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Obama Campaign Spending Far Outpaces McCain

Barack Obama & John McCain
CNBC.com
Barack Obama & John McCain

Senator Barack Obama’s fund-raising juggernaut appears to have slowed dramatically from its record-shattering pace in September, raising $36 million in the first half of October, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission.

After spending at a torrential pace, pouring out more than $91 million in just two weeks — more than it spent in all of September — the Obama campaign was left with $66 million in the bank as of Oct. 15 for the final stretch. That compared favorably with the $25 million Senator John McCain’s campaign had. Mr. McCain has been forced to nurse his resources under the constraints of public financing, spending just $22 million in the first half of the month, after receiving an $84 million grant from the U.S. Treasury in September.

But the Republican National Committee reported $59 million in cash on hand as of Oct. 15, compared to $11 million for the Democratic National Committee. Mr. McCain’s main joint fund-raising committee with the party, McCain-Palin Victory 2008, which funnels money to both the national committee and several state parties, also had nearly $16 million in cash remaining. Meanwhile, the Obama Victory Fund, which collects money for the campaign and the national party, reported $20 million left in the bank.

All told, counting money still left in the coffers of the joint fund-raising committees, it appears that the McCain campaign and the R.N.C. actually had a similar amount left in the bank as the Obama campaign and the D.N.C. — nearly $100 million each — for the final few weeks of the campaign. It is difficult to make a direct comparison because some of the money raised by McCain-Palin Victory 2008 is directed to state parties.

If the money in the joint fund-raising arms is not included, the McCain campaign and the R.N.C. actually held the advantage over the Obama campaign and the D.N.C., $84 million to $77 million, as of Oct. 15. Mr. Obama, however, has much greater control of his money because it is in his own coffers and not the party’s. The party committees are only about to spend about $19 million in coordination with the campaign but can spend unlimited amounts independently.

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