9 out of $10 against Obama

Conservatives are dominating the super PAC wars; military suicides hit records; and other top Friday stories

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 17, 2012 12:56PM (EDT)

9 out of $10 against Obama: Campaign spending has already topped a half-billion dollars, according to an analysis by NBC News and Smart Media Group Delta, with spending hitting $512 million this week. That’s about the same amount spent on advertising during the entire 2008 general election.

Almost half of that comes from outside groups like super PACS, the vast majority of which goes to backing Mitt Romney. The analysis found that up to 9 out of every 10 dollars spent by an outside group is going to attack President Obama or to support Romney. There is likely even more spending that we don’t know about because it comes from 501(c)4 social welfare groups that have to disclose hardly anything.

Epidemic: Army suicides hit a new single-month record in July, with 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers taking their own lives  -- double the number who were killed in Afghanistan last month. The Marine Corps also had eight suicides in July, which was the highest monthly number so far this year for the elite force. The military has made great efforts to try to cut down on suicides, but it’s unclear if the attempts have had much effect.

In case anyone was wondering: Obama will not ditch Vice President Biden, despite a string of gaffes that have occasionally thrown the veep into controversy. Asked yesterday if Obama would change his running mate, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney replied that Republicans are being “ridiculous” and are trying to “distract attention” from Rep. Paul Ryan by harping on Biden. Carney reiterated that Biden will be on the ticket again.

Wisconsin bounce: Mitt Romney’s pick of Ryan appears to have helped him in Wisconsin, with a new CNN poll showing the once-Democratic state to be more of a toss-up after the V.P. announcement. A new CNN poll found that 49 percent of registered voters in the state say they support Obama, while 45 percent support Romney -- a lead that is within the margin of error and below previous leads for Obama.

Measuring the drapes: The Romney campaign has already established a transition team to begin to prepare the groundwork for a Romney presidency, the New York Times report. Using space borrowed from a law office in Washington, the team -- known as “Project Readiness” --  has been quietly meeting with allies on Capitol Hill and preparing an agenda should Romney win the presidency. The team is reportedly using a businesslike approach to the federal government, finding inefficiencies and trying to resolve them.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Brief Campaign Finance U.s. Military