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Obama warns of fall Romney 'smear' machine

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Paul Bedard

The Obama-Biden reelection campaign, which just announced it banked $224 million in 2011, is stepping up fundraising as it steels for an expected fall "smear" machine from GOP front-runner Mitt Romney.

In an email to supporters this morning, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina warned that the Republicans will have a fat bank account to tap for negative ads, something both Romney and Newt Gingrich did in Florida.

"They're going to try to spend and smear their way to the White House," Messina said about Republican groups and candidates.

One thing is for sure: the fall election is already setting up to be the most expensive in history, with Obama expected to spend $750 million-$1 billion and the eventual GOP challenger and Republican-leaning groups likely to join so spend over $500 million.
In fact, as President Obama was feting donors last night at the posh St. Regis hotel in downtown Washington and then a private home in Chevy Chase, Md., a Romney associate told the Examimer, "He's going to need a lot of money."

Here's Messina's note:

Paul -- I'm not going to beat around the bush. Take a look at these numbers from Florida and then chip in $3 or more to support a much different kind of presidential campaign.

Here's just a sample of what went down:
  
-- $15.3 million: How much money Mitt Romney and his backers spent in the state (compared to $3.4 million spent by Newt Gingrich and his groups).
  
-- 13,000: The number of advertisements put on the air on Mitt's behalf as of mid-week last week. Newt had about 200.
  
-- 92: The percentage of these ads that were negative.

That's ugly, and it tells us a lot about what to expect from Romney, or whoever wins the Republican nomination. They're going to try to spend and smear their way to the White House.

These super PACs can dominate the airwaves, but what they can't do is mobilize volunteers on the ground.
We're doing this the right way -- will you help?

Thanks,

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America