You have to hand it to Team Obama. What they lack in competitiveness, they provide in, er … brevity:
Reporting back on last month’s fundraising numbers: In July, 761,000 people donated to raise over $75 million for this campaign. Thank you.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 6, 2012
That was today’s big announcement from Team O on combined fundraising with the DNC. That number is an improvement on June’s fundraising total of $71 million, but it’s still $26 million shy of the total fundraising announced by the Mitt Romney campaign and the RNC — the third month in a row that the Republican challenger has outraised the Democratic incumbent.
The Washington Post report gives a hint as to why Team O isn’t exactly shouting from the rooftops:
The gap is slightly smaller than it was in June, when Romney raised $106 million and Obama brought in $71 million, but it’s the second-straight month that Romney has pulled in nine figures and the third-straight month he has outraised the incumbent president. …
Romney’s campaign said the three combined had $185.9 million in the bank at the end of July; Obama’s team did not announce a cash on hand figure.
At the start of July, Romney had $170 million on hand, compared to $144 million for Obama, whose campaign has spent heavily on ads early in the general election campaign. Just three months before, Obama had a $90 million edge in cash on hand.
I’m going to guess that their cash-on-hand position is significantly worse than it was last month — which is why they’re not talking about it. Team O has blown its cash advantage over the last four months, the New York Times reports, in an unprecedented attempt to score an early KO. Unfortunately for Obama, that effort seems to be backfiring badly:
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.
Despite Mr. Obama’s multimillion-dollar advertising barrage against Mr. Romney, he is now being outspent on the airwaves with Mr. Romney benefiting from a deluge of spending by conservative “super PACs” and outside groups. While Mr. Romney has depleted much of his funds from the nominating contest, he is four weeks away from being able to tap into tens of millions of dollars in general election money. And many polls show the race to be very close.
Mr. Obama’s cash needs — he spent $70.8 million in June alone, more than half on advertising and far more than he raised — have brought new urgency to his campaign’s fund-raising efforts. His advisers have had to schedule more fund-raising trips than originally planned to big-money states like New York, according to donors involved in the effort. The super PAC supporting his campaign, Priorities USA Action, is enlisting former President Bill Clinton as a rainmaker, hoping to counter its conservative counterparts.
While Mr. Obama will also have access to general election money in September, he is unlikely to have the same spending advantage over Mr. Romney as he had during the primary season, when Mr. Romney spent much of his money battling Republican rivals.
Most of the money Romney is raising now, if not all of it, is general-election cash. He has been limited in his advertising buys by the relative lack of primary funds, the only cash he can spend until the convention formally nominates him on August 31st. Obama’s cash on hand figures counts both primary and general-election cash, which makes the gap even more significant.
In September, this race changes in a big way. Team Obama planned to have Romney already counted out early, but it’s starting to look like they’re playing the part of George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle.