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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Taking The Pulse of President Obama's Fundraising

Taking The Pulse of President Obama's Fundraising With the jobs picture getting more anemic with each passing month, President Obama's plans to address Congress Thursday on how to get Americans back to work.

While we are hearing the word "bold" describing his plan, many of my contacts say they have heard that before. The lack of faith and trust of the Oval Office is palpable across all social economic classes. At my son's soccer and hockey games I’ve heard blue collar workers joking about the absence of Obama 2012 bumper stickers on cars. During the last election, if you were living in the Blue State of New Jersey, the Obama 2008 stickers were everywhere.

On the flip side of the economic spectrum, some billionaires I know who supported the President's first run for office tell me they will not financially support him this time around. The reasons they give me are numerous: their discontent on the President "leading from behind,” how the President is blaming "Washington" when he is the leader in government, as well as his failure to tackle the nation's fiscal imbalance sheet by having his own 2012 budget rejected by his own party.

Then I hear the criticism of the President's "sideline" approach to negotiating the debt ceiling, and his "disregard of cost for health care reform" and passing both health care and financial reform without tackling the ailing jobs market first.

So when I was offered a chance to go to a Presidential fundraiser, I wanted to go see and talk to the people who are willing to pay $15,000 to shake hands with the President and get their picture taken with him. The group attending this fundraiser are the same folks the President wants them to "pay their fair share.”

About a hundred people attended the event. The people I spoke with ranged from government workers to entrepreneurs. Some got it when it came to the fear of Americans not willing to part with their cash, asking me what the private sector needs to hear from Washington to get businesses to start hiring. Others clearly didn't. Their eyes stared back at me blank when discussing how the uncertainty around issues ranging from taxes, the nation's deficit problem, and a bleak jobs picture could have such a strangle hold both on job creation and consumer confidence.

I caught up with one of the President's bundlers, Don Peebles, Chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation, who was on the 2008 National Finance.

LL: Are you happy with the President's handling of the economy?

DP: I am happy with the work the president but not happy with the overall results. For example, if we look at Detroit unemployment is declining due to the auto industry's recovery. That is due entirely because of President Obama's administration bailing out the car makers and unburdened them with the legacy issues. However, in the all important housing sector there is much work to be done.

LL: The President has said he has ideas on cutting the deficit and getting Americans back to work. Do you think he should have made Congress come back from vacation to work on his ideas?

DP: Yes; why should congress take a vacation with the nations economy on its knees? It the private sector senior executives would not even think of a vacation.

LL: You are one of the President's bundlers. How has fundraising been going?

DP: Far better than I would have expected. Given the state of the economy and the administration's tax position I would have thought he would be a more difficult sell. I am pleased that business people are putting the country's interest ahead of their personal interests.

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A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."