A Tale of Two Super PACs

Today featured contradicting reports on the presidential election's fundraising front. In The New York Times Magazine, Robert Draper describes the long, hard slog of pro-Obama Priorities USA, the self-acknowledged underdog of super PACs that is bound to be beaten by American Crossroads—the super PAC Hulk masterminded by Karl Rove. Because of the well-known troubles of Priorities USA, it was surprising to see the National Review report on Obama's super PAC advantage, citing FEC reports that showed that anti-Romney spending far outweighs anti-Obama spending. 

Just a little oversight in this analysis, though. The biggest conservative spenders in 2012 aren't likely going to be super PACs. The real scary fundraisers are the 501(c)4 nonprofits, which don't face the same disclosure requirements as their more overtly political super PAC brethren. As TPM's Brian Beutler points out, American Crossroads's nonprofit sibling, Crossroads GPS, dropped $24 million on one ad buy in May. 

If we take another step back, the Republicans' advantage in political spending grows even starker. National Review only covered outside spending on the presidential campaign—not on state and local races. But congressional and state races are where conservative outside groups truly have liberal groups beat. The top Republican-leaning outside groups plan to spend $1 billion in 2012, and the bulk of that money is going to go toward winning Congress—not the White House. Labor unions, on the other hand, are expected to spend between $200 to $400 million on Democratic campaigns. Priorities USA only plans to spend $100 million by November, and they are by far the biggest Democratic-leaning outside group. As much as Draper paints Priorities as an underdog, the other more localized Democratic-leaning outside groups are miles behind the rest of the pacs, and that's where the Republicans' true advantage lies.

So They Say

“As of right now, it’s not on my radar.”

 Sam Wurzelbacher, a.k.a Joe the Plumber, when asked if he was planning to attend any of Obama's campaign events.

Daily Meme: Conservatives Gang Up on Mitt

  • Calling the individual mandate a penalty, not a tax, was the final straw. Conservatives are finally fed-up with Romney's campaign. Exhibit A: The Wall Street Journal editorial board.
  • Hmm, did Rupert Murdoch's "meh" feelings toward Romney have anything to do with it?
  • Now other conservatives are joining in the fun: Bill Kristol delivered the low blow of comparing Romney to John Kerry and Michael Dukakis.
  • The Blaze thinks Romney's doing great! They don't know what campaign theWSJ's watching.
  • Jonathan Chait tells Republicans to chill out.
  • Brian Beutler writes that trying to steer the conversation back to the economy wasn't exactly an amateur move.
  • Especially given the whole, you know, Romneycare thing.
  • Paul Waldman says we need to stop talking about this regardless, for the sake of our country.
  • Maybe the WSJ should yell at Romney for Bain instead of inconsequential semantics kerfluffles.
  • Meanwhile, Grover Norquist is going to keep going with the tax frame. Obamatax!
  • But, we're likely to forget this whole mess tomorrow anyway. On Friday, the June jobs numbers cometh!

What We're Writing

  • Jamelle Bouie writes that the attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain might be changing Florida from red to blue.
  • Jaime Fuller takes a look at the Electoral College, and whether it might meet its end in the National Popular Vote movement.

What We're Reading

  • Financial Times looks at Obama's impressive grassroots organizing out West.
  • Turns out UFO sightings happen more often than voter fraud. 
  • Nate Cohn wonders, "Does Romney have a Florida problem?"
  • Is Obama our Historian-in-Chief?
  • John Cassidy writes that the Obama campaign's strategy is working.
  • Obama's on the road today, schmoozing with Ohio locals.
  • Will "Lemon. Wet. Good." become the most immortal Romney quote?

Poll of the Day

Democrats and Republicans agree—this year's election is going to try their nerves. Sixty-seven percent of Americans think the election is exhausting, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, while 63 percent think it will be annoying. Forty-nine percent concede, though, that it will also be "exciting."

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