Team Obama hyped its third-quarter fundraising and the “watchdogs” of the establishment media lapped it right up. The WaPo’s Dan Eggen, in a story headlined “Obama far outpaces his GOP rivals in third-quarter fundraising,” was typical:
The campaign said it raised $43 million from July through September, plus $27 million for the Democratic National Committee, which can accept much larger donations. That brings the campaign’s total to more than $90 million, plus $65 million more for the DNC, since Obama formally began his reelection bid.
The numbers put Obama comfortably ahead of his leading GOP rivals, who together appear unlikely to match his total for the third quarter.
USA Today’s readers were told that Obama is “racing ahead of his Republican rivals.” The Hill reported that “Obama’s campaign continues to dwarf the challengers.” NPR claimed “the president appears to have raised more than all the Republicans combined.” At the New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Confessore wrote that Obama is “once again outpacing his Republican rivals despite the country’s economic woes and his low poll numbers.”
Are these so-called watchdogs really that bad at math? In another WaPo piece claiming “Obama dwarfed his GOP competition,” T.W. Farnham reports: Rick Perry raised $17 million; Mitt Romney raised $14 million; Ron Paul raised $8.3 million (including a $500,000 transfer from his congressional campaign); Michelle Bachmann raised $4.1 million; and Herman Cain raised $2.8 million (including $175,000 personal loan to his campaign). The Hill reports Jon Huntsman raised $4.5 million (half of which was a personal loan) and Rick Santorum raised $700,000. CNN reports Newt Gingrich raised $800,000.
Those outside the establishment media will recognize that the GOP candidates’ total — excluding personal loans and campaign transfers — is $49,725,000, which is higher than the $43 million raised for the Obama campaign. Obama also raised $27 million for the DNC, but the RNC raised $23.4 million in the third quarter without having a presidential nominee (one might say Obama helped raised that money also). The GOP/RNC haul becomes $73,125,000 — again, higher than the Obama/DNC total.
Moreover, as only some of the media noted, the Bush/Cheney 2004 re-elect campaign raised $50 million in the third quarter of 2003. That’s considerably more than Obama, even before adjusting for inflation. On Twitter, GOP fundraiser/consultant Nathan Wurtzel noted that in 2003, the contribution limit was 25% lower and candidates did not raise general election money (taking public funds instead). Nathan added that at this point in 2003 Bush/Cheney had over $70 million in cash on hand, while Obama/Biden now has only $61.4 million cash on hand. As Nathan further noted, the Bush/Cheney $50 million total really did dwarf his DNC rivals who raised ~35.8 million. In short, Obama is going to have more than enough money to get his message out, but so far it appears he will not have the vast fundraising advantage he had in 2008.
The establishment media’s coverage of third-quarter fundraising is the worst sort of spin. It is the sort of self-delusional happytalk losers give themselves on the road to losing elections, much like “People will really like ObamaCare after it is passed,” and “Democrats won’t lose a raft of House midterms because the GOP is soooo unpopular.” Ironically, if the media reported this story more honestly, it might spur more Democrats to donate to Obama… so shhh.