Dueling June Obama fundraising claims?

To walk you through this: today there was a Wall Street Journal article discussing yesterday’s fundraising announcement by the McCain campaign. Said article noted in passing (via Political Punch):

Meanwhile, June fund-raising for Sen. Obama appears to be falling below the expectations of some supporters. The campaign hasn’t released its June numbers, but people close to the fund-raising operation say the total will likely be just over $30 million. While this isn’t a poor showing, it is an underwhelming haul for a campaign that has ballooned in recent months, has promised a true, 50-state electioneering effort and has told its biggest fund-raisers that it wants to collect $300 million in general-election cash by mid-October.The reason for the lower-than-expected numbers for Sen. Obama, fund-raisers said, was his continuing difficulty in getting former supporters of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to open their purses for him, following a protracted, bitter primary battle. Sen. Obama has also tacked to the middle on some recent policy issues, annoying many in the left wing of the Democratic Party. These more liberal-leaning supporters make up a large proportion of his small-donor cadre. The campaign says that some 1.7 million people have given $200 or less, making up 45% of Sen. Obama’s total.

A bit of an eye-opener, that. And subject to what is ostensibly a swift pushback (Read on)…TPM’s one of the sites that has Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer’s response:

“The Wall Street Journal report of our fundraising numbers is way off the mark. It appears that after 18 months, some in the press still haven’t realized that anyone who is talking about numbers doesn’t know what our numbers are.”

Hotline reports the same thing, except that they credit Bill Burton with the comment. Probably a flub or a forward, but either way it’s not as important as the main point: the Obama campaign really wants to quash this story quick.

Which is why it’s very odd that they haven’t quashed it in the most obvious fashion: by releasing the Obama campaign’s and DNC’s June fundraising numbers. If the WSJ has seriously under-reported Obama’s June total – and note that they did not report on the DNC’s June total, or both group’s cash-on-hand – revealing it would magnify the impact of the numbers itself, and blunt the impact of stories like this one. They have instead decided to issue a press statement that would be full of what would be called “bravado” by the press if it came from any other campaign – and it is interesting to note that said statement does not actually say that the Obama campaign has done better than reported. Again, that would be called “typical weaseling” if done by any other campaign, too.

My own, rule of thumb take: I agree with Race 4 2008 that the magic number for Obama/DNC is 50 million/month, and they didn’t hit that in June. If they had, they would have run with it now, instead of waiting until the clock runs out before reporting. That means one of the following happened this month:

1). The actual combined raw numbers are somewhere around 37-39 million. Maybe 41, if the DNC did very badly.2). They actually did very badly (possibly below McCain’s total), and simply want to get out of this particular news cycle as quickly as possible.3). Dan Pfieffer lied. After all, what can anybody really do to him for doing that?

Note that none of this addresses how much the Obama campaign spent – and its long-term spending habits are something that should be, but is thankfully usually not, a matter of concern to Obama’s boosters. But that’s for another post: one that I’ll write when the Obama campaign screws their courage to the sticking place and reveals their June numbers.

So, yeah, a couple of weeks for that.

Moe Lane