Barack Obama is going prospecting out on the West Coast. The president is raising reelection cash, but he's also looking for something that would be as valuable as gold to his campaign: a key to reviving the flagging enthusiasm of liberals and moderates who make up his electoral base.
The West Coast swing is about boosting their spirits as well as raising money, the Associated Press reports. (Though a $4 million fundraising target is a nice excuse for a trip through Seattle, Hollywood and San Diego.)
So how will Obama be received by his erstwhile diehards?
He probably can look forward to a friendly welcome from invited fundraiser guests, including at private events with ticket prices as high as the $35,800 maximum. But liberal activists were making plans to greet Obama along the way with demonstrations criticizing his policies or reminding him they want him to do more.
"We want to see Obama stand up as strongly as he can to fight for the people of this country who are working out there to make ends meet," said Kathy Cummings, communications director for the Washington State Labor Council. The council was helping organize a demonstration outside Seattle's Paramount Theater, the site of an Obama fundraiser Sunday.
Yes, it seems the misgivings of former Obamanites are real. The New York Times reported this weekend about resistance from the very pool of small-dollar contributors that proved essential to Obama's 2008 campaign. Some report disappointment that Obama has not more forcefully confronted Republican opponents in Congress, others that he has failed to change the tone of business in Washington. Either way, many plan to sit on their hands for 2012. Though The Times does note that a whopping 552,000 have already contributed to Obama's reelection campaign, and the vast majority of that in small denominations, meaning the campaign can return to them for more money later in the cycle.