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Is Obama spending his campaign money too fast?
Team Obama is burning through cash at an unsustainable pace, some Democrats say, that may leave him struggling financially in the final stretch of the campaign
 
Staff are seen at President Obama's re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago: The president employs twice as many employees as Mitt Romney's campaign.
Staff are seen at President Obama's re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago: The president employs twice as many employees as Mitt Romney's campaign.
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

President Obama's campaign has been spending more than it's taking in this summer in an early attempt to define Mitt Romney as unfit to lead. Obama shelled out more than twice as much as his Republican rival in June, buying more TV ads and paying twice as many employees. Romney and the Republican National Committee had $170 million on hand as of June 30; Obama and the Democrats had $147 million, which has some Democrats worrying about Obama's "burn rate," The Wall Street Journal reports. They say it could leave him short on cash and force him to cut back as November approaches, while Romney, who can't spend a good chunk of the cash he's raised until after the GOP's convention in August, finishes strong with a spending blitz. Is the president burning through his campaign funds too early in the race?

Yes. Obama's recklessness will hurt him later: Obama has been spending at "record speed," says Doug Schoen at Forbes, and he "cannot afford to keep this up." At this rate, he's going to have to waste valuable time fundraising — instead of campaigning — in September and October. Romney has been building his superior war chest and limiting expenditures. After the GOP convention in August, "Romney's campaign will shift into a whole new phase, and Obama will not be able to keep up."
"Cash makes Romney stronger than people realize"

Obama is betting the splurge will pay off: The president is fully aware of the risk he's taking, says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. His campaign is just convinced that "every penny is being well spent." Team Obama is spending big on a nationwide ground organization to whip up turnout. Of the $58 million Obama spent in June, $38 million went to a barrage of ads in swing states, where Romney's image has "taken a hit." Of course, we won't know until November whether Obama "made the right bet."
"Obama campaign pushes back on 'burn rate' criticism"

Money won't save Obama — or sink him: Obama unleashed an "ad blitz aimed at convincing voters that Romney is a cross between the buffoonish Thurston Howell III and the rapacious Gordon Gekko," says Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics. Yet most voters think Romney's business record is irrelevant, or a plus, and the two candidates remain essentially deadlocked in the polls. That shows Obama didn't get "much bang for the buck." Of course, it suggests that Romney's rosier fundraising picture may not be decisive, either.
"Obama spending blitz brings little change in race"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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