Democratic strategist Paul Begala climbed atop a table at a Charlotte restaurant tonight and addressed President Barack Obama’s super-donors this way: “I don’t want you to give until it hurts. I want you to give until it feels good.”
He added the caveat that by not writing big checks, “it’ll really hurt,” if Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney defeats the president after outspending him.
Begala recapped the donor event in an interview with Bloomberg News. A former adviser to President Bill Clinton, Begala said he’s never really done fundraising until this year, when he signed up to help Priorities USA Action. The super political action committee is run by former Obama aides and is helping the president by buying television ads. Super-PACs can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions.
Priorities is overmatched by its Republican counterparts, but raised $10 million last month, its biggest haul yet. Restore Our Future and American Crossroads, two super-PACs supporting Romney, had spent about five times as much as Priorities by the end of July, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.
Begala said he worries about the future of super-PAC spending because “corporations haven’t even started yet. Right now, it’s just idiosyncratic billionaires giving” to Republican groups.
The Begala table-top pep talk came as donors to Priorities attended their first of three special events. Tonight was a welcome cocktail hour at Roosters Wood Fired Kitchen. Tomorrow they have a brunch with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others. And Thursday night they conclude their donor-oriented convention activities with a bash at the North Carolina Music Factory.