And I do mean shamelessly. This myth was busted before the polls even opened on Election Day 2008, not only in big media but on websites like — ta da — Hot Air. Patterico chipped in with this guest post noting that, percentage-wise, both Bush and Kerry raised roughly as much money from small donors as Obama did. The One raised more money overall, of course, but he and his team have always pushed their small-donor numbers to the media as proof that Hopenchange is somehow a uniquely populist movement less beholden to well-funded special interests than the average campaign. It’s all part of the mystique, but it simply ain’t true and Politifact’s had about enough of it:
“In the 2008 campaign, you got a lot of money, about $1 million from employees of Goldman Sachs,” Harwood said. “Your former White House counsel Greg Craig is apparently going to represent Goldman Sachs. In light of this case, do either of those things embarrass you?”
“No,” Obama said. “First of all, I got a lot of money from a lot of people. And the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country. And moreover, anybody who gave me money during the course of my campaign knew that I was on record again in 2007, and 2008, pushing very strongly that we needed to reform how Wall Street did business. And so, nobody should be surprised in the position that I’m taking now because it is one that I was very clear about in the course of the campaign.”
What jumped out at us in this exchange was Obama’s statement, “the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.” We’ve seen that statement repeated elsewhere, but the evidence doesn’t back it up…
In the general election, Obama got about 34 percent of his individual donations from small donors, people who gave $200 or less, according to a report from the Campaign Finance Institute. Another 23 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and another 42 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more.
His numbers for the primary were similar. He got about 30 percent of his money from donors who gave $200 or less. Another 28 percent of donations came from people who gave between $201 and $999, and 43 percent from people who gave $1,000 or more.
Patterico’s pointed headline when he first wrote about this was, “Obama would owe more favors than any president in history.” Something to mull, perhaps, in light of my last post. Be sure to read Nick Rizzuto’s post, too, chronicling the many media reports at the time of what Team Barry’s small-donor numbers actually were. It’s not like Obama thinks this information is secret and that he can get away with lying. He’s lying because he knows only one percent of people who hear the lie will ever stumble across a fact-check in the media. Audacious indeed.