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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Super PACs Are Attacking Romney a Lot More Than Obama



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Over on the home page, I take a look at the actual Federal Election Commission data to reveal that the narrative offered by President Obama, David Axelrod, other Democrats, and a friendly media is hogwash; it is in fact Mitt Romney who has been targeted more by well-funded super PACs — and it’s not even close, and it’s not even including the anti-Mitt ads run by super PACs that preferred his GOP primary rivals . . .

The truth is that the super PAC founded by top Obama staffers and its aligned “independent” groups are outspending groups that oppose the president by roughly two to one.

According to Federal Election Commission data filed from January 2011 through July 3, super PACs and all groups making “independent expenditures” in the political arena have spent $35.3 million in opposition to Romney, and only $9 million in opposition to Obama. Rove’s American Crossroads, for example, has spent $3.1 million this cycle. But only $158,126.17 of that has been spent in efforts opposing President Obama, and a separate $7,500 has been spent on Web ads supporting Mitt Romney. For perspective, the group spent $358,202.98 in mid-June in just one expenditure on “TV/Media Purchases” opposing Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine in Virginia, and then spent the same sum a week later in the same race.

What’s more, the advertising and other efforts by Obama’s allies have been relentlessly negative. Every expenditure by every independent group must be filed with the FEC (usually within a matter of days) and must be classified as in support of or in opposition to a particular candidate. The amounts range from millions of dollars for advertising campaigns to $12.50 for “staff time” spent on a press release or e-mail to support or oppose a candidate. Overall, in addition to the $35.3 million and $9 million mentioned above, independent groups have spent $7.7 million on ads and efforts classified as in support of Romney, while they spent only $961,854.62 in support of Obama.

. . . In fact, the president’s allies run the single biggest-spending and most negative super PAC of all: Priorities USA Action, founded by Obama’s former deputy White House press secretary, Bill Burton; Sean Sweeney, the former chief of staff to Rahm Emanuel; and Harold Ickes, who was deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. This super PAC has spent $13.5 million in opposition to Romney so far, outspending all the super-PAC efforts opposing the president combined. While Priorities USA Action is often described as a “pro-Obama” super PAC in news coverage, it has yet to spend a single penny that it categorizes as “supporting” President Obama; all of its spending is classified as “opposing” Mitt Romney.

This completes my FEC data quadrology, which began with a look at MoveOn.org’s fundraising, continued to how the Obama campaign spends its money and the political donations of current U.S. Attorneys, and now today’s look at SuperPAC expenditures.


Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , SuperPACs


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