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DNC spends big money pitching Obama’s jobs plan

at 06:30 AM ET, 10/21/2011

The Democratic National Committee is spending very heavily to promote President Obama’s jobs plan, dropping nearly $8 million on ads in September.

A Federal Election Commission Report filed over the weekend shows the DNC raised $4 million in September, received a $10 million transfer from money that Obama raised and spent more than that total combined -- $16.5 million.

Of that $16.5 million, nearly half went towards advertising expenses – a huge off-year ad buy for a national party committee.

DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said the ad spending has gone toward a successful effort to pump up Obama’s jobs plan.

“Our fundraising is in great shape, and this investment has been hugely important and successful,” Woodhouse said. “The awareness of the president’s jobs bill has increased and it and its individual elements are receiving strong support from the public.”

It’s true that the ad spending seems to be paying some dividends. Polls show the jobs plan is more and more popular these days.

But getting to that point has been expensive, and even before the ad blitz, the DNC was losing money.

The committee has spent more than it has raised in each of the last three months and has seen its cash on hand fall from $21.4 million to $14.7 million over that span.

Right now, it has about $5 million more in cash than debt, and the Republican National Committee, which started the cycle in dire financial straits after former chairman Michael Steele’s controversial and heavy-spending tenure, is getting closer to equal financial footing.

Steele received plenty of criticism in 2009 when his committee spent heavily on governor’s race in New Jersey and Virginia — along with spending on direct mail that wasn’t yielding much of a return — and saw its campaign account depleted heading into a big election year.

The DNC, of course, can raise money much more easily, with Obama sending tens of millions of dollars its way through a joint fundraising committee between his campaign and the DNC. Obama wasn’t able to raise as much for the DNC in July and August, as he was trying to cut a deal on the debt ceiling, but he picked it right up again in September and should continue to flood the DNC’s coffers using his fundraising prowess.

Even if the funds keep flowing, though, the DNC’s advertising gambit is still quite noteworthy, as it represent essentially the beginning of the ad wars in the 2010 presidential campaign.

Obama doesn’t yet have a Republican opponent to run against, but the DNC is spending money as if it were in the heat of a reelection campaign.

The DNC wins if the jobs plan passes or if Republicans oppose a bill that the public supports.

We’ll see if the big investment pays off.

A crack in Rubio’s armor: Ask anyone who the GOP vice presidential candidate will be in 2012, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the most likely name to come up.

Is that now in jeopardy?

A new report by the Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, who is writing a book about Rubio, shows that Rubio has embellished the story of his family’s immigration to the United States from Cuba.

While he has claimed that his parents fled Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, they instead migrated a full two years before Castro overthrew the Cuban government on New Year’s Day 1959.

Rubio’s office notes that his parents returned to Cuba for short stints after Castro took power, and hoped to live there again one day. Rubio also has his defenders in the Florida press.

It remains to be seen how much this will actually hurt Rubio — two new senators won in 2010 despite significant embellishments of their military records — but it will certainly call into question his rising star status and potential vice presidential candidacy.

Romney vs. Cain in the South: Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are neck and neck and the two early southern states — South Carolina and Florida — according to new polling from NBC News and Marist College.

The polls shows Cain leading Romney 28 percent to 27 percent in South Carolina and Romney up 30 percent to 29 percent in Florida. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at 10 and 9 percent in the two polls, respectively.

The fact that Perry is doing this poorly in the South — where he’s supposed to do well — suggests his candidacy is really struggling.

Cain clarifies on abortion — a little: Cain has put out a statement seeking to clarify his position on abortion.

In a statement released to the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Cain says he was answering CNN anchor Piers Morgan’s question literally when he said he would not make abortion illegal.

The comments seemed to suggest that Cain believed in legal abortion, but he said Thursday that he simply meant the president doesn’t have that authority.

“I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply ‘order’ people to not seek an abortion,” Cain explained. “My answer was focused on the role of the president. The president has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.”

Cain’s interpretation of Morgan’s questioning appears odd, at best. But that’s his defense.

Dem committees outraise GOP: In September, both House and Senate Democratic committees outaised their Republican counterparts.

In the House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised almost twice as much as the National Republican Congressional Committee $6.6 million to $3.8 million. So far this year, the DCCC has outraised th NRCC $47.9 million to $44.2 million.

But the NRCC has more cash on hand, $12.2 million to the DCCC’s $9.5 million. And the DCCC has slightly more debt — $2 million to the NRCC’s 1.5 million.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised over $4.5 million last month; the committee has raised $33.2 million for the cycle so far and has $10.9 million in cash on hand.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $3.4 million in September and $30.6 so far this cycle, with $30.6 million on hand. The Republican committee has no debt. Debt information for the DSCC was not released, but in August the committee reported close to $1.5 million in debt.

Fixbits:

Former DNC chairman and Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine says Romney’s religion is off-limits. And the candidate isn’t planning on another big speech about it.

Romney teases a more active campaign in Iowa, but doesn’t commit to it.

Connecticut GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s (R) problems with women voters.

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell (D) says Romney would beat Obama in Pennsylvania if the election were held today.

Recently passed former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once told Obama that he was headed for a one-term presidency.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signs his state’s redistricting bill. Now the question is which office Rep. Jim Matheson (D) runs for.

Must-reads:

GOP loath to credit Obama for Kadafi’s end” — James Oliphant, Los Angeles Times

A Romney win in Iowa? It could be a knockout punch” — John Whitesides, Reuters

Romney and Adviser Mankiw: They Don’t Always See Eye-to-Eye” — Sara Murray, Wall Street Journal

Without ‘Super PAC’ Numbers, Campaign Filings Present an Incomplete Picture” -- Nicholas Confessore, New York Times

Republicans mock Obama’s teleprompter use” — Philip Rucker, Washington Post

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.

 
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