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Barack Obama Goes on a Spending Spree

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Barack Obama Goes on a Spending Spree

Barack Obama Goes on a Spending Spree

Barack Obama Goes on a Spending Spree

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/91791668/91791648" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Barack Obama listens to Democratic governors during an economic discussion in Chicago on June 20, 2008. Jeff Haynes/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

Barack Obama's record-breaking political war chest is especially important since Obama has just emerged from a bruising primary process, says John Harris, editor-in-chief of Politico.com.

"People came out with uncertainties about him," says Harris. "He has more money than any presidential candidate has ever had" and can use it to reintroduce himself to voters.

That was the point of Obama's first post-primary ad, which has been running in 18 heavily Republican states. In the spot, the candidate himself makes the point he was raised by a single mother and by grandparents who helped to instill values of accountability, self-reliance and patriotism.

Harris says that it's all part of another revolutionary campaign change for a Democrat: a 50-state strategy. With all his money, Obama can afford to compete in places Democrats have traditionally written off. It's not that he can actually win in all those places, says Harris, but he can afford to take Democrats into places where they ordinarily haven't been able to play.

"John McCain is the one who will have the thread-the-needle strategy," says Harris, another role reversal, since it's Democrats who usually pin their hopes on a smaller number of must-win states.

On a bright financial note for Republicans, the Republican National Committee far outraised the Democrats in May. But Harris says that he doesn't necessarily think party money will be able to level the playing field.

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