Other more recent events, such as Obama’s pursuit of an undisputed win in the payroll tax-cut debate, and his January recess appointment of heads for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board, point to newfound muscle in his administration. A forceful, generally positive State of the Union address also helped put the wind at the president’s back, for now.
The Obama campaign has been reportedly planning for a Romney nomination all along. The former Massachusetts governor’s win in Florida and Gingrich’s insistence on staying in the race gives the Obama campaign plenty of time to develop plans of attack that include fundraising, new technology, supporting down-ticket candidates and staying the course at the White House.
For several months last year, speculation emerged that the Obama re-election campaign would raise perhaps $1 billion. That forecast has been dialed back considerably. In a video message posted on the campaign Web site on Jan. 12, Jim Messina, the Obama campaign manager, shot down that $1 billion dream as counterproductive. “Too many Obama supporters think we don’t need their money, or they don’t need to give now,” he says in the video. Still, the Obama fundraising machine is working: The campaign reported raising a healthy $68 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
More than 98 percent of contributors made donations of $250 or less in the fourth quarter, Messina said. The Obama ’08 campaign raised roughly $750 million that way, in a strategy that personified grassroots fundraising. With waves of small-dollar donations — like a rent party gone viral — Obama enlisted legions of supporters who contributed in amounts they could live with, some making donations a part of their regular budgets.
It’s a strategy Team Obama hopes to repeat this election cycle, with a high-tech twist. Politico reported Monday that the Obama campaign would be outfitting campaign staffers with Square mobile credit-card readers, new technology that will let them process campaign donations over their cell phones and mobile devices. The Obama 2012 campaign will be the first test of the mobile-payments technology at a national political level, Politico reported.
And the president hasn’t lost his feel for social media. On Monday he fielded questions on jobs, veterans affairs and education from young people in a live-streamed Q&A session seen on the Google+ social networking site, YouTube and the White House blog.