Former Obama Official: Warren's Fundraising Decision 'Colossally Stupid'

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Holds New Hampshire Town Hall
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October 9, 2019

A former Obama administration ambassador blasted Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) decision to forgo big-money fundraisers if she wins the Democratic nomination.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Warren is promising to avoid high-dollar fundraisers even in the general election in 2020, but former ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford said the decision would bankrupt Warren's party.

"And the Democratic Party just went bankrupt.... This is a colossally stupid decision not just for Democratic chances to win back the White House but for all Democrats up and down the ticket if she sticks to it," Gifford tweeted.

"A Presidential nominee is not just responsible for fundraising for his/her campaign. They are the de-facto head of of the Democratic Party and for all 50 State Parties," he added. "The Democratic Party cannot raise the money they need without the candidate doing every he/she can."

Gifford served as the U.S. ambassador to Denmark from 2013 to 2017. In 2018, he ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in Massachusetts's Third Congressional District.

The New York Times reported that Warren has changed her position on accepting donations from traditional fundraisers if nominated. She had previously pledged to not accept money from big-money fundraisers during the primary, but did not commit to doing so during the general election. At the time, she said she did not want to practice "unilateral disarmament."

Now, she has extended that pledge to the general election as well.

"I'm not going to go do the big-dollar fundraisers. I'm just not going to do it," she told CBS News. "The whole notion behind this campaign is that we can build this together. And that's exactly what we're doing."

Gifford argued Warren's outlook is unrealistic.

"But you can't change the system unless you win and you can't win if you are being out-raised 2 to 1 or worse," Gifford said in his Twitter thread.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) similarly pledged to forgo traditional fundraising and rely on individual donors if nominated. The Sanders campaign previously used his pledge as a point of contrast with other Democratic campaigns, according to the Times.

Sanders announced a $25.3 million fundraising haul in the third quarter, slightly ahead of Warren's $24.6 million. Both of their numbers were ahead of Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, who drew just $15.2 million.