Just days after Republican White House candidate Mitt Romney came to Chicago to collect millions of dollars at two fundraisers, President Barack Obama returns to his hometown this weekend to hold five fundraising events tied to his birthday.
Obama, who turned 51 on Aug. 4, previously scheduled three Sunday fundraisers in his Kenwood neighborhood, including a $40,000 event that's his first as president in his own home. Last week he added a small $40,000-a-person downtown hotel reception as well as one aimed at younger supporters at the Bridgeport Art Center with tickets starting at $51.
The flurry of events reflects the increased push for dollars that the Democratic president's campaign has made after finding itself trailing Romney, the GOP nominee, in fundraising the last three months. In July the Romney camp raised more than $101 million while the Obama operation said it collected $75 million.
In a fundraising email to supporters last week carrying the subject line "Insurmountable," Obama acknowledged that "the headlines are talking about how you and I got beat again" by Romney in fundraising.
"Those headlines aren't going away," the email pitch said. "I will be outspent in this election. And we will not win the ad wars on TV and radio — right now, the other side is outspending us on TV by at least 2-to-1 in most battleground states. And that's OK. But only if we're able to keep the spending gap close enough so that our investments in a truly grassroots campaign pay off."
Through June 30, Obama had raised $27.5 million in Illinois for the 2012 election cycle, federal election records showed. Illinois residents also donated $7 million to the field of Republican candidates that Romney bested, including $4.7 million to the former Massachusetts governor, records showed. That figure does not include Romney's August appearance, which Illinois campaign officials said netted more than $2 million.
Other Sunday fundraisers include a $5,000-per-person event at the home of longtime Obama friend Marty Nesbitt, who heads an airport parking company, and a $1,000-per-person dessert reception at the home of Barbara Bowman, mother of top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.