Obama Fires Up His Campaign Cash Machine

With the GOP eager to exploit relaxed spending restrictions, the President is asking top "bundlers" to raise far more than they did for 2008

When President Barack Obama visited California in February, he had a private dinner with Apple (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and other technology chieftains. The stated purpose of the meal was to solicit job-growth ideas.

The President returned to the Golden State on Apr. 20 with something different on the menu: campaign cash. Facing a 2012 re-election bid at a time when Republican fundraisers are eager to take advantage of relaxed campaign spending restrictions, Obama is on an early tour of his most important money markets, from Chicago to Silicon Valley to Hollywood to Wall Street. While his campaign is downplaying speculation that it could be the first to raise $1 billion, it's nonetheless building up a cash stockpile as the GOP, with the field wide open, gets off to a slow start. Former governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts are the only two major Republican candidates who have announced exploratory committees, even as Obama's campaign prepares to open offices in battleground states.


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