Republican superPACs expect to rake in $800 million by Election Day, and Democratic superPACs are hundreds of millions behind. Democrats have "implicitly conceded" says Robert Draper of The New York Times, but that doesn't mean they can't compete.
by NPR STAFF, All Things Considered
"I will be outspent." This simple phrase headed an email President Obama recently sent to supporters.
"We can be outspent and still win," the message read. "But we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." Obama asked for donations of as little as $3 to compete against the deep pockets of Republican challenger Mitt Romney and the super political action committees that back him.
Pro-Obama superPACs simply haven't been able to keep pace, Robert Draper writes in this week's New York Times Magazine.
Republican superPACs Crossroads GPS and Restore Our Future expect to raise a total of $400 million by the time the election comes around in November. An additional $400 million has been pledged by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
The pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA, on the other hand, hopes to raise $100 million, according to Draper.
There's absolutely no arms race here, he says. "Basically, they've implicitly conceded that they cannot match dollar-for-dollar," he says.
Draper spoke to weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about whether the Democrats can still gain an edge.
On the pro-Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA
"Fully a year after the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision, a number of superPACs had cropped up as a direct result of that decision, but none on the Democratic side. And concern was mounting in a lot of corners that this sort of unilateral disarmament that had, in large part, been promulgated by President Obama ... was going to have major consequences in the 2012 election.
"So, [Priorities USA founders Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney] figured this was a void they would fill and were not deterred by the fact that they'd never done anything like this before — these guys were messaging and campaigning strategy guys, not guys that went around raising money from rich people."
On the Obama's change of heart on superPACs
"Obama had staked out a position that these superPACs were bad, and I think he read — correctly, for the most part — that a lot of Democrats would feel that way. But by December of 2011, when the gross disparity between what the Republicans were raising in terms of superPAC monies and what Priorities USA was raising ... then the campaign manager Jim Messina showed those numbers to fellow adviser David Axelrod ... It was at that time that Obama finally said, 'We're not going to unilaterally disarm,' and 'Go forth and prosper, Priorities USA." [MORE]