Q&A, #2

Jeffrey McNary asks:
It's questionable as to how the [Obama] campaign is spending this money. Surely not on volunteers or a field organization. EVERY communication I've received from the campaign has included a money beg, not one of time or input. It's definitely not a poor people's campaign. perhaps it's going to the Axelrod entity.... A closer look at the Obama campaign spending may well provide an introspective into how the junior Senator drives the bus -- or at least, like a child in a parent's lap, sits at the wheel. Where's the money goin' David. Who's gettin' paid?
Actually, I have been consistently struck by how well-run Obama's campaign is. He had the best organization in Iowa, according to contacts I spoke with there. His New Hampshire organization was impressive. His well-planned ground game in small caucus states is one of the main reasons he holds his current lead. From the very beginning of his campaign, he has seemed to have no shortage of staffers and volunteers around.

I have not (yet) done a detailed review of Obama's sending, but what I have looked at seems to show a strong emphasis on building a large national team in addition to the big-budget spending. He has stuck with GMMB (Jim Margolis et al), which he and Axelrod hired a year ago, for his ad buys and production. He seems to spend relatively heavily on phone banking over print mailings (although he spends a lot on that, too), and spreads it around to different firms (although Meyer Associates gets the lion's share.) Others living large off the campaign include The Strategy Group (polling and strategy); Tiger Eye (merchandise); and Air Charter (carting around the press).

But the real impressive thing is that his campaign has been wisely restrained in its spending, relative to its enormous pots of available wealth. The campaign spent a whopping $30 million in March, but took in $41 million and ended the month with an incredible $51m on hand. Since the start of the year -- that is, during the actual primaries -- he has taken in roughly $30 million MORE than he has spent.

BTW, what would you make the over/under on Obama's contributions the first week he announces the opening of his general-election committee? $80m? $100m? higher?

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