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'This is the last minute,' Obama says in final fundraising plea

October 17, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • President Obama greets supporters at a campaign rally Wednesday at Ohio University in Athens.
President Obama greets supporters at a campaign rally Wednesday at Ohio… (Al Behrman / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- With just hours before the final pre-election fundraising reporting deadline, President Obama made an urgent plea to supporters for donations that could make the difference in an election that he said “is really going to come down to the wire.”

Speaking to supporters Wednesday night from Air Force One on a conference call organized by his campaign, the president said it was critical to see the financial support now when the funds can still make a difference.

“If you've been waiting until the last minute to help out again, this is that time. This is the last minute,” Obama said.

The campaign needs the funds not only for television ads that are bombarding swing state voters, but to continue to fund an extensive get-out-the-vote effort it has long maintained would prove more significant on election day, Nov. 6.

“With your help we can still make important decisions right up until election day that could affect the outcome and help us win,” Obama said. “You'll be supporting volunteers in the field knocking on doors and dialing phones to persuade turnout voters, and I would expect that this is really going to come down to the wire. We know the other side is not going to be slowing down. It's too close for them to fold up tent. And that means that we have to fight every inch of the way.”

Obama took questions on the call from two supporters, each of whom congratulated him on his performance in Tuesday's debate with challenger Mitt Romney.

“I think we had a good night last night, but Romney had a good night last week. We always knew that this race was going to tighten,” Obama said. “People forget, even in 2008 when we had the biggest Democratic victory of any president since Lyndon Johnson, the fact is that John McCain got 47% of the vote.”

Obama supporters were also receiving a steady stream of emails Wednesday seeking donations, one in the name of former President Bill Clinton saying that “the final 20 days will be the toughest of the whole campaign.”

Obama's campaign reported raising $181 million through various affiliated committees in September, just ahead of the $170 million raised by Romney and the GOP. To date, Obama is just over $50 million shy of raising $1 billion for the 2012 cycle, a threshold he'll likely pass when fundraising totals from the first half of October are reported next week.

The pre-election filing period that ends Wednesday covers donations received since Oct. 1. Donations logged after Wednesday won't be reported until after election day.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

Twitter: @mikememoli

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