WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's campaign said Wednesday it expects the president to become the first incumbent to be outspent by his opponent, outlining the potential for $1 billion in spending from Republican-leaning outside groups supporting Mitt Romney.
Campaign officials said they expected Romney and a collection of Republican-leaning super PACs would spend roughly $1.2 billion to help get him elected against a president who broke all fundraising records in 2008 by hauling in about $750 million. The officials briefed White House and other political reporters only on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal campaign strategy and polling data.
With Obama and Romney locked in a tight contest, the fundraising-and-spending prediction to a room full of reporters amounted to a strategic way for Obama's team to set high expectations for the other side, provide some urgent incentive for Democratic donors to give more, and raise scrutiny about the role of big-dollar giving in Romney's campaign.
Underscoring the fundraising problems, one Obama campaign official predicted that Romney and the RNC would raise $100 million in June, surpassing Obama's side again. But the official noted that Democrat John Kerry raised more than President George W. Bush after locking up his party's nomination in the spring of 2004.
Romney's campaign joined with the Republican National Committee to raise more than $76 million in May, outpacing Obama and the Democratic party, which raised a combined $60 million for the month. It was the first time that Obama has been outraised by an opponent since 2007.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the Obama campaign is "used to moving the goal posts," citing projections that Obama's campaign might raise $1 billion.