Two weeks to go, $133 million to spend (Update)

Heading into these final two weeks, it appears that Sen. Obama has oer $133 million to spend on campaign ads, ground efforts, and general campaigning. Sen. McCain’s campaign has substantially less due mainly to his decision to accept public financing.

The report from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent $87.5 million last month and began October with nearly $134 million in the bank.

The numbers illustrate his vast financial advantage over John McCain, his Republican rival, in the final stretch of the contest. McCain ended September with $47 million in the bank.

Obama, who raised a record-shattering $150 million in September, filed his campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission overnight. The numbers became available on the FEC Web site Tuesday morning.

McCain is accepting public financing and cannot raise money. He is limited to $84 million for the two months before Election Day.

Both candidates are also getting help from their respective parties. The Democratic National Committee had $27.4 million in hand at the end of the month. The Republican National Committee said it had $77 million.

That helps close the gap, but Democrats still hold a considerable $37 million advantage.

Moreover, Obama’s $5 million-a-day fundraising rate has likely continued in October and will widen the financial gap between the two sides.

By having the bulk of the money within his campaign, Obama also retains far more control over how it is spent.

He spent $65 million in advertising in September to McCain’s $22 million. In October, he has outspent McCain 4-1 in advertising. Even with Republican Party ads in the mix, Obama has had more than a 2-1 advertising edge. He also spent $2 million on Internet advertising.

He reported spending $3.2 million on payroll, nearly three times more than McCain.

Obama’s resources have also permitted him to venture into what had been GOP strongholds — states that had traditionally voted for Republican presidential candidates. The economic crisis and President Bush’s extraordinarily low approval ratings have made those states ripe for Obama.

With so much money, Obama has been making sizable contributions to Democratic parties in key battleground states. He distributed more than $7 million to party committees, including $1.7 million to the Florida party and $1 million to the Ohio Democrats. Among other state parties receiving $400,000 or more were those in Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Virginia’s received $390,000.

Meanwhile, McCain is busy in the final two weeks trying to convince voters that the economy is his issue, not Obama’s. Report from Yahoo News:

PHILADELPHIA – Republican presidential candidate John McCain dismissed the idea that he can’t win the presidency if the top issue is the flagging economy and used a remark by Democrat Barack Obama’s own running mate to argue that Obama isn’t ready to be president.

McCain said “it’s absolutely not true” that the economy is a losing issue for Republicans. Earlier this month, the New York Daily News reported that a top McCain strategist said in an interview, “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.” Obama has cited that remark in criticizing McCain for launching attacks over Obama’s past association with a 1960s-era radical.

“We’re focusing on the economy,” the Arizona senator said in an interview aired Tuesday on “The Early Show” on CBS. “Listen to me. I’m the candidate, and this campaign is about the economy.”

Polls show that voters have more confidence in Obama when it comes to economic issues. McCain has been using a remark by Obama that he wanted to “spread the wealth around” to criticize the Democrat as favoring socialist economic policies.

McCain has his work cut out for him during these two weeks while Obama simply has to play defense.

Update

Never mind defense, Obama is on the offense via the economy, story from Yahoo News:

LAKE WORTH, Fla. – Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday that Republican John McCain is offering little more than “willful ignorance, wishful thinking, outdated ideology” to an economy in crisis, seeking to capitalize on the main issue that is propelling him forward in the race for the White House.

“While President Bush and Sen. McCain were ready to move heaven and earth to address the crisis on Wall Street, the president has failed so far to address the crisis on Main Street, and Sen. McCain has failed to fully acknowledge it,” Obama said at a jobs summit his campaign staged in economically precarious and politically significant Florida.

Obama said that McCain’s response to the limping economy doesn’t offer enough to Americans worried about keeping their jobs, their homes and their lifestyles.

“Instead of commonsense solutions, month after month, they’ve offered little more than willful ignorance, wishful thinking, outdated ideology,” he said in a steamy gymnasium at Palm Beach Community College, where 1,700 people sat cheering in the stands and at least that many if not more gathered outside to cheer Obama’s appearance.

The McCain campaign shot back that Obama’s stimulus plan, which includes sending billions to state and local governments to keep projects and health spending afloat, isn’t the right recipe.

“When Americans are hurting, Barack Obama’s plan to take more and more money from pocketbooks and hand it over to mismanaged government budgets is not the solution — it’s the problem,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Barack Obama is simply offering more of the same.”

Sounds like this narrative will dominate the next two weeks.