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The Campaign Spot

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

The Romney/RNC Ant and the Obama/DNC Grasshopper



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The Morning Jolt kicks off the week with a look at the lost art of persuasion, whether Tea Party activists are too busy working to hold protests anymore, an all-time classic correction from the White House pool reporters, and then this bit of news from the campaign finance front:

Obama Campaigns Like He Governs… Expensively.

The New York Times doesn’t mince words:

 President Obama has spent more campaign cash more quickly than any incumbent in recent history, betting that heavy early investments in personnel, field offices and a high-tech campaign infrastructure will propel him to victory in November.

Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have burned through millions of dollars to find and register voters. They have spent almost $50 million subsidizing Democratic state parties to hire workers, pay for cellphones and update voter lists. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on polling, online advertising and software development to turn Mr. Obama’s fallow volunteers corps into a grass-roots army.

The price tag: about $400 million from the beginning of last year to June 30 this year, according to a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission records, including $86 million on advertising.

But now Mr. Obama’s big-dollar bet is being tested. With less than a month to go before the national party conventions begin, the president’s once commanding cash advantage has evaporated, leaving Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee with about $25 million more cash on hand than the Democrats as of the beginning of July.

And you thought talk was cheap!

Rick Moran says we shouldn’t look at the early spending as good money lost:

That early spending will pay big dividends in the end. The network of state campaign offices and grass roots outreach by the campaign is unprecedented in American political history. The online efforts of the campaign include some very sophisticated data mining efforts, as well as creative use of social media.

Meanwhile, Romney is limited in what he can spend until after the election when he will become the official nominee of the party… Even though Romney will probably match the Obama campaign dollar for dollar in fundraising, and even surpass them with the help of conservative super pacs, Obama’s early spending has given him a decided advantage in the trenches where elections are often won or lost before the first ballot is even counted.

Still, with all of that early spending, Obama is up three in the RealClearPolitics average (which still includes that ridiculous D+19 Pew poll – take that one out and it’s a 2.1 percentage point margin) and they’re even in the Pollster.com average. Obama’s deluge has kept him narrowly ahead – but in the coming months, are Americans likely to be more pleased with what Obama has done as president or less pleased?

I hear it now: “Jim, Jim, it’s an Electoral College battle, not a national popular vote contest.” Yes, but you’re not going to see wild divergence between the national numbers and all of the swing states. As Larry Sabato observed, “Obama can’t be +6 in Florida and Ohio and be -1 nationally.”

Anyway, as of this morning, the Romney campaign and RNC combined have approximately $185.9 million in cash-on-hand.


Tags: Barack Obama , DNC , Mitt Romney , RNC


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