Senior Obama campaign official: “We are going to be the first incumbent outspent”

Is this spin aimed at lowering expectations so that they can pretend to be happily shocked later when they end up outraising Romney and his Super PACs after all? Or is the “first billion-dollar campaign,” as we were once told it would be, now so outgunned by anti-Obama donors that they’re honestly trying to prepare the media for the bitter disappointment to come?

It’ll be fun watching the left, whose nominee surfed to the presidency on a tidal wave of money four years ago, complain in November about Republicans buying the election.

“We are going to be the first incumbent outspent,” a senior Obama campaign official told reporters during a background briefing in Washington today. “I think that’s clear.”

The looming influence of outside groups means that “any spending advantage we might have had is erased,” another campaign adviser said.

Obama campaign officials estimate, based on public pronouncements by the groups, that more than $1.2 billion will be spent to help defeat President Obama…

The president’s campaign is on track to raise roughly what it did four years ago, but the Democratic super PAC — Priorities USA Action — has not added much firepower.

“I’m not sitting here with a billion-dollar check in my pocket,” one Obama campaign official acknowledged.

Priorities USA actually did okay last month, raising as much in May ($4 million) as it did in March and April combined. That’s the good news for O; the bad news is that Priorities now has a bit more than $4 million cash in hand compared to … $25 million for Karl Rove’s group, one of many righty Super PACs ramping up for the fall. As for Romney, according to BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller he just raised another $6-8 million — today, at a pair of fundraisers. Oh my.

Incidentally, if it makes you feel any better about the federal deficit, Obama’s following the same basic approach on spending with his own campaign:

The $39.1 million his campaign took in was outpaced by $44.6 million it paid for television advertisements, employees, offices and other expenses, the reports show. The spending rate is a reversal from the past three months, when the campaign was taking in millions more than it was spending.

In a sign the campaign is intensifying, the $44.6 million that Obama’s re-election campaign spent in May is more than the $42.9 million he spent in the previous three months combined…

Obama has now raised $261 million for his re-election campaign. At this point in 2008, he had raised $296 million.

I wonder if there’s ever been an incumbent who raised less, at any point, in his reelection campaign than he did in his first run for the presidency yet ended up being reelected anyway. In the end, O will probably raise more this year than he did in 2008, but I’m a bit shocked to see him off his pace when he’s facing a real threat from Romney. You’d think his base would be making up the difference out of pure fear, notwithstanding their disappointment that he hasn’t fully socialized medicine or ended the Bush tax cuts yet. Stuff like this probably isn’t a good sign, huh?

Via Ace, here’s a little video candy to celebrate the irony of Team O pounding the table about transparency from conservative Super PACs on the very day that they finally chose the nuclear option to cover up Operation Fast & Furious.

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David Strom 3:31 PM on November 30, 2022
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