Getting Desperate

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 21, 2012

I have been on Team Obama’s e-mail list ever since 2008, when it told me that being on the e-mail list meant that I would be able to find out the identity of then-Senator Obama’s vice presidential pick before the press got wind of anything.

I didn’t think that I would find out who the vice presidential pick would be before CNN did, but having been afflicted with a raging case of whattheheckitis, I signed up. And all to discover that Joe Biden would be a heartbeat away. Not the best of deals.

Still, I have been too lazy to take my name off the list, and in a sense, I don’t want to, because the dialogue between Team Obama and those it believes are the president’s supporters is fascinating. Recently, however, the dialogue has been tinged with a sense of frantic distress.

The president’s team is constantly trying to raise funds from supporters, and promising them all sorts of goodies if only they contribute. In the past, $3 would be enough to get you into a drawing for lunch with the president, dinner with the president and first lady, fundraisers with the president and various celebrities and pilates classes with the president.

Okay. I made the last part up. But not the other parts. And here is another part I am not making up: The $3 minimum donation has now been upped to $5, with e-mails coming in warning me that Mitt Romney might outspend Barack Obama, and that the fundraising difference might be enough to bury the president’s re-election chances.

Turns out that for once, Team Obama was telling the truth:

Amid a heavy barrage of advertising by opposing “super” political groups, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign spent more than it collected in June. While outraised again by Republican Mitt Romney, Obama ended the month with a hefty $97.5 million in the bank.

June was the second consecutive month in which Romney brought in more money than Obama, finance reports filed Friday show. Romney’s money advantage prompted Obama’s campaign advisers to warn earlier this month that the president could lose the election if the financial disparity continued.

Now, of course, it is not enough for Team Romney to outraise the president’s folks; Team Romney also has to begin a major media push to define the issues and the president to its liking in advance of the fall campaign. Thus far, I have seen no sustained effort from them to do so, and that has to change if Mitt Romney wants to have a chance of being the next president of the United States.

But Mitt Romney’s money advantage appears to be a significant one. Barack Obama and his team were counting on the ability to outraise and outspend Romney, just like what they did to John McCain four years ago. But this isn’t 2008. And of course, if you find someone who is complaining about Romney’s money advantage, and who either didn’t utter a peep of protest or outright celebrated Barack Obama’s financial advantage over McCain four years ago, politely inform them that they have no standing whatsoever to whine.

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