The New York Times reports that the Obama campaign is experiencing "sharp dropoffs in donations from nearly every major industry forcing it to rely more than ever on small contributions and a relative handful of major donors. This leaves Obama "running behind where they were at the same point in 2008 — though well ahead of Mr. Romney’s..."
If it weren't for super pacs, that wouldn't be a big problem. But the super pac situation is what may bring down this presidency.
Mr. Romney, the likely Republican nominee, ended March with just $10 million in cash on hand, according to campaign reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission, and has raised about $87 million during the Republican primary season. His aides are hoping to raise a total of $800 million for the fall elections in combination with the Republican National Committee, which last week finalized a joint fund-raising agreement with Mr. Romney. The committee ended March with $23.4 million in cash on hand.
But Mr. Romney is also expecting significant support from Republican super PACs and other outside groups. On Friday, officials at American Crossroads, the leading conservative super PAC, reported that they had raised close to $100 million so far this year for the group and an affiliated organization, Crossroads GPS. Crossroads alone is aiming to raise as much as $300 million this year, while other conservative groups, like Americans for Prosperity, have aimed at raising close to $200 million.
The super PAC backing Mr. Romney in the Republican primary, Restore Our Future, has raised $51.9 million, and plans to raise twice that by November.
By contrast, the network of Democratic super PACs has raised far less.... NYT
News like this tends to stir up donors -- and may be intended to. One commenter notes that the Times, in another article, shows Obama well ahead of Romney in donations with almost twice as much on hand... before, of course, the rightwing pacs rev up their money-raising. In other words, the game has just begun.
The "game" will be fought, as WaPo sees it, in the air by Republicans and on the ground by Democrats. The question is which strategy will take the presidency in November and what will the campaign look like from the individual voter's viewpoint?
The onslaught has begun as Republican groups strive to damage Obama’s standing ahead of the parties’ national conventions this summer.
Liberal groups, by contrast, are focused more heavily on grass-roots organizing, led by labor unions that hope to spend more than $400 million to rally their members and nonunionized voters against likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other Republicans.
The differing strategies mean that voters, particularly in swing states, probably will be inundated with television advertisements attacking Obama well beyond whatever the Romney campaign airs. At the same time, many voters also will encounter swarms of canvassers handing out fliers and knocking on doors in support of Democrats.
Each side is banking on the idea that its approach will help shift the balance in what is shaping up to be a close-fought campaign. ...WaPo
D.C. political columnist, Ezra Klein, remembers that he's paid to examine every minor event and opinion during a campaign -- all the molehills, as he puts it -- while the rest of us normal people mostly pay attention to the mountains, the major events.
The two campaigns have definitely made molehills feel like mountains to Twitter-obsessed politicos who live in Washington, D.C. But have they really made any of the molehills into mountains in the general election contest? Have any of these furors changed the trajectory of the race by even a little bit? I don’t see much evidence of it.
On Thursday, I spoke with Lynn Vavreck, a political scientist at UCLA, for a column I’m writing next week. She said something that I thought was very wise.
“Most people don’t care about politics,” she said. “They’re not running around with these preformed opinions in their head. They worry about what they’ll make for dinner and how to get their kids to bed. And that hasn’t changed. For us, that’s an alien world. We think about politics all the time. But we’re not normal. The 24-hour news cycle has not really affected the average American who isn’t into politics. And that’s really important to remember.”
I think most people in Washington believe voters would make better decisions if they spent more time following politics. But I spend a lot of time following politics, and quite often, I couldn’t be happier that voters are tuning out the inanities that obsess this town. Better that they worry about real mountains rather than hyped-up molehills. ...Wonkblog
Both Greg Sargent and Steve Benen have been tracking the concerted effort on the part of the Romney campaign to transfer all fault for the Bush/Cheney recession and crash onto the Obama administration. And apparently the Romney campaign tactic is working. Benen writes:
... As far as the Romney campaign is concerned, the Bush/Cheney era has nothing to do with our current economic conditions. The economy is struggling, and it’s entirely the fault of the president who inherited the worst crisis since the Great Depression.
I can only imagine Romney and Fehrnstrom barnstorming the country in 1936. “Look at all of these closed factories! Look at the 17% unemployment rate! Look at the widespread poverty and long bread lines! Clearly, Roosevelt failed and the New Deal was a disaster.”
Of course, 76 years ago, very few Americans found this perspective persuasive, but that was before modern media and super PACs could manage to get wide swaths of the country to believe strange things ... Benen
And Sargent responds:
I’d only add that the Romney campaign has been making variations of this argument for months on end now, and it continues to generate virtually no skepticism in the press. ...Sargent
Steve Benen is keeping score on Romney's lies-per-day and lies-per-week. It's a big job. Romney is a serial liar and his efforts to mislead are unremitting. During this just-ending week, the Mitt has already pitched 21 whoppers at the American public.
Nate Silver asks whether a candidate's favorability/unfavorability ratings predict election outcomes. And they pretty much don't. Unless they persist into the final four months of the campaign.
The favorability deficit between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama is more likely to be meaningful the longer it persists. If, for instance, we still see this favorability deficit in July — and certainly if we see it in September or October — the odds are fairly good that Mr. Obama will perform more strongly than the economic fundamentals alone would dictate and could win an election that he is otherwise “supposed” to lose. ...NYT