Bad News is No News

Rich Galen

7/11/2012 7:30:00 AM - Rich Galen

Last Friday's top-line unemployment figures - showing only 80,000 jobs were created during the month and the unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 8.2 percent - was far worse than anyone in the Obama campaign or in the political shop at the White House could have expected.

One reporter traveling with President Obama in Ohio Tweeted that he had spoken for 40 minutes with only about 26 seconds on the job number.

To which I responded: "Bad news is no news."

But, in Presidential politics there is no such things as "no news." And the news for the Obama campaign has not been good since then.

The New York Times, hardly a mouthpiece for Republican causes or campaigns, had a front page story headlined: "Obama Trails Romney Again in Battle for Campaign Cash"

Reporter Nicholas Confessore wrote:

"Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee easily outraised the formidable Obama money machine for the second month in a row."

Keep in mind, this is not "secret" donors funding SuperPACs. This is the on-the-record money, the limited money, the so-called "hard" money that is reported by the Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign.

"In a worrisome development for the Obama campaign, Mr. Romney, who until now has been heavily dependent on donors giving the maximum federal contribution, also showed success in June drawing small donors, a traditional strength of the Obama campaign."

You might have noticed a lot of press attention to the mega-million fundraising Romney did in the Hamptons over last weekend, but not as much attention was paid to the growth in small donors.

Not only is Romney raising more, but his campaign is spending less. The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza pointed this out from the other side of the coin writing:

"President Obama has spent more than $91 million on television ads in eight swing states as of July 6, a massive sum that dwarfs the $23 million former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has disbursed on campaign commercials in those same places."

That statement is accurate, and would be telling if the Romney campaign hadn't been (a) raising more than Obama, and (b) has something on the order of $160 million cash-on-hand.

All that spending by Obama has kept him in the game. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polling in 12 swing states, Obama has leads outside the margin of error in only Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Romney leads in two (North Carolina and Missouri) and the rest are essentially tied such as Obama's 0.8 percent lead in Florida.

And that with a $68 MILLION dollar spending edge in those states.

Polling was another "bad news is no news" moment for the Obama campaign this week. The ABC/Washington Post poll showed the race tied at 47 percent. Of the polls used in calculating the RCP average over the past two weeks, Obama's lead is just 1.7 percent.

But, if you only use polls that were all or substantially in the field after last Friday's employment figures were announced that lead drops to 0.4 percent. And one of those five - the Reuters/Ipsos poll has Obama +6 which is an outlier among all recent polls.

To offset all this, President Obama reissued his call for raising taxes on "the wealthy." In Obama-land "wealthy" is defined as anyone making over $250,000 per year. That's a lot of money, but for a lot of voters - especially voters who run small businesses and who don't know how much they will have made until they close the books on December 31 each year - that increase might be the difference between hiring another employee next year and sending that salary to the IRS.

The Association of National Pundits immediately went on TV to remind viewers that the Republican-controlled House will never permit a vote on such a measure.

I'm not so sure.

If polling shows that a significant portion of voters see that call for raising taxes as more danger to a struggling economy, the GOP House leadership might just bring it to the floor and make Democrats vote on it.

That's what I'd do.

We're inside four months to go to the November elections. Look for more and more House and Senate Democrats to start running away from Obama - or at least running away from his policies - as the worry about saving their own seats takes precedence over helping Obama save his.