb with 24/7 coverage on all the networks. For the big Zero it’s just another day of killing puppies as the press looks in Romney’s trash and concocting stories from whatever they find.

mankai on July 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Yeah, we have to stop acting like the left gives a crap about any of this. Let’s be honest. A scandal like F&F would’ve ended the Bush Presidency. And I don’t mean in terms of making him a lame duck or tarnishing his legacy(ala Clinton’s impeachment). I mean he literally would’ve been run out of office before his term ended. With Obama, it’s no big deal. The Terry family can go screw themselves as far as the Democrat-media complex is concerned.

Doughboy on July 2, 2012 at 8:59 AM

PO’BAMA 2012

hillsoftx on July 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Legal, but not smart dumb.

That’s what I see..

Electrongod on July 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM

How is this legal? Doesn’t this wander into Gore’s “no controlling legal authority” argument. I thought it was illegal to campaign from a federal office. When the President is on Air Force One, that is his office.

rjh on July 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM

And the stain on a once respected Presidential office, just keeps growing and getting bigger………………..

It’s no longer respected because there’s a s**t stain in the Presidential office.

single stack on July 2, 2012 at 9:01 AM

When used for campaign travel, the campaign has to reimburse taxpayers for AF1′s operating costs, which are considerable (north of $180,000 an hour by some calculations), but since the President is always on

Are you sure?
I thought they only had to reimburse what an equivalent commercial flight would be, which is well short of AF1′s operating costs.

MayBee on July 2, 2012 at 9:02 AM

And the stain on a once respected Presidential office,

So the last 2 Dem. presidents have left stains in the office, got it.

hillsoftx on July 2, 2012 at 9:04 AM

http://www.teaparty.org/article.php?id=2553

As a rule of thumb, an incumbent president’s campaign is expected to reimburse the government the cost of a first class commercial airline ticket for each person riding Air Force One to or from a political event, campaign finance experts say.

But that amount doesn’t come close to covering the proportional operating cost of Air Force One, or the army of Secret Service agents, White House advance teams, the fleet of Air Force cargo planes transporting the presidential motorcade or the helicopters that often ferry the president from an airport to a remote site.

MayBee on July 2, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Off topic… It’s Monday, Jazz Shaw is no longer allowed to post his RINO BS.

kevinkristy on July 2, 2012 at 9:07 AM

127 days until he never has to campaign again.

txmomof6 on July 2, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Hm. You really think he’s finished? I know that’s how it is supposed to work, but I can imagine this guy doing all sorts of “important work” at the UN, or — whatever. Maybe not campaigning. Maybe “lobbying” at least — I mean on his own behalf (pick me!).

Never really thought about it ’till you wrote that. :)

I can’t see him retiring quietly to Crawford, anyway, and being content to open libraries.

Didn’t he tell you? He’s Zaphod Beeblebrox, baby!

Axe on July 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Obama was returning to Washington after a highly-visible appearance in Colorado,

Really? Highly visible? Gee, I must have missed it. Did the king shake hands with firefighters? Did he talk to some ‘folks’ that lost everything and bite his lower lip? Oh, wait, that was a previous panderer in chief. Wonder how much dough this call generated.

Kissmygrits on July 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

…as one of the participants recorded the call and passed it along to Grove…

I would LOVE to hear that tape.

Kevin71 on July 2, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Wonder if he sent this tweet from AF1?

President Obama on tonight’s fundraising deadline: “This is important.” Pitch in $3 before midnight: OFA.BO/NNZpqq

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 1, 2012

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Is anybody really THAT suprised?

gophergirl on July 2, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Message to Colorado: Out of sight; out of mind.

TN Mom on July 2, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Really? Highly visible? Gee, I must have missed it. Did the king shake hands with firefighters? Did he talk to some ‘folks’ that lost everything and bite his lower lip? Oh, wait, that was a previous panderer in chief. Wonder how much dough this call generated.

Kissmygrits on July 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Michelle Malkin has pics.

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 9:14 AM

127 days until he never has to campaign again.

txmomof6 on July 2, 2012 at 8:54 AM

It’s hard to believe that we are possibly (fingers crossed) only four months away from an end to this nightmare. My family is buying fireworks now to put off on election night. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone did that, all over the country?

Night Owl on July 2, 2012 at 9:15 AM

The stench of desperation coming from Dear Leader’s Regime is worse than that caused by the lack of power around here due to that storm Friday….
wildcat72 on July 2, 2012 at 8:59 AM

What part of the Midwest are you from wildcat? Here in NE Indiana, we’re being told we may not get our power back til Friday. Sigh.

FinallyRight on July 2, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Grove wondered in the piece whether the fundraising call was even legal

For thugs, might makes right.

petefrt on July 2, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Typical Obama. While so many are suffering, he spends most of his time campaigning.

TN Mom on July 2, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Obama ’12 — a fly-by-night operation.

Mr. D on July 2, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Here in NE Indiana, we’re being told we may not get our power back til Friday. Sigh.

FinallyRight on July 2, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Wow. Here in eastern Iowa, the forecast is for mid 90s in both temperature and humidity through Friday. My deepest sympathies, FR…

Kraken on July 2, 2012 at 9:24 AM

Obama ended up looking desperate and hysterical at the end of the trip’s story arc

You are such a good writer! It’s neat how you let someone else do all the work. And then you make stuff up. Art!

I suppose this is not another one of your traffic bait Obama posts, but rather actually a Romney post. Just takes an attentive reader to get the point of the post is that Romney has too much integrity to do something like this. In fact too much integrity to even appear in a the “piece”.

tommyhawk on July 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM

For me anymore, the word that comes to mind for him and his crew is SLEAZE.

docflash on July 2, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Here in NE Indiana, we’re being told we may not get our power back til Friday. Sigh.

FinallyRight on July 2, 2012 at 9:17 AM

That happened here in western PA a few years ago, we were without electricity for four days. It was awful. I feel your pain.

Night Owl on July 2, 2012 at 9:30 AM

tommyhawk on July 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Channeling Key West Reader:

You mad bro?

Night Owl on July 2, 2012 at 9:32 AM

As a rule of thumb, an incumbent president’s campaign is expected to reimburse the government the cost of a first class commercial airline ticket for each person riding Air Force One to or from a political event, campaign finance experts say.

But that amount doesn’t come close to covering the proportional operating cost of Air Force One, or the army of Secret Service agents, White House advance teams, the fleet of Air Force cargo planes transporting the presidential motorcade or the helicopters that often ferry the president from an airport to a remote site.

MayBee on July 2, 2012 at 9:05 AM

This is one of those built in advantages of an incumbent, and a significant one at that. In the case of a President, however, it is justified often for national security reasons, communications, etc. But no President prior to Obama has used AF1 as much for campaigning, since he is in campaign mode 24/7, and has surely over-done it as he does in every sphere when it comes to spending taxpayer money.

TXUS on July 2, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Oh, wait, that was a previous panderer in chief. Wonder how much dough this call generated.

Kissmygrits on July 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

More to the point, as far as I’m concerned is how much it cost for him to make an appearance in Colorado. Do they not have phones, e-mail, and videoconferencing at the White House? What other than campaigning was the purpose of the jug-eared Kenyan showing up and essentially getting in the way of firefighters? It costs the American taxpayer approx $1M per hour to operate Air Force One. Call it three hours each way for those lip biting photo ops. Money well spent?????

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Here in NE Indiana, we’re being told we may not get our power back til Friday. Sigh.

FinallyRight on July 2, 2012 at 9:17 AM

People are being told the same thing here in DC and it is not sitting well. It isn’t just the heat with no AC. It’s the inability to get gas or use credit cards. It’s the dark traffic lights which people are blowing through instead of treating like a four-way-stop. Things are getting ugly.

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 9:36 AM

tommyhawk on July 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Channeling Key West Reader:

You mad bro?

Night Owl on July 2, 2012 at 9:32 AM

It was obviously about Kim Kardashian. You can tell because she doesn’t seem to appear, and the “piece” seems to have nothing to do with her.

– yet I was thinking about her the whole time I was reading it. Or, at least, right before and right after. QED.

Axe on July 2, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Axe on July 2, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Yeah, darn that Ed Morrissey for not doing a story on Romney abusing the office of President of the United States!

Night Owl on July 2, 2012 at 9:41 AM

You are such a good writer! It’s neat how you let someone else do all the work. And then you make stuff up. Art!

I suppose this is not another one of your traffic bait Obama posts, but rather actually a Romney post. Just takes an attentive reader to get the point of the post is that Romney has too much integrity to do something like this. In fact too much integrity to even appear in a the “piece”.

tommyhawk on July 2, 2012 at 9:27 AM

a)What was “made up”?
b)First, you get upset because Romney gets mentioned in articles…then, you get your bowels in an uproar because Romney isn’t mentioned in an article about d’ohbama.
c)”attentive reader…..” ??

You people need to get a grip.

Solaratov on July 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM

This would make a good ad for Romney 2012

Shay on July 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

This would make a good ad for Romney 2012

Shay on July 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

But only for “attentive readers”.

Solaratov on July 2, 2012 at 9:49 AM

After viewing the terrible damage and suffering caused by these fires, what’s his primary concern? Not the people who have lost their homes and lives. Nope. That must take a back seat to our concern for him and how tired he is and how gray his hair is and how hard this presidentin’ is. No one with such an abject lack of empathy or humility should ever occupy a leadership position – at least not one in a free country.

natasha333 on July 2, 2012 at 9:55 AM

He whines “turns out change is hard…” We are all ready and willing to do the hard work that will change his job in November. He and most of Washington is a blight on this country.

jazzuscounty on July 2, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Here’s a prediction for WHEN Oblammo loses in November….PARDONS for everybody! EO’s all over the place! Trashing the WH even more than Clinton did. This is the most lawless, cheating, downright classless POTUS ever elected in U.S. history. Campaigning on AF one? No problem. He is, after all “teh one!”

neyney on July 2, 2012 at 10:12 AM

127 days until he never has to campaign again.

txmomof6 on July 2, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I don’t know about that. He strikes me as the sort who would try to get elected again down the road, having not taken the hint.

CurtZHP on July 2, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Common.

Bmore on July 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

We here in Colo were just another photo op. Look at me! I’m surveying the destruction in my kingdom! You know he couldn’t wait to get back to Air Force One and start making those desperate calls. You are one and done, Barry!

Side note: I watched our local news last night and obozo’s visit wasn’t even mentioned. Guess they were too busy reporting on the ACTUAL FIRES.

Xyz22 on July 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Here’s a prediction for WHEN Oblammo loses in November….PARDONS for everybody!

neyney on July 2, 2012 at 10:12 AM

That’s why you don’t indict until after Jan 20th 2013. At least for the real criminals. How could Obama give a real criminal like Holder a “pardon” if not convicted of anything?

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Poor Barry. He was going to pick up an easy $1 BILLION for his reelection campaign.

GarandFan on July 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

We here in Colo were just another photo op.

Xyz22 on July 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Xyz22- Shame on you! Obama took time out of his busy schedule to fly out there to rub elbows with the little people and you don’t seem the least bit grateful for the attention! Here we have a President who probably had to give up a golf outing or visit by some champion sports team to be seen among Coloradans and you suggest that it was politically driven? How on earth could you ever get that idea? /

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 10:41 AM

I don’t know about that. He strikes me as the sort who would try to get elected again down the road, having not taken the hint.

CurtZHP on July 2, 2012 at 10:14 AM

That’s when the party leaders essentially use the hint like a club.

I see the jug-eared Kenyan wanting to go international. Trying to get a gig through the United Nations or some such thing. We Americans are just too damned parochial and rustic for a super-cool and super-smart European socialist like Barry.

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 10:44 AM

This guy does anything he wants, any time he wants to do it. The campaign won’t release what they’ve reimbursed us, and they’ll stonewall and “run out the clock” on any requests for information. When Barry loses in Nov, there will be unprecedented lawlessness in this administration. They’ll be doing things you won’t believe.

bob77 on July 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The day will come when Ogabe will be fundraising from a federal property of a different sort.

Archivarix on July 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM

THIS!

The War Planner on July 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Happy Nomad on July 2, 2012 at 9:36 AM

When the EPA is done with shutting down the power plants this will be the norm everywhere. Welcome to the future of America.

chemman on July 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

A special phone on AF1 that is paid for by the campaign ? The GD plane’s operations are paid for by the tax payer and is where today ? In France to celebrate America’s birthday.

democratsarefools on July 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

This would make a good ad for Romney 2012

Shay on July 2, 2012 at 9:47 AM

But only for “attentive readers”.

Solaratov on July 2, 2012 at 9:49 AM

..these folks — for the most part — will start showing up after the two conventions and Summer vacation’s is over. It could be why Romney is more or less keeping his powder dry.

The War Planner on July 2, 2012 at 10:50 AM

My anti-virus software will not all me to play the recording due malware originating from ThinkProgress.com

Kermit on July 2, 2012 at 10:52 AM

..oh yeah, The Pantload is also capitolizing on the heat wave in the East as well (H/T Drudge):

http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-campaign-fundraising-off-heat-wave/article/2501074

Fluking shameless.

The War Planner on July 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

My error that Malware is with progressivethink.com

Kermit on July 2, 2012 at 10:55 AM

TXUS on July 2, 2012 at 9:32 AM– True, it is unavoidable the president use AF1. The reason I brought that up, though, was because Ed wrote in his piece, I believe incorrectly, that the campaign reimburses the taxpayer the operating costs of AF1. They don’t. They pay much less.

MayBee on July 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

obama flew out there to view it first hand and to give reports to bureacrats. he’s going to speed up the building permit process.

with the expedited processing of permits these people shoud have them with 3-5 years.

acyl72 on July 2, 2012 at 11:36 AM

There’s a malicious virus warning when you try to go the Grove story on DailyBeast….

Very convenient.

Just saying

Jocelyn on July 2, 2012 at 11:55 AM

“Always on duty” is laughable. Campaign money starting to dry up, huh? Too bad. One term.

Amazingoly on July 2, 2012 at 11:58 AM

It’s hard to believe that we are possibly (fingers crossed) only four months away from an end to this nightmare.

Awhile back, I circled the day it would be 100 days until the election on my calendar. As of today it’s 4 weeks plus 100 days. The countdown can’t begin too soon.

Mayday on July 2, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Pretty soon, he’ll be calling Cousin Pookie from Air Force One because it’s so impressive to have the president beg for your vote from the taxpayers’ airplane. What a pathetic little man!

redwhiteblue on July 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM

…JugEars would sit on the pot begging for money during a bowel movement!

KOOLAID2 on July 2, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Hey, I’m having lunch right now.

bbordwell on July 2, 2012 at 12:30 PM

It only matters if a Republican President does this…don’t you guys know the rules by now? LOL

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 2, 2012 at 12:50 PM