Could Obama raise a $1 billion for his 2012 reelection campaign? 

Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post asks an intriguing question:

Will President Obama be the first billion-dollar man?

He raised and spent $750 million in the 2008 campaign, and there is already speculation that the cash-collection operation for his 2012 reelection bid will crest the once-unimaginable sum of $1 billion raised. (That's a one and nine zeros. Nine!)

"It's not unrealistic at all, given the amount raised and spent in 2008 and the amount Republican interest groups and 527s will spend against him," said a former Obama administration official.

Cillizza makes a number of interesting observations about Obama's fundraising potential, but doesn't really address one big elephant in the room: Small donors. In 2008, Obama raised 49 percent of his money in "discrete contributions of $200 or less." Given Obama's lower approval ratings, the potential for a bad economy and the fact that his election won't have all of the historic import it had in 2008, I don't know if ordinary Americans and first time donors will be flocking in droves to his campaign website to donate the way that they did in the last election.

Oh and I'm already looking forward to another round of kabuki critiques of our corrupt campaign finance laws, before Obama again announces he's again foregoing public financing in order to raise more money.

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Mark Hemingway

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