Money Matters


The media, in its seemingly endless attempts to confuse the nation about what’s really happening, continues to talk of Barack’s incredible fund raising advantage over McCain. Karl Rove points out that it’s not so simple as news reports might lead one to believe.

So how much cash did he and his rival have when the general election effectively began in June? As of May 31, Mr. Obama had $43.1 million on hand while Mr. McCain had $31.6 million – a significant but not overwhelming advantage.

But there is more to campaign finance than what the candidates possess. The parties also spend lots of money on organizational aspects of the campaign, as well as some advertising.

Here, the Republicans had $53.5 million in hand on May 31, versus the Democrats’ paltry $4 million. Thus Mr. McCain and the RNC have $38 million more than Mr. Obama and the DNC.

Isn’t Barack the Amazing Money Man guaranteed to raise more over the summer?

In May, Mr. Obama raised $23.3 million and the DNC $4.8 million; but Mr. McCain raised $21.5 million and the RNC $24.4 million. Mr. Obama’s Internet-driven fund raising may require a renewed sense of urgency, crisis and energy that may be hard to gin up until the race heats up with the conventions in late August.

The media is also excited that Barack went on TV early, running ads in traditional red states in an attempt to “change the electoral map.” Rove also challenges this approach.

But early television may not be as smart as it appears. Is it wise for Mr. Obama to spend almost as much on ads in three weeks in July as he raised in May? His fund raising peaked in February. Mr. Obama may be overreaching by running ads in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota – states Republicans won by comfortable margins in recent years. It would require a shift of between one-sixth and over one-quarter of the vote to win any of them. Shifts that large rarely happen.

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