Campaign Notebook

Obama, saving resources, cut back on campaign spending in June

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July 21, 2008

Barack Obama cut back on his spending in June after securing the Democratic presidential nomination, building up his cash on hand as Republican rival John McCain outspent him with a heavy dose of television advertising.

Unlike McCain, who spent more than he raised in June, Obama accumulated cash during the month, holding back on a ramped-up television campaign until July. Obama is now matching McCain's and the Republican Party's spending on advertising.

McCain reported his June fund-raising in a monthly report filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

Obama's campaign announced that he raised $52 million in June, more than twice the nearly $21.5 million raised by McCain during the month. Obama reported having $72 million cash on hand to McCain's $27 million.

Besides raising his own money, Obama is also encouraging his contributors to help former rival Senator Hillary Clinton retire her campaign debt. Yesterday, Clinton reported having a $25.2 million debt at the end of June, including her $13.2 million loan to the campaign. She raised $2.7 million from donors during the month and lent her campaign another $1 million.

While McCain reduced his cash on hand from May to June, Obama increased his by $29 million.

McCain plans to accept $84 million in public funds for the fall presidential campaign, a move that prevents him from raising or spending any more money above that sum. Obama has decided to the bypass the public finance system. That means Obama needs to build up his cash reserves going into the fall campaign, whereas McCain needs to deplete his.

McCain was flying last night to Maine, where he will appear today at receptions in South Portland and at the Walker's Point summer home of President George H.W. Bush.


McCain, Obama to appear at a megachurch forum
The Rev. Rick Warren has gotten John McCain and Barack Obama to agree to attend a forum at his Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16. He said over the weekend that the candidates would appear together for a moment, but that he would interview them in succession at his megachurch.

The forum still falls short of the kind of face-to-face, town-hall-style debates that McCain has called for this summer before formal debates scheduled for this fall.

Word of the forum came as a leading conservative Christian, James C. Dobson, signaled that he might reverse his position and endorse McCain.

"I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, said for a radio broadcast today. "While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might." He said that while he has differs with both candidates on some issues, McCain's positions are closer to his own.


Obama plans to speak near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate
Barack Obama's campaign said yesterday that he will give a speech on the future of trans- Atlantic relations in front of a Prussian war monument in downtown Berlin - in view of the historic Brandenburg Gate.

The announcement that he will speak at the Victory Column, or Siegessaeule, ended weeks of speculation in Berlin. It also triggered criticism that the 226-foot column built in 1873 to celebrate Prussian war victories over Denmark, Austria, and France was an inappropriate choice.

One of Berlin's best-known monuments, the column is topped by a golden, winged figure representing Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory.

It stood in front of Germany's Parliament building, the Reichstag, until the late 1930s, when Adolf Hitler's architect, Albert Speer, moved it to the middle of the Tiergarten park.

At the other end, about a mile away, is Pariser Platz square and the Brandenburg Gate.

Obama had wanted to give the speech there, but Chancellor Angela Merkel quashed the idea.


Giuliani takes McCain out to the ballgame in NYC
While Barack Obama was on another continent, Republican presidential candidate John McCain stayed closer to home yesterday, visiting Yankee Stadium in New York City with Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor.

The two high-profile Republicans are longtime friends, despite having campaigned against each other in the 2008 GOP primaries.

Could Giuliani, who moonlights as the number one Yankee fan, become the number two on the Republican ticket?

"You hear all kinds of stuff, but I'm not thinking about anything but helping to get him elected," Giuliani said. "Beyond the fact that he's the candidate of my party, he's a very good friend."

When Oakland Athletics manager Bob Geren asked McCain what it's like to run for president, the candidate answered: "It's like being in AA [minor league baseball] and all of a sudden you're playing in Yankee Stadium."


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