Yesterday, Karl Rove published a column explaining why Team Obama will not enjoy the same towering spending advantage they used to trounce John McCain on the airwaves:
The Democrats' official fundraising numbers, released on Wednesday, showed that the $95 million cash-on-hand advantage Obama and the DNC had over the Republicans at the end of April had been cut by two-thirds at the end of May to $33 million. This is in part because the Obama campaign is burning through its war chest so fast and in part because of the impressive $107 million that the Romney campaign and the RNC announced they had on hand at May's end. This is significant because in 2008, Mr. Obama won partly because he outspent Sen. John McCain by $325 million between June and November ($850 million to $525 million). This was especially important in historically Republican states like Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, where Mr. Obama outspent Mr. McCain on television by ratios of up to 7 to 1. But the dawning awareness that Mr. Obama may have little or no cash advantage in the campaign's last five months is not the end of the bad news for the president.
Those were the good old days, when Democrats didn't have a problem with grossly outspending their opponents to win. Money in politics is only "troubling" when Republicans have the advantage, remember. We've also recently learned that the Obama campaign is experiencing a ferocious burn rate -- blowing through its cash reserves and beyond (shocking, I realize), even at this relatively early stage of the race:
President Barack Obama’s campaign and the Obama Victory Fund spent $15 million more than they raised in May, campaign finance reports show. The campaign and the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee, raised more than $54 million last month, but they spent $69 million. The committees spent $34 million on advertising and the rest on various expenses including payroll, travel, food, and equipment.
Here's a Democrat strategist hand-wringing about the Romney campaign's "Cold War" strategy, which forces Obama to spend promiscuously just to play defense in heretofore "safe" states like Michigan and Wisconsin:
“It’s just like the Cold War. They’re going to force Obama to spend himself into oblivion — while trying to peel off constituencies like the Eastern Bloc,” said a Democratic strategist, citing lingering vulnerability with blue collar workers and potential Republican gains with hispanics. “The only question is which [constituency] will be the first domino.”As the Obama campaign launches multi-million dollar TV blitzes to shore up support in left-leaning states, Romney and his conservative allies continue to fill their war chests.
I must say I love this Democrat's analogy. Think about it: Within this framework, Barack Obama is the Soviet Union, and the Romney campaign is Ronald Reagan's America. Um, yeah -- we'll take it. So how is Romney spending his money? Team Romney is rolling out four new swing-state ads describing the candidate's priorities for the first 100 days of his potential administration. All of the ads work from a similar template, but each contains footage and messages specifically tailored to the individual state. Ohio's spot is the only one, for instance, that doesn't lead with repealing Obamacare -- which is generally a smart play for obvious reasons. Instead, it focuses on "standing up" to China, a theme that resonates in rust belt states:
In Iowa, which enjoys a much lower unemployment rate than most states, Romney's ad hits on Obamacare and deficits (both major liabilities for the incumbent), promising to put America's budget on a path to solvency and balance:
Watch the Virginia and North Carolina spots by following the links. These commercials are upbeat and optimistic, never mentioning the president himself (unless "Obamacare" counts), and only describing his failed policies in passing. Contrast this approach with the Obama campaign's latest negative ad blitz, which received 'Four Pinocchios' from the Washington Post for its inaccuracy and mendacity.
UPDATE - Four more
years! Pinocchios! That's eight in two days. Nice work, liars.