President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has canceled or postponed a series of fundraisers because of the ongoing talks over the nation's debt limit.
Obama has postponed fundraisers in California and Washington state in recent weeks, along with an event at the New York home of film mogul Harvey Weinstein. On Monday, Obama was skipping two Washington fundraisers to tend to discussions over the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the government's borrowing limit. Vice President Joe Biden was attending one of the Democratic National Committee events while the other event was canceled.
The debt ceiling debate may even affect Obama's 50th birthday on Aug. 4. The campaign had been planning a high-profile Aug. 3 fundraiser in Chicago to celebrate his birthday, with performances expected by actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, jazz great Herbie Hancock and rock band OK Go. But campaign officials said Obama will not attend the fundraiser if the negotiations are still taking place.
All presidents running for re-election are forced to juggle governing with campaigning. But as the debt talks have dragged on for weeks, Obama has limited his travel and remained in Washington trying to strike a balance between his day job and increasing attention on his re-election campaign. His campaign and the DNC raised $86 million during the spring fundraising quarter and a field of Republican presidential candidates has been hard at work in early primary states, vying to challenge Obama next year.
"It comes with the territory to some degree. In this instance, certainly this has become so consuming," said Democratic strategist Karen Finney. "If you believe we may be close to a deal, obviously the president wants to remain here in town and be ready to do whatever needs to be done."
Most of the canceled fundraisers are expected to be rescheduled. Weinstein's event is expected to be held in August while the postponed events on the West Coast have not yet been rescheduled. Biden canceled events in Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas in recent weeks but is expected to attend fundraisers in those cities this fall.
Others are pitching in. First lady Michelle Obama will attend fundraisers in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Aspen, Colo., on Tuesday, while a team of campaign surrogates, including strategist David Axelrod and former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, are expected to attend events in several U.S. cities meant to coincide with Obama's birthday.
Ken Thomas can be reached at http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas