Mitt Romney beats President Obama in July fundraising, tweaks him over spending

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 22 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

In this Aug. 14, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign stop in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Charles Rex Arbogast, File, Associated Press

With his cash advantage growing, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney felt comfortable enough to tweak President Barack Obama over his campaign spending during a fundraiser Tuesday.

"You've perhaps noticed in the paper, we're a little wiser in our spending of dollars than the other side, apparently," Romney said. "I'm not managing their campaign for them, but we're going to spend our money wisely, we're going to spend it to win."

According to a Monday Washington Post article, numbers from both campaigns show Romney leading Obama with cash on hand at the end of July, $185.9 million to $123.7 million. The numbers are totaled from the campaign, the national party committees and joint victory funds that raise money for both.

Together, Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised $101.3 million dollars in July, while Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised $75 million. The president's campaign raised $49 million in July, but it spent nearly $59 million at the same time.

"Such a cash burn illustrates the heavy spending Obama's campaign has made this summer on advertisements designed to promote his own image and parry attacks from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and right-leaning outside groups," Politico reported.

Of the Obama campaign's July expenditures, $39.27 million went toward media buys, and another $8.75 went toward online advertisements. The Obama campaign also has about 800 paid staffers while Romney has fewer than half that number.

Romney is currently unable to spend much of his money until after the Republican National Convention, as federal election law prohibits candidates from spending money raised for the general election until officially a major party nominee. The same is true for Obama, although the president did not face primary competition.

An Associated Press analysis reports that Romney is attracting donors from traditionally Democratic areas of the U.S., including New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and Austin, Texas.

Super PAC money has heavily favored Republicans in the presidential race thus far, with ProPublica numbers showing a combined $202 million in campaign spending from all prominent PACs. Restore Our Future, which supports Romney, has spent $72 million. Priorities USA Action, which supports Obama, is the next highest spender at $19 million. Other PACs raised funds for specific candidates like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman.

Reporters and pundits have pointed to a number of possible explanations for why Obama trails in both campaign and super PAC fundraising.

One reason, Ezra Klein posited at The Washington Post, is that the financial class gravitates toward the candidate most like them.

"In 2012, Mitt Romney is most like them," Klein wrote. "In fact, Romney is them. He worked in finance. He has a business degree from Harvard. He shares their hatred of deficits, their belief that the rich are being unfairly blamed for today's problems, their conviction that their work is of great social value, their certainty that if only politicians were more like titans of finance and industry, the country would be in a far better place. Obama, meanwhile, doesn't seem to respect them that much. And if there's anything that's fundamental to the finance class, it is self-respect."

An August New Yorker article echoed this point, quoting Democratic donors unhappy with the White House.

"There's been no thanks for anyone," an unnamed Democratic donor told reporter Jane Mayer. "I don't know if it's a personality thing, an ego thing or an intellectual thing. I just don't get it. But people want to be kissed. They want to be thanked."

The donor said he has been introduced to Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett twice, but she didn't remember who he was and "seemed to think she was blessing me by breathing in the same space."

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