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Monday, July 16, 2007

WaPo Gets the Money Headline WRONG

Cross-Posted at Daily Kos.

In reading the news reports on the presidential Q2 fundraising numbers, I came across this article over at washingtonpost.com: Campaigns Raise, Burn More Cash, More Quickly: Rapid Spending Puts Some in Jeopardy Early. The gist of the story is that both Democratic and Republican candidacies are in jeopardy because of out-of-control spending.

But, if you take a closer look, its basically the Republicans who are spending money faster than they're raising it while the leading Dems ALL saw their bank accounts grow during the quarter.

Might I suggest a more accurate headline for the WaPo editors:

Republican Presidential Campaigns Running A Deficit: Candidates Show How They'll Manage Federal Budget if Elected

The article tries to make the claim that the profligate spending is causing problems for front-running candidates in both parties.

Candidates for the White House are not only raising far more than ever before, many are also spending that money as fast as they get it, leaving some close to being forced from the race almost six months before the first votes are cast.

Campaign finance reports released in recent days show that the spending spree is a reality for both front-runners and long shots. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) burned through more than $20 million in the past three months, 50 percent more than he raised during that span. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blew through the $11 million he raised during the past quarter and has barely enough money to keep going, even with his dramatically scaled-down operation.

They make the observation that both Democratic frontrunners have spent large sums (Clinton spent $12.8M while Obama spent $16M) but failed to point out that these sums represent less than 50% of the amount each campaign took in during the quarter. They describe the $11M Giuliani spent during the quarter as "modest," failing to acknowledge that Clinton & Obama raised $10-15 million more than Rudy!)

Two of the three Republican frontrunners (McCain & Romney), on the other hand, spent MORE money than they raised in the quarter. (While Romney took in $20.998M and spent $20.739M, $6.5M was a personal loan, which means he would have been "in the red" if he had relied solely on money he raised from donors). Rudy Giuliani was the only GOP top-tier candidate who operated "in the black" during the quarter. But the WaPo fails to acknowledge that the Dems have far more cash available to spend. Rudy's "frugal" campaign spent more than half of what it took in during the period. His $18M CoH represents HALF of what Obama has in the bank.

In fact, the three GOP frontrunners CoH numbers added TOGETHER don't total either Clinton's or Obama's individual totals.

The article goes on to heap praise on the wise investment of Romney's personal fortune in his early advertising raising his poll numbers:

For Romney, at least, the costly effort to get his message out seems to have paid off, said Craig Fuller, an adviser to President George H.W. Bush who is helping Romney raise money. Romney has spent nearly $5 million on television ads at a time when few others are venturing onto the airwaves, and he has risen to the top of many polls in Iowa and News Hampshire.

Romney has the added advantage of being able to dip into his personal fortune -- estimated to be in the hundreds of millions -- to supplement his fundraising, and had lent more than $9 million to his campaign by the end of June.

"The strategy of building his name recognition in the early states through advertising, I think, has paid off for him," Fuller said.

"I think he's established that he's a front-running candidate, and that was a crucial first step for him."

I think what each of the GOP candidates have established is that they don't know how to balance a checkbook. Is that a quality we desire in our next president?

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