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President Obama's final, final, (really) final fundraising plea

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November 03, 2012|By James Rainey
  • President Obama, on the campaign trail in Springfield, Ohio, has repeatedly hit supporters with "final" fundraising appeals.
President Obama, on the campaign trail in Springfield, Ohio, has repeatedly… (Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)

The election will be over in four days, but will the emails begging for more campaign money ever end?

President Obama’s campaign has a particular knack for “final” fundraising appeals that, mysteriously, precede yet more appeals. To understand why final doesn’t mean final in Obamaland, you’ve got to read the campaign’s emails closely.

If you didn’t, you might have thought Obama was done asking for money way back in late September. That’s when an email arrived with the subject line: “I’m asking one last time.” Like most of the emailed solicitations, it requested $5 “or whatever you can.”

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The clue that it would be far from the last appeal was in the rest of the message. Said Team Obama: “This is the last time on this campaign that I'll ask you: Want to meet for dinner?”

Many of the Obama appeals arrive in the form of raffles. Toss in a few bucks and you have the chance to meet the president, party with his celebrity friends, hoop it up with his NBA basketball pals and, most recently, to travel to Chicago to attend Obama’s election-night gathering. Mercifully, there didn’t appear to be one offer of a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Dozens of such appeals have gone out over many months — from the campaign, from the president, from the first lady. But not from Sasha and Malia Obama or from Bo the First Dog. Good taste prevails.

Obama’s money team has outdone itself in the last days of the campaign. On Wednesday, the email’s subject line read: “Tonight is your LAST SHOT.” Last shot that is, to enter a “contest” in the campaign — with a couple of winners to be flown to that Chicago event “to meet the President and have a front-row seat for his Election Night speech.”

A day later came another email titled “How this ends.” It again asked for $5 or more, but not for a contest. So it was just a straight final fundraising appeal. And, in it, Obama pleaded: “Today will be one of the last chances we get to affect the outcome of this race, and I'm counting on your response.”

Fast forward 24 hours and “final” arrived. This message was signed by Michelle Obama, saying that Friday would be “your last chance to chip in and help strengthen it for the final (and most difficult) stretch.”

It seemed that, in Obama-speak, the door remained open for another final-final because of a “budget deadline” looming at midnight Friday. “Every single dollar will play a role in whether Barack wins or loses,” the first lady said.

The Obamas must not have communicated, though. Later Friday, the commander in chief pinged supporters. Subject line: “The last time I’ll ask you this.” The short note ended: “If you've waited until the last minute to give, this is the moment. This is the last time I'll ask you.”

So this is the way you (and your affiliated committees) raise more than $1 billion.

And now it’s over. The president said so. You — or, more precisely, he — can take that to the bank.

james.rainey@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesrainey

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