Who knew that two little words could be worth so much?
Less than 24 hours after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yelled, “You lie!— at President Barack Obama during Wednesday night’s nationally televised health care address, Republicans and Democrats have turned the made-for-TV moment into a full-fledged fundraising bonanza.
With the help of fired-up liberal bloggers and the Democratic fundraising Web site ActBlue.com, Wilson’s 2010 Democratic challenger, Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, has raised more than $350,000 since Wilson’s outburst.
Miller came out of nowhere to finish just 8 points behind Wilson in 2008, and he’s back this cycle to try to finish the job.
Wilson, who was first elected in a 2001 special election, had never faced a serious challenger before Miller came along.
Not to be outdone, Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative Web site RedState.com, called on opponents of the president’s health care plan to donate to Wilson’s campaign Thursday afternoon.
“We need to open our wallets for Joe,— Erickson wrote in a fundraising pitch. “Joe Wilson is now a serious threat to Barack Obama because he dared point out that the Emperor has no clothes. The left will target him. The left will target his family. The left will try to destroy Joe Wilson.—
A Republican source said Thursday that Wilson had already raised more than $50,000 from Erickson’s fundraising appeal, and that number was expected to continue to climb when Wilson joins conservative radio host Sean Hannity on his program Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also tried to cash in on the incident.
On Thursday afternoon DCCC Executive Director Jon Vogel released a fundraising “rapid response— alert to Democratic donors to raise money for the committee’s campaign efforts.
“Help us raise $100,000 in the next 48 Hours to send a message to Republicans like Congressman Joe Wilson that we will not stand for our President to be called a liar in front of the nation,— Vogel wrote. “Your contribution will be immediately put to work to defeat Republican Members of Congress and support meaningful health insurance reform.—
As of June 30, Miller reported $49,000 in cash on hand. Wilson had $212,000 in the bank.