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Obama campaign turns frugal as it scrambles for donations

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Latest estimates from campaign advisors suggest that Mitt Romney and President Obama and their surrogates are likely to spend $1.4 billion each in the presidential campaign. But that doesn't mean their staffs are living high on the hog, especially the Obama campaign which has spent the past week issuing multiple urgent fundraising calls to supporters.

Spending records from June suggest that Team Obama is downright frugal. Insiders, for example, say volunteers in Chicago regularly show up with treats for staffers. And in the all-important Dunkin Donut category, Obama's team wins, spending $22.07 in May compared to Team Romney's $12.13. Obama aides added that office directors often bring in Dunkin Donuts for volunteer meetings.

According to new FEC records, Romney's crew seems to eat out more, favoring Dominoes, Cracker Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Carrabas. Obama's crew prefers 7-11 and Einstein Bagels. Both shop at Walmart, though even there the Obama team spent less than Romney's.

According to the filings, Team Obama prefers stores and suppliers like blue-collar Safeway and Avis.

And in stores where both the Obama and Romney campaign shop, the Obama campaign typically spends less. For example, in June Romney's campaign spent $26,328 at Apple while Obama's spent $15,553; Obama spent $2,921 on Hertz rentals compared to Romney's $7,187; and Obama coughed up $661 for GoDaddy internet help while Romney spent $1,958.

The spending reports came out as the Obama team was showing signs of fundraising troubles and airing concerns that Romney was out-raising them.