In defending his broken word for $$ Sen. Obama said at a press conference yesterday that "90% of our money comes from small donors". The Washington Post begs to differ in yesterday's fact check (my emphasis):
Through March, small donations amounted to 39 percent of the combined fundraising of Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. But over a comparable period four years ago, such contributions made up an even greater share (42 percent) of the fundraising of the two leading Democratic contenders, Sen. John Kerry and former Vermont governor Howard Dean.
On the GOP side, small donors were much more important for McCain in 2007 than they were for George W. Bush in 2003. But for most of last year McCain was not the front-runner, and his campaign was famously broke. Now that he is the presumptive nominee, big donors are his bread and butter.
Contributions of less than $200 do not have to be itemized in reports to the Federal Election Commission, so we have no idea how many are made. We also cannot rely on the candidates' rhetoric to match the facts. During a Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, for example, Obama said that "we have now raised 90 percent of our donations from small donors, $25, $50." His campaign's own data from January 2007 through January 2008 show that 36 percent of donated funds were from small donors. Obama probably meant that 90 percent of the individuals who contributed were small donors, but the number of donors has not been verified.
Factcheck.org also calls him out:
Was Obama correct to say 90% of his money comes from donors giving $50 or less?
Last debate Obama stated that his campaign gets 90% of his donations from people that donate $25-$50. Is this possible?
"We have now raised 90 percent of our donations from small donors, $25, $50. We average -- our average donation is $109 so we have built the kind of organization that is funded by the American people that is exactly the goal and the aim of everybody who's interested in good government and politics supports."
No. He gets more from small donors than either Clinton or McCain, but two-thirds of his money still comes from those giving $200 or more.
Barack Obama said that in the Feb. 26 debate with Hillary Clinton in Cleveland. He was wrong. We should have caught it, and we didn't.The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks donations at its Web site Opensecrets.org, figures that 34 percent of the donations that Obama raised and reported as of Feb. 20 came from donors who gave $200 or less.