The Obama Campaign's Spending Is Not Out Of Control

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The RNC is distributing his blog post from the Weekly Standard with the provocative headline "The Obama Campaign's Out of Control Spending."

Jaime Sneider argues that:

"With a burn rate of $42 million a month, Obama's campaign can just barely sustain its current levels of spending. And what's leftover may not be adequate to run the kind of campaign he needs to win. Just consider despite all the money he's raised, Obama has been outspent on television by 3 to 1 in the last two months. All the stagecraft and theatrics has come with a hefty cost."

Yes, the Obama campaign has a lot of money to raise -- about $50 million per month over the next three months. But the Obama campaign announced its intention to opt out of the primaries on June 19; there is absolutely no reason to think that his donors are maxed out for the general election, or that they won't give when they are asked. Truth is -- Obama needs primary money now, not general election money. He may not raise $200 million, and it'll cost him time and resources to raise $84 million -- the equivalent of what he'd get from the government -- but the reality is that Obama will be able to raise pretty much whatever he needs. The length and scope of the Democratic primaries dwarfed that of the McCain campaign, and June was the first (mostly) primary-free month. So it's almost absurd to compare the Obama campaign's primary burn rate -- which, incidentally, is a percentage, not an aboslute figure -- to McCain's for June. The McCain campaign started advertising a month before Obama, so it's not a surprise that he's been outspent on television. The campaign spent money on security consulting before the Secret Service was brought aboard, and before they began to protect the entire family. Campaign headquarters also requires security. These expenses aren't unusual. Sending 15 paid staffers to Texas is "flushing money down the toilet?" No. It's about organizing volunteers for New Mexico and other border states, and about helping Democratic candidates down the ballot. 2,000 field staff? Honestly, Republicans have reason to fear that number. Note that the Obama campaign will pay for most of its field staff directly, which is not normally how this happens. In 2004, most GOP field operatives came from the RNC; most Democratic field operatives were paid by the DNC.

The Obama campaign intends to run the equivalent of 18 major Senate race campaigns. Expensive? Yes. Unprecedented. Yes. Centrally controlled? Yes. Risky? Yes. Leaving nothing to chance? Yes.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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