Obama raises money in Jersey, asks donors to help him close ‘enthusiasm gap’

By Erica Werner, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obama asks New Jersey donors for help

CRESSKILL, N.J. — President Barack Obama asked wealthy donors Wednesday to help him close an “enthusiasm gap” with Republicans four weeks ahead of pivotal midterm elections.

Speaking at a small dinner fundraiser, the president acknowledged that Democrats have a disadvantage because of the high unemployment rate, which he said would inevitably be blamed on the party in power.

“Right now all the reports out there are that the main challenge we have is closing an enthusiasm gap between the Democrats and the Republicans,” the president said. “We’re not finished unless we lose sight of that long game and start sulking and sitting back and not doing everything we need to do in terms of making sure our folks turn out.”

Obama made his comments at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the home of Michael Kempner, head of MWW Group, a public relations and lobbying firm in East Rutherford with clients including United Healthcare, McDonald’s and Credit Suisse. The event was expected to raise $1 million, with 50 guests paying $30,400 each.

The president has plunged back onto the campaign trail ahead of midterm elections that threaten to cut deeply into Democrats’ congressional majorities. He’s mixing intimate high-dollar fundraisers, like the one Wednesday night in a candlelit dining room, with big rallies reminiscent of events he held on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

Obama headlined four DNC fundraisers in September, helping the party raise $16 million, its best monthly haul this election cycle.

The DNC has been outraising the Republican National Committee, but the GOP is getting more help from outside groups.

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