Independent Republican groups are heavily outspending their cross-party counterparts on television advertising in the campaigns for the White House and control of the Senate, eating into President Obama’s financial advantage over Mitt Romney and prompting expressions of alarm from top congressional Democrats.
The disparity is most evident in the race for the White House, where Crossroads GPS, Restore Our Future, and other organizations aligned with the Republicans spent nearly $37 million on television ads through the first few days of June, most of them attacking Obama. That compares with about $11 million by groups supporting the president, with much of it from Priorities USA Action.
Senate campaigns also have been affected, notably in Ohio, where Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown’s commanding lead in the polls began to erode this spring after the Chamber of Commerce and others started a televised attack. Overall, Republican-aligned organizations have spent roughly $30 million on ads in key races, compared with about $11 million for groups supporting Democrats.
Underscoring the concern, Representative Steve Israel of New York, who heads Democrats’ efforts to regain House control, issued a thinly veiled call for his party’s donors to step up. The recent recall election in Wisconsin “should serve as a wake-up call,’’ he wrote, referring to the lopsided advantage in spending by outside groups that helped Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, overcome a union-backed bid to eject him from office.
Other Democratic efforts to catch up are less publicized, particularly when it comes to Priorities USA Action, the group formed to boost Obama’s reelection.
David Axelrod, a top strategist for the president, is expected to meet with potential donors to the group in New York on Monday, according to officials familiar with his plans. Separately, President Clinton has agreed to help, although it is not clear whether he will appear at a formal fund-raising event.
Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, and White House aide David Plouffe, who ran the 2008 campaign, met previously with possible donors to the group. The heavy infusion of outside money comes on top of candidate spending and ads financed by the political parties.
Outside groups have allowed Romney to remain competitive in the television ads wars while restocking a treasury that was depleted during the battle for the Republican nomination. It also raises the possibility that Obama, the Democratic Party, and allied groups will be outspent by a combination of Romney, the GOP, and allied organizations, erasing an advantage the president had in 2008.
Obama pushes Congress to help states hire teachers
President Obama wants Congress to help states rehire teachers and act on a key part of last year’s jobs bill. He said Saturday that the last thing the United States needs is to have fewer teachers in its schools.
Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that many states have been squeezed by the economic recession and have been forced to lay off teachers - about 250,000 across the nation. The president said Congress must act on part of last year’s jobs bill that would prevent more layoffs and rehire more teachers who lost their jobs.