Will Media Fact Checkers Find Obama's 'Outspent' Underdog Whoppers In Ohio?

Neil Munro at The Daily Caller is pointing out that Barack Obama has a truth-telling problem when it comes to being outspent on his previous campaigns. Someone should alert Politifact and its users in the press corps.

“I got outspent when I ran [the] first time for Senate,” the president claimed in his campaign speech Thursday in Maumee, Ohio. Munro found "Obama was misleading." Yeah, that's one word you could use.

The Federal Election Committee’s website shows that Obama’s campaign claimed $14,807,432 in donations by December 2004.

In contrast, his opponent, Alan Keyes, had only $2,545,325, according to the FEC.

That’s a six-fold advantage for Obama, not a deficit.

The imbalance in funding was the largest in that year’s Senate races, according to a 2006 book, “In The Election After Reform: Money, Politics, and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.”

Munro explained that Obama did look like he would be outspent in the 2004 primary by Blair Hull, but his campaign imploded. I'd add that came in part after the Chicago Tribune picked apart his nasty divorce, just as the Tribune later pressed GOP candidate Jack Ryan out of the fall election over his nasty divorce. But Keyes was never a serious challenger. Then came 2008:

“The thing that I want everybody here to understand – each of you personally — is that back in 2008, everybody said we couldn’t do it because we were outspent,” he said during a 4.12 p.m. speech in Sandusky, Ohio.

Obama did not correct the claim, although he immediately revised it, by adding that “we weren’t favored.”

During the 2008 race, Obama raised $779 million. His GOP rival, Sen. John McCain, raised less than half as much, or $347 million.

In the Democratic primary, Obama raised $237 million, while his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, raised $229 million.

This is a fun challenge. I listened to the Sandusky speech last night, and here's something else Obama said shortly after the "outspent in '08" stuff:

That first race that I ran as a state senator, Michelle and I, we were going around knocking on doors, passing out leaflets. Nobody gave us a shot. Everybody said, "Nobody can pronounce your name, how are you going to win?" (Laughter.) You don't come from a famous family. We couldn't afford to advertise on TV.

Which state Senate candidates advertise on TV in the Chicago media market? That’s just a bizarre story. This tale also obscures the little fact that Obama had no opponent in the 13th District when the primary election rolled around in March 1996, or in November. He successfully kept primary opponents (including the incumbent, Alice Palmer) off the ballot by challenging their signatures.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis