Moneygall heeds Obama’s call for fundraising help

US President Barack Obama may be struggling to catch up with rival Mitt Romney’s fundraising, but his old friends in Moneygall are on hand to help boost his campaign budget.

On Aug 4, Obama’s birthday, the Irish branch of Democrats Abroad will have a fundraising event in the Co Offaly village to help swell the president’s re-election bid.

The event will be held in Ollie Hayes’s pub, where Obama sank a pint of Guinness during his Irish visit. Mr Hayes said he is delighted to help in any way he can.

“They are a great crowd and I am delighted to help in any way that I can. We are going to do our bit and hope he gets in,” Mr Hayes said.

“We’re even going to have a birthday cake for him on the day,” he said.

This will be Democrats Abroad’s first event in Moneygall and legal counsel for Democrats Abroad Ireland, Larry Donnelly, said they are very excited about it.

“We were always looking to go there. President Obama’s visit to Moneygall captured everyone’s attention. Ollie Hayes has been very good to us too,” he said.

Although Democrats Abroad meet monthly, this particular meeting will focus on getting American citizens to vote in the upcoming election, says Mr Donnelly. “It is estimated that close to 100,000 people who are eligible for an American passport live in Ireland. We want to get as many people as we can to get out and vote. That’s what this meeting is all about.

“This election is going to be much closer than the last one, but I’m cautiously optimistic that Obama will win,” he said.

Only US citizens will be able to donate due to fundraising regulations disallowing non-Americans from contributing towards a presidential campaign. Mr Donnelly hopes that plenty of American citizens attend the meeting.

“If we get a few dozen people to come to Moneygall, that would be great. If 100 people come, we will be thrilled. Generally, it is the core that come to these meetings. Afterwards, they go home and encourage all their American friends to support Obama.”

Last month, Obama sent a message to supporters asking for funding as the Republican candidate Mitt Romney was ahead in the money stakes.

“I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have. So we can be outspent and still win, but we can’t be outspent 10 to 1 and still win,” he wrote.

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