The Obama campaign personalized its plea for donations, having the president write a first-person fundraising letter to supporters late Tuesday warning them that he could be the first sitting president in recent history to be outspent by a challenger.
“I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his reelection campaign, if things continue as they have so far,” Obama wrote. “I'm not just talking about the super-PACs and anonymous outside groups — I'm talking about the Romney campaign and the Republicans themselves. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem.”
The Romney campaign and Republican National Committee pulled in a massive haul in June, out-raising Obama and the Democrats $106 million to $71 million.
The Obama team has countered by touting its success with small donors as evidence it has far-reaching grassroots support, and in a continued attempt to paint Romney as the candidate of the wealthy.
“The Romney campaign and the Republicans have recently raised more than us, and the math isn't hard to understand,” the Obama letter continued. “Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney's campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.”
Democrats are increasingly worried about the fundraising prowess of Republican-affiliated super-PACs. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged massive sums to various Republican-affiliated campaigns and PACs. Even with the pro-Obama super-PAC Priorities USA’s strong fundraising month, its cash on hand will likely be small in comparison to the Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which are supporting Romney.
“This election will be a test of the model that got us here,” Obama continued. “We'll learn whether it's still true that a grassroots campaign can elect a president — whether ordinary Americans are in control of our democracy in the face of massive spending.”
While Republicans have dominated the super-PAC game, it remains to be seen if Obama and the Democrats will end up being out-raised and -spent by Romney and the Republicans. While recent months have turned in favor of Romney, Obama entered the election cycle with significant fundraising and spending leads over Romney.
The Obama campaign spent more than it raised in May, but was still sitting on $110 million in cash, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The Romney campaign had only $17 million in cash on hand.