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A newly released audiotape reveals President Obama rang up donors Friday to plea for more money, making sure to mention time is of the essence.
"Early money is always more valuable than late money,” Obama told his small audience, according to a tape obtained by the Daily Beast. "The majority on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time."
One could argue that Obama appears genuinely nervous about the political reality the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling has made possible, one in which he may become the first incumbent president to be outspent in a general election. In May, Obama raised $60 million, while Romney brought in a whopping $76 million.
The President went on to say:
"We don't want to...be in a situation where, because everybody thinks that we're somehow gonna win or people will just think Mr. Romney doesn't know what he's talking about — and then suddenly we get surprised later because it turn out that a couple of billionaires wrote $20 million checks and have bought up all the TV time and we find ourselves flat-footed in September or October."
Time is of the essence in the cash race because now is when much of the fall TV ad time is purchased. And many political observers now argue, whoever has saturation in swing states weeks before the election could have an advantage. See Wisconsin.
One demographic in particular is likely getting a lot of attention from the Obama campaign. Young people showed up in record numbers to vote for Obama in 2008. But according to a recent poll done by the Pew Research Center, eight percent fewer voters in the 18 to 29 age bracket have given "quite a lot of thought to the election" this time around. In the "more interested than four years ago" category, the same demographic lost 17 points over 2008's numbers.
This is the oft-noted danger of re-elections: lack of enthusiasm. And if that lack of enthusiasm manifests in young people this time around, Obama may be in trouble. Voters under 30 showed up in record numbers in 2008 — two million more than in 2004 — to vote for Obama by a ratio of 2 to 3.
This demographic may become the most crucial of all if they decide to stay inside on November 6.
"In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately.
If young voters simply assume that Obama will win, if they don’t come out to volunteer, to rally, to knock on doors, or to vote because of this assumption, then they might very well be in for a rude November surprise.