Political Notebook

Obama edges Romney with $114m haul

President Obama’s joint fund-raising committee, which spent liberally early, did not indicate how much money it has.
President Obama’s joint fund-raising committee, which spent liberally early, did not indicate how much money it has.

President Obama’s joint fund-raising committee collected more than $114 million in August, his campaign announced Monday, the biggest haul of the election so far and enough to edge Republican challenger Mitt Romney for the first time since April.

Romney’s joint committee brought in $111.6 million in August, according to his campaign, its third straight month with more than $100 million in receipts.

In a signal that Republicans are beginning to spend more aggressively as Election Day nears, Romney’s joint committee reported $168.5 million on hand at the end of August, $17.4 million less than it had at the end of July.


Romney’s committee had been stockpiling cash — while Obama’s spent liberally early in the race — and boasted a $62 million cash advantage at the end of the last reporting period. Obama’s committee did not release its August cash total on Monday.

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Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, characterized the Democrats’ big August as an important step toward neutralizing the cash advantage Romney enjoys in direct fund-raising and also in outside spending by super PACs and other independent groups that can collect unlimited sums from individual donors.

Both campaigns sought to project grass-roots support in announcing their totals on Monday.

Obama’s team reported that 98 percent of its donations were $250 or less; Romney’s reported 94 percent of his were $250 or less. - CALLUM BORCHERS

President climbs in polls taken after convention

President Obama got a modest bounce from last week’s Democratic National Convention, pulling ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to polls released Monday.


Obama led Romney, 52 percent to 46 percent, among likely voters in a CNN survey taken between Friday and Sunday, the three days after the convention. A poll taken in the four days before the Democratic convention showed the candidates tied at 48 percent.

Gallup’s daily tracking poll, an average of the previous seven days, gave Obama a 49-44 advantage over Romney on Monday. A week ago, the president led by a single point. The Gallup poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points, and the CNN survey had a margin of error of 3.5 points.

GOP plank calls for privatizing railways

WASHINGTON — Warning to Amtrak from Mitt Romney and Republicans: You’re on your own.

The platform Republicans adopted at their convention included a call for full privatization and an end to subsidies for the nation’s passenger rail operator, which gobbled up almost $1.5 billion in federal funds last year.

‘‘It is long past time for the federal government to get out of the way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service,’’ the platform said, arguing that taxpayers dole out almost $50 for every Amtrak ticket.


Long a political cudgel in the halls of Congress, Amtrak is among a number of transportation functions Republicans say should be turned over to the private sector, including airport security, also on the chopping block in the GOP platform.

At its core, the debate juxtaposes differing visions about what role government should play in ensuring public access to services, even if they are losing money hand over fist.

For President Obama, Amtrak symbolizes a communal investment in the American infrastructure that enables and catalyzes economic growth. For Romney, who built a career mending the balance sheets of unprofitable companies, dropping Amtrak fits neatly into his message of doing away with spending that government can’t afford.

Democrats did not mention Amtrak in their platform, but spoke generally about rail’s importance and the need for increased investments in infrastructure. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

GOP heavyweights back Democrat

WASHINGTON — A longtime House Democrat struggling to win against a fellow Democrat in California has picked up an unlikely endorsement: the backing of two Senate Republicans.

Representative Howard Berman faces Representative Brad Sherman in November thanks to the redrawing of congressional boundaries and California’s primary system.

Two of the GOP’s leading lawmakers on national security — Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham — along with independent Senator Joe Lieberman said Monday they are backing Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, called Berman a ‘‘man of determination and honor.’’

Graham said Berman knows how to work on a bipartisan basis.

Berman also is supported by the state’s two Democratic senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. - ASSOCIATED PRESS