Romney fundraising sparks jitters in Obama camp
Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama for the first time in fundraising last month, raising $76.8-million to Obama's $60-million.
This was a bit of a setback for the president, who until now has been seen as the stronger fundraiser. The Obama camp was quick to say that during the 2004 campaign, Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry also briefly beat George W Bush in fundraising, but still lost the race.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina rushed an e-mail to supporters saying, "We got beat," and urging them to donate more to "close the gap" against Romney.
Asked to respond to the fundraising win, Romney would only say: "Long way to go."
Obama and the Democratic national committee have brought in more than $500-million during this election campaign cycle, while the Romney camp and the Republican Party have raised more than $480-million.
Of that, the Romney camp had $107-million cash in hand at the end of May. Obama's people have not reported the latest figures, but at the end of April, they had $115-million cash in hand and the Democratic national committee had $24-million.
Following the release of the fundraising stats, the Obama campaign took a break from attacking the president's opponent in its advertising and launched a new television ad which blames Congress for the slow growth in job numbers. In the ad, Obama says: "We're still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but we're still not creating them as fast as we want."
Then a narrator says: "The president's jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers and construction workers back to work right now, and it's paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more. But Congress refuses to act. Tell Congress we can't wait."
Obama also told 2500 students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas: "If they had taken all the steps I was pushing for back in September, we could have put even more Americans back to work. We could have sliced through these headwinds more easily."
While it is true that lawmakers have taken the wind out of the job-creating sails by not acting on Obama's proposals, after four years in office, the president should start putting the lid on the blame game. This is not the right card to be playing for his re-election campaign. He can, and should, take some of the responsibility. The US unemployment rate was reported at 8.2% in May, and all those people who don't have jobs don't care whose fault it is; they just want to know how the White House is going to help them get a job.
On the same day the new Obama ad came out, Romney called Obama's handling of the economy a "moral failure of tragic proportions". He said the president had failed Americans by enacting "muddled, confused and simply ineffective" policies.
There are 40 million people living in poverty in the US, and citing those numbers and the unemployment rate, Romney promised supporters he would "not be that president of doubt and deception", suggesting that Obama was.
It's hard to imagine how Romney's policies will create jobs when he is talking about cutting things like Pell grants, which are federal government programmes that help low-income students pay for college. And we already know a Romney White House would not raise taxes on the rich.