Barack Obama

By Matea Gold
Saturday, November 23, 2013

His popularity is at an all-time low. His signature legislative achievement is on the rocks. Now President Obama will spend the next several days performing one of his least favorite tasks: asking people for money.

The mood of many Democratic contributors is likely to make the job more awkward than usual. Obama’s three-day fundraising swing down the West Coast, which begins Sunday in Seattle, will bring him face-to-face with frustrated donors who have watched the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act with chagrin — and who are not shy about expressing their alarm.

The crisis has left the party’s major financiers shaking their heads, compounding the challenge for the Democratic National Committee as it works to pay down $16 million in debt from last year’s campaign, according to top fundraisers and donors.

Without a campaign to rally around, donors have to be energized to help execute a specific mission, said fundraiser David Rosen, a former DNC finance director. And right now, many are feeling glum.

“My ideological donors are so demoralized with health care, you can’t even talk about it with them,” Rosen said. “They’re business people — you don’t launch until it’s ready.”

Obama is still expected to raise millions of dollars for the DNC and the two congressional party committees when he stops in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He will be feted at the homes of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley, entertainment mogul Haim Saban, basketball star Magic Johnson and “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman.

In San Francisco, supporters were able to get last-minute tickets for $500 for a DNC lunch and concert with Herbie Hancock on Monday at the SFJAZZ Center, half the price of the original general admission. A DNC official said the lower-priced tickets were added because balcony seating was opened up to accommodate demand.

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