This morning, the Obama campaign fired off an emotionally-tinged fundraising email to their supporters. The urgent message stated:
"The Obama campaign and the DNC ended June with a combined total of nearly $72 million in the bank. It's a healthy number. But McCain and the RNC together still have a huge cash advantage, and we need your help to close the gap.(Emphasis theirs).
As I mentioned in my video message to you earlier in the week, we're facing a Republican machine with unprecedented resources at its disposal. The McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee finished June with nearly $100 million in the bank."
... But in an under-stated blog post, Politico's Ben Smith informs us that the Obama campaign's math was off by $20 million:
"In total, the Democrats have some $92 million on hand, to the combined Republican total of $95 million."
(The Obama email said they only had $72 million -- now we find out they have $92 million).
Of course, the cynical observation is that Obama's campaign wanted to fire-up their supporters by pretending as if they were losing the money game to the GOP. Remember, Hillary's donors didn't come to her rescue until they knew she really needed it (when she invested $5 million of her own money.) The point is that political donors are more likely to become emotionally involved if they believe they are needed -- and that their candidate is in danger of being beaten -- so there was an incentive for Obama to play-up the disparity.
But a less sinister -- and more charitable -- analysis is that their math was off by $20 million. Of couse, this would be a gross error for such a polished political operation to commit.
Update: I'm told Obama's team sent out a correction email to reporters, but not to their supporters.